Opinion

The perks of being an MK

Have you ever considered the great advantage you have as an MK? You have a very unique legacy. Those “You know you’re an MK when…” lists are fabulous indicators of this. You see, we MKs have been just about everywhere and seen just about everything. This is a gross exaggeration, you say. Well, yes, and let’s keep it that way, I’ll reply. We need not disclose that to our wonderful American friends!

We can be popular in every circle. No, more than popular. We can be the envy of every circle! That is, if we keep the knowledge of our exaggeration silent.

Let me give you an example. You’ve probably heard that MK line: “You know you’re an MK when the question ‘where are you from’ elicits a five-minute answer.” I was born in Colorado Springs, moved to the jungles of Peru for eleven years, moved to Lima for high school, have lived several summers and a semester in California, have lived two disconnected years in Colorado Springs since moving to Peru, a summer in Costa Rica, and now have added a summer in Kansas City, and, of course, Siloam Springs to my list.

So I have the great opportunity to draw on any number of these locations to my advantage. Lima, just so you know, is a big, dirty, crowded, polluted city that sees the sun only about 4 months of the year (if that). But it’s on the coast, which makes all the difference in many circles. “I can see the ocean from my bedroom window,” leaves many people in awe of your wealthy, beautiful, beach-side estate. You don’t mention that the house is practically free compared to anything in California that close to the ocean, or that the ocean is a bleak, brown color and there are no sandy beaches nearby. Not that you would want to get in that water anyway with the potential of a very literal physical meltdown in the sea of chemicals dumped into the ocean by your beloved city.

Now, do I have to expand on the fact that you can use the same technique for the other places and cities and countries you have seen and lived in?

Of course, the U.S. also provides a great many sources, since you have seen much of it traveling around visiting supporting churches and friends.

Appropriate to people from the state, of course, here are some great responses which you can draw upon confidently from your archive of experiences:

“Oh I’ve been to New York City! It’s huge! Great food though.” And, “Oh yeah? I’ve been to Ground Zero, too.” And, “Oh that museum of Natural History bored me to tears!”

“Oh, you’re from Arizona? The Grand Canyon is incredible, isn’t it?!”

“Wyoming, huh? I loved Yellowstone!”

“Yeah, we went camping in Montana one time.”

“Nevada? It was 116 degrees when we were in Las Vegas!”

“All I saw in New Jersey were marshes.”

“You have beautiful Smokey Mountains there in Tennessee. I loved them.”

Go out, therefore, into this strange world where public transportation is a legend, hole-in-the-wall restaurants are sadly lacking, “gringo” is not constantly shouted at you (or whatever phrase they use in your country) and Walmart is the community center and make your unique legacy, complete with exaggerations and appropriate omissions, known!

All in jest, of course.