I Tend To Be Guarded and Wasn’t Sure How THIS Would Go

Moving cross-culturally has been the biggest challenge of my life and the hardest part of that challenge has been finding women I can connect with who understand the life I’m living.

My husband and I live on a small campus, surrounded by people. We are so blessed with our location and the people we interact with each day but I often find something missing. We live and work in the local language and the majority of our team work in their home country. Those details add great benefit as I try to improve my Spanish and grow in my understanding of the local culture but can make it hard to find someone who truly understands me and I often feel alone, isolated from women like me.

Last year Velvet Ashes crossed my path. I started reading and connecting with the thoughts the ladies were writing. Their words were speaking to my heart and I was so thankful to find a group of women who understood me (without even meeting me!). So when the idea of the Connection Groups came up in a post I was intrigued. I tend to be guarded with new people and I definitely wasn’t sure how this was going to go but I’m so thankful I signed up.

The first day that sign ups were open I jumped online (still slightly unsure if I should sign up!) and already many of the groups were full. I knew that our internet connection wouldn’t guarantee access to the Video Chat Group at the determined meeting time but I knew I wanted something more than just an email so I joined a Facebook Group. It was the perfect choice for me, especially since the photos and feeds of each member greatly enhanced our interaction (and continues to keep us connected), but also gave me the flexibility I needed with a poor internet connection.

I randomly chose one of the few remaining mentors, not really paying attention to personal details but seeing it as a good opportunity to get to know new women in different stages and roles in life overseas. Our mentor, Erica, did a great job of leading us through the nine week session and her positive personality radiated through her words. She definitely has the gift of encouragement!

After those first few “get to know you” posts I found myself eager to read what the other ladies’ responses would be to the questions. So many times they would respond with something so similar to what I was thinking and it was encouraging to know I wasn’t alone in some of my thoughts and reactions to issues we face. When their responses were different from my own I found it helpful to see things from a different perspective. I loved that we could share openly and be lifting each other up each week. We found little ways to connect outside of the weekly questions and prompts. We were also able to share good resources and tips to help each other out.

I enjoyed seeing another part of the world through photos and stories. Our group was made up of six women, four in Asia and two in Latin America. It was fun to learn about a different region of the world while also realizing that the issues they deal with “over there” are so similar to the issues we deal with “here.” On the flip side of that I found it a blessing to keep in mind that my circumstances aren’t always as challenging as they seem in the moment when compared to the challenges another woman is facing in a different part of the world!

I am amazed by the connection we can have with other women living internationally. The depth of relationship depends on those involved but I also find we are connected by something much stronger than a few facts. The VA Connection Group was my first step into this arena as a woman overseas and it has helped me see the benefits of finding a group who understands the lifestyle I live. I truly felt connected to my group and I am so thankful for their openness and willingness to share a piece of their lives with me.

At the end of the nine week session we chose to leave our group “open” on Facebook so we could continue to lift each other up, encourage one another and see how life continues for each one. I still enjoy seeing how each woman is doing, participating in their lives through “likes” and comments on their photos or status updates and sharing links to posts and other resources online.

Signing up for a place in a VA Connection group was a great decision! The nine weeks included some great conversation and the interaction was such a blessing. Thank you to the team at Velvet Ashes for giving us this great opportunity to meet with other like-minded women around the world!

How has connecting with others helped you (whether through VA or elsewhere). Have you marked your calendars for Tuesday, September 8th at 6:00? Or soon thereafter? That’s when Connection Group Registration opens!


  1. ErinMP September 8, 2015

    I love VA too. Haven’t joined a connection group yet (but may!), and glad to know it is a “safe zone” like the rest of the community areas here. 🙂

    Thanks Kaylee and VA!

    1. Amy Young September 8, 2015

      Erin, you’d be a blessing to any group :)! No pressure, just love.

      1. ErinMP September 9, 2015

        ^_^ Thank you.

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