Leah is a Missionary/Business TCK. Her family moved to Ethiopia because her father “wanted to serve people there through missions and several businesses that they established.” Leah was born in America and moved to Ethiopia when she was three years old. Her father was born and raised in Ethiopia, and her mother was born in Eritrea but grew up in Ethiopia. She spent a couple of years of elementary and middle school in Colorado, but lived in Ethiopia for about thirteen years in total. She moved from Ethiopia after graduated high school and then returned to Colorado for college.
When asked where she considered to be her home, Leah answered “I definitely consider Ethiopia home even though I am American by nationality and I live here now. My childhood and all my memories are in Ethiopia so it will always be home for me.” Had she ever experienced homesickness? “When I lived in Ethiopia, I missed Colorado a lot. I was not necessarily homesick because Ethiopia has always been home, but I did miss the States. But I am very homesick for Ethiopia now.” I wondered if she had ever felt out of place. She said, “In the U.S., I always felt too African/Ethiopian despite the fact that I am American and I have lived in America for a number of years. In Ethiopia, I felt too American because I was never fluent in the native language Amharic. I am both American and Ethiopian and that often caused tension in the places I lived because I was always too much of one and not enough of the other.”
Leah enjoyed her nomadic lifestyle, saying that it always felt like more of a vacation, since she knew that she’d be returning home to Ethiopia soon. However, she shared what she considered to be the disadvantages and benefits of moving. “A huge disadvantage is missing home and friends. Given the way I was raised and the people I was raised with, a lot of classmates would come to my school for a year or two and then leave to move to another country. As a result, moving was always sad but I had grown accustomed to saying goodbye. Another disadvantage was that the culture shock of entering a new environment.” As for benefits, she loved “meeting new people and having brand new experiences.”
Leah lived a very exciting TCK lifestyle, and had the ability to experience the world in a unique way. After living this way, did she see herself continuing a nomadic lifestyle in the future? She replied, “I am not sure if I will be moving around. I enjoy stability, but I love to travel and visit new places because that’s what I grew up doing. I will at the very least be living in a different country. I gained invaluable experiences growing up overseas and I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to do so. I want my children in the future to have that experience as well and to say that they gained useful life skills.”
Rachel, this was a wonderful article! I loved learning about Leah and her life in the US and in Ethiopia.
This is an awesome read! Really cool to see how homesick you can be of different places, and how you identify with one or the other!
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