13 Reminders for the TCK’s “Trip Home”

I’m flying to the USA soon. By the time this gets published, I’ll probably be there already. We’re going back to visit friends and family, and I’m tremendously excited. 

But to be frank, going back to my passport country is nerve-wracking. Every single time. 

My passport says I’m American, but I don’t feel like it when I take a step off the plane. Not at all. 

For one thing, everyone is speaking English. Like, what on earth? Since when does everyone speak English?

Then they say “Welcome Home” at the gate. The thing is, I feel like a fish out of water. Because these people sound like me, they are presumably just like me, and they expect the same from me. You feel like a fraud for the first two hours. You feel like you’re holding some sort of secret identity on the inside. 

Because this continent-hopping maneuver stresses me out, I thought it’d be kind of helpful to put together a list of things to remember before you take the leap. You know, from one TCK to another. 

But then I had a brilliant idea. 

I asked my other TCK friends. 

Behold our magnificent list of 13 things to remember when you “go home” for the summer. 

  1.  Visits to your passport country can often be hectic. Make sure you create time to ground yourself in God’s word. It will change your interactions and experience entirely. 
  2. Strangers will come up to you, call you by name, and claim they’ve known you ever since you were little. Be prepared to update them on your family. Talk with them – do it with a smile.
  3. Remember that not every foreign language you hear is your country’s language 😉
  4. Sometimes it’s good to bring a couple of gifts for the friends you might meet. You never know when you might meet your new close friend.
  5. Be prepared for: “Say something in so-and-so language.” Some people prefer asking for a sentence to translate, whereas some people come prepared with a phrase. Do what works for you.
  6. Many people will say, “Welcome Home.” If it doesn’t feel like home for you, that’s ok – you’re not alone. Personally, it always feels a bit like a vacation. You can mention it or not – but however you react, be kind.
  7. Be gracious. You’re not better than people just because you know more about the world internationally. They know more than you about other things. Reach out – make a friend. 
  8. Be grateful when someone goes out of their way (and their comfort zone!) to show you around and be friendly. Make sure you thank them.
  9. Be curious and ask questions. Don’t feel stupid if you don’t understand something. Chances are, it might not even be a cultural thing – they might not get it either. If it is cultural – brush it off. You are prized by the King of Heaven, and you don’t need to feel insecure. 
  10. Don’t be so excited about the “commodities” that you forget about the people. 
  11. Remember, the trips to your passport country shouldn’t define your expectations of the country’s culture. These short trips don’t show you the true face of the country. Stay curious and open to learning. Don’t assume you know everything.
  12. Spend quality time with people and say good goodbyes. 
  13. Take that first step to say hello. I know what you’re thinking – because I’m thinking it too. I don’t know these people. They don’t understand me. If I say something, I’m going to mess up. 

Take that risk. Life’s most beautiful moments are found when we step outside of our comfort zones. What we often forget is that we TCKs are comfortable traveling the world and speaking foreign languages. Honestly, I’d rather talk to the immigrant elderly couple at church than the teens my age. And that’s good.

But my friend, we can’t live our lives like this. We pride ourselves on having a broad perspective and traveling the world, but sometimes we forget that people are people no matter where you go and that your home culture is just another culture waiting to be discovered. Sometimes we forget that although the Church is Christ’s international body, our home country’s church is a part of it. Sometimes we forget that the teen we are afraid of talking to is just as freaking scared to speak to us. 

So take that awkward first step. 

“There is freedom waiting for you,

On the breezes of the sky,

And you ask, “What if I fall?”

Oh, but my darling,

What if you fly?”

― Erin Hanson

5 Podcasts For Encouragement & Entertainment

So sorry for not posting last week. I struggled with time management and I was working on another email article for an email list, and wasn’t able to crank this out fast enough. So you get it this weekend. I’ll try to be more consistent.


Hello, my lovely friends! 

I decided to take a break from serious writing and give y’all a fun post instead. 

As probably none of you know, I adore listening to podcasts. They are one of my favorite pastimes. I believe they are so great for so many reasons and want to share them with you. Here are four reasons why you should listen to podcasts:

  1. They make consuming “non-fiction” content so much easier!
  2. You can listen to them at any time!
  3. There are podcasts on every subject imaginable.
  4. It’s a great way to multi-task. 
  5. (Yes, I know I said four reasons.) They are amazing!

Thus, I’ll be listing my top five podcasts. These are ones I have either listened to a lot in the past or listen to at the moment. Whether you have never listened to a podcast in your life or you listen to them religiously as I do, I hope this list will be a helpful addition to your life. *Smirk* (Also, the podcasts are not in order, they are just five ones I thought would be the best to share.)

  1. Age of Minority

Age of Minority is a podcast “for youth about the gospel” and is hosted by Jaquelle Ferris, author of This Changes Everything (how the Gospel transforms the teen years) and Sean Crowe, her father, and pastor. 

There are a couple reasons why I highly recommend this podcast. First off, Jaquelle and Sean have strong, biblical theology and aren’t scared to say things that are counter-cultural or “not cool”. This is the number one reason why the podcast is of such quality. They are also hilarious and fun, which makes their message relatable. Their enjoyable father-daughter relationship connects tremendously with the audience. 

The podcast regularly goes through different topics and discusses how the gospel changes those things and the way we look at them. For example, they did an episode on sleep and another one on pets. How in the world do they talk about those things in light of the Gospel? Well, they do and fill whole 30-40 minutes episodes, too. They also have done series on apologetics, hard topics in the bible, and more. 

Website

  1. Call to Mastery with Jordan Raynor

Call to Mastery with Jordan Raynor is an excellent podcast that I discovered recently. Jordan Raynor is the best selling author of Called to Create (which I have read) and Master of One. He is passionate about encouraging Christians to pursue excellence in their work for the glory of God. In his podcast, he interviews believers who have become masters in their particular vocation or field. It’s insightful, enjoyable, inspiring, and practical. 

Not an adult? Don’t worry. This podcast is remarkably encouraging to me as a teenager. I am reminded to be faithful in what God has called me to do in this season. Also, I am taught by the experience of those who are far ahead of me. 

Website

  1. Instrumental with JJ Heller

This podcast is hosted by JJ and Dave Heller. (I have a funny backstory about this podcast. I was already a fan of JJ Heller’s music when she started to come out with these episodes and on the cover of the videos she put on YouTube, there was a picture of her and the words “Instrumental”. I thought she was putting instrumental tracks of her music on her channel. I decided to listen to one day, and to my sheer delight, found out it was a podcast.) 

“Instrumental is a show about the big and small moments that shape our lives.” Every episode, they interview people and talk about their life stories, going backward. They start at the current season of life the person is in, and end at the beginning. It’s amazing to see how God orchestrates our stories and uses us in ways we never would have expected.

Website

YouTube Channel / Link

  1. Ask Pastor John

The Ask Pastor John podcast is a practical and quality podcast I recommend to someone looking for answers to difficult questions. The show is hosted by Tony Reinke, and Pastor John Piper is “featured” on every episode as he tries to answer questions that listeners send to him biblically. 

I would listen to this podcast with prudence as some of the topics aren’t ones that teenagers or even young adults should really be thinking about. Listeners will occasionally ask questions about marriage, relationships, and sometimes more sex-related topics that just aren’t what teens need to be listening to. 

However, John Piper has incredible wisdom and biblical insight which is hard to find. The episodes are relatively short, like little nuggets of truth and deeper thought to fit into your day.

Website

YouTube Channel / Link

  1. Hymn Partial 

My friend Cara Devereux and her friend Monet Funke co-host this podcast. I am not recommending this just because Cara is my friend. Their podcast is genuinely high-quality and interesting. 

In case you didn’t get the name, it’s a play on the words “impartial” and “hymn”. The podcast talks about all things church music. They have talked about the history of certain hymns, music genres in the church, and debates over music in the church. 

You should listen to this podcast if:

  • You like music.
  • You love history.
  • You love hymns.
  • You geek out unnecessarily over everything.

I wait with anticipation for their episode to drop every week. I seriously adore this podcast because I learn so much, and have become a church music geek because of it.

Website

YouTube Channel / Link

I hope you check out these podcasts, but most of all, I hope you find encouragement and wisdom and entertainment and hope through them. I do.

Do you listen to podcasts? If you do, which ones? What things have you done to entertain but also encourage yourself during these hard times?