Dear First-Year TCK,
Twelve years ago my family moved from America to Romania. I was in high school. I am so happy that we moved. I loved it so much I moved back there once I finished college. That doesn’t mean it was always easy. Here is what I wish someone would have told me twelve years ago.
- It is okay to be scared. Even adults get scared to move to a new country. Remember Jesus is with you. He wants to know whatever you are feeling.
- Unpack your room as quickly as possible. Make it feel like your space. Living from boxes and out of suitcases is no fun. It may be a lot of work to get everything set up, but it will hopefully give you a safe and comfortable place to rest.
- You don’t have to choose one country or the other. There will be parts of your new country you really, really like. And parts you really, really don’t. Your new country has certain foods, places, and ways of doing things more awesome than where you came from. You will find ways also that you think your passport country is better. It is okay. You can like parts of both countries at the same time.
- Try, even if you know you will make mistakes. Learning a new language. Learning new games. Starting new friendships. You will make mistakes, but so has everybody else. You are in good company.
- Ask questions. Try to make it a goal to ask one person every day a question about his or her life. Ask one more question about something you don’t understand. This will help you get to know the people and places around you.
- You can miss your old friends AND be really happy in your new home. Being happy doesn’t mean you are forgetting your old friends. Staying grumpy isn’t going to magically make your old friends appear.
- It is okay to cry…even about silly problems. I cried because I missed certain kinds of cereal. I cried because I had to walk to school in the rain and spent the day with wet feet. I also cried because I missed family, friends, special events. Sadness needs a way to get out. Don’t try to hold it all in.
- Your family will all react differently. Mom and dad might have bad days when you have a really good day. Don’t feel bad that you are happy when they aren’t. It also might be the opposite sometime. They might have an amazing day and all you want is to go back to your old school and home. Each one of your experiences will be different. Different isn’t bad.
- You are very courageous. Going to a new school. Ordering for yourself at McDonalds. Riding the train. These will be easy for many people around you, but will be new for you. Every time you try something you haven’t done before you are showing courage.
- Enjoy! This is an exciting time. Have fun. Be yourself. People will love you. You already have many who are anxiously awaiting your arrival.
An Adult TCK
Linking up with Velvet Ashes on the prompt “Tips for Your First Year”