When we lived in Australia, Dave and I used to laugh at how many people would say to me, “You know, you look just like my... sister/ mother/ friend/ cousin...” that I think I actually started to develop a bit of a complex about being so “common”.
Now when I think back to that, I feel myself longing for a day, or even an hour or so, to go about my business and just look “common” again.
It’s the second week of our third term school holidays here. There’s only one more term before the end of school year. This, of course, means that I get to chill out at home with my precious little ones... it also meant taking them around with me to get my errands done yesterday.
Now because of the language barrier, it always seems to take me longer to do things here but add to that mix three fair-haired, blue-eyed, pale- skinned children who also, do NOT blend in with the crowd (and are not exactly the most ‘quiet’ children either!!! ) and it makes for a very long morning out.
Every time I turned around to speak to someone or pay a bill, top up my phone etc, the three children squirmed as they were poked, touched, prodded, had their cheeks pinched and hair touched... let’s just say there was a LOT of love being shown. Even after more than a year, my children still find it a bit hard to know what to do in these situations.
I long for the day when I can speak Thai fluently so I can use these opportunities (when strangers approach us) to share with them why we choose to live in their country and find out more about their journey as well.
I want my children to see me converse as an equal (in the language department) and not have just another superficial conversation about their ages, sex and names. I want to be able to communicate with others around me so badly- it’s now a matter of applying every bit of patience, perseverance and dedicated practice time that I can muster.
I know, one day, opportunities will come but it still seems so far away that I have to fight against discouragement creeping in on me on a daily basis.
So a little word of encouragement- to anyone out there who may be reading this and be themselves in a situation where they feel different, odd or that they stand out in a crowd.
Use your noticeable uniqueness to impact people’s lives. If people are fascinated by you, for whatever reason, let this be an opportunity to share what’s special about you as well as to find out about the other person in the process. We are all different and we each long to feel accepted. That person staring at you might just be your next new friend… well that’s what I’m hoping anyway :)