Published Book Review and Thank You

It’s been a great week for me as a writer – first my article was published yesterday in Global Living Magazine and today my book review on Expat Arrivals was published!

The book review is about Valerie Besanceney‘s wonderful book B at Home: Emma Moves Again, which is a must-read for Third Culture Kids, their parents and teachers. It is especially directed at younger TCKs, but I think even adults would greatly benefit from it. I know that I saw myself in the story and I could really feel Emma’s emotions. It is a fantastic book that I would highly recommend to anyone working with TCKs.


This is again going to be a short post to share my publishings, but I did want to thank everyone who has ever taken the time to read my blog. The comments I’ve gotten here have always encouraged and motivated me. Without this blog I don’t think I would have been ready to tackle the writing residency I am currently doing and I probably wouldn’t have been prepared to publish articles either.

This blog was my first real opportunity to pursue my passion and I’m grateful to everyone who has taken the time to read and comment. You’ve helped make my dream of being a writer come true, because you made me feel that what I wrote mattered. That has always been humbling and inspiring.

So, a very heartfelt thank you and I hope you’ll stick around for more!

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“If You Wish to be a Writer, Write…”*

Twenty-nine years. I don’t know exactly how many of those have been spent writing, but I know it’s many of them.

I started keeping my first diary in elementary school and although my writing notebook isn’t a diary it’s still a journal of sorts. I don’t remember when I wrote my first poem but I know for sure that I have been writing poetry since middle school. Many of the themes are still the same – love, nature, growing up a Third Culture Kid… Although the way I write about them has definitely evolved and matured since those first poems!

I’ve written for a long time and I hope to keep writing for much longer. It brings me a joy and a comfort that I don’t often find elsewhere… And writing has carried me through many ups, downs and transitions. This blog is proof of that as I started it after one of my biggest transitions, and it has been a constant source of inspiration and comfort. It has kept me busy and connected, at a time when I felt otherwise idle and lonely. It has opened the door to many wonderful people and many unexpected opportunities.

Writing continues to be such a source of joy and I hope it always will be. Thank you for following me on my journey. Thank you for your support, your company, your comfort and your inspiration.

Here’s to many more years of writing – about love, nature, being a Third Culture Kid and everything else in between.

“You can make anything by writing.”  C.S. Lewis

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(* Epictetus)

Seasons of Change – 2012

Autumn has often felt like a time of reflection, maybe because it’s a season of change. Change in the weather from the hot, muggy days of summer, to the crisp, cool days of fall; change from lazy vacation days to the start of school, college and new projects. The leaves are ever-changing, from green to all possible shades of yellow, gold, orange and red. Two years ago we arrived here just as autumn was beginning, at the end of September, so it’s definitely a season of change and reflection for us.

There have been a lot of thoughts floating around inside my mind during these constantly changing autumn days, but I’ve had trouble finding how to put them in writing. They drift around, like the leaves dancing in the air; the difference is that the leaves find their way to the ground, whereas my words are having trouble finding their way to paper. I’ve been in a pensive phase, as I often find myself at this time of year – it must be both the change in seasons and the approach of another year’s end. I reflect on everything that has happened during this year so far, and on how things have been these past years since we moved back to the U.S. It’s been a time of growth and learning for us, in so many ways. It hasn’t always been easy, but each struggle, each obstacle only made us stronger and more adaptable for the future. I’ve also been thinking of some of the things I’ve accomplished in our time here, because I think I sometimes forget what I’m capable of and to be proud of myself for what I’ve achieved so far.

I started my blog, something that would have never happened without the unwavering, rock-solid support of my wonderful husband. Starting a blog was a huge accomplishment for me and something I never thought I would do. I have always loved to write and to suddenly have a way to share my writing was amazing. But I wasn’t prepared for how much I would love blogging or for the overwhelming, kind and motivating support I would receive from the blogging community. My blog allowed me to improve my writing, to explore my love of photography and to communicate with people all over the world. The best part is reading comments where someone relates to what I’ve written – that’s what matters most to me, and I love when readers share their stories with me. I’m always excited to post something new but my favorite part is seeing the responses to something I have written and to feel connected on such a global level.

Something I wrote was published: two articles so far (I mentioned the first in my post Published, and the second has recently come out here). This particular accomplishment is really a milestone for me. It’s incredible to have a chance to do something I love and to have it published in a magazine. It’s all the more exciting because it’s a magazine that is made for (and by) TCKs, expats and travelers. You can see a preview of the 2nd article in the newest issue here, and you can learn more about the magazine on their website and in a previous post. These years have been filled with writing and accomplishing amazing things with my writing. I hadn’t written much for a few years and having my blog and articles published has given me goals to strive for with my writing.

In a non-writing area, in these past years I’ve settled in a new place, far away from my family and from everything familiar. I’ve done that without having a regular routine, like a job or school, which would allow me to meet people and find a structure to my days. This was the first move my husband and I did as a couple; a first leap into continuing our TCK lives as adults. That’s not a negligible accomplishment, but somehow I always seem to overlook it because moving someplace new and adapting was always a part of our lives. Yet I realize that all the other times I was in school or college; this time was a very different experience, but one I’m nonetheless happy to have. Every move allows you to grow as a person and to learn more about yourself. I know that may sound clichéd, but it’s true. This particular move has been a huge growing and learning experience for me. I realized that even after many years of being in the same place and not having to move, I’m still so resilient and adaptable. I’ve learned a lot about myself and about how much being a TCK shaped me and my outlook on life. I’ve also grown more aware than ever that I’m an adult TCK, which I mentioned in a recent blog post. Growing up we were somewhat aware of what we were getting from the TCK lifestyle, but only in these past years have I realized how much of an impact that life has had on us as adults. For all the difficulties it might present, I’m grateful to be an adult third culture kid because it’s given me the strength to take on any challenge and to overcome any obstacles, no matter where life leads me.

When I started preparing a blog post today, I had been planning on only posting some pictures I had taken of the beautiful autumn colors, accompanied by a few simple words. But it turns out I had more than a few words to say. Oddly enough, some parts of this post were written a couple of weeks ago, but they were in a post that would have been very unlike this one, and in a very different frame of mind. I’m in a much better place today – still reflective, but positively so. I know that things don’t always go according to plan, but a lot of times the unexpected path just leads to something better. If I had found or followed a ‘traditional’ path in certain aspects, it’s unlikely I would have started this blog or had articles published. Planning for the road ahead is always good, but you never know when a loop, fork or dead-end will show up on the path. When that happens, we just need to learn to see it as an opportunity to move forward down a new path and not as a roadblock that causes us to backtrack. It’s easier to believe that when things are going well and you’re in an optimistic mood – find me on a bad day, and I might disagree with myself. But I’ve been through so many changes in my life: by the time I was 18 and finished with high-school I had lived in 6 countries on 4 different continents. The changes didn’t end there, whether it was about where I went to university, the language I studied in, or the latest move back across the Atlantic Ocean from Europe to the U.S. I know change. I know how hard, heart-breaking and devastating it can be, but I also know how enriching and empowering it can be.

I both dread and welcome change. I am afraid of not being able to handle it, but I know that ultimately I’ll be able to deal with whatever is thrown my way. It’s part of growing up as a TCK – you learn very early on that change is a huge part of life, and it’s going to happen, whether you like it or not. You have to take it as it comes and make the best of the change, otherwise you’ll be miserable. TCKs realize very quickly that our whole life is made up of change and of adapting. It’s important to see the good side of the change and to know that no matter how hard it can be, it will make you so much stronger once you overcome it.

Adult third culture kid, pensive and reflective in the season of change, signing off.

Sisterhood of the World

A fellow TCK and expat, with a wonderful blog, Expat Alien, has very kindly nominated me for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award.

The rules are

  • Thank the giver, link to the page, and add the award to your site
  • Tell 7 things about yourself
  • Give the award to 5 bloggers

Thank you, Expat Alien!! Make sure you check out her blog, whether you’re an expat/TCK or not! 🙂

Now onto seven things about myself…

1. I just celebrated my first wedding anniversary a few days ago (it’s been a wonderful year!).

2. I have just had my first ever article (or anything!) published – more to come on that in a separate post.

3. As much as I do like being settled down somewhere, my TCK itchy feet are looking forward to change…whenever and wherever that may be.

4. I love the feeling of excitement of being someplace new, of discovering a different place, even if it’s mingled with a scared feeling of being completely lost.

5. I haven’t really traveled to a new place or gone exploring with my husband in a while, and I think that exacerbates the TCK feeling of needing to change. I’m looking forward to future trips!

6. I just recently started writing a list of things I would like to accomplish or see. I haven’t put a timeline on it yet, so I’m not sure if it’ll be a list of things to do/accomplish throughout my life, or before I’m 30, or while I’m living in the U.S. … I’ll just stick with writing what comes to my mind for now and worry about timelines later!

7. When you’re a TCK, family is more important than ever. They are your support system, your best friends, the only unchanging and unwavering aspect of your life. I’m lucky that I have the best parents, siblings and husband in the world (at least in my opinion!).

The 5 bloggers I would like to pass this award to are:

Cortney at The Adventures of Miss Widget and Her People

Sarah at Stars and Rainbows

–  A Single Letter

Paige at Stories From a Small Village

Global Anni

Make sure to check out their fantastic blogs!

To Write or Not To Write

It’s been quite some time since I’ve written, and as much as the past few weeks really have been busy, my lack of inspiration is also to blame. I do have a few photos I could post, and I will put them up soon, but this blog was initially started as a writing blog. I really enjoy putting up my photos and I’ve discovered a new love for photography with my blog, but sometimes that makes me lazier about writing. I don’t want to get lazy about writing, and with all my current free time I have no excuse to be lazy or procrastinate. I love to write and I have always loved writing, for as long as I can remember.

The first personal writing I ever did started in elementary school, when my sister bought me my first diary. I went through many diaries since then, and also many notebooks and journals of all shapes and sizes. Some of those became diaries; many of them became my poetry notebooks. I think I was in middle school when I began writing poetry, although high school was definitely my most productive period. I had a wonderful high school experience, with all the happiness of close friends, flirtations, parties…but I also had my share of teenage angst and unrequited love (until senior year 😉 ). Doesn’t that sound dramatic? Ah, but such is the life of a teenager, and drama sure makes for good poetry. Although, I would have to admit that my poetry didn’t particularly center around darker emotions – I would write about friendship, about love (what little I claimed to know at the time!), about the beauty of nature (that hasn’t changed), and of course the occasional ‘deeper’ emotional poem after a particularly dramatic event. Please note that ‘dramatic event’ is to be taken with a whole box of salt, not just a grain. This is high school I’m talking about, after all.

Well, I clearly went off track there, so let me get back to the point of this post: my love of writing. I had never thought of writing a blog, but when my husband mentioned it last year and I finally wrapped my head around the idea (what a weird expression…), I realized how perfect a next step it would be for me. I didn’t expect to love it as much as I do or that I would ‘meet’ such wonderful and encouraging people, but those have been such pleasant and welcome surprises. Blogging has allowed me to explore my writing in a different way, and part of me always wanted to share my writings, but I never knew how. Writing is so much a part of me, and I love the words as much as I love the act of writing. I’m still ‘old-fashioned’ and I write on paper before typing things up. I do that for my personal writing as well as for all my academic work. I love picking up a pen or pencil and watching the words appear on my paper. Writing in pencil is a big favorite of mine – I love the scratching sound of the lead on the paper and I love sharpening the pencil to write with a nice crisp lead. Yes, I am that old-fashioned: I prefer a classic wood pencil to the mechanical ones.

The bottom line is that I always come back to writing, no matter how long of a break it’s been since the last time I wrote. Writing soothes me and puts me in a mood of tranquil serenity. When I haven’t written in a while, I truly miss it.

Here’s hoping that turning 27 will bring lots of inspiration and fulfill this writer’s itch. Looking through my notebook, if the first 10 days are any proof, it’s looking to be a good year.

One Thousand and Counting

A few months ago, when I started this blog, I wasn’t sure where I would go with it or if I’d really get into it. Well, today I’m still not entirely sure where I’m going with it, but I’m most definitely sure that I’ve gotten into it, and I love it. I’ve always loved writing – poems and thoughts mostly, fiction was never something I was good at – but I never quite knew what to do with my writing.

This week I hit and passed 1000 visits on my blog. A thousand times and counting that someone clicked my home page or one of my posts. What does that mean? Does it mean my writing and my pictures are worth reading and seeing? Is it just luck that people stumbled upon my blog once and may never return? Did I manage to interest some people or bring a smile to their faces? Could some of them relate to what I’ve written? Do some of them share an unspoken connection or secret with me?

I love writing and I love sharing thoughts that can make connections with people all over the world. I love the vastness and globalness (if that’s even a word) of the blogosphere. I never thought there would be a day where I would ever have a reason to use the word blogosphere! But here I am, using that word, because since June, it’s another global community I’ve had the chance to be a part of. It something that keeps me in touch with my TCK side, no matter where I am. It allows me to ‘meet’ fascinating people, incredibly talented writers and photographers I would never have met otherwise. I didn’t know I would love writing my blog so much, but it really brings me a deep contentment and satisfaction. Hopefully, life and memories will continue to inspire me for a long time, and you’ll continue reading.

Thank you to family, friends, and all the kind strangers and amazing bloggers who make my day, every day. Your visits and comments always make me smile and add a bounce to my step.

Here’s to hoping there will be another one thousand visits.