Archive for July, 2005

Being a Global Nomad or a TCK

31 July 05

What is a TCK? A third culture kid

According to TCK World:

A TCK is an individual who, having spent a significant part of the developmental years in a culture other than that of their parents, develops a sense of relationship to both. These children of business executives, soldiers and sailors, diplomats, and missionaries, who live abroad, become “culture-blended” persons who often contribute in unique and creative ways to society as a whole.

The individual blend will vary, depending on such factors as the intensity of exposure to a second or third culture, at what age a child comes into contact with a culture other than that of the parents, and the amount of time a young person spends within a second or third culture. The TCK’s roots are not embedded in a place, but in people, with a sense of belonging growing out of relationships to others of similar experience.

Because of frequent changes in geographic locations, a TCK tends to be a very independent person, often a loner. That self-reliance can be turned into an asset as the young person matures, contributing to the TCK’s ability to make decisions and to exercise leadership. However, self-reliance is but one step away from isolation. If a TCK does not need or trust anyone, he or she cannot function in society in a healthy way.

A TCK can never change back into a monocultural person. Parents of TCKs can return “home” to their country of origin, but the children, enriched by having shared life in their formative years with another people, will find characteristics of both cultures in their very being. Acceptance of this fact frees TCKs to be uniquely themselves. In fact, TCKs have tools to be the cultural brokers of the future.

I strongly believe that my experiences as a TCK – both within the US and abroad – are directly responsible for my inability to stay in one place longer than 3 years. I actually love this about myself. As much as I would love to have roots and life-long friends and actually know my third cousin’s names, I much prefer being a citizen of the world.

Although sometimes the idea of roots is nice. I have to admit that I am terribly jealous of DH’s incredible childhood friendships that have managed to last, in a meaningful way, over 30 years.

I prefer the term Global Nomad, because it sounds more fun and adventurous than the technical TCK.

Shijiazhuang

30 July 05

Some of you may be wondering where in the heck I am moving to and what is interesting about it?

According to Wikipedia:

Shijiazhuang – Simplified Chinese: 石家庄; Traditional Chinese: 石家莊; pinyin: Shíjiāzhuāng, literally: “The Shi Family Village” is a prefecture-level city about 320 kms south of Beijing and the capital of Hebei Province. Its population was estimated at around 9 million in total and at 2.1 million for the urban area in 2004.

Shijiazhuang is a young city, only established in the 1950s. Its name still retains the character for “village” (zhuang, T: 莊 / S: 庄). After becoming the capital of Hebei Province in the 1970s, it expanded rapidly. Its population increased from half a million to 2.1 million in only 30 years.

I have heard good things and bad things. Some people say it is a nice place to live, others say it is a dirty, polluted, concrete jungle. I assume both to be true. The best thing is that it is located on the railroad line, which makes weekend travel easy. Of course, I’m sure I will be reporting much more on what it is like in the months to come.

I May Have a Job!

30 July 05

I may have a teaching job. At least I accepted one. I still have to get the visa arranged so I am not celebrating until it is all final. I would be teaching oral English in a primary school to children aged 6 to 12.

There is a lot of paperwork involved. I’ve just realized that I have only 2 empty pages left in my passport, so I must make a trip to the dreaded US Consulate to get more added in. I detest going to any US Embassy or Consulate. They always make you feel like you are a criminal. I’ve been to a couple of Spanish Embassies and they were so nice. They send DH postcards announcing things like movie nights and cultural talks. You don’t get that sort of attention from a US Embassy. You get searched and prodded and questioned and cross-examined. I understand that they have their security issues, but I still don’t get the inhumane treatment. I went the other day and was forced to stand in a long line on the sidewalk in front of the consulate in blazing 35 degree weather (100 F) with no water, (cause you can’t take anything in with you). If you dared approach the door to inquire if you were even waiting in the correct line, a security guard bellowed, “Get in the line!” I left after 30 minutes because I feared heat stroke.

I’ve shared my news with a few people at work and that is making all of this seem more real. I sort of freaked a little over the last few days. I just can’t believe how fast this is all happening. I have to pack up my whole house! I have to find a self-storage place. My mom may be flying up in a couple of weeks to drive my car back to Texas. (I guess the porsche is not enough for her, she wants my Rav4 too! 😉 ). By the end of August, just 4 weeks from now, I will be in the PR.

Why Going Native?

25 July 05

What exactly is Going Native all about? It is a philosophy that I have come to know through my many travels. Mainly it means that I am abandoning any preconceived notions that I may have about my new country. That I am travelling with an open-mind. That I am ready to accept what may come. That I aim to live as the locals do. That I will eat the local food and reject the Westernized Fast-Food establishments that seem to be spreading like a tumour across the world… That I will learn the language, culture and customs of the new country. (As much as I can.) I have a very big interest in folk practices of cultures different from my own, so one of my goals will be to explore that aspect of Chinese culture.

I’m not heading out to the Far East wearing rose-colored glasses, I recognize that there are always two sides to everything – good & bad, yin & yang. I choose to see both. I want to observe China and the Chinese as they are, as they deal with the new world they are now in.

Today at I Deal coffeeshop, a Canadian guy who lived in Turkey was talking about how the North American media is really creating a wall between North America and the rest of the world, dealing in stereotypes & fear. That in reality, the people of the world are really not scary terrorists, just people living and getting by like everyone else. It is so true. My aim in going native is to get to know the world out there beyond North America’s borders, with no agenda. No politics, no religion, no dogma, just genuine interest.

PRC

24 July 05

I’ve been doing a lot of reading on the web and there are a lot of China blogs out there! Also, it seems to be quite cool to refer to China as “the PRC.” That is the People’s Republic of China to you and me.

Scary and Exciting

22 July 05

A few weeks ago DH (henceforth DH to mean Dear Hubby) applied for a job in China, more or less on a whim. I thought, oh, that’s cool and sort of forgot about it. He got replies right away and before I knew it, moving to China seemed like a plausible thing.

China?! I don’t know very much about China, and in fact, I never was all that interested. But this has happened before. I never had much interest in the Spanish language or culture, and then DH came along. Now I am fluent in Spanish and have lived in Central America and Spain. Circumstances like these just sort of pop up for me!

So I am embracing the idea. I love learning languages, and I love to travel. I am practically a gypsy. China will just be one more adventure. I’ve been to the library and checked out everything they had at my branch on China. Tour guides, travel-logues, culture books and language tapes. Ni Hao!

I’ve also learned that I can teach English in China fairly easily. I’ve already contacted two schools and they are both interested in me. I’m nervous about that because I’ve never actually taught English before.

Leaving Toronto will be hard, and that suprises me. I’ve always maintained the idea that I am not attached to any one place, but I have really made a comfortable little “nest” here in Toronto.

I love my century old house. I love the squirrels that play on my back porch. I love Kensington Market. I love the bohemia of my neighborhood and neighbors. I love the “I Deal Coffeshop” where you can get the best espresso on the planet. I love “Il Gatto Nero” pizza place. I love the “Alchemy Bakery” and their fabulous baguettes and lavender shortbread cookies. I love “Omnivore Cafe’s” strawberry mint lemonade that comes in biodegradable plastic cups. I love the Kensington Avenue vintage clothing stores and “Tutti Frutti Organic Health Food Store.” Maybe I am getting too comfortable. Maybe I love it all too much. Besides, there will be plenty to explore in China.

On the Move Again

22 July 05

I am moving again, this time to China. More details to come….