TCK

Allowing Sadness

I wished I hadn’t watched Inside Out when I flew back to the States on Sunday. It is about a little girl’s emotions as she grows up, and at age 11 moves from Wisconsin to California. Her emotions are depicted as the characters Sadness, Joy, Anger, Pain, and Disgust. [If you haven’t watched the movie yet, I would do so before continuing to read.] At first the movie really frustrated me. The idea of someone being controlled solely by their emotions does not sit well with me. Sadness, in particular, annoyed me as she had the habit of touching joyful memories and making them sad memories. As the story progresses you see Joy and Sadness get lost recovering some joyful core memories, leaving the other three emotions to control the girl. The girl acts out to her parents and slowly she loses her love of friends, hockey, and even family. Eventually it gets so bad that she decides to run away from her new home. But just as she is leaving on the bus, Joy and Sadness return the core memories. Joy realizes that Sadness needs to touch some memories with sadness so that her girl can move on. This way the girl can still remember her previous home in a healthy way while looking forward with a positive attitude to her new home. The girl gets off the bus and returns home to realize that she can move on.

Grieving is not fun but it is a necessary part of life. The Friday night before I left was a rough night; I just wanted to watch Netflix and set aside my feelings for awhile. But I had read enough TCK blogs about how TCKs lock up their feelings to know what I was doing. So I closed my computer and started journaling and asking myself the hard questions. I hate to admit it, but those emotions sure came out! I allowed myself to cry about what I was losing in Japan, the friendships and work I had come to love. It was still hard to say goodbye, but I knew I had said a healthy goodbye. Now I can remember Japan with joy and a little sadness and allow myself to move forward with life. It’s more difficult now but in the long run it is healthier.

I would love to hear how you have learned to handle saying goodbye, whether to someone, someplace, or even something! 

Volcano Yakedake as seen from Kamikochi

Volcano Yakedake as seen from Kamikochi

Week 12: 86 Days Later

86 Days ago I was sitting in Narita airport writing my first Japan blog post. I was a little nervous, pretty excited, and a little lost since I knew no Japanese. 86 Days later and I think I have more questions than when I started. I believe transitioning to Japan for three months went way smoother than I expected it to (thanks for praying!). But in the process of transitioning in and now transitioning out I am discovering more and more about myself. I am rediscovering the unhealthy way I have of saying goodbye as well as having more questions about the possibilities for my future. So many of my thoughts are only half formed I am struggling to say what is rolling around my head.

I stumbled on a blog by an MK named Taylor, living in Hiroshima, Japan (link at the bottom). Even though I am 21, graduated from college, and slowly moving on with life, her writing reminded me so much of who I am, something I think I had started to lose while in the US. I am a Third Culture Kid and I cannot lose sight of how important that is to me. Sometimes, ok, most of the time, I try really hard to fit in and be a part of the group. Often that means being careful of how I present myself and only allowing certain parts of me to be visible. But thanks to Taylor I was once again reminded that I need to be aware of myself and realize that I can have meaningful relationships even over a short period of time.

I am very thankful for my time at NORTHSTAR. I might be just as confused as when I first landed but It has been a worthwhile experience.

Thank you all so much for sticking with me during this incredible journey. This is my last blog post while in Japan, but I am sure it will not be my last about Japan. I pray God blesses each of you who prayed or gave for me to be here!

Taylor Joy Murray Blog

Week 10: Camps, Camps, and more Camps

I checked my calendar today and wow, I have under three weeks left. My time in Japan has been incredible, but it is not over yet! We just finished our first of five camps in October alone. This means we go from 8:30 AM at the latest to 8:30 PM at night, from helping serve meals to doing programs with the kids. I am not really a “kid person” but this past camp was very interesting. It was an international school, with kids from all over Asia, Europe, and the Americas. It was an all girls, 7th grade, camp so we expected some craziness. Yes, they were crazy, but it was so cool to be among my own kind again, the elusive TCK, Third Culture Kid. I felt like I could understand them, even if they did not fully understand themselves yet.

Even though I am technically here as an art intern, I knew I would b expected to help out with some of the camps, especially now that we are a little short staffed. And you would never guess, but I enjoyed hanging out with the kids. The first night they were here we did a campfire with all 45 girls and it was a blast. The following day I assisted leading indoor wall climbing for two groups of 10 girls. Though I have only climbed a few times it was really neat to see the girls challenge themselves and encourage each other.

Please pray for us as we continue to guide each camp that comes this month. And especially pray for energy for all us; back to back camps are exhausting! But always our focus is to touch the lives of the campers and hopefully bring them a step or two closer to Christ.