Monday, October 6, 2014

End of Glory Like a Flower

Well, This blog is officially coming to an end. As my life has changed focus and direction in the last few months, it's time for me to start a new chapter and officially end this last one. Thank you all of my readers for keeping up with the life of a TCK for the last two years!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Ten Strange but Funny Youtube Videos

10: Safety Dance
Everybody look at your hands.


9: Heman: Heyeayeayeayea
What's going on?

8. YIvis-The Fox
hoty hoty hoty ho


7. Always
live in harmony


6. Friendship is Manly
Eva.
5. Puttin on the Ritz
Spending every dime for a wonderful time

4. Jungle Wakudoki
Watch with subtitles.

3. Day-O from BeetleJuice
A beautiful bunch of ripe bananas!

2. Eyelashes
Also watch with subtitles. If you want to watch something weird in general, watch Kyary Pamyu Pamyu
1. Star Wars Medley: Call Me Maybe.
Where do you think you're going, baby?

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Wind Woman



When I was a child I would wake up to the sound of the wind shaking the house and the glass, and I would stand and creep to the window and look out. I would see a slender woman dancing among the trees. She was graceful and quick, and the trees danced with her. My eyes grew weary and soon I fell asleep; when I awoke I could not see her through the window, so I went down to the garden but she had gone. The sun was shining and the trees stood still, green and growing.
            I would go to school and I would see her dancing and laughing with the trees and up and down the road, and she would wave to me and I would wave to her. When I returned in the evening, as the leaves of autumn blew around in the wind, I would find her and we would dance with her in her red coat and me in my yellow rain jacket. But then my mother would call me in to supper and when I returned she had run away again.
            Later I would be in my room reading my book when the rain began to fall and it pitter-pattered against the window. I looked out and an old man sat on the rocks of the garden, and between his nobly brown knees there was a drum and he would beat against it and laugh. Then the woman came out too and she would dance to his music, but I was afraid of the cold and the wind, so I watched them. The woman waved and I waved back.
            I would grow older.
            I would make friends, and we would go over to each other’s houses and paint our nails and talk about boys. And I entered middle school and became a cheerleader; I entered high school and had a boyfriend and went to the movies; I left high school and entered the real world. Soon it came that I had not thought of the old man and the slender woman for a very long time.
            I would walk and the wind would blow; it would carry off my hat into the woods. I would run after my hat but I could not run fast enough, for as an adult there never was enough time. What a nuisance the wind was, I came to realize, and I would go on to the real world.
            On my way to work the rain would begin to fall and make streams on the concrete. What a nuisance the rain was, I came to realize, and I opened my umbrella to shield myself from the water and I moved on to the real world.
            And I would marry and become busy in the house, cooking and cleaning and doing the laundry. As the years would continue I would have two children who were full of laughter. They became the joy of my life, and their names were Jamie and Lucy, and they were young.
            One day Jamie would enter the house laughing and I would ask him what he laughed for. He would tell me that while he was outside and the wind was blowing, he had met a slender woman dancing and they had played together. Yet his scarf was missing and I scolded him and sent him off to play and stop talking of nonsense.
            One day when it was raining I would realize that Lucy had somehow found her way outside. I would pull her inside and she would be soaked with water. I would ask her what she was thinking and she would say that she had heard drums, but I would ignore her and dry her off.
            I would send them to bed and go to sit by the fire and read. Outside the wind blew and shook the house, and the rain pitter-pattered on the glass. I however would be safe and warm, cuddled up in a blanket and nodding over an old forgotten tale.

Farewell to the Village

We explored the village the other day and it was very hard. I'm staying at my friend Frances' house, and the village is a trailer park in the woods at our school. The land has been condemned and they're tearing down the houses, and almost everyone has moved out. We wondered around the abandoned houses, explored a few of them. Philippe used to live in one of the houses and they've torn down his porch. That porch was where we used to sit and in the light of his kerosene lantern he'd read a book out loud to us while we bundled ourselves up in warm blankets and a few of them smoked the hooka. It's empty now, except for a bookshelf that was too big for his car. We found Frances' old house and they left a telescope inside it, but we didn't know if they were coming back for it. The house was so warn out that the roof was made of leaves, and when we opened the door we were showed to old brown leaves and it felt so haunted and wonderful. On our way out we found a tree house that kids used to play in and we climbed it. There were piles of wood and bricks everywhere. It's so hard to watch it go. Kids from the village were always exploring the woods near the school, and no matter where you went--didn't matter if you were miles away from anywhere--you'd randomly see a group of kids playing in the woods, and they'd stare at you, wondering what an adult was doing there. They were like fairies, and now they're going. It's like the heart of the school is being ripped out. Why do beautiful, wonderful things have to go away? I don't know. it hurts though. That village was well loved, it's been there for as long as the school has, hundreds of families over generations have lived there--and it's gone.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Happy St. Patricks Day!

I know the holiday is over, but perhaps even so this can bring you some cheer!

Monday, March 17, 2014

What's it Like to Be a TCK?

It is difficult to understand exactly what it's like to be an TCK, a Third Culture Kid, or someone who has had more than one cultural identity. One of the problems in understanding a TCK is a lot of people don't try to understand them because they assume that they're not really that different from anyone else. I can assure you, they are a lot more different than you would guess by just looking at them!
I'm a TCK myself; I spent all of high school in different countries than where I was born. I can speak two languages; I often prefer wearing the shalwar kamis of India to jeans and shirts, and I would much rather eat dahl and rice than a hamburger and fries. Yet I'd also rather speak English than Hindi and I'd rather be in a forest than in a desert. I am a mixed bag of cultures.

So why aren't TCKs understood?

1. Many people don't know exactly what a TCK is. Even many TCKs don't know what a TCK is, and even more TCKs have no idea that they are one. We're familiar with the terms MK (missionary kid), and MB (military brat), but we forget about kids who were born with parents of two different ethnic backgrounds, refugee kids, kids who moved from one country to another in their early age, and kids who have a different home culture than the culture of their surroundings. All of these are TCKs. In essence a TCK is a kid who has at least two predominant ethnic cultural influences in their life. 

2. There are many different kinds of TCKs that are very different from each other. No two TCKs are alike. Consider three of my closest friends, Daniel, Beth, Caleb, and myself. We were all TCKs in India at one point, but we are very different from one another.

Beth spent eight years in Africa, eight years in India, and is now in England. She is influenced by all of those cultures. She also lived in an area of India where most people spoke English and were comparatively upper-class. She has spent nearly no time in the country her parents are from. She was home schooled, so in the TCK community that usually means that she spent a predominant amount of time with Indians or Africans, but she still got an American education and probably views the world through an American perspective as much as she views it from an Indian or African one.

My friend Caleb spent time in Indonesia and India and was affected by both of these cultures. He also went to an international school, so he was predominantly affected by other TCKs like himself from all over the world. This will affect how he views his country.

My friend Daniel is a TCK from two different places. as well, but while he spent nearly all of his life in one country he has spent only a few years in India. He is also home schooled but he interacts with many other TCKs who influence the way he views the world.

I lived most of my life in America. When I did leave overseas, I went from country to country very rapidly and did not have much time to develop a connection with a specific country. I lived in India for only a year, and the year I was there I worked among a predominantly poor community. I was online schooled and my social interactions were with other TCKs. this affected my worldview.

 3. There aren't very many of us. Although we are indeed a subculture, we are a very small subculture that is not easily recognizable or identified and with characteristics very diverse from each other.

I want to make it a little easier to understand what exactly a TCK is.

A TCK is unique. Other than their immediate family, no one in the world has shared the exact same experiences that they have experienced. This can make them feel alone and misunderstood, and they often feel like their experiences aren't appreciated by other people even though they know they have a lot to offer if anyone listened. This uniqueness can make a TCK feel insecure, lonely, or proud. It also can be something to enjoy and appreciate, and they can use their unique experience to influence others with less experience to see the world in a broader way.

A TCK chooses where they are from--and that's okay! When you have an affiliation to two countries or more, you can say which one you're from or can simply say it's complicated. If you feel you are from a country that people think you're not from, you have the right to claim it and you can stick to your guns. A friend of mine is Japanese, even though she is Caucasian and has American citizenship. She has the right to claim she is Japanese, because to a TCK where you're from doesn't have to deal with what the color or your skin is or where your passport comes from. It has to do with what culture has influenced you the most and what culture you identify yourself with. She thinks like a Japanese person, acts like a Japanese person, and dresses like a Japanese person--and she's allowed to do that! In my case, I refrain from telling people where I'm from because I am from many places, and I feel like it is a betrayal to the countries I come from to claim one above the other. Each TCK has the right to sort through this complicated subject the way they see fit, and this right should be respected.

A TCK can have a broader worldview. Having lived in a culture who has a potentially completely different outlook on life than their parents, TCKs can pick and choose which systems of thought work and which do not. Monocultural kids only get to deal with ideas and philosophies that spring up from their own culture or see other culture's perspectives through the lens of their own. A TCK is often exposed to more ideas than a monocultural kid from a very young age. This can cause them to understand the world at large a little better and think more critically on ideas they come across. It also can cause a sense of misplaced pride as they see the flaws in the ideas of people with less international experience.


TCKs have missed out. Let's be honest, living in two countries your entire life may only give you half the picture of both countries. I knew a woman whose parents had immigrated from Mexico to America when she was young; as a result she knew neither English nor Spanish fluently. This caused in her a deep sense of cultural confusion and frustration she would not have experienced if she had not moved. A TCK may grow bitter about moving from the country they care about or about not experiencing the life a monocultural person does. Other TCKs have not had the opportunity to build deep relationships with people around them because of how much they have moved. Some TCKs are bitter towards the loss that they have experienced in their lives. Although there are many benefits to being a TCK, I do not want to diminish the fact that many TCKs are hurting people like everyone else.

TCKs appreciate culture. Many TCKs are mini-cultural anthropologists and notice aspects of ethnic cultures and reasons behind them in ways that Monocultural kids do not. They have the ability to appreciate differences easier, understand the cause of differences, and cross cultural or social barriers with ease. They often like not only the cultures they lived in but the cultures their other TCK friends are from. They may choose to follow a random cultural fad from a culture they've never been to because they love it when they find a culture that does something the right way. TCKs in general feel comfortable around other TCKs; at the same time, however, they can become judgmental and easily annoyed with people who have had less experience worldwide.

TCKs are often missing someplace. We miss things about America when we're overseas. We miss things about overseas when we're in America. When we're in college or in boarding school we don't get to see our family more than once or twice a year. Many of us are used to letting go of things and starting over. Some TCKs have become extremely adaptable to wherever they find themselves because they've learned to blend in so often. Some TCKs can never go back to where they grew up, like refugees or families who have been kicked out of countries. Some kids have moved so often that they miss the feeling of having a home.

Hopefully this will help you gain a better appreciation of TCKs in general. Please feel free to leave comments about your own experiences or any questions you might have!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Philippe's house

One of the coolest friends I've made since being at school is a guy named Philippe. He grew up in West Africa, which is cool enough, and in many ways he is till more African than he is American. What makes him so cool, you may ask? The only way I can describe it is through telling you about the other night when my friend Kyle and I went over to his house.

We took a cut through the woods and reached his house at around ten o'clock. Daniel, Philippe's older brother, sat on the porch with a book before him and an oil lamp burning brightly on a small table. Daniel looks so much like John Lenin that if he actually dressed in sixties clothes I'm sure he'd turn some heads. He has large round glasses, a thin pointed face and hay-colored hair that reaches down to his shoulders. Always he wears a rested and relaxed expression.

"Hello," he said. "I was just about to start up the hooka. Come sit down."

Philippe popped his head through the mobile home door and smiled. He stepped onto the porch and, with the added weight, the entire wooden structure moves precariously until we manage to sit on the rail seat. He's like his brother in many ways, but with shorter hair that curls all around his head; he is thinner, and has intense blue eyes, and he does not appear to be as relaxed as Daniel; he seems ready to spring into motion at any time.

Amanda, Daniel's wife, brings out the hooka and sets it on the table. She returns quickly inside to start making shahi and Daniel begins to read to us from All Creatures Great and Small, the book barely visible in the oil lamp. Kyle and I said no to the hooka for the sake of school rules, but Philippe sat cross-legged next to his brother, wreathed in the smoke, occasionally breaking the sound of Daniel's voice with the bubbling of the hooka as he pulls in another breath. It smells sweet, like honey.

Amanda comes out with the shahi tea. It's strong, with enough caffeine in it to compete with four cups of coffee, but it is bitter and very sweet. We pulled more blankets from inside the house and rested quietly in the deep night.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Magic Everywhere.

It has taken me a while to get around to this hasn't it? Well, the days turn into weeks, which turn into months, which turn into almost a year since I wrote here last. I suppose I suspected by now no one is reading this. I was surprised to find that many of you still regularly check my blog, so I will oblige you with a bit of my thoughts.

College has been a wonderful experience so far. Last night a few of my friends and I camped out in the woods together, built a bit of a campfire and read books like Lord of the Rings and Robin Hood. For the first time in months it seemed warm enough to enjoy a decent night in the open. What a mistake! If it hadn't been for the fire I wouldn't have gotten a wink of sleep all night; we took turns watching it and feeding it with branches and the like we found from the forest. I had an odd feeling as I lay there in my blankets, staring up at the dozens of bright white stars and the moon shining through the darkness of the sky. The fire warmed my face and one of my best friends, Peter Scott, read to me about Meriadoc and his love for King Theodin. It was a weird feeling. I couldn't describe it as happiness; it isn't as if I wasn't happy, but happiness was too strong of a word. I didn't feel like laughing or singing or making any noise at all, and I definitely didn't feel like talking.

I felt content.

I felt thankful.

I was reminded that there was indeed so much in the world to be content and thankful for. There always is, whether I'm under the open side in a beautiful glade or curled up in the dorms back at home.

One of the biggest discoveries I've made since being at college is that magic does exist.

I'm not talking about dragons and fairies and elves and the like (though they may exist, who's to say?). Part of what makes these things magical is that they are wonderful creatures that do not truly exist. If they did exist in our world, they would not be considered magic.

There are things in our world that are just as wonderful as these but that we take for granted because they are real, and common, and something we see every day. If fairies were real we would take them for granted in much the same way as we take a butterfly for granted.

Take the firefly. Okay, think about it: there's this bug that goes around shining like a star in the middle of summer. THAT'S magic. that's beautiful. that's amazing, uncommon, wonderful. Birds are miraculous (can you fly?). Deer are much like elves in many ways; graceful, silent, and shy from us. These things are in many ways just as cool as the stories  we tell our children, but we don't call them magic because they exist. We take them for granted instead of recognizing their beauty and mystery for what they are.

I'm not taking them for granted.

Last night I felt magic everywhere. It's magic that the fire is licking up the fagots and crackling and whistling through the night. It's magic that the moon makes its way around the world every day. We live in a magical, wonderful world; everything is a miracle, and even if there is reason as to how they happen that does not mean that they are not miraculous. God made the world a wonderful, magical place, full of odd unnecessary beauties.

Take it in.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Bravery



            I am not a coward. I may not be the bravest man in this world, but I am not a coward. Like any other natural man I preserve myself when the need arises and defend myself when that need arises too. I'm sure that I'm not the only man who has run away from a battle. No matter. I have put that behind me. Today I have proved myself above equal to the occasion of war.
            Let the lieutenant scoff at me to the captain and to whomever he pleases simply because I am his lesser in rank and title! What made him a judge over me? I am his better in zeal. Ask any man today, “who was the best fighter in the battle?” and their long bloody fingers would snap around at William and I. But the lieutenant thought we were cowards, eh? So be it!
            The flag boy was shot down and without hesitation I dashed forward to keep the collars from falling. Who’s a coward now, Mr. Lieutenant? I made myself a target for my bravery, risking my life and limb for the honor of my country. But the lieutenant? “William and David fought like savages.” As if any man in battle, any man who is not ashamed to look at himself in a mirror, did not fight like a savage! For when we are pitted against each other for life, or for death, must we not kill and be killed like savages? Is there any shame in this? Only a man like the lieutenant who sits at the rear of battle and risks the lives of a hundred men does not fight like a savage; he forces other men to fight like savages, and this is both a great shame and the epitome of hypocrisy. I had nothing to be ashamed of today, because I put every ounce of myself into victory.
            Our lieutenant thinks it shameful that we fight so powerfully. Clearly our lieutenant does not understand that purpose of war, though I would not claim that I understand it completely myself. All I know is that today, with a gun in my hand and the enemy swarming by the hundreds before me, nothing could keep me from shooting them out one by one as fast as possible. Let the lieutenant sit back and grumble at us, while we actually fight for his victories. William and I both grinned with satisfaction at our captain’s remark, that if he had a hundred men like us he could finish the war off in a month. It’s the older ones, those who have been at it for years and years and the daily shooting, the daily pain, the daily death of comrades and the daily fear of death for oneself, that has washed out their use in this war.
            William and I aren’t washed out. We will help in this war. Whatever it takes to stay alive and to make it home, we will do.
            We are not cowards.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

American Rights

Kelsey has made a good point: I really need to write more often. I'm just enjoying America so much I have nothing to say. I haven't been  thinking clearly enough to write, and I'm also suffering the unfightable writer's block where I'm unsatisfied with everything I put on paper. But I have been noticing some of the rights America's given me that I didn't know were rights before I left.

Youtube: One of the best American rights. I forgot how much junk I was missing out on when it was illegal.

Walking in Public: When I'm not on youtube, walking is very comforting. There aren't tons of people to watch how I walk and stare at my white face.

Shorts: It is SOO nice to be all tangled up in a head-covering all the time, and to dress like it actually is 80 degrees

AC: I have the right not to sweat all the time. Best right of all