when bad stuff happens . . .

IMG_0176Sandy Hook. Boston Marathon.

When you’re an expat and you still can’t believe you can hear your hometown radio every morning, you feel a kinship whenever a tragedy hits your country. I thought that living overseas would make me more interested in world news, but actually news from the USA feels even dearer.

At our international school in Indonesia, a student mentioned the Boston tragedy once today and another student didn’t believe him. I had to confirm, that “yes, a bomb had gone off at the Boston Marathon.” “Oh really?” Sadly, I nodded.

What is the right response? Just as if I were in America . . . do you take to Facebook or Twitter to post your condolences? Some people are better at that than I am. Sometimes it feels like a need to prove your compassion, rather than the silent prayer or the quiet acknowledgement among good friends. Being in Indonesia hasn’t changed this dilemma–I felt equally as social network speechless after the shooting of Gabby Giffords in Arizona, which happened when I was living at home in Michigan.

One big difference between international coverage and CNN America is how quickly the subject changes. The Sandy Hook tragedy shook the world with the sheer numbers of children involved and dominated international coverage. However, the Boston Marathon bombing has been overtaken by other news, including a BBC report of the earthquake in Iran.

When you live in America, you can feel like an only child, with your life events as the center of your family’s universe. When you’re overseas, you realize you’re among siblings. Each nation taking up attention as needed.

A colleague witnessed the Lion Air plane crash while visiting Bali this past weekend.

That having been said . . . my heart truly continues to go out to Newton families and Boston Marathoners and all the families of the victims.

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About jaclynfre

Tech integration specialist, recipe adventurer, fast walker, sporadic writer, aunt, sister and daughter
This entry was posted in life and culture and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to when bad stuff happens . . .

  1. dmurphy2013 says:

    When you live in America, you can feel like an only child, with your life events as the center of your family’s universe. When you’re overseas, you realize you’re among siblings. Each nation taking up attention as needed.

    I just love this comparison! It really drove home your message for me and helped me understand how you must feel, experiencing this tragedy overseas. Thanks for the great post.

  2. Karen says:

    Jackie,
    I love your analagy to being an only child. Sometimes we in America really think we ARE the world!
    However, when these horrific things happen at “home”, and you start hearing about people who knew someone who was at the Marathon….it feels more real?

  3. Beth says:

    I agree! That is a GREAT way to put it (the only child). I know exactly what you mean.

  4. Laura LA says:

    Funny, I was so wrapped up in the Boston tragedy I did not even know there had been an earthquake in Iran. We can be so isolated, especially, I often think, here in New England.
    Your quiet prayer was felt as strongly as any Facebook post.
    Peace.

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