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A TCK's Reflection; Brene Brown's Call to Courage

Back in January, I was preparing to present at a conference for TCKs. The topic I was asked to speak on with was living with anxiety. Shortly before that, my therapist and I had talked about vulnerability being a huge part in reducing anxiety. Amid these conversations and my research for my presentation, I also read Brene Brown's book, The Power of Vulnerability. If you don't know me well, one thing you'll learn quickly is that I hate to read - so the fact I read something longer than a Buzzfeed article, is huge. Since that time, I've been pretty obsessed with Brene Brown's work.
Just this week, the good people over at Netflix released the Brene Brown special "A Call to Courage." If you haven't seen it, you need to take the hour and 15 to learn from this incredible communicator. She is a storyteller and a straight-talker. She is intelligent, but presents in a relatable way. And what she has to say is vital for today's culture.
While I was watchin…

Thinking about Belonging and Being Known

The content below is written by my friend Lauren.  Lauren and I were talking one day about my international upbringing when she realized that we shared very similar experiences. I mentioned the term "TCK" to her and she had no idea what I was talking about.  It was an honor for me to explain to her about our unique community of people who've lived in various places around the world but have an almost immediate bond. 
Over the last couple of years, Lauren has been learning about being a TCK and how it has played into who she is as an adult. Below are Lauren's thoughts on being known in your current context.
Last year I moved for the 14th time in my 27 years of life.
Every move has taken me to another place. Another state (sometimes another country). Another house. Another job. Another school. Another set of friends.
As a result of this transient upbringing, every 2-3 years I feel the clock ticking. I wonder how long it is until I can escape the dreaded normalcy that has …

My Best Friend is a Mono-Cultural; Does that make me a traitor?

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Recently, I’ve been somewhat convicted by the thought that I am betraying my TCK upbringing by claiming to be best friends with a mono-cultural (someone who has grown up in the same place/region as their passport).

What prompted this thought was that I was with a group of TCKs and the topic of engaging with mono-culturals came up and I was unpleasantly shocked by what I heard.

One of the first things uttered was “well, they can’t relate to us at all” and this was followed by “also, we are considerably more mature than our mono-cultural counterparts”.

Honestly, hearing these things made me want to denounce my TCK loyalties entirely.

It was frustrating to hear these things because one of the things we (the TCK community) pride ourselves in is being tolerant and accepting of other cultures…

...except the culture of our passport, apparently.

After hearing these comments, in a moment of weakness due to being baffled by this arrogance, I turned it on them and asked them if they’d be able to…

On the Topic of "Goodbye"...

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We all have a story to share. No matter if you were raised in Detroit or New Delhi - you've had experiences that others need to hear.

Over the last year, I've been in therapy and a huge part of therapy is just telling your story. Therapy is just processing your story.

When it comes to growing up overseas, we have a little different need to share our stories because there is a consistent element of change. Based on conversations I've had with mono-cultural friends, I've had a higher amount of "goodbyes" in my life than they have had.

The first goodbye I remember was when I was 5 and we moved to Budapest. My parents did a phenomenal job preparing my sister and me for our departure from Chattanooga. From the time they told us we were moving, it was a regular topic of "when we get to Hungary" or "when we leave Chattanooga". We had to begin to think about our new home and when the time came it was hard, but it wasn't unexpected.

Another odd…

A Perspective on "Home"

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Below is an entry written by my friend Rachel.  Rachel grew up in different areas of the world...she went from the mid-western United States to East Asia to Pennsylvania. All very different places to call home.

Something that many TCKs struggle with is how to answer the question "Where are you from?"

My personal answer is "I moved here from Orlando" - with that, the asker naturally assumes I'm from Orlando. I'm not lying - I moved to Birmingham from Orlando...but if they press a little more I tell them I grew up in Central Europe because my parents work there. Sometimes, this provokes further conversation and other times it shuts the conversation down.

One of the reasons TCKs struggle with answering this question is because we've said "Oh, I'm from Romania" and then an accusatory "You don't have an accent" comes our way. I had Hungary listed on my nametag as to where I'm from the whole time I worked at SeaWorld and many t…

My Motivation...

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My name is Joel. I was born in Chattanooga, TN. When I was five, my family moved from Chattanooga to Budapest. I went to a Hungarian daycare, had Hungarian friends, my family had a Hungarian housekeeper (fairly common for that area of the world) all the way through middle school. My parents' jobs changed a little bit when I was in the 8th grade and I then started going to the international school in our suburb of Budapest until I went to college in the Chicago area in 2007.

From the time we moved to Budapest, my family was regularly presented the topic of living cross-culturally and my sister and I being raised as Third Culture Kids (or Cross-Cultural Citizens).

Sociologists have defined Third Culture Kids as “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 cul…