Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Neither here nor there...where do I belong?


"We all grew up in multiple countries
and multiple worlds,
the reasons are different 
and where we grew up is completely different
but we are united by this experience."

These are just a few words of the film "Neither here nor There" produced by Eman Ryan Yamazaki. The film is all about third culture kids, growing up among worlds. A trailer can be seen above. Clips of the film will be shown at The Families in Global Transition Conference (FIGT) 2012 in Washington this Friday 30th of March. The DVD of the film is for sale.

It's a documentary that explores cultural identity for people who have grown up in places other than their home culture, known as Third Culture Kids. Through the stories of six people, the film investigates the often overlooked effects on adults who had international upbringings, their struggles to fit in and an eternal search to belong. "Neither Here Nor There," explores the ideas of cultural identity. One person says: 

"I am a confusion of cultures, uniquely me"

As you know I was a third culture kid too. I have been thinking about the trailer of the film. I can identify with the people in the film. Their story is just like mine. The following words are my thoughts on this topic.

The past I cannot change,
the future I can try to influence
the present I can make the most of
but most of all I want to accept myself, just the way I am.
I will be happy just because I'm ME.

Mix together a little of these countries: the Netherlands, Zambia, Malawi and Zimbabwe.
Stir well
Add lots of sunshine
Allow to mature
Sprinkle with some tears
Enjoy the result: ME.

What are your thoughts on this topic? 

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Saturday, 24 March 2012

The Downside of Growing up Overseas as a Third Culture Kid

Today I was reading an article about The positives of growing up overseas as a third culture kid, it's on Maria's blog I was an expat wife. I agree there are many positive aspects about growing up in other cultures. Earlier I wrote about My 10 advantages of growing up in an other culture but there is a downside too. I sometimes I have a feeling that expat parents don't want to hear the downside. They don't want to hear the negatives. That's your story and I am sure with my kids it will all be different. I suppose we all prefer to look at the bright side of life. I suppose we all prefer to hope that the road we are on will be a smooth nice tarmac road without too many potholes. Well let me assure you when you leave the main road and start making international moves with kids you will meet some potholes along the way. I know what I am talking about when I talk about potholes, there were huge ones on the Zambian and Ugandan roads. Some times I preferred a smooth dust road instead of an old tarmac road full of potholes.

Just in case you are interested I have written about My 10 disadvantages of growing up in other cultures. I am starting to discover that there are more people who grew up as third culture kids and are writing about their experiences. I will introduce you to a few.
  1. James R. Mitchner writes a blog called Third Culture Kid Life. He has a blog post called The Price We Pay and it's all about growing up far away from his grandmother and not actually really knowing her.
  2. Heidi Sand-Hart has written a book called: Home Keeps Moving. It's worth reading if you are interested in getting a glimpse into the life of a TCK.                                                                                                                                         “Heidi Sand-Hart’s “Home Keeps Moving” authenticates the TCK experience. Her personal stories demonstrate the tangible reality of the TCK theories we have been reading and hearing about for years.” – Tina L Quick, author of The Global Nomad's Guide to University Transition.
  3. Wout Wynants writes a blog called Memoirs of a Third Culture Kid. He is in the process of writing a book about his adventures of growing up in South East Asia. Recently he wrote about his close encounters of the slithering kind. It's all about his exotic adventures with snakes. That's one thing that's true. When you grow up overseas you go on adventures that many have difficulty relating to and people often don't want to hear about. I find it quite strange, but true not everyone wants to hear your story.
  4. Hey it's Johnny C has a blog and writes about his experiences growing up as a third culture kid too.
 Sorry to talk about the potholes along the way but it is better to be prepared than to be sorry.

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Saturday, 17 March 2012

The best gift you can give your kid

I came across this Language Challenge 180 and I want to share it with you. There are over 650 people worldwide joining in the challenge and learning or passing on to there kids more than 50 different languages. I'm excited about the challenge because it is such a precious gift parents can give their kids the possibility of learning their mother tongue or father tongue. I wrote a blog on third culture kids learning their mother tongue.

As many of you know I grew up in Africa, I went to an English speaking international school and was surrounded by English speaking people most of the day but my parents come from the Netherlands. So my mother tongue is Dutch. To this day I am so glad that my parents made an effort to teach us to speak, read and write Dutch. Yes you are right it cost them energy, money, time and perseverance, but I am grateful.

Just to get back to the challenge. You can find more information on the website of Multilingual Living. I am impressed by the helpful information that can be found on this website. If you join in the challenge you will receive 2 emails each week with language tips, information and activities for the week. There are prize giveaways each week.

On the language page you will find many different languages. There you can share language-specific tips, resources and information. Here are a few languages that you will find in the list:
  1. Dutch
  2. English
  3. Spanish
  4. German
  5. Italian
  6. Chinese
  7. Arabic
There are many more languages in the list. Here are two quotes from the Multilingual Living website:

"When it comes to learning a language or passing one on to our children, the key component is consistency: doing at least a little bit each and every day."

"Languages are a little like muscles: if we don’t use them, they can atrophy over time."

I found this quote on the internet too and I like it:

" Preserving Your Heritage Language is the key to preserving your next generation, giving your child a true sense of identity and a high level of self esteem."

I hope I have motivated you as parents to start or to keep teaching your kids your own language. I truly think it is the best gift you can give them. Do you agree? 

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Photo thanks to Duboix Morgue File

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Great twitter links on kids growing up in other cultures

Photo by Janneke @DrieCulturen Yummy Indonesian food!
So sorry that it has been quiet here on my blog. I have been on holiday and have been enjoying travelling abroad, just like most third culture kids do. Have you seen Aga Magdolen's film "Les Passagers"? A text in the film is:

"Before I learned to walk I already knew how to fly".

So flying is second nature to us. Airports can be a cause of excitement: the door to the rest of the world. This time I was in Indonesia. All my senses have been stimulated. There is so much to see, hear, smell, taste(!) and feel. When I am in other countries I feel "alive". It feels good.

I just wanted to let you know that I was asked to write a guest blog this week. If you would like to read it hop over to this blog Tales from Windmill fields. It's all about cultural identity confusion and third culture kids. This was my second guest blog. My first guest blog was on Expat Explorer and it's called "Where are you from?"

Here are some great twitter links just in case you missed them:

Good news for in Europe! Ruth van Reken is coming to a Third culture kid conference April 2013

"I can truly say that my experiences have given me the greatest gifts one could ever ask for" A third culture kid says 

Third culture kids being the hidden immigrants. Identify!  

How to help kids deal with a move abroad...

3 Important Factors to Consider When Raising a Bilingual Child

Great read! Musings on the meaning of the word "Home" in an article by former third culture kid   

Worth reading: "Pivotal journeys for third culture kids"  

Third culture kids and the questions they get

Having a Baby Abroad –

Having a Baby Abroad - Global Differences Series:   

I’m like a chameleon, tend to start talking like people I’m surrounded with. & accents

Want to study in English in Europe? Check what the possibilities are for

Please add your link if you have news on third culture kids or anything that has to do with kids growing up in other cultures. Thanks.

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