Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A life Story by a TCK - an 11 year old!

This was a classroom assignment given to my 11 year old daughter.
I consider her a live example of "TCK" Third Culture Kid.
I have abbreviated some names to Initials for obvious reasons.
Some of it does have her imagination but mostly it is her view / memory of her life in the last decade in 4 diffferent countries and six schools!

----hope you enjoy this!----I was very proud of her writing and impressed by her clarity in thinking!-

My Life Story

I was born in 1999, at 12:19pm on the night of December 11th in Saffron Hospital located on the suburbs of Cochin, India. During the operation I felt helpless; there was nothing I or anybody else could do to block the screams of terror from my ear. In the end I was placed on a red stool (in my eyes a red carpet) with many watching over me. I was now brought into the world, inquisitive about what I would come to be, when I realized it was real to be me.

Four days later I was to have a ceremony where a priest dipped me in water. This procession was the first of seven sacraments that I needed to complete in order to become a holy Christian. This act is called baptism, which is a gathering of many close relatives and friends when the baby (I) is vigilantly laid in the water symbolizing a new start because our many sins can be cleansed so that I can carry out a sacred life.

After three months our family of three travelled to Bangalore, a known city of extremes because of its poverty and wealth. I stayed in a three bedroom apartment in a cradle. I rarely took naps during the day but stayed alert in my den and was very persnickety with my food. A few days after I turned two I woke up to find a tooth wobbling. I first thought it was a scrap of something I ate recently but when I found it in the same state a day later I told my mom and she inspected the milk tooth and smiled reassuringly and took me to the sink and gently wobbled the tooth and carefully plucked the tooth without causing any pain. I then saw what was below my eyes; a tooth followed by blood pouring as I rinsed my mouth continuingly. As a reward for my patience I received a small orange sweet tablet which I sucked. As for my tooth, it was kept in a drawer until I was old enough to inherit it.

Our family of three was officially changed in to four members on August 27th 2002 ever since we moved back to Cochin to deliver the new born baby. My first sight of R was in the hospital where she sat snoring! I had a feeling we would be very diverse personality wise. When she awoke another 5 hours later she gave me an affectionate gaze as my parents picked her up and made their way back over to the seven seated car.

When I was four we all took a vacation to a luxurious 7 star hotel in Goa, recognized for its beaches. It was a thrill for me and my sister to be offered this treat and I still have many memories of frolicking near the shore, joining in with the seagulls. That was one of many things I will always keep close to my heart to remind me of my childhood in the 21st century.

I moved a third time in 2005 to Singapore which was prim and proper and well – maintained. The only disadvantage is that gum of any flavour is banned from schools, houses, parks and pavement premises but it doesn’t affect me in any way because I keep away from gum at all times because it could harm you if you accidentally swallow it. Here I attended a school called Global Indian School. I made many new friends and gained many new skills such as reading and learning our times tables. One unique compulsory thing I never came across anywhere else was Bharathnatiam which is an Indian cultural dance with many delicate hand movements. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I felt that the others were appalling at the dance for they never chose to remember the steps and this is why I was put in the middle in the front row so that everyone could have a view of me and if necessary copy the expert, me. We had an end of term show with an after party serving samousas, rice, fish, gravy and caramel pudding to wrap the evening up.

During the summer I took an expensive two-day cruise overseas Singapore. This excursion was lavishing, they had a deluxe buffet and a show to be present at on the deck every night. I remember there were a few talk shows with celebrities and their peeps. Unfortunately I was only 4 and three quarters to store this memory with exact details but I’m very grateful I had the chance to take a cruise.

When I got back to my flat in Singapore; I took my very first steps into water at the age of 6 only. There was a local swimming instructor who gave me private lessons regularly at 12:00 noon. The pool was in the open air but I didn’t need to worry about the warmth of the pool because the surrounding already proved I wouldn’t be chilly while going for a swim. For some reason I was reluctant to learn front roll but was willing to put effort into the three other strokes.

After a short stay (2 years) in Singapore once more to Taiwan which was the People’s republic of China, but was an independent country that spoke Chinese! What were we to do in a foreign region? Luckily an employee of the bank SC, where my father worked negotiated for us in her fluent tone. We were on a scavenger hunt for a new apartment when my father contacted us with good news. He was very impressed by one apartment but he couldn’t tell us the name because it was engraved in Chinese characters. It had a gym, badminton and tennis courts, a play area, a swimming pool, a cycling track and a shop selling many goods and merchandise like jade, a very expensive stone.

Now all that was left was our education in. The offices recommended two schools: Taipei American School and Taipei European School. My parents decided that we should be in separate schools so I went to TAS and my sister went to the latter. They were each highly rated in the society, Taipei, the capital of Taiwan. I started in Grade 2(Year 3) midterm till Grade 4(Year 5.) I settled in very adequately with a new friend called E. She was my buddy for the first day and soon my best friend along with S and J. In TAS Chinese was learnt by everyone and I found that a challenge but my parents were pleased and hoped I would immediately learn the language. For extra curricular activities I take part in jazz dancing, chanterelles singing and individual voice training. I find Taiwan one of the most beneficial countries I’ve visited because of its wide range of skills that I could acquire such as eating with chopsticks and attaining a persistent American accent.

I move yet again to United Kingdom in 2009 and for a change shifted into a new house instead of an apartment or condo. Here I lived in a house in Croydon situated in greater London. Thank goodness they articulate in English or else… I first was given admission to a school called Oval Primary School but soon transferred to Park Hill Junior School but had to repeat Year 4 and Year 5 because in UK the cut off date was different; August 31st but it was worth it because I made many friends along the way.

Now I am currently in Year 6 looking forward to many things such as the end of term play. I wish myself good luck in the future.