Being a part of this retreat was honestly an integral, even life-changing experience for me. I went into it not really having very strong expectations of what it would look like and what I would get out of it, but it ended up being a really meaningful (and fun!) time, and went above and beyond any expectations I had.
I think this was the first time I had a designated and intentionally designed space for the “third culture” part of me, and so having that space and being able to be a part of it was impactful in and of itself. I was able to hone and put into practice already familiar ways of expressing myself as well as be introduced to new ideas and ways of processing my thoughts and emotions. Overall, the Third Culture Retreat was a place where I could explore and dig deeper into my own story and become inspired by others’ stories, which all reflect God’s bigger story. I really appreciated being able to connect with others who understand, accept, honor, and validate my identity as a TCK, and see me as my honest and authentic self.
During my time at the retreat, I think I discovered a newfound sense of belonging and home, and what that looks like for me. On my reflection of home, I wrote a poem called “H.O.M.E: Heart of My Experience”, and part of it says:
Am I a home to myself, and to others?
Am I at peace enough to call myself a home? Home isn’t one place, one person, one thing. It isn’t just safety, or comfort, or familiarity.
I don’t have a clear definition
But whatever it is,
I want to be there, to create it, to be it.
They say home is where the heart is.
The hard part is knowing your heart first.
Through others, through processing my own story and identity, and through deepening my relationship with God, I was able to take one stride closer to home. And that was achieved and encouraged by conversations with people, personal reflection, creative outlets like music, art, and writing (so much writing…), food and fellowship, prayer, worship, and tears. I feel like I learned to express more of my thoughts and emotions throughout the retreat, which was a big step for me.
As I enter a new chapter and transition into a new season, I hope that I will be able to stay fully present in every moment, reflect on the past with more empathy and grace toward myself and others, and envision the future with fresh perspective. I hope that I will sense God’s presence continually, and as I learned during the Third Culture Retreat, “embrace the mystery of being here, and enter the quiet immensity of my own presence.”
Abby Kim is a Third Culture Person and a member of our beloved Proskuneo community.