Monday, March 5, 2012

Missionary Kid Monday: Surviving America

{For more on this series, click here}

My eleventh grade year still holds the title for Most Awful Year Ever. It's not a very prestigious award; it mostly comes with a lot of tears.

You may remember that every four years, my family had to go back to the States for a year to check in with our churches and raise more support. We called this year "furlough". (I wanted to call it "My life, interrupted").

Our second furlough was during my eleventh grade year. Now for once, I was feeling just peachy about my current situation: I really loved my boarding high school in Germany. I didn't want to leave.

In fact, I remember throwing a bit of a teenage-tantrum when my parents informed me they would be pulling me out of school ONE WEEK EARLY so they could get cheaper airfare. My logical mind was all: 

"How is saving hundreds of dollars worth the social interaction I'll be missing out on?!"

It just didn't make sense! But sure enough, mom and dad showed up at my dorm at near the end of my 10th grade year. And as we were driving out of my little village, a stork showed up and flew right alongside my passenger window for well over a minute. I stared at it through my tear-filled blurry vision. It was my personal farewell.

And a little later, when our plane descended at LAX in California, I sang The Doxology in my head over and over to prevent myself from becoming hysterical.

Granted, I did not have the best attitude. BUT! In my defense....

1. I was going from a Christian high school with 250 students to a public high school with 2500 students!

2. I was leaving the only place I ever fit in.

3. I was going to have to share a room with my younger sister (14) and brother (12) for a whole year.

But I guess there was one good thing about that year:

I got my driver's license!

But mostly I remember sneaking off to hidden places so I could cry in peace.

I didn't really make any friends that year. I had the ILLUSION of friends, as you can see from this youth group birthday party where my sister and I are standing awkwardly to the side (on the right):

Besides finding hidden places to cry, the real thing I learned in eleventh grade was that I can survive anything for a year!


  1. That's so awful! I was never a fan of my high school years either. I was definitely an outcast too. Too bad I couldn't spend some of it in Germany!

  2. How awful! I know exactly what its like not to fit in. I didn't until...maybe my junior and senior year of high school, and I never did with the "in" crowd. I'm glad you're stronger because of it, but I'm so sorry that you had to go through it. I know, it stinks.

  3. Ugh, that would be brutal! I'm so sorry. High school is so awkward anyway. At least you got your driver's license and didn't have to wait until you were in college or something :-/

  4. How horrible!!! At least you got your drivers license!! Looks like a silver lining to me! :)

  5. No! I mean, it's good that you learned that, but why couldn't you have just stayed?! This is the moment where I get angry with a book (your story) and throw it down to go off and grumble for a while. :)

  6. The "illusion of friends".....well said. I think some of them had potential to be real friends if we had hung around longer. That was a hard year for all of us I think. Life is all about transitions and you're right, one can live with anything for a year!!!

  7. i can't imagine how hard that would be for you. my mom died when i was in 8th grade and i moved into my uncles house after that. the first day of my freshman year, i walked into a high school where i didn't know one. single. person. that was super hard for me!

  8. Awww...kinda sad. I think we all had one of those years in HS no matter what our situation where we just didn't fit in. I know I sure did!!

    And good point...we can survive almost anything for a year!

    Do pop by...I'm needing some creative input on the blog! ;-)