Summers of Change

Many things come to mind when thinking of summer: sunshine, ice-cream, vacation, lounging on the beach, late nights, cool drinks… But for me, and many other TCKs, summer was also synonymous with change. Sometimes we would watch best friends move away and other times we were the ones leaving. Either way it meant change, adapting to yet another new situation and having to figure it out all over again. When we were moving there were obviously greater challenges and those summers were truly a period of transition.

The summers when we were moving we rarely went directly to the new country. Once school would finish in June, we would pack up the house, ship everything off with the moving company and we would head off to spend the summer with family. At least that way we could enjoy our vacation as much as possible before having to confront the inevitable challenges awaiting us. It was, in my humble adult TCK opinion, a very smart move to allow us this transition period, this pause, in between countries. It softened the blow of leaving our home and gave us strength to deal with arriving in a foreign place. Spending the summers with cousins and grandparents, being surrounded by loved ones and familiarity eased the pain of loss and of sorrowful goodbyes. It reminded us that some things remain constant and steady, even when everything around us seemed to be a whirlwind of change. It also reinforced our belief that time and distance do not alter true friendship and love.

Summers are meant to be a time of joy, fun, laughter and carefree days. We were lucky to enjoy those moments, but for TCKs moving to a new country the summer was much less carefree and relaxed. While others were still enjoying their last lazy days of summer lounging in the sun or chatting with friends, we were unpacking boxes in an unfamiliar house, trying to find our way in foreign roads and dreading the first day at a new school. It wasn’t always easy, and we were grateful for the summers when we weren’t moving, but it was all part of the experience. And despite all the tough moments, I would do it again, without a doubt.

Those summers of change provided valuable lessons that will last me a lifetime and they taught me how resilient I really am. A restful summer is always welcome, but show me the next opportunity for change, and my TCK itchy feet are ready for the next adventure!

I hope you all have a great summer, wherever you may be, and good luck to any of you going through a summer of a change.

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Moving forward, but always remembering the past…
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12 thoughts on “Summers of Change

    1. I never went to boarding school so hearing stories about people’s experiences at them is always fascinating to me. Once you went back home, was all the packing already done? Or did you travel directly to the new country?

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        1. That must have been tough to never go through those physical motions/experiences of leaving somewhere familiar and arriving somewhere new…I imagine it must have made it harder to have closure, without being able to say goodbye to the places and things you loved, and more difficult to adapt/settle in the new countries?

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          1. Well it only happened once or twice while I was away. Usually I was there but it was interesting to see what had “disappeared” in the move. It was just something you accepted along with everything else.

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  1. Maybe the theme here is that family is the constant, unchanging thing – the only thing you can count on. You apparently learned this at a much earlier age than I did. My summers were spent picking berries to earn enough money to buy school clothes … something teenagers today are above doing, apparently. I can’t even imagine moving to a different country at that age! Did you look at it as an adventure then, or a necessary evil? I think your TCK experiences are fascinating. Keep ’em coming! (and are you getting thunderstorms down there? they’ve been downright nasty here….)

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    1. For all those years moving around, family really was the one constant and unchanging thing – we could always count on each other throughout the moves and that made a big difference. I think that we reacted differently to each move, depending on our age, the friends we’d made, where we were and where we were headed. It was always hard to move and we obviously wondered why we had to keep moving – we understood it rationally because we knew dad was being moved elsewhere for work, but emotionally was a different thing. But once we made friends in the new country, we didn’t really think about how hard it was to move. That’s where I always speak of the resilience – it’s tough at the time of moving, but we knew that we always figure it out, and my parents knew it too. We definitely didn’t make it easy on them some moves, but I know we never really held it against them, because each time we had new and more wonderful experiences. It was definitely harder to move as we got older, but on the flip side, we also appreciated what we could gain from the different countries more as we got older. I’m not sure if that answers your question at all… Sometimes I find it difficult to express my thoughts in a coherent manner!

      And yes, we’ve gotten some thunderstorms here too – in the afternoons/evenings we’ve had some downpours with very impressive lightning and thunder… If you keep getting hit, make sure you stay safe and dry!

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    1. Thank you!! I was particularly pleased with how that photo came out (and I felt it encompassed the message of the post too), so your comment means a lot! 🙂

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  2. Love this piece! For my own kids, the summer we moved to the US was particularly hard because it didn’t involve getting back on a plane. Once late August rolled around, we were still here 😦

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