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Foreign to Familiar

I’m a pre-griever. Even though we’re still over two months away from departure from Switzerland, I’m already gearing up for another transition. I’m by no means ready to leave, but I know the value of intentionality.

Our family has been transitioning for years - living in the camper gave us the flexibility to practice saying “Hello” and “See you later” over and over… as well as learning how to start again in a new place. We know what it feels like to arrive in a place that feels foreign and watch it feel like home over time. Unfamiliar faces become friends. Confusing street signs and public transport schedules become daily tools.

We have been struck this week by the things that seem so familiar now… everyone we walk past at the kids’ school, the people who ride the train with us in the morning, the songs at church, the layout of the downtown streets, and even the fact that all grocery stores are closed on Sundays.

Through each of our previous transitions, we’ve seen the value of starting early and intentionally preparing for the transition. (The only time we didn’t have time to do this was the abrupt end to our time in Dallas at the beginning of COVID, which remains our most difficult transition to date. Even though we were headed toward family and even though we’d only been there three months, it was so emotionally hard.)

And so, as a family, we’ve already begun conversations about the things we love about Switzerland that we plan to thoroughly enjoy for the next couple months. We talk about the things we each, individually, want to do before we leave, people we want to spend more time with, and places we want to visit again. And we thank God for this time! Asking the kids these questions have been gentle openings to really great conversations with them.

The ways that God orchestrated our being HERE instead of in France are incredible. Not long after we arrived here, France opened back up and no more families are planning to come here. Such a unique set of circumstances allowed us to be here - at THIS language school, in THIS town, in THIS apartment, and with THESE teachers, friends and fellow missionaries.

We’ve been so encouraged and loved here. Pictures mean the world to me (as you all know!) and I’m cherishing these memories!

An afternoon with one of the pastors and his wife!

My class with one of our teachers (in gray)

Grocery helper! (We love it when we can borrow the van for the grocery trip!)

We played Codenames pictures with our friends from church using only French clues - so fun!

Saturday morning breakfast… notice the Gruyère cheese - excellent on scrambled eggs!

After-church chatting with friends on the sidewalk

The kids don’t like having to go to bed before small group starts, so we invited a couple from small group to do a family small group with us. The kids read Scripture, prayed, and sang.

We are SO thankful for fellow missionaries and language students who pour into our kids emotionally and spiritually!


This particular friend intentionally comes over on laundry day to help me clean and do laundry! What a blessing!

A walk in the snow with one of the precious ladies who arranged our apartment for us!

Jack’s language helper - he’s learning English at the same time, so they’re able to help each other!

We took advantage of a beautiful day last week to hike to some views!


Taking advantage of living in Switzerland!

So thankful!

 

Three of my favorite books about transitioning well as a family are Raising Up a Generation of Healthy Third Culture Kids and The Grief Tower by Lauren Wells and Looming Transitions by Amy Young. I’m so thankful for families who have gone before us that we can learn from!

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