Recommended reading: September 24th, 2018

Time for another edition of Recommended Reading! Most of this week’s posts are tips for moving overseas and raising kids abroad – with some lovely personal stories, too. But before I launch into this week’s round up, just a quick reminder: this is the LAST WEEK to apply for scholarships to attend the FIGT annual conference in Bangkok on April 26-28, 2019. It’s also the LAST WEEK to apply to speak at the conference! There are all sorts of presentations – speaking to large groups, sharing with small groups, coordinating a panel discussion, or even creating a poster. FIGT stands for Families in Global Transition and it is an amazing event and, even more than that, and amazing community. Read my post about why I’m excited about this event, or go to their website to apply for a scholarship or submit a speaking proposal. I’m going to be there, and I’ve applied to speak as well!

And now, on with this week’s Recommended Reading! The first two are about TCKs as young adults, and support for them on the journey. Since I’m currently working on a book for young adult TCKs, I lovelovelove reading this sort of stuff!

Third Culture Kids and the Growth Mindset
Life Story
Another great post from Rachel, with another helpful and hopeful idea for TCKs as they grow into adulthood. This one talks about growth mindset – the idea that we can continue to grow and learn skills throughout life, it’s not a case of either you have it or you don’t. Rachel points to a particular way that a false growth mindset like this can impact TCKs:
We can sometimes form this false growth mindset, believing that because our childhood primed us for adaptation and flexibility, that we are innately gifted at ‘fitting in’ or getting on with varied groups of people. In adulthood many TCKs experience isolation or a sense of ‘failure to adapt’, especially to settledness or host country communities. This experience jars painfully with the belief that they are ‘good at’ adapting and growing as individuals. It’s your classic double whammy – first it hurts that I feel socially isolated, second it hurts that this hurts! I should be good at this! After all, isn’t adapting what I’m all about? But there is hope! A true growth mindset is one that we can cultivate, at any time of life.”

Monday Morning Musings #10 – When You Know to Offer Them… Home
Monday Morning Emails
I love this piece, about expat parents of adult TCKs and the power of being able to offer them a home – somewhere. Also, this lovely paragraph about the power of the book Monday Morning Emails, which Jo and Terry Anne wrote together:
In Monday Morning Emails, Jo and I were honest about the challenges that our children have experienced. Often, the messages sent to us privately ask, ‘How are the ‘kids?’ In truth, they are young adults, and we both knew it was important to share their journey of depression/anxiety and struggles with identity. Why? With the hope it might help other families experiencing similar issues and as a parent, you are never truly at ease until your children are well.

Parenting Third Culture Kids: Identity & Belonging
The Premium Nomads
This is a great little post about TCKs, the confusion of place/belonging/identity, and a few helpful hints for parents. One of the main reasons I’m including it, however, is the following quote. It is one of the best descriptions I’ve come across as to why the Third Culture can be such a powerful place for TCKs:
Their experiences have been spread out between places across borders, and those places became connected to stories, life phases, friends in particular places, and their emotional connection to it all. Ultimately, they make up their own thread of life, laced with the pearls of their unique TCK memories, which they carry with them everywhere they go. And maybe that’s exactly where their belonging starts to manifest: the space where they meet others who carry the same beads, who have gone through the same experiences and with whom they feel a little bit more at home, because none of them really do, and paradoxically, that’s where home is.

Love ones left behind: understanding their emotions
The Home Wanderers
A poignant and powerful post about the other side – how our friends and family members may feel when we decide to move away from them. Far, far away. The author actually talked to her own best friend about this – about what the experience of being left was like, and advice she would give to expats and those who are planning to head out overseas.
Leaving your loved ones is one of the hardest things you will do and there are negative consequences of that action that affect not just you but the loved ones that stay behind. That person is happy with their life and having you nearby. By moving country, you are taking one of their comforts away from them and they feel powerless when faced with this unwanted change. Their resentment that ensues can therefore be frustrating and upsetting for the person moving away, however it is important to understand where they are coming from and treat them with kindness and consideration despite how negatively they react. Your friends and family ultimately want you to be happy and content.”

How to settle into life in Dar es Salaam from a family’s perspective
International School of Tanganyika
The story of one expatriate family’s transition. I really appreciated the two tips this mum shared for getting settled into a new location quickly – things I often advise myself! 1) make home cozy, a comfortable and homey place to retreat to; 2) get stuck into routine quickly. Also – this quote was an important one! Expectations of what a move will look like can really throw us:
Tanzania surprisingly took the longest time of all the countries I had moved to [to feel comfortable]. I think it was because I had expectations. The last time I had lived in Tanzania I was a teenager, now I arrived with a family, which was quite different.

Moving countries: why I am more with less
Moving a lot really encourages you to pare down your *stuff* (especially if you don’t have a job package that includes packing and shipping services!) This post gives a few simple but really helpful hints of ways to divest yourself of belongings along the way. I really love that the first tip is “keep the unique and special”.
Souvenirs from my travels and memorabilia items such as a shell from a summer holiday, a pack of letters from my pen friend, a dried flower from my first love, are my weakness when it comes to my efforts for minimal living.”

Cross-cultural awareness: more than just a different country
This post looks at three aspects of change and difference that impact expats: physical surroundings, specific cultural differences, and changes in self-perception. It’s not an in-depth post, but a good starting place especially for those considering a move abroad.
One thing you can be sure of? No two-week holiday – however authentic – can prepare you for working in another country. That would be like saying babysitting a few times prepares you for parenthood.

Tennis Star Naomi Osaka Perfectly Answers What It Means To Be Biracial
Finally, in response to current-ish events, here’s a post reflecting on Naomi Osaka, and her representation of biracial and cross-cultural identity.
This response is brilliant because in a semi sarcastic way, Osaka replied that while she is made up of all of these cultures, it doesn’t make her less Japanese or less Haitian or even less American nor does her identity have to be heightened in a way to create a storyline she has yet to write.

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