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Contributions from adults

Parents, Teachers, Administrators, this is the place to let others know what it's been like to work, live and/or to raise a family away from your 'home'.

Peanut Butter and Jelly: A Failure in Assimilation
by Abriel

In my eight-year old mind, this was the PERFECT sandwich. Two symmetrical pieces of bread, right from the middle of the day-old loaf. The texture – spongy, but not too squishy. No large airpockets, no impurities – a uniform white color from top to bottom. But this was just the outside. The horizontal cut (yes – horizontal – much more preferable than the diagonal cut) revealed an ideal ratio of fillings: a thick. but not overwhelmingly so, layer of peanut butter. This was finely complemented by a layer jelly that did not escape from the sides, but rested impeccably between the bread and peanut ... read more

The Land of Either/Or
by Samantha Parthenais
Metropolitan School of Panama
The Canal Zone, dual citizenship, born here
But part of us is from there. Some say you have to be one or the other,
but that’s hardly possible having grown up in the Canal Zone,
Some say we’re neither/nor, I say we’re either/or.

I have to be quite honest; it hasn’t been too bad
growing up in this Cultural Limbo.
We enjoy the best of both worlds…beaches,
Sancocho and TuliVieja stories from here,
the malls, highways and Big Foot stories from there.

Some say we live in the land of neither/nor, ... read more

From Red Plastic Cups
by Leni S.

I wake up early. Shit. 9:23 am. I went to sleep at 12:45 am on a Friday. Mom is leaving and dad is at work. Kitchen to myself. Just wait to hear the garage door close and I can go downstairs and fix myself a platter of french fries, tacos, pancakes, cereal with honey, cookies, chocolate and pizza.
Door closes. Run downstairs. Kitchen all mine for two hours. Maybe dad will bring some cookies from his office. Dad thinks I'm anorexic. Mom thinks I'm bulimic. Which is it? Which is which? Neither, neither, neither...(grins)
I have homework to do, papers to write, clean the... read more

Humm… 3rd culture… Me?
by EB
Carlucci American International School of Lisbon
Part I
I just realized that I am a 3rd culture person. I did not know it had a name! When I was 9 years old I went from Portugal to Venezuela. It was great! I went from a small town to a big city, from a cold winter time to a summer all year long, from eating only apples, pears and peaches to a paradise of tropical fruits, from wearing warm clothes to t-shirts and jeans all the time… it was amazing! Awesome! I do not have enough words!
Coming back to Portugal… that was a very different story! I came from a big city to a small town, from a perpetual summer to a cold winter, b... read more

I was a Third Culture Kid and Didn't Realize it
by Channtal Fleischfresser
Multimedia Journalist
I was born in São Paulo to Brazilian parents, and while I grew up speaking both English and Portuguese, I was well on my way to becoming a regular Brazilian like everyone else. When I was seven and a half, my dad’s job transferred him to New York, so my mother, father, grandmother, brother and I moved to Scarsdale, NY, a few miles outside of Manhattan. We were English speakers, but culturally very much Brazilian.

Naturally, we missed many social cues, and some cultural do’s and don’ts had to be learned the hard way. My first summer in Scarsdale, I took a walk with my grandmother. I... read more

On that boat...
by Tam-Anh Pham
San Jose, California, USA
My father had been in the South Vietnamese army, and after the North defeated the South, our family was branded "nguy," which meant we were second-class citizens. My parents initially made two failed attempts to escape from communist Vietnam. Then, almost two years after the fall of Saigon, they decided to try again. "freedom or death," my father said.
We moved to a small village at the tip of the Saigon Delta and pretended to be fishermen. My eighteen-year-old brother learned to operate a boat and studied the tides and the comings and goings of the military-patrol vessel. Around the sam... read more

Bringing Back Memories
by A. B.
Rhode Island, USA
I'm not exactly a third culture kid, but sort of; a kid born in the US but going to Holland on 'home-leave' to visit grandparents, speaking Dutch at home, and being jeered at by nasty little Dutch boys because I was wearing jeans as I rode my bike.
My parents came to NY from Holland in 1939. My father came to study at Fordham Law School, intending to return. Luckily he was convinced by the consulate in Amsterdam to get an immigration visa. However they never became citizens. He worked as a Dutch national for the World Bank. My brother and I attended a formerly French School in DC transit... read more

Connected and Disconnected
by Eddie A.
Shanghai Community International School
When you are an immigrant, you notice things like make-shift signs in convenient store windows advertising sale items and generic alternatives; old men in the park just sitting watching the time go by without a care in the world; vendors pushing carts in the streets – the knife sharpener, the plastic collector, and the umbrella repairman; families having parties and speaking in other languages; old ladies with cheap gold jewelry and second hand shoes (some with the obvious Botox and cheap plastic surgery scars); a beautiful young girl with brown eyes who is wearing blue contact lenses; the wom... read more

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