Shannon Deal

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Shannon Deal
Posted about 1 year ago
For people who have a hard time answering the question: "Where are you from?"
I am a TCK (third-culture kid) who has worked with TCK teens in international schools and raised two more. I was born in the US and raised in Australia, where my parents worked with Aboriginal people. Home was a difficult question because I desperately wanted when I was young to be considered Australian, but wasn't. Then when I moved back to the US at 16 I had such a horrible time that I rejected that culture. My mother says, "Home is where you hang your toothbrush." There is some truth to this, I think. In my adult life since university, I spent 6 years living in the US, 10 years in France, and now 9 years in Belgium. I like living here--I know I am a foreigner, and I am comfortable with that identity. My accent is considered "charming." Any crazy thing I do is written off as the eccentricities of an "étrangere." But I can still love and appreciate the culture I live in, and have even been able to see the good in both my American and Australian cultural background. The important thing, as Pico Iyer suggests, is finding rest within yourself and a personal identity. For me, that has been found in a religious context, as well as relationships with and service to others. My son has written a song about the TCK experience in the title track of his cd, "Third Culture Kid." You can hear it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7GdH8zaQlx0