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  • You can’t answer the question, “Where are you from?”
  • 011 is a familiar area code.
  • You have a passport, but no driver’s license.
  • Your life story uses the phrase “Then we went to…” five times.
  • You prefer a Land Rover to a Lexus.
  • You think in grams, meters, and liters.
  • You speak with authority on the quality of airline travel.
  • You send your family peanut butter and Kool-Aid for Christmas.
  • You read the international section before the comics.
  • You live at school, work in the tropics, and go home for vacation.
  • You don’t know where home is.
  • Strangers say they can remember you when you were “this tall.”
  • You grew up with a maid.
  • You sort your friends by continent.
  • “Where are you from?” has more than one reasonable answer.
  • The nationals say, “Oh, I knew an American once…” and then ask if you know him or her.
  • You aren’t terribly surprised when you do.
  • You are grateful for the speed and efficiency of the U.S. Postal Service.
  • You realize that furlough is not a vacation.
  • You’d rather never say hello than have to say goodbye.
  • You wince when people mispronounce foreign words.
  • 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.
  • You know what real coffee tastes like.
  • Someone bring up the name of a team, and you get the sport wrong.
  • You believe vehemently that football is played with a round, spotted ball.
  • You tell Americans that democracy isn’t the only viable form of government.
  • You realize it really is a small world, after all.
  • You watch a movie set in a foreign country, and you know what the nationals are really saying into the camera.
  • You know how to pack.
  • Fitting 15 or more people in a car seems normal to you.
  • You own personal appliances with 3 types of plugs, know the difference between 110 and 220 volts, 50 and 60 cycle current, and realize that a transformer isn’t always enough to make your appliances work.
  • You fried a number of appliances during the learning process.
  • Your parents’ siblings are strangers to you, but you have 50-60 Aunts and Uncles who are no blood relation to you at all.
  • You maintain a mailing list of over 400 names and addresses, but have no one you feel comfortable spending Christmas with.
  • You get upset when people don’t finish their food, and feel worse when they scrape it into the trash.
  • You think nothing of straddling white lines to pass between trucks or buses traveling side by side, because “There was plenty of room, officer. Honest! At least six inches clearance.”
  • Your high school memories include those days that school was cancelled due to tear gas.
  • You are accused by your friends of being a maniacal driver, and you’re driving just like dad taught you to.
  • You marvel at the cleanliness of gas station bathrooms.
  • You miss the sub-titles when you go to see the latest movie.
  • You feel like you need to move after you’ve lived in the same place for two months.
  • Riots make you homesick.
  • You try to get onto a military base by showing your passport.
  • You have seen both the North Star and the Southern Cross, and you can navigate by either constellation.
  • It scares you more to send your kids to public school than it would to send them on an unescorted plane trip.
  • You think VISA is a document stamped in your passport, and not a plastic card you carry in your wallet.
  • You go to a church you have never been in before and find your picture on their bulletin board.
  • You have this deep, sinking feeling that someone, somewhere has that fifth grade braces-and-stringy-hair picture of you on their refrigerator.
  • You automatically take off your shoes as soon as you get home.
  • You know hundreds of missionaries all over the world, but forget your pastor’s name.
  • You don’t know whether to write the date as month/day/year, day/month/year, or some variation thereof.
  • You meet another MK, and discover that you share the same best friend.
  • There are times when only your family knows what you’re saying.

(Not every point applies directly to me, but I identify with each one on some level)

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