In 2011, never in a million years did I ever think we would:
– take our entire family abroad.
– live in the country of Cyprus.
– want to understand a world outside of the U.S. (Okay, this last one is more for me.)
But here we are in 2013 – living abroad in Cyprus and trying to understand a little bit of our world beyond our small hometown in the Midwest.
Living abroad has taught me so much about a world outside of the U.S. I spent my college and graduate career studying U.S. politics/history and foreign policy, with a little smattering of comparative politics on the side but the focus was always remaining on the U.S. perspective. It’s one thing to read about the issues and history of various countries’ politics (as it relates to U.S. policy). However, it’s a whole other thing when you live among people of other cultures and see how they live and experience life – the good and the bad.
Thinking about Cyprus, it’s a place where cultures and people collide in unexpectant ways. The country is still dealing with a waning economy, struggling to find peace among foreigners who continually enter the country and change the way Cypriots view them (and vice versa), and finding a way to make peace internally as a divided country.
Sadly, when I became a stay-at-home mom, I became lazy about keeping up with current events at the national and international level. It was much easier when I was a single woman, living and working at the epicenter of politics. I allowed myself to make that excuse. Cyprus reminded me that I must be more aware of the world around me. And despite experiencing some struggles and difficulties of living abroad, I have grown to appreciate the people, culture, and beautiful complexity of Cyprus.
My hope is that when we return to the States, I can continue on this journey of self-discovery into other cultures, histories, art, and lives of others. That is why Hometown Betty is here to learn, grow, and share the mixing of cultural crafts and arts, much like the way I see America is – a melting pot of cultures and groups of people that make our country beautifully unique. Except this time, I’ll have my arsenal of art and sewing supplies to share my creative spirit when I try to mash two cultural ideas into one. (Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?)
Our family has learned so much, Cyprus. We thank Prof’s grant commission for allowing us to have this life altering experience. We thank M.B. who encouraged Prof to go for this grant, and for our family and friends back home who have sent care packages or sent emails/Facebook messages to keep things real and remind us of the things going on at home. We look forward to rekindling friendships and hugging our loved ones in person instead of virtually in cyberspace.