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TCK Summers: Katie

Hi :):) I’m Katie, a 16 year old Aussie/Kiwi. I lived in New Zealand, where I was born, for nine years, in Belgium for five years, and I’ve now been in Beijing, China, for almost two years.

What does a normal summer look like?
There’s no typical summer plan for my family. My parents and I end up in completely different places doing completely different things. For example, last summer I first participated in a service project in Brussels, then went Wales and France, back to Belgium, then finally back to Beijing. My parents stayed in Beijing for most of the summer, then came to Brussels and afterwards went to a wedding in Ghana. And this changes every year…

The last time I spent the whole summer with my family was in 2007, if I remember correctly. We went back to New Zealand and Australia for 5 weeks. The next year, I went to the States to visit friends; in 2009 I went back to NZ alone to visit relatives; last summer I went to Europe and spent only a week of that time with part of my family.

What would my perfect summer be?
I’m torn between the idea of returning to my original home in New Zealand where I have family, and returning to Belgium which was my home for more than 5 years. I never felt torn between them until I left Belgium. When I was living in Belgium, I was quite happy to take any opportunity to go back to NZ. However, now that I’m in Beijing, I feel more torn between the countries. Just the other day my father asked me where I would like to spend next Christmas. While I have family in NZ that I would love to see, I also would like to go to Belgium where my immediate family will probably spend Christmas, and where I have good friends and many memories. I don’t know in which country my ideal summer would be as I’m deeply attached to both NZ and Belgium.

What am I doing this summer?
At the beginning of the summer, I will be attending a 12 day program in the States, in D.C. and New York, then coming back to Beijing for the rest of the summer, trying to get ahead in my school work for next year, and possibly doing a summer job.

What is my favourite summer memory?
My favourite summer memory would probably be spending time with my relatives in New Zealand, where I can also escape the summer heat as that is New Zealand wintertime. It’s nice to spend a decent amount of time back in the place that I’m tempted to call home, to reconnect with people and remember where I’m from.

The country I call home definitely depends on my mood and whom I’m talking to. When talking to Australians I can feel right at home — until they make fun of New Zealanders, at which point I jump to the Kiwis’ defense, and realize that I am more of a Kiwi than an Australian after all. To add to that confusion, after living in Belgium for 5 years, I had become quite attached to their culture, and I spoke French better than I did English. Then I really did not know where to call home.

After much contemplation, I decided to give NZ that title (most of the time) because I have the family that I’m closest to there, old friends, and it is what I describe as a “fall back country”. A fall back country is like a safety net, it’s the place where I can go back to and feel comfortable and at home with family around me, if I should ever need that at any point during my life. For me, that place is New Zealand.

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Posted by on June 23, 2011 in Guest Posts, TCK Summers

 

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TCK Summers: Tia

My name is Tia and I’m 17 years old. I am American/Vietnamese and grew up in Tennessee during my early childhood. I have been living in Hanoi, Vietnam for about 9 years now (from 2002-present).

What does a “normal” summer look like for you/your family?
Every summer since we came overseas to Vietnam, my family and I have traveled back to the States. We always go back to Tennessee where we have a condo and friends and family living there. Typically, our summers are times of reconnecting with friends and family.

What would your perfect summer be?
I love to travel and would really like to travel all over Europe in particular. I’m hoping that one day I will be able to do this with some close friends :)  Also, there are many places in the US that I have not been to before that I want to visit. During my travels, I would love to spend time indulging in the culture through the food, people, festivities and shopping.

What are you doing this summer (and where will you be)?
This summer I will be in the US going to Seattle, Colorado, and Tennessee. In Seattle, I’m going to visit my sister who lives there as well as go on some university tours since I really want to go to college there. In Colorado, my cousin is getting married so I will be attending that, plus I’ve never been to this state before. In Tennessee, I will do the usual visiting with friends and family.

What is your favourite summer memory?
My favorite summer was just last summer when I was able to visit one of my close friends who lives in Washington, D.C. (who had previously lived in Hanoi, Vietnam). My other close friend who also moved away from Vietnam to the US also came to DC so we had a little reunion. It was so much fun to reminisce and sightsee around DC. We also went down to Orlando, Florida to go to Universal Studios and Disneyworld. It was such a fun experience and so many new memories were made that year!

 
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Posted by on June 15, 2011 in Guest Posts, TCK Summers

 

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TCK Summers: Hannah

I’m Hannah. I’m 16 years old, a junior in high school, and live in a small town in western China. When I was one year old I lived in far western China for a year, then we moved back to Oklahoma (my home state in the US) and lived there until I was 13. Then we moved to a city in Northeast China and spent two years there, and now I’m at the end of my first year here.

What does a “normal” summer look like for you/your family?
I’ve actually only had 2 summers as a TCK. My first was spent in China (in our small town) and it was really boring. I pretty much just lazed around the whole time. Last summer we went back to the States. It was probably the busiest summer I’ve had in my whole life. The day after we got back, we spoke at our home fellowship. Then every weekend after that we traveled around our state speaking in a bazillion different places. In between those weekends, people threw barbecues and had us come and talk, or we were invited to some kind of dinner. I would say I was only actually in the place where my suitcase was 40% of the time. We would go somewhere, come back, unpack our backpacks, put in clean clothes, and head out to another place. When I didn’t have to be somewhere smiling, shaking hands, and answering questions about China, I was able to hang out with my friends there quite a bit, which was definitely a blessing! We were also very torn by family that summer. Both sides live on completely different ends of our state and were both very “grabby” I guess you would call it. They wanted to spend as much time with us as they could. All in all, it was a very frustrating, but rewarding summer. He taught me a lot about having grace towards people who don’t really understand my situation.

What would an ideal summer look like for you?
Ooo, good question! I guess that changes from year to year. This summer it would probably be to go back to America for like 3 weeks, see my friends, get my license, eat as much delicious American food as I could, then come back and stay in Beijing for the rest of the summer hanging out with my friends there. I love my American friends and definitely want to see them, but I’m a lot closer with my China friends and it would be awesome to get some extra time to hang out with them.

What will you be doing this summer? (And where will you be doing it)
This summer I will be going back to the States. I’m guessing it will be a lot like last summer–very busy. However, different from last summer, I will hopefully be able to get my license, and we will be going around checking out different possible colleges for next year.

What is your best summer memory?
I don’t know if I have a specific “best” or “favorite” summer memory, but I can tell one of the ones I really enjoyed! Last summer we got back to the States on July 3rd, so Independence Day was the next day. My best friend in the States invited me to a party thing at her house, just setting off firecrackers, having roman candle wars, eating a lot of junk food, all the stuff you do on the 4th. So, even though I was majorly jet-lagging, I decided to go and check it out. It was so much fun. It was a lot of my friends that I hadn’t seen in 2 years. We laid on the trampoline and looked at the stars, we burned each other with roman candles, we crammed like 10 people in one room for sleeping. They ended up keeping me up until like 2:30 and then I crashed. It was just a really fun night of like reconnection with my group of friends there and really awesome memories.

 
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Posted by on June 8, 2011 in Guest Posts, TCK Summers

 

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TCK Summers: Calen

My name is Calen and I’m 17 years old. I’m technically from the United States but I’ve lived in various places in Southern California, Switzerland (around Lake Geneva) and Beijing, China.

What does a ‘normal’ summer look like for you/your family?
Our summers are usually packed, it depends where we’re living. All of them usually involve going to the states or Canada and then when we were living in Beijing, we also went back to Switzerland a lot. We normally do some form of camping/road trip and we’re always meeting up family and old friends.

What would an ideal summer look like?
I love it when it’s so hot that the heat hits you when you walk out the door. My ideal summer involves having barbecues and hanging out next to some form of water with friends and family, preferably the beach. And camping, lots of camping. Also fishing. You can’t have summer without going fishing.

What will you be doing this summer?
This summer is the only one that my family and I won’t be going back to the States in four or five years. I’ll be hanging out in Switzerland for 2 weeks, going to Spain with my aunt and then my family for about 2 weeks, going back to Switzerland for a bit, going to Greece with my family for 2 weeks, hanging out in Switzerland a bit more, and then heading out to California to start my gap year.

What is your best summer memory?
Ooh. That’s a tough one. I think it would have to be the summer of 2008 when my family got round the world tickets. I was able to see my friends in Switzerland, go to Bermuda to visit some family there, see New York and Washington D.C for the first time and see friends and family and go camping in California.

 
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Posted by on June 1, 2011 in Guest Posts, TCK Summers

 

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TCK Summers: Bethany

We are starting a new series called TCK Summers. We’ll be hearing from some TCKs around the world about what summer vacation looks like in their lives. Our first guest blogger is Bethany…

Bethany with a Tibetan nomad

Bethany with a Tibetan nomad

Hey there everyone! My name is Bethany, I’m fifteen years old and live in the amazing city Lhasa in Tibet! I have lived up here for around 5-6 years, although I have lived in Asia for 13 years. I have a total passion for our Heavenly Father, music, and teaching kids. This is just a bit about my summers! Enjoy!

What does a “normal” summer look like for you/your family?
For me nothing super exciting. I live in Tibet, and I am the only teenager here, well aside from my little sister. :) So there really isn’t anything our family does over the summer, it is just us. I do a bunch of reading, playing the piano, and teaching English to some Tibetan kids. Sometimes our family will go on camping trips which is super fun! Most of the time though we are at home, just relaxing.

What would and ideal summer look like for you?
Every year an ideal summer changes. One year I would like to spend it with friends, the next at a camp, but truthfully I don’t know. I think my ideal summer would be going to YWAM and doing their summer music program. I would be able to praise my amazing Father, and learn a bunch more while having fun with other people. I also would be able to travel on a missions trip and help other people. I think that would be awesome, too bad it isn’t free, or I have the money. :D

What will you be doing this summer? (And where will you be doing it)
This summer….well we (our family) will be in the States. We haven’t been back in over three years so it is going to be an adjustment going back again. We mostly will spend time with relatives, and I will be able to see my two friends once, which will be fun. It is just going to be a lot of traveling and checking out things for my future. When we get back I will have my amazing friend Corrie come up for a bit! She will be the first teen up here in three years, so I am looking forward to it! We will have a blast.

What is your best summer memory?
Ah, I do have one :) I think it was three or four years ago. It was the only full summer I have spent in Tibet with friends. That summer my friends and I just lived at each other’s houses and had a bunch of fun. We had game cube competitions, reading clubs, bike rides, camping trips, and mud fights together. I think the best part of that summer, was that my one friend got baptized – I had been praying for that for years! That fall my other friend was also baptized, I was thrilled :):) That summer was the summer before my life changed, so I think I will remember it forever.

 
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Posted by on May 18, 2011 in Guest Posts, TCK Summers

 

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