I take Eric’s 4-year-old hand in mine. He slows down my usually fast gait. I help him stay focused on the short journey to his Indonesian preschool. Our combined pace fluctuates, but finds its place somewhere in between what’s normal for either of us.
Some days, we’re dodging puddles from last night’s tropical downpour. (OK, I’m dodging the puddles, Eric’s leaping right into them.) Other mornings, the sun is already so bright, we’re both wishing we brought sunglasses.
This school is a great fit for us for many reasons. It’s on my neighbor’s property, so close and convenient. It’s special in its vision for education, and a great place for Eric to make friends and learn Indonesian. And the simple walk—usually just the two of us—is one of my favorite moments of the day. I’m thankful.
But I’m usually holding more than Eric’s hand in my grasp each day. I complete twelve years of living as an American in Indonesia this year. But the longer I’m here, the more I realize how much I don’t have figured out about cross cultural living, or parenting my own identity-confused third culture kids, or how to respond in what feels like an increasingly complicated world. Add to that identity and belonging issues that I’ve always had as a third culture kid myself (and that get even murkier the longer I live as a foreigner) and the questions I’m carrying nearly blind me some days.
I bring these questions into this place of colorful kids’ art on the wall, creative teachers with patience and smiles for the kids, and other moms who bring with them stories and questions, too. We all meet regularly for brainstorming, prayer, eating, friendship. If one of the families has a need, like an illness, the others make a trip to the hospital, or a house, offering food, gifts, and prayer. We do these things with our kids in tow, mixing their various languages, cultures and snacks.
I’m not sure I’ve got any more hard and fast answers to all my questions. But I’ve got people here, welcoming me into this community, just as I am and growing to be.