Monday, November 23, 2015
friends of many colors
Though we've been missionaries for 13 years, all but 2-1/2 of these were spent in the U.S. Eliana was a wee thing when we lived and traveled overseas. But she has changed zip codes innumerable times. (Ok, that's an exaggeration, but she is attending her 9th school this year and living at her 10th address!) She's experienced living on the East Coast (South), in the Midwest, and in the Northwest, as well as the Philippines. And even when her feet are firmly planted on American soil, she has a magnetic attraction to other cultures.
How magnetic, you ask? Here's a list of the nationalities of some of her closest friends at each age of her life:
Age 2-3 - British, Filipino, Korean, American
4-5 - African-American
6 - Cuban and Japanese
7 - Indian
8-9 - Ethiopian, American
10 - Indonesian
11 - Filipino, African-American, Guatemalan
12 - Mexican-American, Filipino, Dominican
13 - Korean, American
14 - French, Brazilian
Is it my own fascination with other cultures?
I'll never forget the day in 4th grade when Ana came home and told me she had made a new friend. She was apologetic because her new friend was white (!). That's when I realized that I had probably been too overt about my own quest for cross-cultural relationships.
Is it all the books we've read from around the world?
Many of those books are featured on my 'Best Kids Books' list to the right of this post. It started Eliana on a reading journey that continues today.
Was it living in the Philippines at a formative age?
This might have had the opposite effect. Eliana associated Tagalog with being pinched or otherwise harassed in the market. She refused to speak Tagalog, even when she understood it, and began to hate going shopping with me so I left her at home. On the other hand, "Nanay" was a beloved member of our family while we lived in the Philippines, and Eliana spent many happy hours with her. She also loved attending preschool with friends of many colors.
Or is it part of God's call on Eliana's life? Part of how he's wired her? Time will tell!
For now, I am thoroughly enjoying the journey.
Dr. Carmen Imes is the Associate Professor of Old Testament at Prairie College in Three Hills, Alberta, and serves the broader church through teaching, speaking, and writing. She earned a PhD in Biblical Theology (Old Testament) from Wheaton College under Dr. Daniel Block, an MA in Biblical Studies from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (Charlotte), and a BA in Bible and Theology from Multnomah University. She and her husband, Danny, served as missionaries with SIM 15 years. They have three children: Ana, Emma, and Easton.