Friday, November 25, 2016

Third Culture Kid Spotlight: Philip

I found some of my old research survey answers from 2004 when I began my TCK research journey that started as part of my Senior project dance production "Third Culture Kids" that was part presentation, half documentary film, half dance, and based on the books written about TCKs, expats, and these survey answers by TCKs around the world. I'm unearthing them because our complicated stories need to be heard. 

1. What is your name?

2. Where were you born?
Brussels, Belgium

3. What is your heritage?
Mother is from the Netherlands (Amsterdam), with French grandparents
Father is 15th generation American, of Anglo Saxon (English/Scottish) descendants

4. Where have you lived & how long at each place?
Belgium 0-1 years old  (1 year)
London, England 1-8 years old (7 years)
Phoenix, Arizona, 8-15 years old (7 years)
Belgium again, 15-18 years old (3 years)
Chicago, 18 -  (4 years)

5. What is your definition of "home" and how is it different from those around you?
Home is wherever my family is "based' at a given time.  That means, wherever we have a house we can all get together at.... where my father is working.  It is not the town I've lived in my whole life, because I don't have one of those.  Sometimes I feel most "at home" in a town that's not necessarily where I'm living.

6. Where do you consider "home" and why?
I consider "home" to be Phoenix, Arizona.  I feel that it is where I spent my most formative years.  When I moved to Europe again in high-school, I had developed strong roots in Phoenix already and continue to go back to visit even today.  This is usually the answer I give on those short, "where are you from?" questions if I don't feel like telling the whole story.
My family is still "based" out of Belgium so the longer they stay there, the more I visit them there, the most that starts to feel like home too.

7. Do you have interests in the following: foreign languages, international relations, travelling, international politics, different cultures of the world, etc...  Yes/No If so, do you think your background has helped you develop these interests?
YES.  I love traveling, learning new languages and exploring different cultures.  Livnig in Europe made me really sensetive to international politics and the importance of learning languages to communicate.  So I think my surroundings definetly had an impact on my interests.

8. What are your thoughts on globalization? Current political situation?
I think globalization is very efficient, however, I find it kind of a sad thing.  The more the world becomes globalized, the more the beauty and individuality of different cultures will be lost.  As far as the current political situation goes, I think we've seen the worst.  I think the global climate has been pretty fearful and this is something that will turn around.

9. How are your thoughts on world affairs different from those around you?
I take much more of an international perspective, not always looking at everything on a domestic level.  I know how other countires feel and how other countries are affected.

10. Do you plan on incorporating a large amount of travel with your career?
I would like to, yes.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

A need for communication and peace

Having a Hot Toddy at Oliver Conquest gin bar in London, Nov 2016

Through the political uncertainty and chaos, we have to remember to be strong, compassionate, friendly, open-minded, and proud global citizens. There are too many problems of the world. From politics to the problems on the local community level. A lot of animosity, racism, bigotry, and fear of the unknown. People are more guarded and acting out of anger. As a third culture kid, this makes me disappointed that in today's mixed up global world this is still happening. 

I meet a lot of people from different cultures, socio-economic background, ages, and race. Sometimes it is hard to remain composed and diplomatic when people use their racial stereotyping to make assumptions. When I have these stereotyping thoughts, I keep them to myself and then analyse the reasons why I made the assumptions in my head.  It is painful to see people with a lot of influence encourage others to incite violence, racism, bigotry, etc. I have to remember that there are good people left in the world and to correct racial stereotyping in a calm diplomatic way even if it is irritating. 

I've been watching the world become more racist, bigoted, jealous, angry, violent, and lose sense of humanity over the past year. It is disheartening to see. I'm not just talking about one country, I'm talking about several countries. There is a decay. It is totally scary!

There is a need for communication, peace, open hearts, paired with lots of art, food, wine/drink. 

Communication because misunderstandings happen all the time. 

Peace because there's enough strife and conflict. 

Open hearts because we've become isolated, distrustful, fearful, and scared. (I'm working on this one.) 

Art because it strikes a chord with the emotional, thinking, feeling, perception, and diffuses difficult conversations with beauty. Dance, sing, act, paint, draw, sculpt, etc. 

Food because who doesn't love gathering around with good food. 

Wine because the complexity of personal stories pairs well with complex wines!

We need peace.

Talk to people, make friends, hear other people's stories.

Stand up for your own beliefs if you feel threatened. 

View from Edinburgh Castle in Scotland, Aug 2013