Category Archives: move

TCK: Where are you From?


Knowing where you are from is part of your self identity.  It is also the way others can form initial impressions and gain an understanding to who you are upon your meeting.  For many this is an easy, quick to answer question that requires no premeditated thought. For some it may take a little time as they have moved around, but upon further investigation will find they have a ‘family’ home through their family relations. Then in walks the Third Culture Kid (TCK) who may love or loathe this question for there is no real simple answer. Do you want the short version or the long version? How many more questions will you ask depending on the answer I give? How will you label me if I bring up certain places? Will you stop listening when my answer goes past two words?

I became a TCK because I grew up in a US military family that moved around military bases overseas. Not all my peers had the same extreme nomadic lifestyle that I did growing up.  They may have spent two years or maybe six abroad but returned ‘home’ to a semi stable lifestyle stateside.  I on the other hand have lived some places for a few months up to a few years (though never more than three) over and over again. If I were to go off the typical reasoning for being ‘from’ somewhere I would be without a country/city/state/province/town to hold as my own. As a TCK I hold each significant place that I have spent time in as a part of who I am.  Perhaps I only lived in that place for 3 years but it has now become one of my ‘homes’.  I am a citizen of the world and I am proud of all the stamps in every passport I have.


Where are from in the US?
Technically I am not. I was born in England during my father’s second tour (out of three) with the US Air Force.  I moved to the states at seventeen after growing up across military bases in Europe. I spent the next eleven and a half years spending several months to a few years living in various parts of the United States, including three summers abroad to Italy, Australia, and Thailand.

Alright but where is your family from in the US?
My dad was from Newark, New Jersey. He left at 17 to go to the USAF Academy and moved frequently for his work until he retired in Arizona. He is survived by a younger brother but I have probably only been to NJ less than ten times in my entire life. My mum had a nomadic life within the US as a church planting kid and I never knew her extended family either. While we have relations in the US, there is no grand family home to return to for the holidays.

When your husband was in the military, where were you guys stationed?
We were in Monterey, California for close to 2 years and then on the island of Oahu in Hawaii for 3-4 years.  We were blessed with ocean side locations during our six years as a military family. Hawaii is now the longest place I have lived anywhere in the US.

Where have you lived in Europe?
I was born in Oxfordshire, England and also spent a few years in Norfolk during the first gulf war.  Then I lived in Stuttgart, Germany in between two separate tours to Naples, Italy.  Three years ago this coming May we moved to Brighton, England and we moved to Bath a year ago this past Christmas.

What brought you to England this time around?
When my husband and I were engaged at Uni we had plans to move abroad to Europe.  He joined the military in hopes we could get overseas assignments like my father.  While Hawaii and California were great, when my husband finished his enlistment we decided to move on.  My husband started a masters programme in England and with my dual citizenship we left the US to start a new life for our family.  We now work and live in Bath.

Where will you move next?
We have no current plans to move.  This is the first time in my entire life I have not had to think about moving in the near future. The historic city of Bath is beautiful, quite safe, and a lovely community with picturesque countrysides surrounding it. We can now plan towards the future and look forward to future events here with our family.  I know that may seem like a lot coming from someone with such a nomadic background.  However, I have never felt as happy or as content as I do now.  It solidifies our decision to leave the US to see how happy my whole family is here together at last.

Want to know more about Third Culture Kids?
Read my other TCK related posts.

Travel Thursday: Moving Abroad

Travel Thursday.  I love to travel.  I also love to move. By ‘move’, I do not mean down the street or across town.  I love moving to another country and better yet another continent.  It is the norm for me and this nomadic lifestyle has been a major part of my life since I was born in England to my American parents.  With the weekend right around the corner, I find Thursdays are the perfect day to start talking ‘travel’. I hope to share to you all my love and passion for being a Wanderlust Third Culture Kid.

“Honestly I feel more at home in an airport and on airplane.” – Bonnie Rose

My Childhood. I grew up on military bases up and down Europe until I was seventeen years old. Unfortunately that meant I would spend my senior year graduating in the USA as well as adopting to the (new to me) USA culture.  Every cloud has a silver lining and for me it was getting to spend the summer after graduation in Italy to see my classmates get their diplomas.  For the next decade I would spend my life living through out the mainland USA and on the island of Oahu, Hawaii.  My  nomadic needs were catered to with time spent in Australia, Thailand, and Cambodia between the years of 2002 and 2011.  Though I carry an American passport and have an American accent, my goal had always been to use my UK passport and return ‘home’ to Europe.

My friends and I at the Naples American high school graduation – 2011 in Naples, Italy

Moving Abroad.  Since Ryan and and I started dating 11 years ago, he has been aware that I would want to live in Europe.  Straight out of University we went ahead to achieve that goal through following a path to be missionaries.  When that door closed the door to the USAF opened and through it the next six years.  While my husband worked as a linguist our dream of being stationed in Europe was not in the military’s goals for us.  I will say that the 3ish years in Hawaii living an island wife was not half bad. 😉  In the Summer of 2011 with my husband fresh out of the military, we took the leap and moved to England.

If you have a goal to move to another country, make it a goal and do it! Take your dreams and your wishes and pair it with action.  I have talked to a lot of people since the summer of 2011 about why we made such a big move.  In response back I have heard frequently the statements of ‘oh I wish I could do that’ or ‘wow, I couldn’t imagine just moving to another country like that’.   I will be straight with you. Moving abroad will not be easy, but if you want to do it then figure out a way so it does not become a future regret. I love the mantra that ‘Life is Short, Live every Moment’.

This was our last photograph taken with our sons before we left.  They would join us once we were settled.
This was the last photograph taken of us together before our plane left for England. 

How We Did It. Moving abroad is not an easy feat. While I thought we were both prepared for our move we did learn a lot along the way.  We chose to move to England without either of us having a job lined up, nor a place to stay.  That is not the whole story, so please do not go by that strategy to move abroad.  You definitely need to do your research and figure out how you can get a visa.  A simple tourist visa will not allow you to live and work inside a country and every place has its own rules.  Know the restrictions and what you will need before you hop on a plane.  The easiest way to move to another country would be with a job that you already have, that will send you to work there.  While we tried that with the military, this way did not pan out for us.

Another way to get a visa to live and work is to look at getting a student Visa and attending school.  My husband decided to use his GI Bill from the USAF and get his masters in England.  We moved abroad with my husband accepted to University of Sussex in Brighton, England and I was traveling under my British passport.  OOPS! That is right, we made mistakes along the way. So in a ‘do as I say, not as I do’ fashion, I will repeat that you know the guidelines for acquiring the correct Visa.  You will want to confirm with several sources or you will end up like we did.  Though we read online that Ryan could apply for his student visa in the country, that ended up being a misprint of bad information on the website.  My husband had to leave the country, apply for his visa in the USA, pay to have it expedited  and then return to join me.  The paperwork and dealing with people can end up in costly mistakes if you are not careful.

At Heathrow airport my husband looks for wifi as we wait for our train.

Navigating our way to Victoria Station with the Underground.

First Arriving into England
Though we did not have any personal contacts in Brighton, we did plan out our journey down to Brighton and reserve a place at a hostel.  We did not know at this point how long it would take to find jobs, so living in a hotel would be far out of our means.  Hostels however are perfect if you are traveling sans kids and was one of the reasons we chose to leave our kids with family while we figure everything out. Staying in a hostel for us was smart. However traveling with the amount of luggage we brought proved to be a bit challenging and did result in a little heart ache.  Anything I knew we needed needed to be in our suitcases I packed.  On vacations we pack like pros, but moving to another country changes the game plan a bit.  If you do come to Europe, know that there may not be lifts (elevators) like there are back in the USA.  We had to take several trips many times up and down different flights of stairs across the train stations all the way to Brighton.  Which was not as terrible, as it was that I broke my camera lens trying to shuffle bags.

Another tip of advice.  There will be plenty of time for photos.  When maneuvering your luggage, keep your camera where it will be safe. 😉 

I was so excited to be home in Europe after so many years.
Everyone we met was so polite and helpful and we were smiling the whole way to Brighton. 

Outside the Brighton rail station on the coast of England.  

Ryan eventually got his marriage visa, went to school, and worked part time. I began work for the next year at a salon and our kids joined us in September to start the school year in England.  After all was said and done I am so glad that we decided to just do it.  Our family has only come closer together living here and being married to my expat in England is everything for which I had hoped.  We have since moved to Bath, as of the end of December 2012 and we currently have no further plans of moving.

Where would you move to if you could go anywhere in the world?  Have you or do you currently live abroad from your ‘home’ country?  I love to meet other expats and future expats! 

* Photographs belong to Bonnie Rose and cannot be used without written consent.

I am a TCK and an Expat

TCK (Third Culture Kid): A Third Culture Kid (TCK) is a person who has spent a significant part of his or her developmental years outside the parents’ culture. The TCK frequently builds relationships to all of the cultures, while not having full ownership in any. Although elements from each culture may be assimilated into the TCK’s life experience, the sense of belonging is in relationship to others of similar background. (read more…)

Ex-Pat: An expatriate (in abbreviated form, expat) is a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country and culture other than that of the person’s upbringing. The word comes from the Latin terms ex (“out of”) and patria (“country, fatherland”). (read more…)
I was born and raised in Oxford, England from 1982-1984.
I went to primary school in Norfolk, England in the early nineties.
 Moved back to England with my husband and sons in Brighton from 2011 – 2012.
I lived in Stuttgart, Germany in 1995 – 1998 and attend 7th & 8th grade at Patch American  HS.
This photo was taken on my birthday with my friends before we went on a shopping trip. 
I lived in Naples, Italy in the 90’s for 4th-6th grade and again for 9th-11th grade.
This group photo was taken at our house with our church family. 
In 2002 I spent the entire summer in Australia for a church campaign group from my University
and on a lone backpacking trip up the coast from Sydney to Port Douglas.  
The summer of 2004 my husband and I spent in Bangkok, Thailand for a ‘Let’s Start Talking’ campaign to teach english.
I returned to Thailand and Cambodia in 2006 for the Asian Mission Conference.  
We lived on Oahu, Hawaii from 2007 – 2010
I worked as a fashion photographer, hairstylist, and airbrush makeup artist. 
In December 2012 we moved to Bath, England and currently live here.
Took this photo on a timer during our first snowfall of 2013.

Welcome to 2013

A new year and we began ours with a move, a new job, and new house.  This is our first house to live in since my husband and I got married almost ten years ago.  It has been really nice to get out of the small flat and into a place with lots of storage space and room to enjoy family time.  What I love the most is where we are situated in Bath, in the town of Batheaston.  It is like being in the shire and my favourite aspect are the sheep we can see from our windows. It is a great place to call home and I feel so blessed to be here with my family. 
The view of the rolling patchwork quilt hills dotted with white sheep from our windows.
My husband, +Ryan Aherin looking very English and just needing a sheep dog to complete the look.
We took a country walk with the boys on New Years day to see the sheep on the hill. 
The boys and watching the sheep on our Country walk through the Bath countryside. 
My English gentleman. 
The church in town with the English flag flying from above.  
Walking through the town with my three men. 
I love all the details on the buildings and the originality of each door.  
The sunlight breaking through the grey english skies. 
The last of the holiday decorations on the door.  
The winding roads leading us into 2013.
Instagram: thebonnierose