Hearing news of disasters or conflict can often remind TCKs of other events that have happened closer to home. They remember how it affected them before, and understand how it is affecting others now.
I’ve heard people say “I’m surprised you weren’t kidnapped!” when they hear where I’m from. I can’t help but inwardly laugh, and outwardly try to explain that in reality, people in the Middle East are just like you and me.
When I lived in Singapore, one of my aunts shipped me a shoebox full of Heinz ketchup packets from the United States. Tomato sauce is not the same thing as ketchup!
In the yearbook picture, right in front, standing with feet apart and hands on hips, was me. I was the leader! Unafraid, unashamed and confident in every way. Never again would I be that self-assured or uninhibited. I left that “me” behind when we left Brussels.
Now, some people would tell me to get a grip. I was going through the typical “Quarter-Life Crisis,” where a 20-something starts feeling anxious about their future. But as adult TCKs, we also face the unusual crossroads of wondering whether to stay put, or to remain a global nomad.
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.”
A terse U.S. immigration officer informs me of a mistake on my form – after a year and a half studying in China, my country of residence is no longer the USA. I apologize as she grunts and waves me through. I feel very welcomed.
Foreigner! I am in Shanghai, 12-years-old, the only white person on a Chinese basketball team, the subject of hilarity as I run the wrong way on the court, having misunderstood the instructions, related in speedy Shanghainese. Bun dan! the coach shouts at me, and my teammates giggle shrilly.
Growing up abroad with a limited flow of information meant that our pop culture DNA may be non-existent or slightly flawed. Nothing brings this truth more to light than a night playing trivia in Chicago.
“Working and living in Haiti, I get a constant feeling of “You just can’t make this shit up,” Tara Yip-Bannicq said. For the past two years, the self-proclaimed “disaster junkie” has traveled around the world to help in humanitarian aid efforts in countries like Haiti and Indonesia.