Friday, June 19, 2009

Returning Home For The Summer: Is It For Your Children... Or For You?

Hi Everyone, Long-time Expat Women friend and supporter Apple Gidley has written an excellent article, Returning Home For The Summer, that has just been published by The Telegraph UK.

It starts like this:

"It's that time of year again... Swarms of expatriate wives and children from all over the globe descend on clogged airports intent on "going home" for the summer. Plans are made for Dad to join the fray, for a couple of weeks, in the middle of this madness of visiting grandparents and living out of suitcases.

The initial pleasure of seeing family begins to pall when the laundry piles up and the rain lashes down; the realisation that the girls you grew up with are now women with children, just like you, but unlike you they are intent on getting away, heading to some guaranteed sunshine; and that you actually have remarkably little in common anymore.

And why do we put ourselves through this supposed pleasure year after year? We tell ourselves it is so our children get "a sense of home, a sense of place, a sense of where they are from". But is it for them or us?

For most children home is where their parents are – no matter what their nationality or where they might be living."

It ends like this:

"So take heart, all you first generation expats, your children will not turn into rootless individuals with no sense of "home". They will be well adjusted and adaptable young men and women with a sense of adventure, a sense of belonging wherever they happen to find themselves and a remarkable empathy for all peoples. They will also know their way around airports! I know because I was one of those children. I know because I have two of those children."

And in between:

Apple raises a lot of good points about how we define ourselves, self-esteem, relocation, Third Culture Kids (TCKs) and more.

Happy reading... and well done, Apple!

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