Recommended reading – August 25, 2016

Here’s my latest selection of interesting articles about expat/TCK life. There’s been a lot of good reading around this month, but here are a few I’ve particularly enjoyed.

Brexit, Trump, and Explaining the Unexplainable: When It’s Exhausting to be an Expat
Wine and Cheese (Doodles)
I love this post! It’s funny, and real, but the author also taps into the deeper issue: expats are cultural ambassadors, and also end up translating their culture to outsiders. This means we have to understand it ourselves, requiring an objectivity that doesn’t come when you live in it. And then there are the times our own countries/cultures emabrrass us… just another joy of expat life!

Erasing Expat Ignorance, part 3 of 3
The Culture Blend
This is the final installment in an excellent series of posts about “expat ignorance”. All three posts are fantastics and the last one was just as impressive. Lots of good advice about to accept and correct our ignorance. Jerry makes a good distinction between “ignorance” and “stupidity” which I appreciate, along with good thoughts on humility, engagement and respect.

Don’t Ignore Your Passport Country
A Life Overseas
Good thoughts here about staying connected to the events of the countries we care about. When something happens that is deeply important to a country’s collective memory and experience – and I am not there to experience it with them – it leaves a gap, a space where I am disconnected. Living away means this is going to happen, but it’s worth being deliberate about maintaining some connection.

Staying Well
IMF Family Association Chronicles
Great post on the grief of staying – being the one who watches others leaves, over and over. Sometimes this isn’t acknowledged as a grief experiences, leading to “disenfranchised grief”. It’s always important to recognise that there are two sides to a separation – the one who leaves and the one who stays, and both experience something significant.

7 Tips For Surviving Life After Being An Expat
The Huffington Post
This post is a month old but I’m sharing it because I really related to it. I moved to my passport country 18 months ago and have found each of these “tips” accurate/helpful. In particular, reminding why I chose to leave where I was, and why I chose to move to where I am. Those reasons are a helpful reminder on the (inevitable) tough days. The other really good one is exploring – it makes a huge difference to my sense of connection to my new place when I take time to get to know it.

Mental Festival Brawl
Kriti K. Gupta
A sweet personal post that delves into another element of Third Culture “in between” experiences – local festivals. How do I celebrate the festivals of my family’s heirtage when I don’t live there? Do I continue celebrating the festivals of my adopted home after I leave? How much “buy in” am I supposed (or allowed) to have for each?

Bi-Cultural Couples Find Neutral Ground in Third Countries
The Wall Street Journal
Interesting article. The idea of “neutral ground” for bi-cultural families came up in my interviews of TCKs. A number of them said they found it easier to live in a “neutral” thrid culture, both with their family and as an adult. One reason given was that they were not in a cultural tug-of-war – defending one culture to another, or feeling that one part of them was more or less expressed than the other.

My mum asks, ‘Why do you keep leaving?’
The Irish Times
Lovely personal reflections on the balance of expat life – there are huge gains, but there are also things we miss out on. Each place we connect with has different attractions – and often different downsides.

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