In July 1974, my sister and I were dressed in matching blue-and-white shirts and no-fuss haircuts, exploring a ship while it sliced through a Norwegian fjord. We were on “home leave” – returning to the United States for the first time since we’d moved to Jakarta the previous year. Before this trip, our family vacations had consisted of car trips; my sister and I sitting in the backseat, a suitcase forming the demilitarized zone between us, with stays in motels and dinners of fast food. But now, we were traveling around Scandinavia for a few weeks, eating reindeer meat and dainty, open-faced sandwiches. As my sister and I raced around the boat, a white haired woman with both loud clothing and voice – an American – smiled and asked where we were from. Since I was ten and therefore much older and wiser than my 8-year-old sister, I replied, “Indonesia.” The woman turned to her friend and said, “Look at the two little Indonesian boys!” We giggled but didn’t correct her. With dark blonde hair and blue-gray eyes, it was unlikely …
Entrepreneurs and TCKs have some strikingly common characteristics: adaptable, open to risk, and remarkably resilient. “I’ve seen all kinds of entrepreneurs,” John Scull says. “I think, at end of day, the most important characteristic is that you can deal with ambiguity.”
I decided to go back to my heart-home. Permanently. Not as a transient expatriate, but as a resident, a contributing member of the local society.
I felt embarrassed and disappointed. At 9-years-old, being called stuck up and unappreciative was the worst thing anyone could do. “From now on,” I told myself, “I’m gonna hide it.”