Category Archives: tck

TCK: Language Study

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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.
David C. Pollock

Not every Third Culture Kid’s experience is exactly like another and when it comes to language study the same is true.  I have known some TCKs who are bilingual from their time growing up between two countries.  There are TCKs who only know one language from not being immersed in a second language while others know multiple languages. Continue reading

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.

Horrible Histories Spies – Imperial War Museum, London

It is Tuesday and so you know what that means: Travel Tuesday! I have really enjoyed looking through all the links up this past week.  I was homesick by by Louisa with her P is for the Perfect Pacentro, learning about how Kate’s Dad Lives in Kenya, and having my wanderlust fueled further by Lindsey’s travels to Thailand.  I cannot wait to see where you are all sharing travels and stories of wanderlust from this week!  You all make this link up so much fun and inspiring! 
For Travel Tuesday I take you to the Imperial War Museum in London, England.  We had the opportunity to visit this summer with my family.  The reason for our going was to visit the limited time Horrible Histories Spies exhibit that was going on at the museum.  My boys love the Horrible Histories television programme and so we left it as a surprise until we arrived at the IWM. 

Horrible Histories is a British children’s television series based on the Terry Deary book series of the same name. It aims to provide entertainment while also informing its audience about history, thereby making a stereotypically boring topic fun – Wikipedia 

The exhibit was very hands on and geared towards kids and the child in all of us.  In fact I am not sure who had more fun: my sons or all of the adults.  The boys got a special new Horrible Histories book and a special stamp sheet that they could use through out their experience at the museum.  In different stations they could get an embossed stamp to signify they had completed that part of the journey. 
In typical Horrible Histories fashion they were able to provide the truth of spies with real artifacts coupled with gruesome tales and sometimes disgusting things you as an adult would not really want to know.  They had pictures and videos and many interactive areas where they could engage with computers to learn more about spies through out history. 
Of course at the gifts shop they had every gag spy item imaginable as well as their book series for purchase.  They even had quite a bit of books and films for the adults in the fiction and non fiction genres of war and spies.  
One of the most fun activities we enjoyed was becoming spies and making our own faux passports to fit our secret cover identity.  We then had to memorize our cover story and get questioned by the passport control to see if we could stay in the country.  It was all quite fun and the whole family was entertained. 
The Imperial War Museum is a great museum to visit when you are in London, England.  After we visited the Horrible Histories Spies exhibit (and had a break for tea, of course) we went to see other areas of the museum.  They have a pretty impressive area about war and spies geared more for adults though my children had almost as much fun as before.  Even if you have young children like mine I would recommend taking them because we found it to be a great home education resource.  It opened up dialog for more conversations about history, war, and spies.  My boys were most impressed with all the artifacts they had that spies really used in this part of the museum.
Here were some favourite captures taken from the day:
More on Horrible Histories
Want to know a little more about what Horrible Histories is all about? I definitely recommend checking out their website below and you can find plenty skits and songs on youtube as well. My family’s favourite is the RAF song as we have history with the USAF and the RAF. It definitely brings in a lot of memories of my dad and I think he would have thought this song was so hilarious. I think you will too so I have shared it below.
Share your Travel stories and wanderlust addictions.
1. Share a post about travel! From road trips to trips abroad and from past travels to dream vacations. You can write about travel tips and tricks, favorite places to stay, or anything in between! Just make it about traveling somewhere!
2. Grab the lovely button. If you run into trouble, just make sure to mention Bonnie in a link! 😉 
3. Linkup goes live every Tuesday at 9 am GMT.
4. Hop around and meet new travel loving bloggers! Link up will be open for a few days, make sure to check back to visit some of the newer travel posts!
5. Please only one linked up post per blogger. Save other posts for future linkups!
6. The First Tuesday of every month will be a themed prompt if you want to join in!

My Life as a Military Brat

The ‘My Life as a Military Brat’ series talks about my my life growing up.  When people ask where I am from, it is sometimes easier to just say ‘Everywhere. Military brat’.  I have been asked by many readers to talk more about what it was like growing up in Europe as a military kid.  For me I loved it and love that my parents chose to keep choosing overseas assignments. 
My Beginning. 
I was born into a military family that was stationed overseas in Europe, on my father’s second tour in England. For the next seventeen years I would move around frequently as my father chose other overseas assignments.  Sometimes we would live in a place for a few months and sometimes for a few years.  Up until today I have still never lived in one place for longer than three years at a time.  There are so many numbers in my head correlating to aspects of my life as a military brat.  
Thirteen is the number of bedrooms in homes I had until I left the house for University. Nine is the number of schools I attended until my high school graduation. Four is the number of countries I grew up in and two is the number of continents.  I still have a hard time tallying up the number of countries I have step foot in (up until the age of seventeen) without talking it over with my mum.  Even though it has been thirteen years since I grew up as a military dependent, I am still attached to my military brat identity.
What is a military brat?
Many traditions in the US military come from the British Army. For example, if a member of the British Army was given an assignment to India and could take his family with him, they went with the member in an Admin status called: BRAT status. In this instance BRAT stands for: British Regiment Attached Traveler. As time went by it became a title given only to the children (omitting the wives) of the military member and taken to be used in the US military world as well.  
A Military Subculture.
On top of living the life of an ‘american’ family and living in different countries and cultures overseas, there is a military culture too.  It is not something you choose like your parents who joined and becomes an integral part of every day life.  So many expectations are set on rules & regulations and conduct for the military kids.  There were also many privileges and perks of having a military ID card: the comforts of ‘home’ for shopping on base, free admission to the on base cinema (overseas), and military resorts and lodging.  Then the day to day life of  hearing reveille in the morning, the retreat  at the end of the duty day, and having to stand for the pledge of allegiance before a movie begins on post. When I think of my own life growing up overseas it becomes a mishmash of so many different cultures and growing up military is a huge part of that. 

Nomadic Life.
As a military brat we were always moving.  I was constantly in a cycle of three phases: being the new kid, finally being settled, and preparing to move.  There was one year where I went to four different schools on two different continents because we were following my father to keep together as a family. As of today my sister and I both still move around frequently only staying in one place for a few years at a time. Often asked how I can do it, I answer from the heart: It is all I have ever known.
Q: Do you have any questions you would liked answered in this series?

Click to view the Giveaway

I have one extra special treat for you today, a guest spotlight! You may remember Lindsey as this is her second time sponsoring A Compass Rose.  I love having her aboard on the side bar and getting sick with wanderlust from her blog.  One of my most favourite posts is her recent one about dancing on tables at Oktoberfest! Now theres one for your bucket lists, I know it is on mine! For her #TravelTuesday post this week she took us all with her to The Swiss Countryside with beautiful photographs of picturesque views!  She has just started a twitter account so you can now send her tweets too!

“Hello everyone! This space is called ‘A Broad’s World’ but you can call me Lindsey. My blog meanders through my life abroad, from leaving Thailand to transitioning into Australia, and all the adventures in between. Occasionally I get distracted and write something on the lines of the very chaotic yet always rewarding task of being an ESL teacher, or about concoctions that I bring to life in my kitchen, or about the preparations and results to my sometimes-insane decisions to participate in marathons and other outdoor adventures. I hope you enjoy this space that acts as my creative outlet and I hope you stay awhile!” – Lindsey (A Broad’s World)


P O S T S  BY  L I N D S E Y 

M A K E   F R I E N D S   &   F O L L O W   L I N D S E Y !

*photography belongs to Bonnie Rose Photography © 2007 – 2013 All Rights Reserved | 

My Expat Life: The WWII Evacuee | DIY Gas Mask

This month my son had a field trip to the museum in Swindon where they would be learning more about the children in WWII.  They had been studying in school about the evacuees from London who were sent to the countryside for safety.  The parents were asked to dress our kids up as WWII evacuees and to prepare a lunch that would be appropriate for that time.  With my theatre background I jumped right on this to help my son look the part.  
HIS WARDROBE: The folded up the trouser legs of his school trousers so that they came right below his knees and put on a blue button up shirt.  My mum had knitted his brother this lovely yellow vest and since ‘smaller sized clothes’ would go with the whole ‘they wore what they had’ criteria it worked out just perfectly.  He then wore a black blazer over it to keep warm and his father leant him his hat.  

HIS LUNCH: After doing a little research we settled on a corn beef sandwich, an apple, a few biscuits, and some chocolate as a special treat (well…i am sending him away!) I had originally bought him some come evaporated milk after reading it somewhere online but it seemed inconvenient and heavy. I ended up filing an empty honey jar with water for his drink.  His whole lunch went into a little box that I wrapped up in brown mailing paper to look like a parcel, which he wore around his neck.  
HIS ACCESSORIES: I also made him a placard which was basically a name tag with all his details.  It was fully filled out though I took those off for sharing online.  He also had a ration card book that I made him which he kept in his lunch box.  He chose a teddy bear to carry and I attached the note to the bear like a placard.  The note was to the ‘sir or madam’ who would be taking care of my child while I stayed in London. 
HIS GAS MASK: Ideally this would fit in the parcel he carried, but it was too big and way cooler to wear anyways as part of his costume.  I have decided to include a DIY on how I made it for future parents who will be doing this with their kids at schools here in England.  I did not do this when I was in primary school in England and as an expat now I had to do some digging to find ideas online. So I hope this blog post is very helpful.  
 Gather Your Supplies.  I found a file, some kid science goggles, a cadbury tin, a shower head, and other items just from what we had in the house.  I did not spend any extra money to make this cosplay item.
 I glued the inside of the file to make the gas mask extra sturdy. I drew out the shape of it from hand and used the cadbury can to make three circles for the eyes and mouth.  All three will need to be cut out but I recommend cutting the mouth as show with ‘teeth’ so that it can attach well to the can. 
 I  covered the can with black scrapbooking paper and left the gold metal rim that came on the cadbury tin.  Seemed like a perfect detail for an accent piece. 
 The shower head I realized would fit nicely in the lid of the cadbury tin since the lid has portion of space that indents.  All I needed to do was put a little bit of duct tape between the lid and the shower head for it to stick nicely in place.  
I used some extra black fabric from an old  cape to ver it up and then replaced the lid on the tin.  It showed just enough of the shower head to give me the look I was going for with the gas mask.  
This is what it looked like when I finished this part. Now I am ready to attach it to the gas mask. 

See how the teeth can now be bent over on the can?  

I used super clue around the can first and then pushed the gas mask in place.  

I folded down each teeth and then secured with super glue and duct tape.  I let it sit to dry for a bit to make sure it was secure. 

I realised my son would be huffing on super glue because the smell was strong. So I found a scent disc for the car and cut it to the right size. I covered it up in the same black material.

Here you can see how I used duct tape again and then attached it on top of the space.

As seen in this photo. So now he can smell ‘new car smell’ and not super glue. 

The last part was cutting out the plastic circles for the eyes. and taping them well on the back side.  I attached cord on each side of the mask so that we could tie it around his head or to wear around his neck.   This is the finished back side. 
This is the finished gas mask from the front. It was really easy to make and very fun. Plus there are so many different ways you can customize it just by using what you have from around the house. 
Q: Are you aware about the children who were evacuated during WWII in England? How about the children who were rescued out of mainland Europe to England?

*Photography belongs to Bonnie Rose of Bonnie Rose Photography © 2007 – 2013 All rights reserved | 

Elizabeth’s Expat Life in Thailand

Welcome to another Travel Tuesday here at ACR and I look forward to reading all your posts of wanderlust and travel in our link up today.  I have a special post for you which has been written by one of my sponsors this month and someone I feel blessed to call my friend.  One of the most amazing things about blogging is finding someone who may live on the other side of the world, but who is your kindred spirit.  Elizabeth is that person to me and today is taking over my blog to whisk you all away to where she is living the expat life in Thailand.  Feel like seeing more beautiful photographs of her life there then head over to her blog The Bradleys!

I am so thrilled to be able to write today on Bonnie’s inspirational site. You see, I am one of those fellow ‘third culture kids’ turned third culture Mums, as well as a British American. Bonnie and I have a lot in common, including the fact that we are both photo geeks and grew up in Asia and Europe. It is confusing (very) and can frequently lead to odd conversations with people ( ugh).

My family and I currently live in the Southern Thailand, on the beautiful island of Phuket. I started our family blog The Bradleys  to share our daily life as a family that values spending time together above anything else; we especially love holistic living/parenting as well as travel. Despite being a ‘third culture kid’ I had never heard of this term before I discovered Bonnie’s blog and TCK series. For 30 years I have struggled with my cultural identity, expressing who I am and where I am from to people. It sounds odd at first but when you think of how many countries across the world are filled with immigrants, in reality this is quite common. In fact here in Phuket, the local population isn’t 100 percent Thai but a mixture of Hokkian (Chinese) and Thai, which is called baba. I found this fascinating as I was ignorant on Thai heritage until I first visited Phuket Town and saw all of the Taosist temples and realized that there was a heavy Chinese cultural influence.

Our little 5 year old daughter Kaya is a fellow TCK and global citizen. When she was born, we decided we want to raise her outside of the US (living in LA for 8 years had taken a toll on us) and closer to where I grew up in France. My husband however, felt hesitant to move there and instead decided to take a job teaching ESL in Korea. The experience was interesting but my husband ended up coming home from work late in the evening, with more work to do before bed. It was exhausting. We ended up moving back and forth for several years until we came back to Phuket a few months ago. We’ve lived here for two years in total, with a 4 month stint in Scotland. Our intention was to settle down there permanently but due to changes in the spousal visa, we were forced to leave until the politics get sorted.

Phuket is a lovely place to live. Safe, excellent food, and permanent good weather ( well we do get a lot of rain too…), it’s been a lovely place to be based. This week is the vegetarian festival where the whole island adopts a vegan diet and street vendors sell vegetarian delights such as coconut icecream! The Thai culture is very respectful of foreigners and our daughter has several close friends that she plays with. She is also picking up Thai, which is fantastic. And yet, we are craving settling somewhere permanently, and we’re not sure Phuket is the right fit. With having family in the US, UK, and Canada, we’d like to be somewhere closer for them to come visit and vice versa. There aren’t many homeschooling families on the island, nor is there a close knit community for expats per se. The majority of foreigners living here year round are in their 50s and up.

Travel is an important form of education and we feel from the last 4 years of traversing the globe our family has experienced things we never would have if we had let our dreams get diminished. We had many set backs along the road to finding home, so to speak, and even though we haven’t found where we want to call home, we have picked up pieces of ourselves where ever we have visited. The world is filled with beautiful people looking to express themselves and find fullfillment. We share flaws and goals. We are more similar than different.

*images original to The Bradleys blog. Please get in contact if wanting to use anything from their site.

Share your Travel stories and wanderlust addictions.

1. Share a post about travel! From road trips to trips abroad and from past travels to dream vacations. You can write about travel tips and tricks, favorite places to stay, or anything in between! Just make it about traveling somewhere!
2. Grab the lovely button. If you run into trouble, just make sure to mention Bonnie in a link! 😉 
3. Linkup goes live every Tuesday at 8 am GMT.

4. Hop around and meet new travel loving bloggers! Link up will be open for a few days, make sure to check back to visit some of the newer travel posts!

5. Please only one linked up post per blogger. Save other posts for future linkups!
6. The First Tuesday of every month will be a themed prompt if you want to join in!

My Night in an Italian Jail

Day Four of Blogtember states, ‘A story about a time you were very afraid.’

I almost regret telling this story again but to be fair the culmination of events are still a very scary moment from my travels. It is something that should have never happened. It happened in a place I have always considered closest to ‘home’. A place that up to this point I have lived the longest. In a country where I lived twice in my childhood. I was at the wrong place at the wrong time and I made a bad decision. This is my account of my night in an Italian jail. 
It was the summer of 2012 and it was my first time back since my senior year ten years prior. What made this trip special was it was my husband’s first time to Italy and his first time to experience a place where I grew up. As a military brat the places you live, though geographically stay the same, change quite a bit after you leave. The majority of people I knew of my six years in Napoli were gone. Even my church family in Bagnoli had shrunk in numbers. I could not show him the three houses I had lived because they were out in the suburbs accessible by car but difficult to get to by public transport. So we spent the majority of our time seeking out the hidden beauty of the city in both places I remembered and those we found along the way. We savored every bite of the delicious southern Italian cuisine made simple excuses to have more gelato, and captured the beauty we saw in photographs. 
On the night that this takes place we had just returned from viewing collections of antiquities excavated from Pompeii at the National Archaeological museum. It was early evening and we were walking through the narrow streets of the city. I was on a high of being surrounded by the sights and sounds of my childhood and had just gotten off the phone with an old family friend who lives in Napoli. I was so happy that I had not noticed I had gotten too comfortable. With my Nikon DSLR safely guarded in my arms, I captured street photography with the ease of my android phone. Sure the photos would not be as amazing as my camera but I was going for artsy and using different filters on my beloved hipstamatic app. 
In the process of taking a photo of a pizza being made at a pizzeria, my phone was grabbed out of my hands. I turned in shock to see an obnoxious grin and then the back of a man as he ran away with my phone down another alleyway. While my head and my feet questioned each other with whether I should run or just scream, the man who had turned to run down the side street, jumped on a back of a moped with a driver. In less than a minute my phone was stolen and gone out of sight. It was not even the phone that I was upset about but the number of photos I had taken on our journey. So many of them documenting my husband’s first time in Napoli: his first taste of pizza from the birthplace of its creation, his first time on the funicular, an incline railway, and his first time shopping the street markets in Vomero. I screamed when it had happened and my husband who had been a few paces in front of me said he knew immediately what had happened before he turned around. 
Our adventurous night began there in the middle of Napoli in the small darkened streets and alleyways. The people who worked in the pizzeria were really amazing. They took us inside, called the polizia, and made me a calming tea. I had not expected the outcome and so I was shaking and in a state of shock. It was then that I had my first ride in the back of a police car, whisked away to the nearest police station to make our report. I was feeling really stupid for feeling too comfortable being home in Napoli that I had my phone out at all. We should not even had been in that area, but I wanted to show my husband ‘Christmas Alley’, another memory from my fading past. We could have easily been walking aback to where we were staying had I not tried to fit just one more thing into our day. 
Still shaking, I answered the questions using the best knowledge I have of the Italian language. I was asked to look at photographs to see if anyone looked like the man who had stolen my phone. Already his face was fleeting from my memory. Looking back afterwards I can now draw from their questions that they were hoping I would say it was this man in one of the photographs who was wearing a white shirt. However he was the opposite of my initial description and I kept getting frustrated with their persistence. I soon found myself in a small room for a ‘line up’, however the actuality of the situation scared me more than having my phone taken from me in the first place. I did not know exactly where they were taking me or what I would be doing before I was thrown into the scene I am about to describe to you. 
The room I was in was dark and several bodies of police officials and detectives stood inside. I turned where they wanted me to face and I stood facing a man. Although a wall with a glass window was in-between us the man in question was literally inches away from me. He was not the man I had seen. He was white not tan, he had a bald or shaved head not dark hair, and he was more stalky and muscular than the leaner guy I remembered. It was the man from the photographs that the detectives had been showing me. I looked through the glass and saw this man was bloody, amped up on adrenaline, and looking like he could have come out of a Guy Richie film the way he was ready to throw a punch. I looked at the man in the white shirt and instantly the fear kicked me to my core. I wanted to run, to move, to close my eyes. At that moment I was more afraid of him punching through the glass, especially when it was apparent he could hear my words as I spoke ‘Its not him”. 
I will be honest I cried when we got back to the room for more questions and information about the scene. I wish now I had checked the photographs on my Nikon DSLR. When we had gotten home to England all the feelings from that night came right back in a spiraling anxiety attack as I found a photo taken minutes before the crime. The man in the white shirt, whom I had been asked to identify, was up ahead of where I was taking photos, talking to a man who very much fit my description of the man who had taken my phone. Bone chilling. Perhaps the other man was just a man, innocent in his own right. However there was no mistaking the man I had to view at the police station, for I cannot get him out of my mind. Whatever he did from when I had taken that photo on my camera to when I saw him at the police station, I will never know. 
Luckily I had my camera to document the rest of our trip and I did not let the incident ruin the rest of our time. I still love my beautiful city. The old buildings, the cobblestoned streets, the laundry hung out all the windows, and the women who lower baskets from tall apartment windows to retrieve recently purchased goods. The best was being able to start every morning and end every day with the beautiful view from where we were staying high up near the funicular to see the beautiful bay of Napoli. It may have taken me many years to return, but no one can take away from me the love I have for the city of Napoli. Not even spending part of our night in an Italian jail. Ci Vediamo bella Napoli! 
* Photograph belongs to Bonnie Rose Photography © 2007 – 2013 All Rights Reserved |