As we go down this To Be Told road, I want to share more about the To Be Told team. To understand what we do and why, it is probably good to hear a few of our stories as well.
Today, let me tell you a bit about who we are. Well, from a geographic point of view, for now…
Our family is a bit cross-cultural. Zack and I were born in America. Our two sons were born in Ukraine. We lived for a short time in Canada. And since February 2013, the four of us have called Norway home.
This past December, we went back to the states for two months. Upon returning home to Norway, I was feeling a lot of different emotions. And I suddenly came to the point where I realized that for a number of years now, I’ve been living with one constant:
Heading into our time away from our European home, I tried my best to prepare. For everything that was about to happen as we headed to the states. But I knew we could’t truly be prepared, that we couldn’t totally know what to expect.
And especially when it came to our boys. They had not been to the states in over three years. Norway truly has become home, probably more so for them than for us. Daniel (now 11 years old) has lived in our home in Sandefjord longer than he’s lived anywhere else in his entire life. Both he and William (now 13) have a school they love, lots of friends, and a city where they feel comfortable and included.
That being said, they were super excited about going to America. But we didn’t know what it would be like for them. I anticipated a mix of emotions, of highs and lows. And I imagined that even with all the excitement, at some point they would become homesick.
And as I thought about that a bit more, I realized that homesickness is actually a constant in this life we live.
We have experienced homesickness on a fairly consistent basis for close to nine years now.
I remember being incredibly homesick back in 2007, when we travelled for the first time to Ukraine. We travelled there to bring home our first son. It was our first time in a non-English speaking country. The availability of internet, even nine short years ago, just wasn’t what it is now. We had numerous language mix-ups, and often found ourselves feeling isolated and alone. There were so many unknowns and so much uncertainty around us (plus, we were about to become parents for the first time – yikes!).
And yet, when we arrived home (America) with our first son a month later, we found ourselves feeling a bit homesick for Ukraine. Sounds weird, but it is true.
It happened again in 2010 when we returned to Ukraine and adopted our second child. Homesick for America, then homesick for Ukraine.
We experienced it when we lived in Canada. And at that point, I started realizing that the homesickness we are experiencing is not necessarily about a place.
It is more about family, friends, and familiarity.
We felt it it when we first moved here to Norway and made it through that initial ‘honeymoon’ phase. And while I love our city and friends and life in Norway, we still experience it.
It seems there is always a lingering homesickness in me. It is there regardless of where I am.
After three years living outside of my home culture, I’ve come to realize that I might never feel totally at home again. There will always be something I miss from one of my homes.
It’s one of those things you learn to live with, that you accept as a part of this cross-culture lifestyle.
And I also see now that it doesn’t necessarily have to be a negative thing.
Instead, I consider it a reminder of the opportunities we’ve had in life, the people and places who’ve impacted and changed us, and the memories of the family, the friends, and the familiar.
So I am thankful to our family and friends who make us feel at home in so many different places. Those who make us feel homesick. And those who keep up with us, through the crazy times, the boring times, and everything in between.