Recommended Reading: September 15, 2016

I’ve enjoyed some great articles and blog posts about expat life this month – here’s a taste of some of the best.

Life Lessons from Rapunzel
Taylor Joy Murray
Yet another fabulous post from the wonderful Taylor. I don’t know what I expected from a post referencing the movie Tangled, but it definitely wasn’t an elegantly accurate picture of the turmoil of transition. But that’s what this is – and you should really read it for yourself!

‘Blind Spots’ and Other Problems in Globally Blended Families
The Wall Street Journal
While I find the title a little negative, this is an excellent article on biracial families and the experience of mixed race children. Author Tracy Slater includes quotes from several people who have had this experience, and most reflect the same emotions I heard in my own interviews. (There are a few lines very similar to things I wrote in my subsection on Bicultural Families.) One example from Slater’s article: “the hardest part of growing up mixed was not fitting easily within the ethnic identity of either parent.” I particularly appreciated the focus on the different experience of parents who grew up in a racial majority group, and mixed race children growing up as a minority.
“Globe-trotting parents in mixed marriages who grew up in the majority may be aware of racism and may even have faced it themselves, but most still lack a deeper understanding of racism during a child’s formative years.”

My experience is a constant longing for connection
SBS
I really enjoyed these reflections from ATCK Natasha. Her words evoke colour and emotion and the experience of living in between. Here are two of my favourite parts:
“I was always chopping and filtering parts of my identity. Trying to find ways to belong in two worlds and drowning under the rejection from both.”
“Both my homeland and my birthplace are dots on the horizon. So far removed from where I am.”

How to Say Goodbye
Inkwell Insights
This is a really wonderful reflection on the process of saying goodbye – not a list of items to check off, but an attitude toward the world around me. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it put so well into words before, in a way that I resonate with so deeply:
“Goodbye is a perspective. It’s noticing the moments passing and embracing them while you can. It’s acknowledging the apprehension and excitement tangled up inside you as you consider your future and knowing they are both valid, natural, healthy. It’s slowing down for the view you may never see again and still speeding up for the one you’ve never seen before.”

Creepy Critters We Have Known
The Foreign Service Journal
I love this collection of “creepy critter” stories from around the world! I particularly related to the gecko stories – I have a few of my own gecko stories from Cambodia…

How to Travel Light as a Family
Knocked Up Abroad
Great practical post with travel tips for young families. Actually, some good tips in general. Some of these are things I do and I don’t even have kids!

Books on moving and transitions for TCKs
Kid’s Books without Borders
This is a really fantastic resource – a long list of books suitable for children of varying ages, most of them illustrated. The post also gives short descriptions of each one. This site itself is also a great cause: “The purpose of Kid’s Books Without Borders is to send books to families living overseas who have little or no access to bookstores or libraries with children’s books in English.”

 

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