Finding a beak in your chicken soup doesn't shock you.
You have to fight panic when people drive on the right hand side of the road.
You like Marmite, and you're not British by birth.
You've been lost in a large, foreign airport and knew what to do.
You can actually pronounce Welsh town names.
You know that skirts and robes are not exclusively women's clothes in other parts of the world.
Your favorite pet was a monkey and you've never owned a cat or dog.
Apples and pears have no flavor compared to the fruit you're used to eating.
You've eaten more "foreign" food than "American," even though your passport says you're American.
You long for Cadbury's chocolate when in the U.S. and for Hershey's when "on the field."
You know food tastes better fried in ghee or coconut oil.
You've eaten "coleslaw" made with green mangoes.
You automatically check for bed bugs when staying in someone else's home.
The ladies in your home church make your mom a new "home made" dress thinking that it is extra special, and your mom secretly is disappointed because it isn't "store bought."
You set your watch by when the sun rises.
You live in a place where the temperature seldom gets DOWN to 70 degrees EVER, and someone sends your family a box of quilts.
You are amazed at all the paved roads in the "Lower 48."
Beef seems tasteless to you.
You insist on putting all eggs in water to see if they lay down (fresh), stand up (for baking only), or float (DO NOT break the shell).
You know how to dig a vehicle out of mud in the shortest possible amount of time; a skill you attained by much practice.
You cough outside peoples' front doors instead of knocking, to let them know you are there.
You equate yawning with being hungry rather than with being sleepy.
When you find a bug in you food, you calmly pick it out and finish eating.
You can sleep peacefully with a million jungle noises that would scare the liver out of your friends "back home", but sleeping near a railway or busy street drives you crazy.
You know that a ferry is not a mythical character in a story.
You know what it REALLY means to be seasick and motion sick.
You know more about a blow gun than a BB gun.
You know that apple sauce tastes better with some mango pulp mixed into it.
While on furlough, someone feeds you a "special" fish dinner and you eat it to be polite and don't mention that you eat fish almost every day where you live, and it tastes better too.
You marvel at how clean and well cared for the sidewalks are in the U.S.
While on "home assignment" your cousin shows you his pet frog and you get hungry.
You can't answer the question, "Where are you from?"
You speak two languages but can't spell either.
You flew before you could walk.
The U.S. is a foreign country.
You know that bread fruit is not found in a bakery.
The Oklahoma City bombing seemed normal to you.
You get a kink in your neck from riding through Manhattan.
You know the streets of Amsterdam, London, and Calcutta better than your "home town" of Omaha.
You have to be told on furlough to use the public restroom instead going behind a bush.
You know that an open air market is more fun than Wal-Mart, "the mall" or any "super" shopping center.
You have a passport but no driver's license.
You watch National Geographic specials and recognize someone.
You go on furlough and discover for the first time that in some places people don't have to wear coats all of the time.
You go on furlough and discover for the first time in your life what a coat is.
You have an international time zone map next to your telephone.
You have a medium sized coffee can in your bedroom for catching or squashing spiders.
You would rather eat seaweed than cafeteria food.
You have knots on the top of your head all the time from smacking the roof of the land rover while driving through dried up mud holes.
You shake your shoes out before putting them on.
You went to the check out in the supermarket, on furlough, and said "put it on our bill please."
You came on your second furlough, and you cried when you saw one of your supporters in Oklahoma was still driving his old Oldsmobile-- So he could keep supporting your family.
Your life story uses the phrase "Then we went to..." five times.
You can fit all your "important" possessions in two boxes and only have one tote bag full of "extra" stuff.
You speak to different ethnic groups in their own language.
You watch nature documentaries and you think about how good that would be if it were fried.
You speak with authority on the quality of airline travel.
You can cram 25 pounds of over-weight stuff into your pockets or purse in an airport line.
You've ridden the train to school so many times that you know all the station masters.
Your suitcase has eighteen airline stickers, including Air Aden, on it.
On furlough some older folks compliment you because you can speak English so well.
You go to the U.S. and get sick from a mosquito bite.
Your family sends you peanut butter and Kool-Aid for your birthday.
When on furlough, National Geographic makes you homesick.
You have strong opinions about how to cook bugs.
Strangers say they can remember you when you were "this tall."
You know that wild meat actually tastes better than store bought.
You know what it is to eat 6 large meals a day on deputation or furlough visits.
You have friends from or in 29 different countries.
You do your daily Bible reading in another language.
People in America tell you their horror stories about bugs, rats and mice and you think, "What's so amazing about that?"
You sort your friends by continent.
You tell your school teacher, while on furlough, that you are from Bangladesh, and she asks if that is in Australia.
Your natural instinct when it's rainy and muddy out is to take your shoes and socks off and go bare foot.
You tell people where you're from, and their eyes get big.
The nationals say, "Oh, I knew an American once..." and then ask if you know him or her.
Americans [Canadians, etc.] say, "Oh, I know a missionary in Africa (etc.) maybe you know them, their name is Smith. I think they were in Ghana...or was it Ecuador?"
You are grateful for the speed and efficiency of the U.S. Postal Service.
You've seen several foreign capitals, but never been to Washington D.C.
The Sears and Roebuck catalog is more useful in the outhouse than for ordering things.
When you come home on furlough, and an ambulance goes by, you get all choked up realizing how good America/Canada really is.
You understand that furlough is not a vacation. You look forward to going "back to the field" for a rest.
You wince when people mispronounce foreign words. Illustration: Arab becomes "Ayyyyeeerab"
You have three kinds of currency in your pocket all the time.
You've spoken in dozens of churches but aren't a pastor.
Furlough means that you are stuffed every night... and have to eat it all to seem polite.
On furlough, "home church" people assume you have a complete grasp of the hypostatic union and the Greek tenses simply because you are an MK.
Your parents decline your cousin's offer to let them use his BMW while on furlough, and stuff all five of you into an old VW Beetle instead.
You stockpile mangoes.
You save tin cans to trade for eggs at the back door. [ 55 years later, and retired in Florida, you STILL save tin cans. :-) ]
Someone says the US President lied and ought to be impeached, and you tell them the President of the country where you live killed all his wives last Tuesday and massacred half a province that voted against him.
You know what REAL coffee tastes like.
You know that "tea" is a social event late in the afternoon.
The majority of your friends don't speak English as a first language.
Someone brings up the name of a team, and you get the sport wrong (unless it's soccer).
You realize what a small world it is, after all.
When you see a golf course you start looking for impala and lions.
You watch a movie made in a foreign country, and you know what the nationals are REALLY saying into the camera.
You know more about Bangladesh than the US ambassador to Bangladesh does.
You know all preaching sounds better under a corrugated tin roof.
Your first "doll" was made from a mango seed.
Going to the post office is the highlight of your day-- ALL day.
Your mother gets excited over finding Doritos at 7/11.
You go to school in a Cessna rather than a school bus.
On deputation you have memorized Dad's message.
You dream in a foreign language.
You ate out at an Indian restaurant while on furlough and ADDED curry while your friends gulped water.
You know that Kwanzaa, among other things, is an American invention.
You spent two thirds of your life in boarding school.
You are in the Frankfurt Airport, and you hear some Black people nearby cursing the Germans in Housa. You walk up and greet them in Housa, and they pass out in terror.
On your 18th birthday you still don't have a driver's license.
When the Black American sky cap at Kennedy Airport grabbed your luggage, you said, "Asante sana."
Your dad scolds you in Swahili or Gujarati when on furlough.
Your cousin spit behind you, and you smacked him.
Your Dad preached a sermon on furlough about Joseph, and he called him Yusufu the whole time.
You go on furlough and your Mom buys everything in the store.
You don't know how to count American money.
Adults want to pay you to teach them English.
You order Chinese dinner in Chinatown in Los Angeles in fluent Mandarin, and the owner gives you the meal free of charge.
Your family gathers around the computer to check the E-mail.
All your clothes have been worn by someone else.
You know that when someone asks, "My I wash my hands?"-- they don't want to wash their hands.
You know what a water closet or "the loo" is.
Your first trip driving through town on furlough was a disaster because you honked your horn continuously.
The food you miss the most is a fast food hamburger, pizza, and a real chocolate shake.
The 4th of July came and went, and you had to do nothing because it was the deposed dictator's birthday.
You find a seven year old picture of yourself on someone's refrigerator.
You know that Marmite is not an insecticide.
You celebrate New Years in September or February.
Your natural instinct is to look out for snakes no matter how "safe" the environment.
You have carried the same dollar bill in your wallet for four years.
You have to translate medical papers for your doctor to understand.
Mom sends you out to "weed" the orchids out of the tree in the front yard.
The "rare" fruits and vegetables in USA supermarkets are everyday food to you and the "common" things are what you really stare at.
You know you are an MK when . . .with a Japanese twist.
You know raw fish tastes better than cooked.
You bow when talking on the phone.
Your five foot tall mother is taller than most of your church members.
You would rather sleep on the floor than on the bed.
At your yard sale the 80 year old man next door buys your mother's culottes.
graphics by Mary Stephens