28 January 2008

part of the story

In a seminar on third* culture kids *(1. "passport" culture--what is lived at home, 2. culture of the country in which you live 3. ex-pat community) I learned that TCK (I think 3CK is catchier...but they'd already come up with an acronym before I got on board) are quick to make friendships and those friendships start at a deeper level. There just isn't enough time to go through the initial, superficial stages. I think that 3CA (Ha! No known acronym for third culture adults, so I can use what I like!) function the same way. You make good friends quickly here.

I have had to say goodbye to very good friends recently. I've taught their children, spent Christmases with them, and just chatted and relaxed with them. It's hard to lose this "simpatico" anywhere, but is especially difficult to lose as an ex-pat. Truly, these friends are irreplaceable. This is the part of ex-pat life that isn't so much fun. They're back in the US for a bit ("Mom" & kids are already there) before they move on to their next post. On Saturday I went to say goodbye to "Dad" and to collect a very special gift.

I love stories and histories. I'm a social historian. I like to see the everyday items of everyday people. I'd rather have a much-loved version of nearly anything in my home. I like to think of other people using things that I use and filling them up with happy memories. My bed, my desk...these are cherished pieces of furniture. (Well, as "cherished" as furniture can be--they've been saved from sale even when I was raising money for drama school and are now here with me in Russia...but they're still furniture.)

They're not pristine. But, the bed was handmade. It's spoon-carved. Someone planned the daisy on the headboard, perhaps for someone in particular, and smoothed the footboard by hand. The desk is a teacher's desk from the 1920's. Its front is as pretty as its back. Hundreds of children have sat and gazed at this desk. Thousands of papers have been written and marked here. These pieces have history. They're special. And I am happy to feel that I am part of a chain of people who are using them and adding to their stories.

I got to add another special, much-loved piece of furniture to d2b's room. It's the crib this family has used for all of their children...and that "Dad" and his siblings used. Lots of happy babies have slept in this crib. I can imagine the lullabies sung and prayers said over the children who dreamt here. I was so touched to be chosen to be the next home for this crib. It feels a little as if I've been adopted myself!

Thanks, J&J. I really, really appreciate this gift. I appreciate the hope and the faith that accompanies it. I feel very humbled and very grateful to get to add to its story.

Did you notice that I had crib sheets that co-ordinated with d2b's big-girl bed sheets ready and waiting...just in case? Yep. Prepared. And you thought I just had toothpaste.


Tami said...

You're right about the quick friendships. I had never appreciated it until coming here. I have made some lifelong friendships here...in the matter of just a few weeks. (Although at the moment it is seeming MUCH longer! )
What a beautiful crib...and a beautiful gift. I can't wait to see d2b occupying that bed. I hate to ask the question, but is there any progress?

Tina in CT said...

How special that they chose you and your future daughter(s) to receive the family heirloom. I had the same style crib for my daughter (Moscowmom) and it's still in the walk-in closet under the eaves. Mine was white. The style is called Jenny Lind after the singer.

Your crib will be complete when there is a little one sleeping in it.

Anonymous said...

oh my gosh - what an amazing thing. I love having things in my home with some history.

And of course d2b's crib sheets and big-girl bed sheets are ready.

Annie said...

How touching. What a meaningful gift.

Regarding the friendships....maybe that's why your life intrigues me. I don't like the surface stuff. (Just thought - theatre was like that too, wasn't it? You knew you were not going to be together forever, but that you'd be sharing an intense experiene, moreover one that would work better the more you "understood" one another). Yes. I like that kind of intensity. But, you are right. There is a downside.

Maggie said...

That's lovely. I think it's good fortune to have a crib that's lovingly held other kids.

U.N. Mama said...

Completely understand what you've written, Kate. I miss my dear friends from St. Pete. Yes, there is a definite downside.

kate said...

annie, you're right about the similarities you noted w/ theatre. hmmm...

6blessings said...

Pretty neat. What a special addition!!