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Alot of people love this time of year as it signals change. I do too ! This year it also signals culture change for our family as we begin the process of becoming an expatriate….again
Autumn in the American midwest makes me want to go on hikes, sit outside and watch the leaves fall and harvest up the last of the garden produce then nestle in for the winter. HOWEVER, I’ll only get a taste of that as our family is about to pack our sweatshirts and fall leaves and head overseas, again. To Africa — for the 3rd time. We’ve moved alot and Africa keeps calling us back and we couldn’t be more excited. But that also means culture change and becoming a part of the expat society. Even though we’ve been through this before, it’s new all over again.
What does it mean to be a part of an expat society and how do we even define expatriate? Without using a dictionary definition I will use my own, experience. If you look again more closely to the word, it means what it says. We are leaving our patriotic country. Therefore leaving makes us EX patriotic and as for me I then belong to the group of american expats. Part of what I described above. Exchanging the current autumn culture for the current african culture. This can be extremely overwhelming. Most especially for people undergoing culture change for the first time.
There are hundreds of books and articles written about culture change. See a list of links to some below. For our children, there are even terms for those who grow up in a culture not defined by their parents culture and that is: 3rd culture children. Ours fit into that – but it’s a bit different this time. While all 3 of our children were born in a culture other than mine by birth we make up a little expat society of our own. My husband is a german citizen, I’m american. Our oldest was born in Germany, the younger two in Malawi, Africa. However, this time we are leaving 2 of our children in boarding school in the US and bringing our youngest tween along with us. A new phase of overseas life.
The long journey is almost upon us where we set aside our impatient attitudes and busy busy lifestyle for a slower paced, patient culture and I long to already be settled, garden growing, chicks peeping waiting to grow up and produce their first perfect little egg. There are endless colorful bugs to discover and chameleons to watch as they slip silently from brown bark to green leaf and hide in their camouflage. Here we are digging out our hoodies and slipping swollen feet into close toed shoes – there I’ll be barefoot again. Sometimes it’s too hot – this is the hottest time of year in Zambia. All part of culture change. Often as I am categorized in the group of american expats, my american self grows impatient for faster internet, speedier service….a desire to impart my knowledge to find a better way.
For now I long for the joy of the return. Follow along on our journey with us and subscribe to learn more about our African adventures as we rebuild our lifestyle on our African Garden Homestead !
Along the way you’ll learn about : Our love of travel, gardening, from scratch cooking, raising chickens, reading, being outdoors and constantly marvel at His good gifts found in nature which create a wealth of goodness in the garden and in our home. An excerpt from our About Us page 🙂
Learn more about culture change with these links:
Have you gone through culture change and become a part of an expat society? Please leave a comment below.