Third culture Kids – Adult and parents included?

The third episode of “The Vin and Noira Show” is here

Are you a OFW? Expatriates? born in KSA? back in Philippines? you should listen to vin oh! and noira too, she is from Indonesia but studied in Australia.

Where are you from?

I usually say, from Philippines to make the story short, because I was born in Davao and was raised in Bicol, my father is from Cabanatuan City and my mother is from Taytay ,Rizal and you can find these places in the Philippines.

but..

What about if you are born in another country like Saudi Arabia with Filipino parents and was raised in Saudi Arabia and never had the chance to actually live in Philippines?

What about.. if you are born in Saudi Arabia and never had the opportunity to really live in Philippines but your parents are both Filipino and you immigrated to United Kingdom or Canada?

What about..if your mother is Filipina and your father is American and you are born and raised in Saudi Arabia?

Where are you from?

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photo grabs from “the vin and noira show” Ep3

As my youngest always say ” WE ARE NOMAD” 🙂

GLOBAL nomad – one who grows up in a country other than their passport country.

EXpatriate – one who lives outside of his/her own home culture.

I got interested with the topic of “Third Culture Kids” since the first episode of the show and it’s relatable to all expatriates alike, not only for the kids but for the adult and parents as well.

What is TCK? Third Culture Kids is a term they used for kids who were raised in a culture other than their parents country and a combination of both. A good example is my son , who has both Filipino parents (first culture) but was born and raised in Saudi Arabia(second culture) and being exposed on both cultures (third culture). He studied in a multicultural environment and later on went to Europe and USA to finish his Bachelors degree.

It gives me a goose bump, remembering the day I organized a club named KFC (Kids Fun Club) and TFCK ( Teens Fun Club with Kids). My main goal is for him to be exposed in a Filipino culture while in Saudi Arabia at the same time teaching children to enhance their creativity in arts,reading and our culture.

So whats the big deal?

Is there more advantages than disadvantages?

Well, it’s a matter of perspective, I can’t speak for himself so listen to his show here hahahaha, kidding aside, but what I observed TCK has more adaptability and capability than those who has mono cultural exposure. Mostly of the studies done for TCK are American children living abroad, so let’s narrowed down the topic to Filipino kids who were raised in Saudi Arabia because of their parents employment.

They speak fluent english and have difficulty in Tagalog (Filipino language), unless all their friends speaks Tagalog or they are studying in Philippine School, then there’s no tagalog difficulties but definitely they don’t speak their parent’s dialect. Yes! one of the advantage of being TCK is the fluency in the English Language, they learned different languages too, but sad to say they are not well versed in Tagalog. Is this the fault of a parent? Well, in my case, I choose to speak one language to them, so they will not be confused in their accent and pronunciation. I was raised in Bicol, speaks taglish (tagalog-English) with a Philippine accent, I was afraid they gonna pick up my accent and other students will make fun of them. You see, living in Saudi Arabia is not easy, unfortunately,bullying is rampant at school and at work as well. And being in American School, Filipino subject is not included in the curriculum, it’s either French or Spanish, and of course the Arabic language of host country. I just wish, I insisted on learning them Tagalog and Arabic more fluently.

Even for us, as OFW, we tend to speak comfortably in English than in Tagalog, As for me, I still speak taglish (tagalog-English) but can speak English well if needed and  can conversed in Arabic with my patients 🙂

One of the privilege of being TCK is traveling. It gives them a broader view of the world, a better understanding of different culture but at the same time, they tend to wonder, the need to see other places and at times lost their interest to go back home.Even in food, they acquired the taste of arabic cuisine. Who doesn’t? Oh ! I love it too!  kabsa, shawerma,sambusak and broast 🙂 hmmm I’m getting hungry 🙂

Another advantage of being TCK is education, not only having the chance to study abroad but the ability to adjust, experience and learn to live in a multicultural environment. This is a real education to see how people live, interact, socialize in different places. This give you a broader perspective and independence.

What about emotionally?

I remembered my son, on one of his low point of being a Nomad, he uttered in a depressed tone of “just give me a home” to which I answered, your home is ME! Home is where your family! But at that time we were all in a different continent. It was a realization for me, yeah, home is everywhere and nowhere!

Saudi Arabia is my comfort zone, we live in a big house with free car, air ticket , free education and this is where my career started and bloom. But we al knew, this is temporary, and time will come we are all going home…where?

No one was prepared to go back home to Philippines, we were all fascinated and taken away by the comfort of living abroad, having friends all over the world,going to places.. though at times we feel we don’t belong anywhere, still living abroad has its own aura. Like what is expensive in Philippines, its just a normal affordable thing abroad. Communication is easier too, though we don’t speak arabic fluently, a lot of people here tried to speak English or even tagalog to us.(this is just me, ok?) I know, I am working in a private clinic with a good position so what I meet everyday are professionals, VIPs, but I think mostly of expatriate would have the same opinion. Am I wrong or right?

Sad to say, back home, speaking English with american accent and an Asian look, sometimes doesn’t create a good start without being perceived to be showing off.

the feeling of..

you don’t fit in… reverse culture shock… out of place

Vin and noira will surely tackle these feelings of being a tourist on your own home country. As for me, I am not yet there, but I am anticipating my retirement soon and I knew, I would feel the same way but hey! life is what we make it, if we were able to survived in the Middle East, we will surely survive in Asia!

Did I say ? TCK includes adult and parents?

Accept reality, face our own fear and sooner than we think, we can say, it’s not bad as we expected it too be 🙂

Ladies, I think Vin and Noira did express their take on TCK better than I did here 🙂

Cheers,

Jamilamimi@beautybeyondfifty

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Photo blog: celebrating Eid al adha

As an expatriates for 26th years in Jeddah, KSA , we always look forward for the most awaited holiday of the year – Eid Al adha (after ramadan) and Eid al Fitir (after hajj).

While the rich and famous opted to go outside the Kingdom for holiday, we the expatriates stayed and spend a day or two in either private beach or public beach. Along the corniche you will find families and friends in sea-side picnic. This is also the day of “sweets” people buys cakes, sweets and chocolates, restaurants and caffè are also fully booked!

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Internations interview, an excerpt

Photograph by Rel David
Photograph by Rel David

Just to share some of the highlights of my interview as an expatriates in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, I am not sure when it will come out or will it ever be published! Probably never 🙂

However, some questions never occur  in my mind, so i decided to share a few, maybe you will also be interested to ask yourself and wonder …why ?

Tell us about your new life in Saudi Arabia differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?

I was hired 1987, I came alone without my family, It was the most difficult and complicated time of my life, not only culture shock but family shock as well. Being away from my family was an ordeal to take. My husband and my first son came one year after another. I only have two years experienced in my profession and a newly mom as well. Looking back, I am so grateful that i came, this is where I grew up professionally and be successful in my career.

I thought for a while that wearing black is only for those in mourning, so i refused to wear black “abaya”  i tailored made a blue abaya instead.

After the Gulf war, rules getting more stricter , expatriates women were asked to cover their hair as well. So, not only I have to wear the black abaya but also wear a black head cover (Tarha). But now a days, a lot of fashionable abaya are  available in the stores, different styles and colours, I would say, I feel safe wearing it in public and enjoy the fashion.

Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?

Oh well, most unforgettable was always the first..so the first time we met our employers’ wife, She keeps repeating..Hi am Mrs_______ Dr. _____ wife. Shaking her hand as I nod my head repeatedly as a sign of acknowledgement. We did it three times, she probably thought I don’t understand English. 🙂

I got the lesson, ” nod your head and talk at the same time”,.. gesture with new acquaintance certainly doesn’t work!

Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Saudi Arabia?

Don’t take a lot of luggage, rather take a lot of sense of humour, trust me, you need it!

If you signed a two years contract, be ready to save and get out of the Kingdom as fast as you can!

How would you summarise your expat life in Saudi Arabia in a single, catchy sentence?

INCREDIBLE 25 years of HARD work and perseverance!

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