Summers of Change 2015

pic163-detailAn earlier version of this piece was first published on my blog in June 2013. The version below was published in the September 2015 issue of Among Worlds.


Many things come to mind when thinking of summer: sunshine, ice-cream, vacation, lounging on the beach, late nights, cool drinks, lazy days and evenings with family and friends… But for me, and many other Third Culture Kids (TCKs), summer was also synonymous with change. In the American and/ or international schools we attended, when June came along and the school year ended, there was always someone moving away. Sometimes we had to say goodbye to friends who were leaving and other times we were the ones packing up. 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. During those summers, 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 at least part of the summer with family. That way we could enjoy our vacation as much as possible before having to confront the inevitable challenges awaiting us.

It was a great idea 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. 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 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, 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 had a great summer, wherever you may be; and good luck to any of you who went through a summer of a change.

Early Summer Sights

It may have taken a while to get here after a long winter and short spring, but thankfully summer is just beginning… I’m looking forward to many more sunny days, walks in the evening, beautiful sunsets and hopefully some much-longed for beach time. For now, I leave you with a few shots of some early summer sights!

Happy summer to all (or happy winter, for those in the Southern hemisphere!)

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Ode to Autumn

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I have always loved all four seasons,

They each have their beautiful reasons.

But one stands out above them all,

My favorite and glorious fall.

 

Winter is biting and cold,

Hiding everything in its frosty hold.

Although a snowflake is magical to behold,

Its novelty soon becomes old.

 

Spring is a well of showers,

Followed by beautiful flowers;

But the pollen falls in powders,

Making me rue the spring hours.

 

Summer is golden and bright,

The sun setting with a glowing light.

Although it may seem just right,

After a while I long for the heat to take flight.

 

The autumn sky is clear and blue,

And the grass is damp with dew.

The trees know their cue

And begin to change their leaves anew.

 

I love winter’s sparkling white

And spring’s colorful delight.

I am warmed by summer’s golden light,

But I am exhilarated by autumn’s sight.

 

I have always loved all four seasons,

They each have their beautiful reasons.

But one stands out above them all,

My favorite and glorious fall.

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The Month of Change

When September comes around, with schools starting and autumn just around the corner, I can’t help but think about all of my Septembers as a TCK. Obviously the first thoughts that come to mind are all those times I was a new kid – like I mentioned in an earlier post. But then there are all sorts of other things that September was synonymous with, and I thought I would share some here…

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Lazy summer days roll into cool autumn nights,

As flocks of birds begin their migrating flights.

 

Notebooks, pens, pencils and other school supplies

Line the shelves all along the supermarket aisles.

 

Excitement, trepidation, laughter and tears…

Depending on whether the new year means facing friends or fears.

 

Leaves changing on the trees,

Fluttering in the early autumn breeze.

 

Red, orange, yellow and gold,

With autumn officially taking hold.

 

September is a month of change, of beginnings and ends,

In school, seasons and friends.

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Summer Loving

I’m happy that autumn is approaching, as I’m ready for the cooler temperatures, the brightly colored leaves, snuggling under blankets and drinking hot chocolate… But I loved the summer and all it entailed this year – road trips, air trips, beaches, champagne, exploring new places and fondly re-discovering childhood ones, burgers and shandy, lots of family, lots of laughter and lots of love…

… And also a wedding celebrated among wildflowers and butterflies. Although the scenery was beautiful, it was the love and celebration that really made this special. Since it was a cousin getting married, it meant lots of family, which is the best way to go. Lots of family means LOTS of fun, laughter, great conversations and most importantly love. It always feels so good to be surrounded by family and I feel so lucky to have them all, no matter where we are in the world.

 

… Beautiful views of Vermont on our drive back from Montreal, after visiting some cousins and my grandma. It was a wonderful, memory-filled weekend, visiting places I hadn’t seen in 12 years and that were a huge part of my childhood. We reminisced about all the mischief we managed growing up, and I got to show my husband some places that are very special to me. It reminded me yet again how lucky I am to have this amazing and close-knit family, despite the distances that separate us…

… And then there was the extra-special trip of the year: our honeymoon in St. Croix. We had much to celebrate – 10 years of being together, 2 years of marriage, and the honeymoon itself – and we made sure to enjoy every minute! From the warm Caribbean Sea, to sunset shows; from a day out on the catamaran to snorkel in the most pristine water, seeing rays, turtles and barracudas (not to mention all the other amazing sealife!), to dancing on the terrace after dinner… It was simply amazing and we made memories to last us a lifetime…

Until next year summer…

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…