Interesting MK Tidbit #48

So, I was scratching my head and wondering what to post about today… Then I found a blog called Life as a Missionary Kid by a young lady named Addisyn, an American MK from Guatemala. Her post from today on leaving struck a deep chord, but I’ll save that topic for another post. I browsed around her site, trying to get to know her better and found this gem from May: You know you’re a missionary kid when… 🙂

There was a little book by that title that I once read (my mother tells me it is out of print now, sadly) that was a compilation of ways to complete that sentence, sent in by actual Missionary Kids (MKs). So many of them make absolute sense, even when the MK is from another part of the world than I am. So I decided to do my own You Know You’re an MK When list, based off Addisyn’s, with a few subtractions and additions (any smiley faces are mine):

You know you’re a missionary kid if…

1.You don’t know where home is. Or “home” is a multi-layered concept… it could be ‘where your stuff is currently’, ‘where you sleep at night’ (which is not always the same place as your stuff), ‘where your family is’ (ditto), ‘where you feel most comfortable’, ‘where you’ve spent the most time growing up’, ‘where you lived before you moved this time’…
2.The question “Where are you from?” does not come with a short answer. I used to think “am I in the mood to give them the geography lesson or not?” It usually depends on how much I think they care.
3.Your life story uses the phrase “Then we went to…” five times. Yep.
4.You’d rather never say hello than have to say goodbye. Ooh, hellos and goodbyes are such a tricky thing… at the moment I’d say I don’t agree with this one completely, but every hello does carry with it the expectation of the goodbye to follow and sometimes it feels like too much effort.
5. You think football is played with a round spotted ball. 🙂
6.You realize how small the world is. Yep.
7.You go to a church you have never been in before and find your picture on their bulletin board. Mmm, and the little old ladies you don’t remember at all hug your neck and say they used to change your diaper in the nursery…
8.You had a passport before you had a drivers license. Yep. I was ten before I realized that people don’t “come with” a passport like a birth certificate.
9.Your neighbors say, “I met an American once” and then ask if you know them.
10. Sometimes you do… 🙂
11.You’re surprised when a driving rule is enforced. Ah, the joys of non-American driving…
12. You have to look at a car to see which side the steering wheel is on, so you know which door to get in.
13. You (or your parent) have ever turned the wipers on instead of the blinker/turn signal.
14.All black people do not look remotely alike, nor do Hispanics or Asians. Amen.
15.You don’t know whether to write the date as month/day/year or day/month/year. Yes! And the whole metric vs. Imperial thing too…
16.You know whats its like to be the minority. All the time.
17.You’re used to people rubbing your skin or touching your hair because they’ve never seen anything like it. Especially when mine was long and blond as a kid…
18.You don’t take anything for granted. 
19.People all over the world know who you are, but you have no idea who they are.
20.Way too often you have surprised people by saying, “I know what you said” in their language This one isn’t one I’ve experienced, but it made me grin anyway. 🙂
21.You are used to people staring. All the time.
22.You’re not afraid to eat food that you can’t even pronounce.
23.You figure you can get one bite of anything down, so you might as well try it.

24.You have found yourself struggling to read what something says, only to realize that you’re trying to read in a different language. 🙂
25.Switching languages in mid-sentence seems normal to you. Or including three or more languages in a sentence, because you can’t find the right word in one.
26.You are not surprised to see people peeing or sleeping on the side of the road.
27.Seeing 16 people in the back of a truck seems normal. Yep.
28.There is always room for one more person on the bus- even if that means hanging off the side. That’s the PMV (Public Motor Vehicle – taxi, basically) joke from where I grew up: “How many people can you fit in a PMV?” “One more!”
29.You know words in another language that you don’t even know in your national language.
30.You have no clue what’s in style. Or you’d rather not be in style because you think it’s horrible looking.
31. People have asked you what language you think in. And what language you dream in.
32.You feel surprisingly at home in an airport. Love airports. 🙂
33.You’ve been to the places most teenagers only read about in their textbooks. Yep.
34.You have rainy season and dry season, not spring, summer, fall, and winter. Or rainy season and not-quite-as-rainy season.
35.You get annoyed when people waste.
36.You’ve had a meltdown in a grocery store of your passport country because of so many useless choices when you know people are hungry.
37.You understand what all of these mean.

You really should go read the list on Addisyn’s blog, there are some more from other MKs in the comments. If you know an MK in real life, I hope this list may help you understand us a little better. 😀


About Ruth

I am a Missionary Kid (MK) enjoying navigating this life with the unique viewpoint that has given me.
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4 Responses to Interesting MK Tidbit #48

  1. Susie P. says:

    I’ve seen most of these before but a couple of funny remarks that came to mind:
    16/21 — You mean I’m not famous? I really thought I was. : )
    26 — Or doing both in the same place, ugh!
    7 — It’s bad when it’s a picture from 20 years ago and you look awful!
    27 — What, only 16??!!


  2. Pingback: Ache | A Road on My Journey

  3. Susan Gossner says:

    A lot of similarities to being a military brat, or spouse of a service member. I would have to add, you start feeling uncomfortable when you’ve lived in the same place for more than three years. You’re like, :What?, I have to paint?, or fix the ____??” It also feels like time to purge at year 2 1/2. You also stop trying to make new friends because you know you have to move in another year, so why bother.


    • Ruth says:

      Yes to all of the above 🙂 That ‘you stop trying to make new friends’ thing is a dangerous one… and hard to counter-balance. Highly mobile lifestyles result in lots of similarities, whatever the reason for the mobility. Some of them make me smile, some of them are harder.


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