Wednesday, June 13, 2012

TCKs are like family

TCK Meetup during the Annual Dumpling Festival 2011
I've been co-event organizer for the New York City Third Culture Kids Meetup group for a couple years now and loving how I've forged really good friendships through the group especially the other organizers (Hi Aradhana & Eddie!).

I haven't written much about the group because I've been busy organizing events and coming up with ideas for the next meetups as they have been varied from formal discussions to picnic in Central Park (we just had our 2nd annual picnic!) to also promoting Chameleon to TCKs and booking performance gigs for A.H. Dance Company to perform Chameleon in different cities (and my other jobs as well!)... time seems to be limited.

I'm a member of several organizations and meetup groups but the one that has seemed to make it onto my social calendar is a TCK meetup. The biggest reason is that I really like meeting TCKs and connecting with them on the level that my non-TCK friends (I have plenty of non-TCK friends) seem to overlook or just don't understand.

TCK Picnic in Central Park 2011

TCK Picnic in Central Park 2012; Photo Credit: Aradhana Hinds

These meetups are super fun and sometimes we have a HUGE turnout and other times, its not as big. Most important of all, we create a warm environment to include TCKs and non-TCKs alike.

TCK Picnic in Central Park 2012; Photo Credit: Eddie Nwabuoku
I meet a lot of TCKs and especially the past few years since performing and touring Chameleon to different cities. I always try to meet up with the local based TCKs. I think its because I need to find my grounding and get the inside scoop on what the city has to offer from the TCK standpoint of view. I'm friends with a lot of TCK/Expat folks in the research world and the online communities so its always nice to put a face to the online persona. In TCK terminology, I'm what you would call a "screamer" but I didn't use to be this way.

We are setting up a TCK Summer book club and our first book is Ruth Van Reken's "Letters Never Sent". I am reminded by her letters the private journals I kept chronicling my very frustration for not "fitting in" or that "no one understood me" and that I would always be alone, etc. It came from a deep dark place of depression and anxiety that left me extremely troubled. Finding out that there are others similar to me, I sought out to find TCKs through Livejournal (before all the social media we use today) and through my universities' online message boards to find local TCKs. I then used my artistic creative talents to make a production based on my story and other TCKs stories using dance and film as my senior project. Years after that, TCKid, Facebook, Denizen, highly visible famous TCKs, and more publications on TCKs surfaced and I went back to the ideas, literature, and production elements to create Chameleon.

It has been a cathartic process for me. I'm also helping a lot of TCKs through the project and making lots of TCK friends. I am very grateful for all of those who I've met through Chameleon and through the Meetup group. My family is many thousands of miles away and to have a TCK family here is just priceless.

- Alaine

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