Thursday, March 24, 2011

Families in Global Transition Conference 2011: Reflections on my sessions

(Photograph taken during the panel discussion of the Families in Global Transition Conference)

The Families in Global Transition Conference of 2011 came and went. I wanted to vlog after day two but I was so exhausted that I just crashed. So many new friends, new connections, and seeing old friends, rekindling connections. Its amazing that a conference of Third Culture Kids, Cross Culture Kids, Third Culture Adults, TCK Researchers, Expatriates, Relocation & Transitions experts, Global Coaches, TCK/TCA/CCK/Expat Writers, and of course Artists (there were a handful of us this year!) can connect on so many different levels. Its no wonder that this conference is called "Families".

I presented twice on Friday (day two) of the conference during the "Kitchen Table Conversations" and the "Kitchen Table Conversation alternatives".

I spoke about how to create an active TCK community and used Chameleon as the project example but also spoke about my role as event organizer of the NYC TCK Meetup group. I utilized my alumni network, social media, and research skills to create a healthy TCK network to rekindle friendships and make new friends, who all happen to be TCKs. Stressing that you're there to make connections and friends is important b/c building a trust among friendships is the key to maintaining that connection. As humans we strive for a commonality among us when we strike up a conversation so its important that if we are to gain new friends that are TCKs to find those commonalities. I also showed an edited mash up video of the community based activities we've done with Chameleon so far to create a sense of community and a short clip of our performances in various settings.

During the Kitchen Table Alternatives, I started with a movement improvisation "ice-breaker" using the props that TCK jewelry designer, Natalia Krasnodebska created for Chameleon w/ the group. We moved with the prop singly (w/ our eyes closed so we're not self-conscious) then "connected" with a partner then as a whole group creating a "twister" like effect which made everyone smile. The next activity we did is a free-write for 5 minutes. Everyone chose a piece of colored paper and wrote for 5 minutes. During a free-write, the person writes without censoring themselves and it can be prose, poetry, words, scribbles. After the 5 minutes, I had everyone read out loud to themselves their musings. We circled important words, phrases, sentences and then shared them with partners. I found that the way chose to organize our thoughts on paper, our choice of words/phrases were a reflection of who we are as individuals and how we approach certain topics, situations, problem solve, etc. I thought that was an interesting discovery. The next activity involved drawing "When I think of home, I think of..." & "Home means... to me". I mentioned that the choice of color that each person chose is also a reflection of who you are and that color may evoke a certain happy memory. Colors are strong memory markers that can evoke feelings, memories that may or may not be remembered otherwise. After the drawing exercise, we created movement that was a response to our drawing which can be literal or abstract. I then played the role of choreographer and placed everyone in a formation that was fitting for their movement to reflect the whole group as a whole. I discovered that almost everyone in the room had a flight-y or moving sense to their movement while my dear boyfriend who is a CCK sat down in a meditative pose while everyone swirled around. That was our dance.

This kind of process is also my process for creating movement for Chameleon there's a sense of trust and community when working with my dancers in this way. I also find that these mini-activities can also be used to "un-block" memories and experiences that we've held in our sub-conscious for a while. Tapping into the unconscious latent desires and feelings. The writers in the room were having a mental block in their process of writing their book so I hope that this session helped release or ease that "blockage". I find that quite a number TCKs tend to hold back on a lot of memories/experiences for fear of being misunderstood, ridicule, and use defense mechanisms to "block" these things out for survival. When all of these "blocks" are created over the years and build up, this can actually hinder us from moving forward and overcoming relationship problems, career problems, and even developmental growth.

I am still in the process of breaking down some of these "blocks" that hinder my growth.

(More thoughts to come about the remainder of the conference later..)

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