August 29, 2016

The Wonder of America // A TCK's Experiences

When we were in America two years ago our friend took O for a walk around her neighborhood. When they returned, he walked in the door and said, "Mama, Nina says I'm inquisitive." After I picked my jaw up from the floor, I replied,
"She did? What does that mean, that your inquisitive?"
He said, "It means I ask a lot of questions." I wasn't completely surprised that our just-turned-three-year-old was inquisitive, that's a pretty typical thing for that age. I may have been shocked at his grasp and understanding at that new vocabulary word though - but I never really thought anything else of it.
Until now.
Our son is now five, and has spent some of the most formative years of his life living in Tanzania, East Africa.  From ages two through five he's known nothing but dirt roads, optional carseats, only the freshest produce, no air conditioning or heating systems, power outages, and never drinking out of a faucet. He's known livestock roaming the streets, monkeys climbing in our trees, open-air markets with used clothing and textiles, mini-busses rushing down roads with passengers hanging out the doors, and more friends that don't speak his language than those that do. He knows Christmas & New Years vacations on the Indian Ocean, camping on the side of Kilimanjaro with armed guards walking around the camp, a home with one computer for his occasional entertainment, and temperatures that range from 60*F to about 98*F.  He knows when it rains, it's cold because it's winter. He knows when it's hot, it's dry, because it's the "dusty season" (his words.)
So naturally, at five years old, the world is his oyster and coming to America has been an eye-opening experience for him. And for his parents. Who have learned to be patient and very thorough at explaining every. single. thing. he wants to know about. Because, unlike his parents, he didn't grow up in America and he doesn't have any basis for most of the things we pass by without noticing.