As a TCK I’ve had the privilege of living in multiple places and traveling to even more (though my counts for each of these are still minimal compared to some TCK’s). Having seen a few different corners of the world, it’s easy to compare. America is or isn’t like Taiwan in the following ways, Italy is or isn’t like Boston because of these things, or North Carolina is or isn’t like anywhere due to these features.
Comparing is often how people learn and make sense of our environment. However, it can also be dangerous if we don’t allow places to speak for themselves.
Tomorrow I fly home for the first time in two years. I decided to spend my last day of 2013 in America perusing one of the bigger (bigger being a relative term) cities of eastern North Carolina. As I drove the hour and a half across the flat land, by the empty fields, and barren trees, I realized that it’s easy for me to miss the value of this country.
No, eastern North Carolina may not have the convenience of Taiwan, or the historicity of Italy, or the fast-paced-ness of Boston. Yes, eastern North Carolina lacks the cultural fusion of Thailand, and the community that I found at camp.
But eastern North Carolina has its own charm to offer, and I’ve only scratched the surface of that uniqueness in my time here. There is an amazing amount of solitude here that is so easy to go without in other parts of the world. Granted, technology will have pervaded much of life wherever one goes, but without the big city, it’s easier to find that solitude that authors such as Henri Nouwen so often wrote about.
Eastern North Carolina also possesses a certain beauty that is harder to find in other parts of the country (whether it’s blurred by smog or obscured by city lights). I’m blessed to be living in a part of the world where I walk out the door to go to Food Lion and have the privilege to take a detour by the water and see this:
The cell phone picture doesn’t really do justice to what the sky actually looked like that evening.
So while I’m beyond excited to be going home, I realize that I’m also honored to be able to add this part of the world to my list of homes and see it again in 2014.