I met Janessa . . . well, we’ve never actually been in the same place at the same time, so I can’t say that I’ve met her the way you think about meeting most people. However, we’ve been part of each other’s lives for a few years, and it’s fantastic! Janessa is a sincere encourager, a serious musician, and a stellar friend. I hope you enjoy getting to know her a little.
So Janessa, I’ve got a few questions for you!
1. How old are you? 20
2. Where do you live right now? Why do you live there? I currently live in down-town Chicago, Illinois, on campus at Moody Bible Institute, where I am completing my undergraduate degree.
3. What other countries have you lived in? Slovenia
4. Where do you consider home? Slovenia (though if I had to pick a place in America, it would be Chicago).
5. What passport(s) do you hold? USA
6. What do your parents do that makes you a TCK? My parents are missionaries overseas in Slovenia.
7. How old were you when you first moved away from your passport country? I was a little over a year old.
8. What are some of your favorite things about where you live now? Chicago is an international hub, especially for music and the arts. I love attending concerts and being involved in the many music opportunities that the city has to offer, as well as running along Lakeshore Drive on Lake Michigan in the wee hours of the morning. And, of course, being able to study at Moody is wonderful and a privilege in itself.
9. What are a few of your favorite things about anywhere else you’ve lived? Knowing the language and culture (it’s fascinating to observe variations in cultural norms), the unique beauty of each area of the country, and old cities (especially castles and narrow cobble-stone streets).
10. What is the most interesting thing you’ve eaten? Black spaghetti (spaghetti covered in squid ink).
11. Do you think you have any advantages in life because you’re a TCK? I think that being a TCK gives you a broader perspective of the world in general. It does often expose you to harsh realities and difficult situations, but I have found that such hardships have served to strengthen my trust in God’s sovereignty and increase my dependence on Him.
12. Do you think you’ve missed out on anything because you’re a TCK? The only thing I can think of is that living overseas separated me from my extended family. I sometimes wish I could have lived nearer to them and have spent more time with them.
13. What are some of your favorite things to eat? Bread and jabolcni zavitek (apple strudel) baked in a brick oven.
14. What are some of your favorite things to do? Sing, explore cities, play my violin, spend one-on-one time with my closest friends, and read a good children’s book.
15. What pets do you / have you had? A parakeet, cats, goldfish, and a beloved dog.
16. Do you have a favorite sports team? If so, which one? Despite local disapproval, the Seattle Mariners.
17. What do you consider the most important sporting event? I think that the most exciting sporting events are tennis Grand Slams and figure-skating championships.
18. What schooling options have you used? What are your opinions of each of those? Public and home-schooling. I approve of both – each has its pros and cons. I think it depends on the learning style of the student and the opportunities available to him/her.
19. What advice do you have for those who are becoming TCKs? Transitioning into another culture is never an easy or swift process. But some advice I would give is to get involved. Do not be afraid of trying new things. Oftentimes, others will not initiate to get to know you; but if you are intentional about being the initiator, most will be pleased and show interest in response. A big part of this is also learning the language of the country you are moving to. Take on the challenge – you will never regret it.
20. What advice do you have for parents of TCKs? Please encourage your kids to learn the language of the country you are moving to. This will help them learn and relate much better, and turn a foreign place into a new home. Also, if it is possible, allow your kids to be involved in your work. I was able to be involved with some of my parents’ ministry when I was in high school; it opened the door for me to form stronger relationships with my family and friends, and gave me lots of work experience.
21. What else do you want the world to know about you? I think that one of the most magnificent things the Lord created, and one of his greatest gifts to us, is music.
22. What do you plan to do when you finish your education? I want to use music (violin/voice), communication (mass and interpersonal), and theater in either performance or education. Whether this would involve working with kids, the elderly, or the mentally/physically impaired, I am open to where God chooses to lead me, State-side or back home overseas. It is a little intimidating at this point in life only having a broad idea of what I would enjoy doing without a concrete post-college agenda. On the other hand, it is very exciting to watch God unwrap His plans one day at a time.