experiences
Comments 54

The white lies TCKs tell

Goddamn my American accent.

“You’re from Singapore?” the girl sneered in her all-too-real Singaporean accent. “Born and bred?”

I was out with my new Boston roommates, who were introducing me as their “friend from Singapore.” I had no problem with it until I realized one of their friends was Singaporean.

“Hi, I’m Steph” was all it took for my undeniable American twang to tip her off. She scrutinized me like I was a 12-year-old handing her a fake ID, trying to get into some exclusive club.

Oh Lin, I wanted to say to my roommate, why did you not let me introduce myself? Why did you not let me tell my usual white lies?

Over the years I’ve developed a fail-safe pattern that avoids awkward social situations such as this.

When in Hong Kong (birthplace), say I’m from Singapore.
When in Singapore (hometown), say I’m from Hong Kong.
When in Boston (where I’m living now), say I’m from Singapore.
And if I’m Boston and happen to be talking to someone from Singapore, I say I’m from Chicago (where I went to college).

I know I’m not the only one who does a “little dance of white lies” when asked where I’m from. So I decided to quickly survey some former classmates from the Singapore American School. What do they say when asked, “Where are you from?”

Daniel Thämbïräj’s first response: “Ummm.”

“Ummmm well…” says Tommy Phillips, “I’m ‘originally’ from New York, but I grew up my entire life overseas.” He pauses. “It’s a hard question to answer.”

“I say I’m from Singapore,” Kahini Iyer said. “But then that is usually followed by, ‘Oh, I thought you were Indian.”

“I deal with this so much,” Rivkah Alvy said. “It depends on how much I want the person to know about me, and if I care that they know. If I don’t care, I say ‘I grew up overseas’ or ‘It’s a long story.’ If I do care, I say my mom is from Montana, my dad is from New York, but I was born in Israel, grew up in India and Singapore, and now live in Seattle.”

Within the Third Culture Kid (TCK) community, distaste for the “Where are you from?” strikes a common chord. It’s indicative of the confused identity that comes innately with a TCK status. According to The Washington Post, TCKs make an average of eight major moves before graduating from high school. It’s what separates us from immigrants or casual travelers, because instead of developing our identity and worldview in one locale and then leaving, we develop these characteristics while in constant transit. This is why, according to Pollock and Van Reken’s “Third Culture Kids”, people can be former expats or former foreign service officers, but never a former Third Culture Kid. We take our world with us wherever we go.

But not everyone else understands this. And this is why we do a “little dance” every time we’re asked about our identity. It’s not only because we’re unsure ourselves, but also because we’re unsure of the reactions we’ll get.

Amy Nguyen, who is ethnically Vietnamese but spent part of her life in Singapore and Japan, moved to the U.S. for college. The first day of class, she and her classmates introduced themselves. The guy sitting next to her was Singaporean but she had no idea. So Nguyen just introduced herself as Amy from Singapore.

“He looked at me funny,” she said. “And it was his turn to go next, and he was like, ‘I’m from Singapore too,’… with the accent and all.”

“The class couldn’t tell the difference,” Nguyen said. “To them, if you’re Asian, you’re Asian. But the guy and I talked after, and it was pretty funny. I explained that I went to an American school.”

But perhaps the most painful “Where are you from?” question comes from an immigration officer. When I tried to explain my ownership of Canadian citizenship despite never having lived there, the U.S. immigration official eyed me suspiciously, and then promptly sent me back to the “questioning room.”

One of my favorite stories comes from the 2002 first-person account by Annie-Sophie Bolon, published in the International Herald Tribune. The immigration officer told her: “Let me get this straight… French passport, which was issued in Indonesia, you were born in Australia, and your J-11 visa for entry into the United States of America was delivered in Venezuela. Is that right?”

Yes it was. He then noted her American accent, acquired from American international schools.

“Your English is amazing, how much time have you spent in the United States?” the officer asked.

“Approximately 18 minutes,” she replied. “This is my first time.”

Facing these incredulous responses to my American accent is something I’ve also grown used to. As soon as I say that I’m from Singapore, the next comment is almost always: “Wow, your English is perfect!” I believe this has something to do with my ethnicity (Asian).

“I usually tend to say ‘Canadian’ if someone asks me where I’m from,” says Daniel Thämbïräj. “But when they ask me a second time, I know it’s because my tanned skin is irregular for the ‘typical’ Canadian.”

Then he proceeds to stun his conversation partner with the following answer:

“Born in England, then in Ireland, then Wales, then Malaysia and Singapore with a permanent residency in New Zealand, then Canada.” Then to explain his ethnicity: “I was never in India, except on vacations to see family.”

While my own “story” is not half as long as Daniel’s, sometimes I resort to saying, “Oh, it doesn’t matter,” which is a flat-out lie. Withdrawal from social situations, and an inability to fit in are all common to TCKs, overwhelmed by their lack of national identity. Then there are people like Nguyen, who just have fun with it.

“After a while you just get tired of repeating the same thing,” Nguyen said. “Sometimes I say I’m from a country I’ve never lived in, and see if they can call me out. I even lie about my ethnicity too. It almost becomes like a fun game. People have no clue that I’m Vietnamese most of the time, because I tell them I’ve lived in Japan and Singapore. They assume I’m Japanese. Or Chinese.”

Establishing a solid answer to “Where are you from” may take an entire lifetime. A San Diego State University study by Ann Baker Cottrell, as reported on by the Christian Science Monitor, found that 90 percent of TCKs reported felt “out of sync” with their US peers, even into their 20s and 30s.

“I still don’t have an answer that just works,” Rivkah Alvy said. “I think people assume that I am uppity or like to brag about myself when it was just the truth. Other times, it’s a good conversation starter.”

Illustration for Denizen by David Habben

54 Comments

  1. Steph! This website is amazing. Love your writing voice… and so glad you created this for us TCKs. I was reading it, thinking, yup… yup… yup…

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  2. Steph–this is awesome. If only I’d had it to point people towards in college as an explanation of my constant use of the phrase: “I don’t know, I’m not from here.”

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  3. Sarah says

    So very true! I’ve started answering that question with “Do you want the long version or the short version?”

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  4. jessica lin says

    haha i’ve started saying i’m a taiwanese-born-texan-from-singapore. then i sit back and kinda smile while they try to figure it out. it can be kinda fun. (and yes, i throw in texan on purpose. it’s more confusing than “american”)

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  5. Goeland says

    Hehe, yeah, I get lots of funny looks when I answer that one.

    French mom, dad from Missouri, born in Switzerland.
    “Where are you from?”
    “Well how far back do you want to go?”
    Anytime I just answer “France”, people look at me “really? How’d your english get so damn good?”
    I stand tall for a French and short side of the average for an American… And got teachers slamming me for biasing my papers in both school systems.
    French history teacher tried failing me all of my senior year because “You have an American bias when you write your papers”. How does writing about the French Revolution have any American bias to it? Especially when my buddy wrote very close to the same answer? I never did figure it out. But I got one of the highest marks on the Baccalaureat, and shoved it in her face.

    Then I had a teacher in Maine (repeating senior year) slamming me “for behaving like french aristocracy”. All I asked for was a seat from where I could read the blackboard.

    Now I just make sure I know who I’m talking to before answering. Or I just answer “does it matter?” They usually stop there.

    By the way Steph, I love your site. Do you take outside contributors?

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  6. Awesome website and article Steph! Any advice for us bumbling non-TCKers who want to be friendly and sensitive to the ‘where are you from’ question?

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  7. Divya says

    First of all, thank you for creating this magazine and network of TCKs. I really wish something like this had existed when I first moved to Chicago from Saudi Arabia. I’m happy to learn that I’m not the only “weird” one out there who faces/faced these issues of identity, assimilation, and acceptance.

    Whenever people ask me where I am from, I judge whether or not they’re asking to be polite, or if they are truly interested… If they are just being polite, it’s easiest to say I’m from Chicago – I have been living here for 12 years now. But if I’m in a more playful mood, or if I feel that the interrogator is curious enough, I’ll either ask them to clarify what they mean by “Where are you from” or I’ll go straight into my shpeel of “I was born in Canada, but only lived there for four years, moved to California for a year, grew up in Saudi Arabia, and moved back to America for secondary and higher education.” I usually have to follow this with several clarifications that come with mentioning the Middle East, such as I am Indian, just never lived there but visited relations there often… No, I don’t know where my slight accent comes from… Yes I am Canadian… Yes I am legal… No I’m not Arab or Muslim… No, Saudi Arabia is not a horrible place to live or grow up in… I speak excellent English because I’m educated, thank you very much.

    But it’s all fun and games now… There was a time when my parents recommended I not mention having lived abroad at all. But I’ve come to realize that I can’t, and don’t want to, leave that part of my life behind. It’s who I am, it’s how I grew up, and it had a large role in shaping who I am today. And I’m damn proud of my international background! Hopefully, I will be able to continue living that life as my career progresses in the future. Let’s see, fingers crossed! 🙂

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  8. Hey Steph! Great article and website! I found myself here reading articles for a couple of hours, instead of studying for finals 😛

    Anyway, I don’t exactly know how a photographer might fit in your website, but I’d like to offer my services!

    Oh, and I wrote the following article when I worked with my undergrad newspaper: http://www.newuniversity.org/main/article?slug=stop_complaining_this_holiday98
    I just thought to share.

    Great stuff, Steph. Keep up the good work!

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  9. Whitney says

    I so agree with this. I only lived in Singapore for 3 years.. but I still struggle to answer this question. I could tell you where I was born which is where my parents live now, in IL, but I have no connections there other than my immediate family so I don’t consider myself to be from there and while I was at SAS I said I was ‘from’ the last place I lived, MN, and now I’m here at Uni and I don’t really consider myself to be from MN or IL but not really from SG either…. so I usually just give the ‘long story’ answer and say I graduated overseas in SG or if I really want to avoid the topic I say I’m from San Diego even though I’ve never lived there at all.

    It’s a confusing question! Great article!

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  10. Nicole DeFord says

    Hey Steph!! Great article. You are responsible for my procrastination at work…trouble maker.

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  11. Garrick Chow says

    great stuff. im all up on this website today.

    being in LA for the last 6 years i feel inclined to say i’m from LA, but then the daunting question of what HS i went to comes up and i’m back to square one – singapore. then the onslaught of ridiculous questions.. don’t they cane you for chewing fum there? what do they speak in singapore, singapore-nese?

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  12. Leigh Ann says

    I had an immigration officer in Los Angeles look at my passport and say “you lost your passport, huh?” I said “no” not knowing what he was talking about. He said “this was issued in Singapore”. Well, yes, because that’s where I was living when the old one expired. You’d think in a major international airport like that he’d have seen a passport issued in another country and have some idea that Americans live overseas.

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  13. Beverley says

    So true! I’ve started saying I’m from California because I have blonde hair so it’s believable. Plus I blame my Californian accent on hanging out with Kathleen Nolan at SAS.

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  14. My childhood was long ago (I’m 52), but my first reaction to this question is still confusion. I’ve lived in Massachusetts most of my adult life, but I still get hung up when people ask where I’m from. I mean, if I’m out of state at a conference or something, I say I’m from Massachusetts. But in Massachusetts, it’s different because I’ve lived so many places in MA, other states, and abroad. So I usually say either “well, my parents are both from around Boston,” or “I grew up all over the place.” And people usually stop asking questions after that. Weird that after all these years I still feel stumped by that question.

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  15. I had a confused childhood even though my parents are caucasians-Dad of British, Scottish, Irish ancestry and Mom of German, Dutch, French, Russian ancestry. Born in Montana-lived in two places there before moving to New Mexico where we lived in two places (some folks still believe that New Mexico is south of the U.S. border anyway). When I was a teenager, our family moved to Guam–a western Pacific island south of Japan and north of Australia. Most of my buddies there were Guamanians, Filipinos, Chinese, and Japanese–I took 3 years Japanese and 1 year of Russian language classes in high school.. and then took another 3 years of Japanese and a semester or Russian and semester of Mandarin at the University of Guam. While on Guam, our family traveled to Japan, Philippines, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Okinawa, and most of the Micronesian islands. I am most comfortable amongst the people of the Asia-Pacific region. When in graduate school on Guam, I met my wife–a Malaysian-Chinese-Filipina.
    Our kids are truly confused (they speak English, Japanese, and bits of Russian, Tagalog, and Kampampangan). My son now lives in North Carolina. When he tells people that he was born in New Mexico, they assume that he’s Mexican (he is quite tan and has Chinese features). He can turn on his North Carolina accent or his Japanese–which really confuses those he meets. My daughter, who was also born in New Mexico, is mistaken frequently for either Mexican or Indian. She also can turn on the accents. When she recently traveled to France and then New York, folks asked her where she was from…and she confused them when she said California. They assumed that all Californians are blond and blue-eyed and look like “surfers”. We also recently traveled in Hong Kong and the Philippines–our whole family confused folks. Since I can speak, read, and write Japanese and Filipino and can get by in Chinese… it was amusing to see the confusion in those places when we communicated in those languages.
    Thanks so much for this “denizen-mag”… I’m passing it on to my son and daughter so they can more easily relate to the strange things they are asked about their “origins”.

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  16. Expat 21 says

    Well, my familiy was in the military in the United States. I was born in Kansas, moved to California, then Japan, then California, then Washington, D.C., then Minnesota, then Colorado. So when people would ask me, “Where are you from?” I’d just answer, “I’m not really from anywhere.” When they asked, “How is that?” I just said my parents were in the military, and we moved around a lot.

    I neer thought about this bothering me, and I never thought about it bothering TCK’s. Very interesting article and discussion.

    Expat 21 (in the Middle East)
    expat21.wordpress.com

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  17. Awesome entry. I actually never know how to respond to “Where are you from?”. My standard reply is “Guess”. And it’s actually quite amusing to watch them guess.

    Oh course, I’m merely trying to escape from having to recount my entire life story to people.

    But those white lies seem like a good idea. I should try that one day. 🙂

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  18. Sennia E. says

    When I get really frustrated with this question, I often answer using the name of a made-up-place (e.g. “the Land of the pink elephant”). Although I may get curious glances, most people are too proud to admit they don’t know where that is, and quickly change the subject.

    😉

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  19. Sennia E. says

    “The class couldn’t tell the difference,” Nguyen said. “To them, if you’re Asian, you’re Asian.

    They assumed that all Californians are blond and blue-eyed and look like “surfers”

    “But when they ask me a second time, I know it’s because my tanned skin is irregular for the ‘typical’ Canadian.”

    ***

    I’d just like to add that all of these experiences arise from the fact that human beings have “racialized” culture, in that we expect that someone with certain physical features to behave in a certain way, and belong to a specific culture.

    To be fair, this methodolgy was useful back in the day when mass migration was less frequent, and geographical space could be correlated to cultural diversity.

    This isn’t true anymore, however, and we TCK’s need to be more proactive about highlighting our diverse backgrounds because our very existence is proof that these boundaries are fast fading.

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  20. Steph Yiu says

    Sennia E., I completely agree with you. People used to assume that “Where you are from,” or your race (skin tone/looks) were synonymous with “Who you are.” That methodology is completely antiquated and no longer relevant to TCKs — and it’s why these modern global nomads have so many problems fitting in.

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  22. Mabel says

    I’m from Singapore too, going to an international school there. I hate it when people ask me about my American accent, because then I have to tell my long and complicated story about the places I’ve lived in. So I just tell people I’m Canadian.

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  23. Marielena says

    I love reading about how other people ask the question “where are you from?” because I get asked constantly. Apparently my face, name and accent apparently don’t match! My mother’s Japanese, my father’s Irish from NYC, I was born in Brazil, (hence the name), lived in Iceland, Japan, Maryland, Australia and went to college in DC, now I’m in Ireland, and carry both an Irish and US passport! When I get asked, I usually just say “what exactly do you want to know” or “guess” depending on how much fun I want to have with it.

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  24. Katrien says

    How I can relate!

    For the most part I’d settled comfortably into answering that I was from the Netherlands. This is where I spent my formative years and feel most at home. This is where I’d love to return to (it will happen, in time, my US partner in tow). My Dutch friends introduce me as ‘Dutch’ (to be honest, I wasn’t ‘cool enough’ to be a real American)- and I continue to dream in the language despite having lived away for some time now.

    But then I had a guy from California BLOW UP at me for ‘telling a lie’. “YOU HAVE AN AMERICAN ACCENT!” He ranted and raved and called me a terrorist. Claimed I was a disgrace for not being patriotic to the country he believed I should identify as from. Really made a huge and embarrassing scene. And it has left me shy and nervous.
    I’m not a poser. There is no easy answer.
    And everyone has a different idea of what mine should be. I’d gotten strong reactions before but nothing so venomous or dramatic.
    Or bizarre considering I’d been speaking in DUTCH to another guy only minutes before the episode… which took place in Brazil.

    At any rate, love the piece! Thank you!
    It is always comforting to know there are more of us out there!

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  25. Kahini says

    Great article, so true!
    I have a Canadian passport, so I tend to just go with that. Since I’m currently in Bombay, that works, because when people ask where you’re from, they really want to know where your accent is from. =P

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  26. Bee says

    Loved this piece. I especially liked the part where you say that your “from” place changes depending on where you currently are; TOTALLY relate. That said, I also think that the flip side of the story is when you meet another TCK, the topic of backstory comes up and they begin with “uhh… kinda complicated” and you KNOW. You then proceed to exchange stories and play TCK-geography (seeing if you have mutual friends from random places).

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  27. Wow, this is all so familiar. I was born in Thailand and grew up all over the place, thanks to a Dad who worked in the UN. I never lived in Thailand and can’t read or write the language. When there, I’m treated as a farang, a foreigner, and in an entirely derogatory way. When I meet Thais outside of Thailand, they are always so disappointed when they find out I’m not really Thai at all. So I’ve never been able to make friends with Thai people. I’m now settled in London and have UK citizenship but I still have trouble answering that godawful question of where I’m from!

    Anyway, finding this website has been such a comfort! Recognition at last. And maybe even a voice. Thank you.

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  28. Josi says

    This is a great article!
    You know what’s funny? I have a simple story: born and raised in Peru. It’s all the questions that come after it that make it so complicated to explain who the hell I am! But then again sometimes because I have a simple story, who I am gets lost in the assumptions that people make because of what they’ve heard. 😛

    I love this website! Looking awesome.

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  30. I’ve read this 2 or 3 times now. Soooo good. Sometimes it’s hard to explain to people at home why the kids I work with are so special (I work with TCKs in Beijing, China) but this piece does a great job of explaining some of the intricate identity dance so many TCKs juggle…

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  31. Donna H says

    My story is not very exotic and according to the “definition” of TDK (eight countries before finishing high school), apparently I am not one. That confuses me even more because in many ways, I feel like a TDK.

    I was born in California, the daughter of first generation Canadians (whose peeps were off the boat from Scotland and England where their peeps had lived for literally over 1000 years). All of my siblings were born in Canada and my folks and sibs moved to the states where I was born a little over a year later. I am a dual citizen with US and Canadian passports.

    We lived in Iran for a couple years when I was a kid, and then we returned to CA, where I had more culture shock than when we moved to Iran (where I had none)! In Iran, my classmates at Tehran American School and I were simply American (for the most part, there were some kids of other nationalities, but mostly American).

    When we returned to the states, there was this whole racial thing going on (black, hispanic, white, etc.) that my classmates used to define themselves. Two years in Iran was enough to disabuse me of that type of thinking.

    Part of my from-nowhere-ness is growing up in a house full of Canadians. Many people think I have something of a Canadian accent, tho I never actually lived there. Blame that on the parents and the accent I heard at home during my formative years, I suppose.

    I still feel “different” even tho I am (clinging to) my 40s.

    Where am I from? I would say I was born in California, but have lived several places including two other US states (in the Pacific Northwest and the Southwest). My hometown? I would say San Diego, tho I wasn’t born there and didn’t move there until I was 14 and left when I was 30. It’s my “hometown” because that’s where the biggest number of the most important people in my life live.

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  32. bibi says

    this was really nice to read! so familiar.
    This is indeed a dreaded question because while answering it I’m often aware that people think I want special attention but simply answering one nationality feels wrong because the person asking immediately places you into a box in which you don’t belong. My mother is european but grew up in the caribbean islands, my father is scandinavian. I boarded my first ship abroad when I was three weeks old and stopped when I was almost seven In the meantime I had crossed every ocean with a crew of portuguese, spaniards, scandinavians even austrians (!). we then moved to sweden, I sometimes spent my summer vacations in Holland and even went to school there for six months. Then we moved to Italy, England, Italy again and now I live in China. In all these countries I’ve also changed towns (not to speak of houses) several times.
    But it’s in my blood (probably nomadic, did I mention that my great grand parents already where very interesting mixtures?) the thing I dislike is that people are always so prone to jump into conclusions; I’m blonde so I’m swedish. but I can’t cook any swedish food, the songs you sing to small children for me are not the swedish ones, the only prime minister I know is Olof Palme, although I know nothing about the upheaval his assassination brought on sweden. similar arguments apply to the other nationalities. my children are a fourth generation tck’s and again of parents with different nationalities so we’ll see where that will lead them. If I live for 4 years in a house I feel a physical need to change, the same urge that makes me explain to everybody who I am. Over the years I’ve thought a lot about this, I’ve never been homesick because I don’t have a home country but I can feel the same saudades when seeing a film located in miami in the early seventies or when I scent the same smell that my grandmothers house had or the sound of the gangway of a ship. I dream in four different languages according to who’s in my dream, sometimes I’ve even thrown in french or chinese words:)) any suggestions?

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  33. Maggy C. says

    I resorted to saying I’m a geographical orphan…but that was before I heard of this site. Even though I’m older than your demographic, you have no idea how thrilled I am, after all these decades, to discover a place where I’m “normal” and to finally have an answer to the dreaded question (“Where are you from?”) that sounds POSITIVE…because that’s what, ultimately, growing up in a variety of lands and cultures is: positive. Thank you for this site. Thank you fr the stores. Thank you for the moniker. I’m proud to be a TCK.

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  34. James H. says

    In my early twenties, a friend and I were traveling in Ireland, and a girl at a hostel asked, “Where are you from?” I told my easy white lie- “I was born in Florida.” She looked me in the eye and asked again, “Where are you from?” I told the next simple white lie, and she kept repeating the question until my entire, complex heritage was teased out. It was one of those satisfying moments when somebody actually *wants* an honest answer to the question, and of course the girl was a TCK herself.

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  40. Daniel Gipson says

    Absoluately loved this! As a man whos parents are both British but me and my older sister being born in Germany (My dad was in the forces ) I have on some occasions (Especially where there have been anti german feeling amoungst a group) Told people I was from England or really tried to avoid the question. It’s not until the past couple 4-5 years that i’ve felt comfortable about being very open to anyone about where i’m from and then the confusion begins. Often asked questions such as “So one of your parents is German?” Or “So one of your grandparents fought for the nazi’s in the war?” So thank you for posting this up! It’s good to know there are others in the world who have similar or even more differcult situations than I!

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  41. Since I have an American accent and can’t fake otherwise, my tactic has always been to simply say I’m from Singapore, without elaborating. Then I see if they demand an explanation, or just laugh at their disbelieving faces.

    It’s also really convenient when speaking to pushy insurance salespeople. One sentence out of my mouth, and I’ll get, “Oh, are you a foreigner?” which I can simply reply with, “Uh…yeah, I’m American!” and they’ll be fooled into thinking I don’t have citizenship and stop bothering me.

    And, as the article mentioned, it is great conversation material, which is lovely for an introvert such as myself.

    So I definitely do think it is annoying to constantly be asked where one is from constantly, but the way I see it, it could be used to one’s advantage and become more of a boon.

    Regardless, kudos to a well-written article and nicely formatted website. In an era of globalization, TCKs become more common by the day; so it’s about time people learned what they are.

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  42. I just say “Florida,” which is where my family went every time we returned to the States for homeleave. I’ve come to peace with this answer, even though, I agree, it does feels like a lie, or at best, a half-truth. I’ve come to look at it this way: The “where are you from?” question, socially, is a mere convention. Answering with anything other than a simple, single location is like answering with anything other than “fine” when someone casually asks, “How are you?” When Southeast Asia comes up in a conversation, though, I’m not in the least shy about bringing up my expatiate upbringing. I’ve got great stories and unique insight and it all should be shared! But at a moment where the info will be more appreciated, not in the brief throwaway moments of meeting an acquaintance. Waiting to reveal this info about myself has one unintended upside: people seem kind of impressed I didn’t feel the need to broadcast this pretty neat info about myself when they do find out. I kinda like surprising people!

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  43. Kevin Egan says

    Yes thank you for a great article, my son enjoyed it also. and other writings in your blog. Shout out for the parents of the TCK’s; we think we’re providing a deep, life long, mind expanding experience for our children and than see them some what ostracized in the communities that we the parents call home.

    My son spent 14 of his first 16 years in Thailand, and now resides in small town northern Canada at 19 years old. Constantly over the last 3 years I note he says nothing of growing up overseas and the dozen countries he’s visited when his peers talk of recent, or future travels overseas, as he’s learned the reaction to his comments are rarely met with positive reactions. Though he will quickly stand up to anyone that speaks out with an ignorant stereotype of an overseas culture, and have noted this fantastic, respectful habit from other TCK youths. I am definitely amused as a parent, when his speaking fluent Thai barely raises an eyebrow in SE Asia, yet it stuns the room and yes embarrasses him when he converses in Thai in northern Canada drawing the attention of the entire room.

    Best Regards!

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  44. Valeria says

    Heck, I’m a mill rat now 61 and my peripatetic childhood is still a major factor in my dealings with the more rooted world.

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  46. Pingback: Third Culture Kid Coping – thirdculturekblog

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