While visiting family and friends over Summer Break, one of my close friends suggested that I write a book. As an international teacher, I have lived in four different countries and traveled to many more. I have been exposed to multiple cultures, languages, paces of life, and religions. And, now, being a mom of two, my friend questioned, “Why do you choose to raise your kids abroad?” (This would be the premise of the book: travels and parenting abroad.)
Hmmm…why did I choose to raise my kids abroad?
The answer is simple really.
- Quality of life
- Quality of school
- Global perspective
You see, back in 2011, when my husband and I decided to uproot ourselves – much to the chagrin of our family and friends – and move to Colombia. (Yes, it is actually NOT spelled with a U.) Everyone thought we were crazy. We had just bought a house and spent six months renovating it. We did almost all of the work ourselves with the help of some family and friends and an actual plumber. 😉 The house was finally starting to feel like a home. How could we leave it?!
Our want to explore the world was much greater than our want to keep up with the Jones’.
Thus, we sold everything that couldn’t fit into about six duffel bags and moved to South America. After that we accepted jobs in the Middle East. Again, our families called us crazy. Who would ever want to live in the Middle East? We did. And, looking back, we would move back there again! I actually gave birth to our first daughter when we were living in Dubai.
When we saw all of our family and friends on Facebook, we thought we were missing something now that we had our own child.
So, we packed up again. This time, we moved back to Texas with a 3-month old in tow. We stayed for two years and had another daughter. This is when we realized we desperately wanted to raise our kids outside of the US.
Why we packed everyone (and everything) up and moved to Africa!
Those three reasons I listed above: quality of life, quality of school, global perspective.
Again, everyone said we were crazy. We moved our 2 1/2 and 8 month old to the second poorest country in the world! And, they have thrived. There is literally nothing to do here except go outside and explore the snails, slugs, butterflies. Go for a walk in the “crocodile forest”. (It is actually the equivalent of a state or national park, but it does have crocodiles.)
We made this move because we wanted to get away from the consumerism of the States.
Even the most level headed people struggle with the mindset of living a more minimalistic lifestyle.
Well, we were determined to not be caught up in that life again. So, we left. It was easy to do knowing God’s take on consumerism:
Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist of an abundance of possessions. – Luke 12:15
Arriving in Africa
When we got here, we found a Montessori run daycare that both our girls attend half-day. They spend the other half of the day with our maid and nanny. Yes, we have a maid, who doubles as our cook, and a nanny. Both of whom are wonderful, amazing, and kind women that love our girls. And, of course, our girls love them!
Raising our kids outside of the US has given us the freedom to spend quality time together, live a simple life (I mean, we don’t even own a mircowave!) and enjoy learning a new language and way of life. As the girls grow up, we will be able to offer them education from a private, international school that we would not be able to afford living in the States. But, the biggest thing we can offer them by living abroad is a global perspective.
Our girls are more open and curious about the world around them, not always with what they have. Every kid they come in contact with is their friend. They readily shake hands with everyone who wants to show them love. (This is about 2/3 of everyone we see when we go out.) My girls are ready and willing to give our possessions to people here that don’t have much of anything. I don’t think we could have modeled this giving nature with the same effect living in Texas.
Raising kids outside the US was a big decision.
Now, we are faced with another decision. Do we stay in Burkina Faso or do we move on for another global experience. Thankfully, we have these words to guide us:
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. – Jeremiah 29:11
If you liked this read, let me know. I’d be happy to write more about our life and times in Africa! 🙂
If you missed this article, make sure to check it out. Because everyone has something to give…
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