Wednesday, September 13, 2017

TCK Identity: I have never been a local anywhere



A house boat in Rotterdam - I sometimes wish I could live on a boat and just choose where to live depending on the seasons! (This will probably not happen as I can get terribly seasick if the water is too choppy!)

I have lived in a number of places, traveled and revisited places where I know the streets, BUT I have never been a local anywhere. As a adult third culture kid and avid travel blogger (Check out my travel blog! www.travelwithalaine.com), I often come across posts with titles that have "... from the eyes of a local", "Explore ..... by a local", "A local guide's to ....", or something of similar titles. I wish I could tell you how much I would love to write "...from a local's perspective" but I can't because it would seem like a fraud. I can tell you about my experiences from that place. Especially if its a place I've lived in and discovered as a local resident.

Experiencing a place as a traveler is so different that living in a place as a resident. Your needs are different. There's an adjustment period that can be challenging. From feelings of frustration, anger, sadness, loneliness, fear, to elated happy feelings, satisfaction, acceptance, and peace. Its a whole gamut of experiences.

As far as "local guides" go, I will probably never write one because it would feel a bit disingenuous to my readers. When I do meet people who have lived their whole lives in that place, I ask them for their recommendations and tips because that is the best way to discover a place whether you've moved there or traveling there.

Wandering the streets of Delft

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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

TCK Spotlight on Julie of Jewels Wandering

Julie of Jewels Wandering is a Brazilian Third Culture Kid turned expat and has been blogging through her blog Jewels Wandering of her travel tales. 



1. What is your name? I'm Julie.

2. Where were you born? Brasília, DF Brazil

3. What is your heritage? I am fourth generation Japanese Brazilian

4. Where have you lived and how long at each place?
I have lived in Brasilia off and on for a total of 4 years, Rio de Janeiro for 2 years, New York off and on for 10 years, London for 5.5 years, San Francisco for 3, Brussels for 2.5 years, New Hampshire for 2, Tokyo for 2 and Washington DC for 1. Not in that order! I've now been in Singapore for just over 5 years. 


5. What is your definition of "home" and how is it different from those around you?
Home is wherever my parents happen to be living, after all, home is where the heart is. Maybe this will change if I ever get married and start a family of my own, but for now, home is wherever my parents are.

6. Where do you consider "home" and why?
My parents have been based out of NYC for the past 12 years and where I have been going to visit them in the past 11. NYC definitely has the connotation of home for me because I also lived there for 8 years before moving to London. 


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?
Most definitely YES! Having grown up in different cultures, you invariably end up learning about the political climate of the country and one with which you end up keeping up with, for the most part. And with the different cultures, I am a mish mash of the different cultures from the different countries I grew up in to the point I'm not even sure where it all begins. As for traveling, it's the best thing on earth! I've carried on living the expat lifestyle so I can learn more about different cultures and travel the region where I'm based.



8. What are your thoughts on globalization? Current political situation?
I think globalization is a double edged sword. In one aspect, I think it's great that we are more exposed to different cultures, products, etc but the flip side of that is that everything is being watered down and homogeneous. What was once something different and new and exciting is no longer unique. I could go on and on about the pros and cons of globalization but let's leave it at that! 

Let's not even get started on the current political situation.. I prefer to read animal stories now instead of real news.... 

9. How are your thoughts on world affairs different from those around you?
For the most part, my peers and I are on the same page. But then again, you naturally tend to gravitate towards people with similar views. So while I may not surround myself with friends with opposing views, I do try to read blogs and news from those who don't see the world in the same way as I do. 

10. Do you plan on incorporating a large amount of travel with your career?
My career is not super portable, though it has allowed me to work in different countries - NYC, London and now Singapore. And because of that paycheck, I have been blessed with the opportunity to travel. So does that count? 


Jewels Wandering www.jewelswandering.com or find her on Instagram @jewels_wandering Twitter @jewelswandering or Facebook Jewels Wandering. 
All the pictures in this post were provided by Julie of Jewels Wandering. (c) All rights reserved



Thank you Julie for sharing your story!! If you would like to be featured on this series please drop me an email at ahdancecompany@gmail.com

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Monday, July 24, 2017

Third Culture Kid Spotlight: Miyon



1. What is your name?
Miyon

2. Where were you born?
South Korea



3. What is your heritage?
Korean

4. Where have you lived and how long at each place?
Not in a chronological order due to travels between countries:
Korea - 6 years
Japan - 6 years
Hong Kong - 2.5 years
New Zealand 0.5 years
U.S.A. - 8 years


5. What is your definition of "home" and how is it different from those around you?

Home is where I feel most comfortable. it is a place where I can meet my friends in the local area. It doesn't have to be a home from childhood, but it is the good memories that make me nostalgic and I call them homes.



6. Where do you consider "home" and why?

I consider my currrent home to be where I am now and where my friends currently live. Wherever I go, it is my being that carry with me. It is the relationships with others that tie me to the common experience associated with them.

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?
Definitely. I am majored in international studies and I speak 3 languages fluently and took foreign language courses in 3 languages during college years. I studied abroad and traveled on my own, and am usually the first one to welcome new people (both international and domestic) that I meet on campus.

8. What are your thoughts on globalization? Current political situation?
Globalization is not something new. It's been there for thousands of years, if not longer. but I see that third culture kids are increasing in number and that will change the political dynamic as it already has including the Obama administration team.



9. How are your thoughts on world affairs different from those around you?

That world affairs is related to borders and how we define borders is tied to the political economy.


10. Do you plan on incorporating a large amount of travel with your career?

I will ultimately. I plan to work in the US and later in China, but I also would like to travel extensively in the future years that follow

11. Any last comments to future Third Culture Kids/Cross Culture Kids, any words of wisdom?

TCKs are unique but we are human just like everyone else. We all have a need for belonging and certainty. When we can embrace both the blessings and challenges from the place of grace, we can unleash the inner power to better serve the humanity. Be gracious to the process and don't forget to follow your passion. You are a gift to the world.



Thank You Miyon!!! If you would like to be a part of this series, please drop me an email at ahdancecompany@gmail.com

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Monday, July 3, 2017

Third Culture Kid Spotlight: Gabby





Gabby is a travel blogger and TCK, just like me. You can find her blog at Packs Light, an interesting girl who is passionate about travel, life, and making the world a better place.


1. What is your name?



Gabrielle, but you can call me Gabby! 



2. Where were you born?



San Diego, California, USA.


3. What is your heritage?


My father is 100% Jamaican.

My mother is 25% Italian, 25% Finnish, and 50% Cherokee-American mix.


4. Where have you lived and how long at each place?



California, USA - 1 year
Missouri, USA - 1 year
Virginia, USA - 5 years
Okinawa, Japan - 3 years
Virginia - 12 years
Dubai, UAE - 1 year
Virginia - currently





5. What is your definition of "home" and how is it different from those around you?



Home is not yet a concept to me. Home is whatever space I'm in at the time where I'm comfortable, and can hang my clothes up in a closet.

Other people may consider home where you've lived the longest or even where the majority of their family is, but that's just not how it is for me. I think I'll consider home where I start my career or find my significant other.


6. 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 do! I actually have won multiple study abroad scholarships, and my year in Dubai was spent studying Middle Eastern studies and Arabic. I'm finishing up my degree in Mathematics now, but hope to get a career in international relations or international business.




7. What are your thoughts on globalization? Current political situation?

Globalization in an inevitability of the world. The more interconnected the world becomes, between governments and cultures and business, the better it is for all of us. Of course I think it's important to remember ones culture and geniology and respect it, I think it's more important to be globally aware.

8. How are your thoughts on world affairs different from those around you?


As I said, I try to have a more global and culturally relative perspective. My favorite quotes are, "You can't hate someone when you know their story", and "History will repeat itself".

9. Do you plan on incorporating a large amount of travel with your career?


Inshallah!



Thanks for sharing your story Gabby! 




Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Third Culture Kid Spotlight: Rafika

I met up with Rafika and her friend Kimberly in Vienna over Christmas. With TCK meet ups, it was like meeting old friends. In my experience with meeting a lot of TCKs and long time expats, the global connection makes us feel like we "get it". Its a family community of sorts. 


L-R: Kim, Me, Rafika in Vienna





1. What is your name?
Rafika

2. Where were you born?
Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania

3. What is your heritage?
Both of my parents are Indonesian

4. Where have you lived and how long at each place?
Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, 0-2 years old  (2 years)
Geneva, Switzerland, 2-4 years (2 years, I can't exactly recall because I think 

we went to Indonesia for a few months before going to Switzerland)
Depok, Indonesia (kindergarten and elementary, around 2-3 years)
Helsinki, Finland (4,5 years, elementary)
Depok, Indonesia (3, years, junior high school)
Paramaribo, Indonesia (3 years, high school)
Jakarta, Indonesia (4 years, bachelor)
Vienna, Austria (4 years, masters)

5. What is your definition of "home" and how is it different from those around you?
Home is any situation that can make me feel accepted and content, whether it be the current residence, family, friends, pets, hobbies, passions, and life partner/future family. Some people might define home as their birthplace, parents' countries, or where they grew up. I was born in Tanzania, my parents are from Indonesia, and I grew up in different countries, so either I don't know which to consider as home or I would call all those as my homes.





6. Where do you consider "home" and why?
The whole world is home for me. It is everywhere and the homes that I have lived in before even though it is unlikely I will ever come back. I feel belongingness not only just one specific country. Since my homes are scattered, I see the world as home for all human beings.

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?
I like learning foreign languages and I would love to use my background for a greater impact, although right now, I am  still searching that one job that can make me feel fulfilled.

8. What are your thoughts on globalization? Current political situation?
I think there is positive and negative consequence. Globalization can emphasize differences of cultures, due to the communication technology that connects the world, allowing internet users to learn different customs without having to be there, but it can also erase diversity since there is a uniformity of cultures through the shared communication culture.

9. How are your thoughts on world affairs different from those around you?
I tend to see it more from an observer, open-minded, global perspective, usually concluding that there needs to be more progress

10. Do you plan on incorporating a large amount of travel with your career?
Yes, would love to.


Laughing while trying to get the selfie stick to work..


Rafika is currently working on gathering TCKs for an anthology to document the diversity of TCK stories from around the world. If you identify as a TCK please fill out her form http://bit.ly/2rZgcIv

Saturday, February 11, 2017

The TCK Identity is ambiguous



I have an ambiguous identity of a Third Culture Kid. There's quite a lot of nationalistic pride these days in the world and the more I shy away creating a strong stance on any of the particular countries I have either an affiliation, lived in before, traveled many times to and totally enamoured with because I don't understand nationalistic pride.

As a TCK, I'm ambiguous. Culturally mixed up and adopting cultural traditions that I like along the way. When one has a global stand point of view, it isn't about specific countries and patriotism to one country. It is about feeling torn because why does one need to choose? How does one choose? Should we choose at all...

I have a perverse fascination with people who have strong viewpoints because it means they have decided what they are going to fight for. Fighting for your beliefs is a very Western ideology that I grew up with in my education. I know what I believe in and will question why... just like I am doing now.

I've been interested in hearing both sides of the story lately because to understand a situation is to hear the extreme viewpoints of both sides. Perhaps, I'm optimistic in thinking this would probably solve or come up with a solution that both sides can agree upon. This is how I view disagreements between people.

As a TCK, many of us are used to looking at the world from an Outsider/Insider perspective even if we aren't realising it. This perspective can sometimes frustrate me because what is so clear to me can be clouded when one has a strong extreme stance.

I'm a globalist that believes TCKs and cross-culturals should assert the diplomatic Outsider/Insider perspective. This is the TCK privilege.




I am a TCK and I'm culturally ambiguous.
Straddling between cultures
I watch,
I listen,
I see,
I experience.
Then I talk.

Cultures clash and my mind races.
Trying to navigate a world that is so divided like night and day.

A dramatic world of extremes is a chaotic world.

Chaos.

All I want to do is create, produce, inspire, and love.

Love.

The world needs more love.