Saturday, September 12, 2015

Favorite Travel Outfits

What constitutes as a favorite travel outfit? To me it is an outfit that is comfortable to walk around in all day, makes you feel confidant because you know you look cute, not too trendy because you want to be able to not feel like you're a walking anomaly. But comfort is of utmost importance when talking about shoes. I like to walk everywhere when I'm traveling so I don't want to be complaining about my feet when the blisters show up or getting sharp knee pains because the shock absorbancy of pavement is nonexistent.

Visa applications are my nemesis

I am buried in a sea of tabs open looking for jobs/internships/trainee programs in hospitality, travel and tourism, and even looking at alternative sectors that need hospitality related jobs such as events, F&B, conferences, etc. Anything and everything. Such is the conundrum and woe of the Adult Third Culture Kid that wants to live in countries other than the country of my nationality or my residence or where my family live. Sifting through every possibility. I'm once again reading carefully every requirement and job specification. I'm looking at visa requirements which are usually not listed. Language requirements. Getting a terrible headache from it all and manifesting the stress within my physical self as hives and illness and insomnia. Sigh. Gloom and doom.

I think TCKs can relate to the visa conundrum. Navigating the legal documents, appointments, etc. Not to mention, convincing your potential employer that you are worth the hassle. I know I am worth it but how do I convince the potential employer and a governing body?

I want to live in a place where I can feel relaxed, stable, comfortable. Where the quality of life is high on the balanced living richter scale. I want a steady career, no more hustling, and juggling for low-paying gigs for me. Thats a big draw for me to make a dramatic change of plans. A possibility to settle down and have children. (Children should always be exposed to different cultures and languages in this day and age - it will be my part for my future children to make sure they are multicultural polyglots)

I wish this world was an easier world to live in. Yesterday was the anniversary of 9/11. I remember that day vividly. I had just started my freshmen year of college in California and someone was yelling in the dorm hallways to tune into the news. Classes were canceled, people were walking around crying, we were all glued to the news and the tv, we sat talking for hours in the floor of our hallways, patriotism, candelight vigils. We were all very lost. But since that day, a lot has happened in the world. So much turmoil. Racism and discrimination is alive.

There is no such thing as utopia and a truly peaceful world unless it begins with us and our immediate surroundings. All of us have to do our own part to be more human. The pointing fingers and fear amongst us has to stop. It will make societies even more closed off.

Border controls will get even tighter and there is a bunch of global people like me that aren't there to make anyone's life a living hell. I can't help to get political on border controls because it affects my personal life. There are also some places that open too much on people without proper screening that does cause problems.

I'm going to stop ranting now. All the worlds' problems cannot be solved by ranting. All I can do is just hope for my personal sake that I am not left wandering the world alone with my suitcases because no country wants to take me in next year. (I'd like to stay in Scandinavia/Northern Europe so if any of you dear readers have contacts please help me!)

Note: I apologize for this rant. Next post will be more positive.

Berlin wall. East side Gallery. June 2015

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Scattered memories

I define home as the memories I created, create, and will create instead of a physical location. It is that state of being when I get to be myself wholly. What happens when you create scattered memories everywhere? I'm in a constant state of always going some place lately. Its a weird state to be in. I'm not sure if I wake up in Switzerland, Sweden, Singapore, New York City, Germany, Finland, Holland, or some other country. (Been traveling a lot lately...)

I went back to Singapore this summer and it was certainly weird to be back there. I saw some of my friends but things are different. I am different. Its like watching a film unfold before my eyes. Nothing like going back to a place you used to live in and realizing you have changed.

When TCKs "return", there is that feeling that you can never go back to what it used to be. One does not simply relive a memory because life passes by and that memory is put into the vault of other memories.

Home is simply a changing concept for me. I am more and more at ease with feeling at home where I can feel comfortable.

At the present, I'm comfortable just being in my little corner of the world in the mountain. Not sure where I'll be next year. The uncertainty is quite nerve wrecking. I can't wait to settle down to a life less crazy than the one where I juggled a million jobs to support my creative habit ;-) (PS. I'm looking for a job! ;-) )

Brännö island, Sweden

Stockholm, Sweden

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

My travel essentials

Hi Everyone! Just a short post about the essential items that I like to travel with.

1) Laptop
2) iPad - I read my magazine subscriptions digitally loaded onto my iPad
3) Ziplock bag of medicines
4) Travel pillow - I always bring my own because it smells like me and its comforting :-)
5) Sample size beauty products and I also fill small bottles with my regular facial products, hair care, and body products.
6) Wet tissue and portable tissue packets - I prefer wet wipes over hand sanitiser because my hands don't feel any cleaner if I just spritz some sanitiser on my hands. At least with wet wipes, I wipe it then toss the used wipe away.
7) Lots of underwear - I like to change my underwear a lot so I bring lots of underwear with me wherever I go.
8) Sunglasses - I am never without my sunglasses under the sun. My eyes feel very sensitive to light and I've gotten used to always having sunglasses on me to prevent this sensitivity from hurting my eyes.
9) iPhone and camera - I like to take pictures as mementos and to post on my blog, instagram, Facebook, etc.
10) Passport - this is obvious.

The big blue luggage is mine :-)

Beautiful Prague

Friday, June 12, 2015

Summer is here!

At the first sign of temperatures rising we know that summer is coming. That means for students all around the world, that long summer nights and lazy days are coming. For working people, it means leaving the coat at home and letting loose in the evenings because the weather is beautiful with the sun shining for longer hours.

For me, summer means my brain gets to relax a little bit and I get to be my hyper-creative self. Up until last year, summer also meant I get to perform in festivals and theaters. I spent most of my summers performing and teaching in different locations and environments. Some of my memories are spending more time in the studio rehearsing then changing and going to dinner at one of the various amazing restaurants in New York. A lot of administrative work was done before the festivals. With every festival tour I arranged, I became more efficient at working on what needs to get done. Press releases, fundraising campaigns, marketing material, personal invitations to presenters in the area, costumes, hiring lighting designers/technical directors, planning technical and dress rehearsals, videography, grant writing, and then the logistics as a tour manager as well. Some of these included: booking and reserving transportation, housing, and scheduling of all the rehearsals and performances.

Some pictures from Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2013:

Summer brings back nostalgic moments but it is also a time to create new memories. Last summer, I went traveling to Milan, Barcelona, Valencia, Granada, Seville, Lisbon, Copenhagen, Gothenburg, Stockholm, Malmö. It was an epic summer of travel for about a month with friends and also part of it was solo travel as well. When I returned, my friend and mentor from New York came to visit Singapore so I showed her around town and even got to take her dance classes. It felt like an extended vacation and taking her class was like a homecoming to my previous life in New York. As I look at how different my life is now from a couple years ago, I probably could write a book!

Lisbon, Portugal

Milan, Italy

A year later and I'm living in a different continent. Living a different life as a postgraduate student. Many new friends. I'm spending this summer with a little bit of travel and going back to Singapore to visit my family and friends as well as teach my students a bit of dance as well.

Swiss campus grounds

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Global citizenship as a TCK

Global citizenship is a buzzword that we are constantly throwing around these days as it has become paramount that today's citizen be aware of current events, politics, business, economic, and cultural awareness. So much of our society runs globally but this can and will cause quite a bit of misunderstandings as well.

On a personal level as a TCK, I still feel like there is so much to experience and see in the world. My biggest pet peeve with some TCKs is the "greater than thou" attitude just because they grew up globally. We never stop learning. Also one has to learn about other cultures and look from the outside in to analyze where the other is coming from.

I'm currently enrolled in a postgraduate program in an International Hospitality Management school and the experience has its ups and downs. Last weekend, we had a 'Cultural Night' event that showcased the numerous amount of cultures that embody the student population here. I grew up with United Nations days and International Food fairs from all the International schools, even when I was guest teaching for International schools and even the immigrant heavy populations in the public schools have this celebration in their school curriculum. It is wonderful. My dance students performed at the performance and I'm so proud of them.

I chuckle whenever someone asks what country I was representing. I was representing myself, so I replied "Alaine world". hehehe.... Because I am a global citizen and each global citizen is unique. A melting pot of different cultures. A proud Adult Third Culture Kid.

(The following video is about an hour long, if you want to watch my students fast forward to about 53 minutes)

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Gruss aus Schweiz!

Greetings from Switzerland!

I have been living here since the end of January in the mountains. Life has been a hectic whirlwind of many classes, assignments, adjustment, stress management, tests, and I am looking forward to a little bit of a break.

Before coming to the Alps, I was traveling in Finland a bit. I wanted to see the Northern Lights and Santa Village.

Museum of Silence in Helsinki

Museum of Silence in Helsinki

Santa Village 
Breathtaking Sunset

Freezing in -20C 
A little skiing :-)

Igloo in Santa Village

Sunrise from the train traveling to Northern Finland

These images of Finland in Winter is really incredible. I have never been in -20c weather in my life so it was quite a shock to my physical body! I had a great time for a week before starting school. 

Sometimes we just need a little break now and then. 

Winter has been a welcome experience again for me in Switzerland, I arrived and it was really snowy for the first few weeks. It was really beautiful to wake up to soft fluffy snow falling. Getting ready in a suit plus winter gear on top of the suit to walk to school is another story (hah!)

On the train up to town
Skiing in the Alps is breathtaking

Eating breakfast in the dining hall
I go to an International Hotel school and there are so many different cultures and nationalities here. I have met tons of TCKs as well. Its nice to not always have to explain my mixed up cultural background to everyone (still have to do it on occasion but its not too unusual). 

A lot of adjustment to being back in school though. I am having a hard time concentrating due to my ADHD tendencies especially when it comes to doing homework or studying on my own. After being in the working world for a decade. I am a bit challenged when it comes to sitting in a classroom and taking notes. It is also really difficult to study for tests as I can no longer survive long hours of study. 

I am still dancing and have been asked to choreograph and dance for a few projects in school. I am also feeling a bit creative these days and working on some material that may materialise as a solo or a duet. Will see what happens. 

Definitely helps when I am stressed to go outside and take a walk or go to the gym or dance outside (I have done this on many occasions). It is really beautiful. 

Adjustment isn't easy but I don't really have any expectations so its been easier to adjust to mountain village living than to living in Singapore. I find it rather funny. Perhaps when we have lived in a place before we have these preconceived notions of what its like and how life should be. When it doesn't work out in your favor then we get frustrated. When everything is new, we just learn everything instead of having an idea of what it should be like. This is probably why repatriation is so hard. I was a bit homesick for a familiar place for a short bit in February while in the middle of studying for some tests but it seems the feeling has passed.