Last week some wonderful friends visited us. They are long-time cross-cultural workers serving in a limited access country. We had some very interesting conversations. I’m sure you can imagine them, for you have had your own similar experiences. I’d like to share some insights from one of those conversations. Let’s call the topic, “The Blank Stare.”
We talked about how difficult it is to share our lives with our friends and family back home. See if this sounds familiar: Someone asks a question about our overseas life. We start to reply, only to see their eyes glaze over. “Knock, Knock? Anybody home? Where did you go? You were in there a minute ago.” We know they are friends and want to talk to us, but they just cannot relate to what we say about our work overseas.
As we discussed the problem, we saw that the hardest questions to answer were the big general questions. What do you do in XYZ? What is XYZ like? Maybe you’ve had a conversation like this one: