Ever since I moved with my family across the ocean to a distant and foreign land, I’ve felt emotionally homeless. I honestly don’t remember a time since then when this unsettling feeling hasn’t been present in my heart. My parents still live “overseas,” but I have been living in my passport country as a college student staying in residence, so with the school year over and my dorm room packed and empty, I am quite literally houseless.
In April I had the beautiful opportunity to join a Kaleidoscope team as we ventured to Greece to work with a wonderfully creative and engaging group of kids. Whenever someone would ask me, “where are you from?” I would reply with an awkward smile, simply pronouncing, “I’m houseless.”
The feeling of being houseless is real, and raw, and hard, and yet I didn’t feel this way in Greece. Yes, it was a strange new country with unfamiliar places and faces, but I felt more at home in Greece than I had back in my passport country of Canada all year. The sights and smells, both unfamiliar and strangely nostalgic at the same time, filled my body and brought me “home.” They gave momentary rest to my wandering soul. And it wasn’t just the sights and smells that warmed my heart and brought peace to my chaos; in only a few short days I grew to love the people I was with. Honestly, I felt like I had known them a lifetime.
My heart shifted from feeling houseless to home-full in 10 short days with a group of truly beautiful strangers who will forever be part of my TCK family. Sharing my TCK experience with others, allowing myself to be vulnerable in sharing the unsettling feelings I have surrounding my “houselessness,” and then listening and watching the kids I was working with process their own journeys shifted my paradigm. I began to see TCKs, including myself, not as houseless, but as a community of home-full hopefuls.
In Greece I allowed myself to fully take in my surroundings, seeing the world with my eyes (and ears, and nose) wide open. I lowered my barriers of self-protection, letting myself care deeply for people I had only known for a few short days. I felt full inside. Truly, one of the most incredible things about being a TCK is that as a tribe we have learned to fully immerse ourselves in any place we are, to be engaged and fully present even if our time is short. We go deep in relationships, already bound together by unspoken understandings. This depth and immersion doesn’t define being houseless, it describes being home-full. It’s a gift, and I pray and hope we can all see it that way.
I am beyond thankful that Jessi Vance gave me the word “home-full” to ponder. I am beyond thankful for my fellow teammates who grew with me and helped me see the beauty in loving where you are and who you are with—in living in the present. I am beyond thankful for the group of kids who made me laugh, cry, dance, and jump in the freezing Mediterranean sea at midnight, and who helped me be hopeful in my love for the world and TCK ministry. This trip gave me gifts: a deeper understanding of myself, incredible people, and this hope. I will never forget it.
I am hopeful and home-full.