Sunday, 28 July 2013

Book Review: Slurping Soup and other Confusions

I wish this book had been available years ago when I was a child and our family moved around in Africa. This book is full of real life stories and activities to help third culture kids during transitions. Children related very differently to international moves than adults. This book helps parents get an insight in to how children experience leaving a country and discovering a new country.

The book Slurping Soup and other Confusions has been written by 6 authors, each with their own professional background and they are all parents of third culture kids. One of the authors: Ulrike Gemmer even grew abroad in Jamaica, Somalia, Indonesia, New Zealand and Zambia.

All the children of the authors contributed  their personal stories, artwork, pictures, and ideas for activities. So it's a book by third culture kids for third culture kids!

In one of the first chapters D'Arcy (aged 8) writes "My first year in Vietman was wierd". He says "the worst part about Hanoi was the bad smell outside our house where the taxis parked". The story continues and following this story there is an activity: the Wierdometer. The child is encouraged to write down things they find wierd in the new country.

In another chapter Sophie (aged 8) writes that she did not feel safe in Jakarta, Indonesia when her parents went out and left her with the nanny. She would cry a lot every time they went out. Discover why she did not feel safe and how Sophie and her parents found a solution that made Sophie feel safe! The activity is make your own backup plan.

Hafsah (aged 6) discovered she had missed her favourite aunt's wedding. How could she? Without me? The connected activity is that a child can write down what special event they had missed. Then they can circle the emotion that best fits the feelings they had, like angry, disappointed, sad, heartbroken, confused, lonely etc.

There are many different fun activities: like making a special collage, learning to count in 15 different languages, brainstorming ideas for keeping in touch with relatives, marking on the map of the world where you live and have lived and where you still want to go. The activities are suitable for 3 to 12 year olds.

The book is a collection of 23 true storiesThe stories explore:  
  • adapting to new environments
  • Who am I? Where do I belong?
  • Home and family adjustment
  • Cultural differences
  • Friendship change
This a great book for expat parents to use with kids while preparing to leave, during the move and while living abroad. It is a easy tool to use to talk with your child about the changes and all the things that are different in the new country. It makes it easier for parents to talk about the feelings involved with all the changes. No matter in which country you are moving to you should take it along with you.

Slurping Soup and Other Confusions by Maryam Afnan Ahmad, Cherie Emigh, Ulrike Gemmer, B├írbara Menezes, Kathryn Tonges and Lucinda Willshire. Available on Amazon or on There is a facebook page: Slurping Soup and other confusions too. Interested in a preview of the book? You find a sample here of 4 chapters (includes stories and activities).

Have you used the book? What are your experiences? Do you know of other good books on moving abroad and useful for kids?

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Sunday, 14 July 2013

Sharing New Third Culture Kid Links

A couple of times these past few days I thought "oh that's an interesting post that I want to share with you!" So that's what I am going to do. Here comes 5 interesting links that are worth checking out:

  1. A Series called Painting Pictures: Who are Third Culture Kids. It's a series that started in May 2013 on the Djibouti Jones blog written by Rachel Pieh Jones. She has a call for submissions too. Ruth van Reken starts the series. Ruth’s and Rachel's desire, for this series, is “the normalizing of experiences and then the empowering of TCKs and ATCKs to live life to the fullest potential.” There are many good posts there already and every week new posts are being posted, so it's worth checking her website. This week there was a great post called A Whole New Self by Dr. Susannah-Joy Schuilenberg who is is a Canadian behavioural health psychologist. She has experience working with adult third culture kids (ATCKs). She gives 8 tips how to maximize the upside and minimize the downside of the TCK experience. In the comments you can find sound advice on how to find a therapist if you need one.
  2. There is a new article on DenizenMag Making the Most of Your TCK Experience When Applying for a Job. As the author says: Cross-cultural and multilingual communication skills are assets in the workplace. This is so true!
  3. If you need a good laugh it's time to check 31 Signs You're a Third Culture Kid.
  4. What's it like when someone who has always lived in one spot falls in love with a third culture kid? This is a guest post written by James R. Mitchner's girl friend on his TCK Life blog.
  5. Here's a link to a post on Irina's blog. She interviewed me on: why I started my DrieCulturen blog. How I find things to write about? What my future plans are etc. You will learn more about me than that I have shared here. Irina is from the Ukraine, she now lives in Denmark. At 19 years of age she worked in Belgium. She is not a TCK but  after she returned to the Ukraine after one year it was very difficult, she had changed a lot and she felt that her life wouldn't be the same, with some friends unfortunately she didn't have common interests anymore, but she found new ones. Actually, no matter where she is she always finds good friends, she tries to be open to people. She has just started her blog.
By DrieCulturen seen at a local hotel in Holland
If you dicovered any interesting new links on third culture kids please share them here. 

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Sunday, 7 July 2013

Military Brats, Third Culture Kids: Children of the World?

Thanks goes to my friend Natasja, a third culture kid who sent me this poem. Now I can share it with you. Laura, the author of the poem is a military child, just like Natasja was. The children of military personnel are some times called military brats. It is a recognized term of cultural identity. Military brats fit into the description of third culture kids though there are some unique features of course.

I am amazed that a child of 11 years old can write a poem like this. What struck me too is that she mentions the themes third culture kids struggle with.

What are your thoughts after reading this poem?

More information:

Monday, 1 July 2013

The Winner is...Someone who is Raising Third Culture Kids!

Last but not least! MaDonna who writes the blog Raising TCKs has won the giveaway, a signed copy of the book Expat Life Slice by Slice to celebrate my blog's second anniversary. She was the last person to post a comment on the great interview with the Telegraph blogger and author of the book Apple Gidley. Apple grew up abroad and has kept moving since. If you missed the interview do check it out because it is worth reading. I enjoyed it and did you know Apple even lived in Emmen, the Netherlands for some time?

I like her closing words: "I think amidst all the chaos of packing and adjustments, particularly at this time of year when people are on the move again, it’s important to remember the chaos will dissipate, the groans of reluctant children will lessen and we will find a friend with whom to share coffee or wine."  

Let's take those words to heart especially during a time of change. Even during a storm, a time will come when the storm has passed and all is at rest again. Peace has returned.

There is a favourite little verse of mine. I learned it in Africa and it has stayed with me since. It's comforting:

A cup of coffee in Gent, Belgium recently @DrieCulturen
Life is a mixture of sunshine and rain
teardrops and laughter
pleasure and pain
We can't have all bright days,
but is is certainly true:
There was never a cloud the sun did not shine through!

I want to congratulate MaDonna on winning the book. I hope she finds some time to a read and enjoy the book. MaDonna lives in Asia, she calls her family a fusion family. One of her TCKs is a special needs child and with lots of wisdom MaDonna writes about her experiences. Like the post on An Expat Special Needs TCK Parent. Her most recent post is: Expat Special Needs Parent: Marriage Homework. 
She's on twitter too @mdmaurer.

By the way how do you survive a storm in your life? Any tips?

Interesting Links: