Hello! Does anyone still read this??

This blog has been a little lot neglected this year. Even though I haven’t posted in months, I think of this space often and miss this community. Life has been busy and, while I still love Not of this World, I don’t think it’s meant to be such a large part of my life anymore. Let me explain.

When I first created Not of this World as a freshman in high school, I did so to 1) attempt to fill a gaping hole of encouragement and support for TCK girls and 2) to give me something to do in a period of intense loneliness with an empty schedule.

I think God used this magazine and blog to do both and He used it in my life in powerful ways. Even though it more often than not felt more like a burden than a joy, it was a beautiful burden to carry. Now that I’m in college, I think God is burdening my heart for a different community. I still have a huge heart for TCKs, but I think God is teaching me to minister to my home country and the community He has placed me in here.

So, all that to say: I’m sorry for an unexplained absence of posts. I tried to keep all of this going my freshman year but I became too busy. I think for now I’m finished making issues of the magazine but I do want to keep this blog going and still have some ideas for the future of Not of this World. So hopefully more posts will be appearing soon. Thanks for following along this journey with me!

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Happy World Nutella Day

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Yes, World Nutella Day is a real thing…except it happened last week. February 5th to be exact. But can you ever have too much nutella in your life? No. So here are some yummy nutella recipes to celebrate…

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Peanut Butter Banana and Nutella Cupcakes via The Wiegands

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Nutella Mug Cake via Babble

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Nutella Milkshakes via Just Easy Recipes

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Chocolate Strawberry Nutella Cake via The Pioneer Woman

Enjoy your nutella concoctions!

Parade of Nations

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On Friday night, I watched the opening ceremony of the Olympics. I love the olympics and have always looked forward to the opening ceremony but, as a TCK, it has so much more meaning for me now. As all the countries walked in during the Parade of Nations, I had so many countries to cheer for.

While my friends watching with me only saw foreign names on the screen, I saw faces. When Hungary entered, I thought of all my TCK friends who live there. When Turkey walked in, I thought of girls on my South Africa mission rip who had grown up there. With each country, I felt such excitement because for someone that’s their country that they’ve grown to love.

One of my favorite opening ceremonies was the London ceremony. I was in South Africa during it and crowded around a fuzzy tv screen with other TCKs. It was so fun to watch with other TCKs and see everyone get excited as their country walked in. I love that the Olympics bring together the world in cheering on our athletes.

But enough cheesy Olympic thoughts, I have to get back to cheering on both Italy and the US in skiing  🙂

Thoughts on the American Church / part 1

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A few weeks ago, I saw this link pop up in my Facebook newsfeed. It was a link to a blog post written by a fellow MK, Daniel, about his experience with the American church. I could tell it was a topic he was really passionate about and his words made me think about my own experience with the church over the past few years. I’ve never considered how being a TCK could change your view or experience with church so this week I want to spend some time reflecting on that.

Along with my own thoughts, I asked Daniel to share some more about his experience and I also asked Lizzy to share her thoughts as well. Both Lizzy and I read Daniel’s post before writing our own so if we reference his points negatively or positively, it is not in critique but simply because our thoughts were propelled by his. I hope this series makes you think about your own experience…feel free to share your story with us!

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When we first moved back, I was so excited for us to find our new church. Our church in Italy was wonderful but there weren’t any other teenagers and the sermons were completely in Italian which, though expected, made it difficult to grow. The church we ended up joining in Austin was great for my two final years of high school. I really liked the teaching and the people were so nice. I struggled with feeling at home in youth group though – it never felt like a community to me. If my few friends weren’t there, I’d feel so lost and awkward. And that feeling never went away, even after two years. However, there were so many great things too. One of my favorite memories was planning the spring retreat my senior year with four other friends. The church I’m now going to in college is similar and I’ve absolutely loved it so far.

This is why I was a little surprised when reading Daniel’s blog post – I’ve never encountered the church he’s describing. I think some of his points are quite accurate, but others not so much. I remember I used to sometimes struggle with some of the things he mentioned (specifically the worship) until my pastor said something along the lines of this: “It’s not about you. It’s not about what kind of music you like or how loud it is. A lot of people tune out when they hear a song they don’t know which is wrong for two reasons, 1) it’s about God, not you and 2) it could be perfect for someone else.”

Ever since I heard that, I’ve thought about church differently. Not to say that you shouldn’t have any standards of preferences when choosing a church, but it’s not so much about us. People are messy, so churches are messy but we are called to live in consistent community with other believers.

The Road Home

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{click here to watch the full film}

The other night, I watched a short film made by a TCK and written about a TCK, called “The Road Home.” Lizzy was the one who first found it through this review from Denizen  and we both thought the film was beautiful and thought-provoking. Since it was a short (only about 25 minutes), it was more of a discussion opener than a deep delve into the TCK psyche.  The main character is a British-Indian boy who struggles with accepting both of his cultures. It made us wonder if it’s possible to only live in one culture, to flip the switch between two worlds. I know that my brother has always been able to do that – speaking flawlessly in Italian to following the latest American trends – but is it positive? Is it possible to ignore and shut out the influence part of your life has had on you? The film sought to loosely answer this question, which we had a great time discussing over Skype.

Lizzy: In the film, the line my heart responded most to was the free-flowing, French backpacker-hippie’s announcement to the boy: “You can be both.” Pico, a British kid with an Indian appearance, considered himself exclusively British. He fought to make everyone else believe he wasn’t Indian and eventually developed doubts himself. For me, “The Road Home” brought up the question of choice. Can I choose how much Chinese and how much American is inside me? Can I choose just one or the other? Do I already try to? I think I try to have a lot of control over the parts of my identity as they make up the whole, measuring and dividing them. I think I often want to choose how much and how little, and I wouldn’t be surprised if other TCKs compartmentalized the effects their countries have had on them in the same way.

In sum, we came up with three major takeaways:

1. It’s ok to be angry when you feel frustrated and confused with your TCK story. 2. You can’t always just choose one culture to live in. 3. Live in the present; live where you are.

I hope a full-length film is developed from this – I’d love to see more TCK themes explored against the sweeping backdrop of rural India. We recommend you check out the film by clicking the link!

Year in Review

2013 blog 1

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blog 2013 3

Happy New Year!

It’s been a busy year on the blog – here are our top 10 posts from 2013!

1. DIY Sweater

2. 3 Lessons from Tarzan

3. Accepting Transition

4. A Guide to Florence, Italy

5. Bologna Travel Diaries: New Beginnings

6. A Different Approach to Valentine’s Day

7. 5 Things: The Culture Shock Edition 

8. The Case for Mission Trips 

9. 10 Things to Do with a Barf Bag

10. When You’re a Third Culture Kid

MK2MK Goes to Thailand

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I’ve been involved in an awesome ministry called MK2MK for the past six years. MK2MK stands for “Missionary Kid to Missionary Kid” and is a resource for TCKs. Every summer, they take high school TCKs on a mission trip and this year they are going to Thailand! I’ve been to Ethiopia and South Africa with them and both trips taught me so much. I grew in my faith, learned so much about myself, and met amazing life-long friends. It also was encouraging to be around so many other TCKs and realize I was not alone in that.

If you’ve never been on a mission trip or not sure what you think about them, I’d encourage your to read a two part series I wrote last year about the importance of short term mission trips: part 1 and part 2.

Click here for more information – you should apply! 🙂