The Leaving Series Part 3: You Can Take it with You

Welcome to Part 3 of The Leaving Series. If you are just reading for the first time, you may want to go back and catch Part 1 and Part 2.

Today’s post if from another friend, who I have had the opportunity to work with on team. Christa, may look short when standing next to her husband, but she is full of life and energy. I think you’ll sense that today as you read what she would have liked to have taken with her when she left…
Valley Of the Giants Western Australia

If you read the title and got upset then give me just one second because I am not talking about passing away, I am talking about moving. Of course it all depends on what the “it” is that you want to take with you. Our family lived in Shenyang, China for 12 years: both of our boys were born there and my husband and I were married there.

Before we left China there was quite a bit of debate about what everyone would be taking with us. When we decided to move, my children wanted to bring their best friends and every toy they had ever owned. My husband wanted to bring every book on the six bookcases in our home. I was much more unreasonable; I wanted to pack the Shenyang Imperial Palace, my best friends, my entire apartment, Starbucks, our school, every book in our home and every toy the boys had ever owned. We could negotiate on some of these items, but I did eventually have to admit that the Imperial Palace wouldn’t fit in my suitcase and I had to accept that skyping friends would be enough.

Our negotiation and moving process took an entire year. I started whittling down items as we used them. As I used items, I thought about whether I would give them to someone, sell them at the garage sale we would host, or pack them to take home. I would also figure out when would be the last time I would use that item then pack it in a box. Yes, in case you are wondering, I am a type A personality. Most stuff got left behind with beloved friends. When I visit now, I get to see my things being used by other people and I have to say it is one of the nicest feelings in the world.

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We worked out that we couldn’t take things with us but we could take experiences with us. We could take parts of the culture and language with us. We also got to take a lot of love and care with us because people did so much for our family to make sure we each knew we were cared for as we said goodbye.

We did quite a few things to make moving easier for the boys. We knew they would miss China, so we made sure to take a long trip around the country to see important places before we left. We talked with the boys and asked them what their favorite places were in Shenyang. We visited those places one last time to say goodbye. We made sure to talk through it with them when we were going to a certain place for the last time. We also made sure to take photos of them in those places. We let them help with packing their own things, so that their things didn’t just disappear one day. We also encouraged them to think through which items they would give to friends and which they could give to children in need. This made leaving things behind more acceptable to them because it was an act of generosity.

We looked to the future in Australia by talking about living close to a part of our family, going to the beach and having a house with a yard. We talked to them about what they were looking forward to and then made sure to mention those positive things with enthusiasm when we could.

The boys wanted a dog in Australia and my husband and I both thought that was reasonable request and something that could help them get through the transition. They looked forward to having Bolt, (our dog), for months and he has helped through emotionally difficult times. He has helped me, too when I think about it.

20.5The experiences, the culture and the language have stayed with us. We have made great Chinese friends here in Australia. I now write for a Chinese magazine here and we speak at a Chinese church in Perth. The boys talk about China often and have kept some of the language as well. The office Darren and I work at is a 5-minute walk from Chinatown in Perth and it is a wonderful way for us to stay connected to a place we all consider home or at least one of our homes. We celebrate the Chinese holidays and enjoy eating Chinese food as often as we can go to a restaurant or cook it. We also keep China in our home by having photos of friends from China, hanging scrolls and keeping things we brought with us from China displayed in the house.

Making sure to keep China a part of our lives, talking about it and participating in Chinese cultural events here in Perth has helped us to feel complete. There is no hole in our heart where China was because it has remained an integral part of what makes up our family. It is our children’s birthplace, and the place where Darren and I were married. Saying goodbye and moving to a new place cannot diminish how important China was and is to us.

Head Shot (1)Christa and her husband lived in China for 12 years. She met her husband, Darren, in China and they married there. Both of their two boys were born in China andlived there until 4 years ago. They moved to Australia, her husband’s home country, in 2010. She has been working with TCKs and other expats since moving to Australia. She is also the China promotions manager for Stacey College and Director of Student Services for Sheridan College. As part of her work she assists students in coming to Australia to study. You can visit her blog at staceycollege.com.

 

Thanks Christa for sharing today! So, readers, what do you want to take with you as you are preparing to leave? For those of you who have transitioned, what are other things that you were surprised about that may have followed you to the next destination? Share in the comments below!

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The Transition for the Child with Special Needs

I just wrote about helping your children transition from the summer holidays to going back to school. You can read that by clicking on “The Transition“.

How about kids with special needs? They may need a little more time and creative ways to help them with this transition. Below are just some additional ideas to help them adjust to the transition.

  • Talk about it. Talk about what school looks like. Talk about their friends and what they will do while they are there. Even doing some role-play activities to help them get into the mindset will help.
  • Count down – Make a simple chart with the number of days left until school starts up. Let your child mark off each day. HINT: Don’t start too far away from the first day as it might be too overwhelming. You know your child, so adjust accordingly.
  • Visit the school: If the school allows it, make a trip to the school to go and see the classroom, to reconnect BRIEFLY with the teacher. (Hint: Don’t stay more than 5-10 minutes. Teachers love to see you, but they do need to get their work done.)
  • GRACE: Give your child grace and give yourself grace those first few weeks that school starts back up. Remember that sometimes change and transitions are not always what we hope or dream they will be – but they eventually do adjust.

I know I need to get started with this transition with Jie Jie. Otherwise she just may think that I threw her into the Arctic Plunge Swim.

If you have a child with special needs, how do you help them get ready for going back to school? Please share in the comments below.

The Transition

The word transition means different things to different people. For instance:

  • Parents bring home their newborn from the hospital
  • Freshman in college (or high school)
  • Soldier returning home from deployment
  • Family moving to a new country
  • Summer to Fall
  • Summer holiday to “Back to School”

Though, expats and TCKs relate the word with “good-byes”, new countries, and new friends, I’m going to talk about that yearly transition from summer holidays to returning back to school. It is an adjustment – for everyone involved.

For the parents: It’s the return of the SCHEDULE – either homeschool or taking them back to local or international school. Either way, we don’t hear the constant two words, “I’m Bored”. Okay, maybe if you’re like a super Pinterest mom and don’t deal with this issue skip this section, I’m not talking to you. If you are like me…well, I’m still trying to “enjoy the summer,” but I’m ready for everyone to get on a regular schedule.

The kids: You remember. Come on, I know you do. Sleeping in just a little bit later (or a lot later) than school days. Swimming, snacking, playing with friends, and swimming some more. That first morning of school was like being thrown in an Arctic Plunge swim. It shocked your system and was just not a pretty site. Times haven’t changed – it’s tough for our kids, too. Okay, my kids can’t wait to see their friends All Day Long, but they are NOT looking forward to early wake-ups and the dreaded homework.

So, what can we do to help them?

  • Start waking them up earlier. It doesn’t have to be the exact time, but definitely maybe trying for a half hour difference. This doesn’t have to be done weeks in advanced either – just a few days before to help their bodies start to adjust.
  • Earlier Bedtimes – This goes hand-in-hand with the above. Same rules, a week before or a few days put kids to bed at their normal “school night” bedtime.
  • Review Math Skills – This tip is more for elementary school aged children, but buy flashcards and a few weeks before school starts have your kids review them. Their brain has had a break, hopefully, so now is a good time to help them “think” school.
  • Reading – If you haven’t had them reading at all this summer, then start. This year we actually are paying our kids to read. They are getting a set amount per book they read and record on their chart. It was an incentive to READ – and I’m afraid that it may just have hurt our pocketbooks, but totally worth it!
  • Collect Meal Ideas/Make a Meal Chart – This one is for the cook in the home. I’ve found that when I take the time to make out a two-week meal plan that I actually feed my kids healthier and spend less money at the grocery store. It’s fairly easy to do this at the beginning of the year, but think about doing 4-6 of these charts and rotate them throughout the year.

What do you do with your children? Do you help prepare them? Do you just “throw them into the Arctic Plunge?” Please share in the comments below. Me? I’ll be doing some of it…I’d like to get to the meal plan, but that all depends on how I do with my lesson plans. Remember…I’m not the super Pinterest mom, though I so wish I was.

“Rise of the Guardians” and my TCK

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

My son just watched “Rise of the Guardians” a few nights ago with some friends. He came home and told my husband that it was a funny movie, but he had one question.

Who is the Sandman?

This could seem like a funny question, maybe even a dumb question to many parents. I mean, in today’s age kids have the opportunity to watch cable TV, Movie on Demand, Netflix, etc. One would think that they would be up-to-date on all the stories and fairy tales from their “home” country, right?

This is not always the case – and we need to remember that as parents. We can’t assume that they know everything about our home country. And with that assumption, we can’t assume that our kids will figure it out or transition well if/when they move there.

How can we help them?

I think the best way is to inform them that although they may look like everyone else, they will be different. Actually, they probably have already figured that out if they are in elementary school and have made the return trip to visit family. Although they may know this, do they know how to cope with it? Can we teach them how? Can we encourage them?

I think we can.

1. Clueless does not equal stupid. I believe this is an idea that many TCKs may battle with as they enter the “home” country and not know what everyone else round them seems to know. It could be TV shows, it could be an expression/idiom, or even a name of a candy. They will feel stupid, but they need to remember that they are not. We can help them by reminding them that they are going to experience it and that this situation is normal. They are definitely not stupid.

2. Laugh – Laughing brings healing and can soothe the heart. Learning to laugh at ourselves is not always easy, but it can be done. Kids need to see that everyone messes up and are not perfect. Maybe you can share with them a time you messed up culturally when you were home – because let’s get real, even we forget what “home” is like. Just this summer, I had trouble counting money in my home country – It’s moments like this that I want to use as a model for “marking it up” as a living-overseas moment for me. For them, a TCK moment. Nothing more.

3. Bridge-people – You may have heard this term when you first moved overseas – you know the person that can help you understand the new culture better, be the bridge for you. I think this is needed for older children who transition into their parent’s home country. They need someone around their age who can help them navigate the teenage/university cultural differences. Someone who has been there and can relate to them, possibly another TCK or mentor who understands the issues of TCKs.

Whoever thought that the one to bring sleep and good dreams would turn out to be the one that stumped a TCK. Thanks Sandman for helping me remember that though my kids live in a world of technology, they still will not get all of my home country’s culture.

Your Turn: What have you seen from your children in regards to “missing out” on the home culture and helping your children cope with this transition issue. Please share in the comments below.

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Book Review: “Home Keeps Moving” by Heidi Sand-Hart

by Heidi Sand-Hart

Summary: Heidi shares her life as a TCK/MK from India moving from country to country from continent to continent, and from culture to culture. She shares the joys, the excitement, and the hard ugly truth of the pain from her experiences. She uses many quotes from other TCK related books and then shares stories as examples. Some stories are her own, others are from fellow TCKs who have written about their own experiences. She discusses issues such as loss, grief, education, and “rootlessness”.

My thoughts: Loved it! I checked it out from the library and had a hard time not writing in it – so I am ordering my own copy soon. It’s not a “how to” book that gives tricks and secrets to making a TCK’s life work out perfect. Instead, Heidi gives the reader a glimpse of her journey in life. It gave me some insights to not only my children, but to my husband as well. She tackles some pretty tough subjects and I like that she doesn’t give a recipe on how to approach the difficult times. She reminded me that each TCK is different, so therefore the process for each is going to be different as well.

If you are a TCK and haven’t read this, I encourage you to check it out. It just might give you the courage to continue to seek out some unresolved issues in your life.

If you are a parent to a TCK – I recommend it just to be able to hear views from a TCK who is open and honest. You just might be get a few insights of your own.

You can get the book here at Amazon. Or if you want possible free shipping click here at Book Despository.

Your Turn: Have you read the book? What were your thoughts?

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