Missionary kids share a culture like none other. I (Heather) grew up in Wisconsin, pretty unaware of the global missionary kid (MK) experience... until I met my MK husband. His mother wisely predicted that we could be dealing with a bit of a culture gap, so she gave me an insightful, humorous little book entitled “You Know You’re an MK When….” The book lists 500 experiences that are more or less common to missionary kids but that might seem bizarre to people from, say, Wisconsin. The little book sparked some revelations about the world between worlds where Jason had grown up.
Recently our 12-year-old discovered this little book, and she loved every page. She giggled. She felt validated. She read it to her friends, and they all nodded and laughed to see their idiosyncrasies called out in print.
So in case you wonder about peculiarities of the Kibuye kid culture, here’s the condensed version of the highlights:
“You Know You’re a Kibuye MK
- You can introduce yourself in three languages, but you don’t always know how to answer the question, “Where are you from?”
- You know about the visas stamped in your passport, but you didn’t know that visas are also plastic cards in a wallet.
- You flew across an ocean before you could walk.
- Tree-climbing comes as naturally to you as breathing.
- You think that kool-aid packets and peanut butter are excellent Christmas presents.
- The vast majority of your clothes are hand-me-downs.
- Your wardrobe also
features some eye-popping designs.
- You speak with authority on the comparison of international airports.
- You sort your friends by continent and country.
- You believe that football is played with a round, spotted ball.
- Rain pelting down on a corrugated metal roof is one of the most
soothing sounds in the world.
- Fitting 15 or more people in a car - or on top of a Land Cruiser - seems normal to you.
- Lizards crawling on your face don't bother you.
- You own appliances with three types of plugs, know the
difference between 110 and 220 volts, and know when to use an adapter and when to use a transformer.
- You eat all of the food on your plate, and usually the food that fell on the ground, too.
- You are loved by dozens of aunts, most of whom are not actually related to you.
- Someone has to explain to you that the double yellow line in North America means only oncoming traffic can drive on that side of the road, even when there isn’t any oncoming traffic… and you don’t understand why.
- You go to a church you have never been to before and find your picture on their bulletin board.
- You have never called a 1-800 number in your life.
In fact, you aren’t sure what an 800 number is.
- You resent having to wear shoes. You haven't worn any shoes since last Sunday.
- You are always thankful when you turn on the tap and find that there is hot running water.
- You receive Christmas cards all year round.
- Apples are a rare treat, but papayas and passion fruit grow in your yard.
- People have eaten your pets.
- You love many people in different places, and you have begun to understand that Heaven is the only place you can always call home.
(adapted from “You Know You’re an MK When…” by Andy and Deborah Kerr)