Featured TCKs

Featured TCK: Paul

Paul was one of my best friends when I was in 1st grade.  Paul was my age, and his brother, Evan, was my sister’s age (Remember my sister Melody?).  The four of us all lived in the same dorm at boarding school.  We were all away from parents, but for that year, we had many good times!  Today, we hear from Paul.  Next week, we’ll hear from his brother, Evan.


Paul with his big brother, Evan, and their Dad
Paul with his big brother, Evan, and their Dad

What is the last good book you read?
The Dog Stars by Peter Heller — I LOVE dystopian literature, and while this is no ‘1984’ or ‘Wanting Seed’, it is an interesting, character-driven story (no twisty-turny plot here) that takes place in Colorado after a disease wipes out much of the US population.

What is your favorite family/kids movie?
Robin Hood (1973 Animated Disney version) and Anastasia

What have you been listening to lately?
Future Islands has a new album out, ‘Singles’

If someone gave you a free plane ticket right now to visit any country in the world for a week, where would you go?
Morocco – I’d love to visit this country (not only because I have a few school friends working in Rabat) because of the cultural mélange of French and Muslim customs/languages/people. Also, I’ve heard it’s gorgeous and has great food.

Give me your TCK life map:  Where were you at what ages, for how long?
Born in Florida.
Moved to Thailand at 3 months – first lived in Bangkok as an infant,
Parents moved to Chiang Mai to be ‘dorm parents’ and then I attended Chiang Mai International School for 2 years while my parents lived in Bangkok.
Moved back to the United States when I was nine.

Paul and his big brother, Evan, at the International School
Paul and his big brother, Evan, at the International School

What reaction did people have when they found out you have lived in a different country/ in different countries? 
As a young child – when I first moved to Georgia – I don’t think my friends really comprehended what it meant to grow up in a place so different like Thailand. I did spend lots of afternoons at school counting to 100 in Thai for my friends while we waited for our parents to pick us up! They didn’t really question it and I think as an elementary-aged kid I would not have wanted to be interrogated about my experience.

In college, because so many students want to spend time abroad, there were many friends that wanted to know all the funny/interesting/sad stories I could tell them. I had such an array of friends from all over the place (and all with crazy back-stories) in college that I didn’t feel out of place sharing my childhood stories because everyone had interesting stuff to share.

What is your passport country, and what shocked you about your passport country when you moved there?
The United States.
American football – I had never heard of or seen it in my life, until I moved at 9 yrs old.
Wealth – I remember feeling so special when friends in Thailand shared their Wonka candies, so the access to everything and anything in the States really shocked me; jumping right into a private school probably didn’t help, but it was immediately clear how Americans typically valued things more than experiences.
Mexican food – I was in love with Taco Bell right after moving to the States. Almost borderline obsessed.
Video Games – I never played them in Thailand and was horrible at everything from Mario Kart to Halo when friends invited me over to play in the States.

What was schooling like for you?  
Boarding school for two years in Thailand. Private school for four years in the states. Public school for most of middle and all of high-school. To this day I credit ‘boarding school’ at such an early age as the reason for my high level of independence and desire to do things on my own. Part of the reason I wanted to transfer from my U.S. private school to a public one was to get away from the ‘safe’ environment where everyone knew everyone and go to school where I was forced to meet people and succeed on my own.

What do you want people to know about TCKs? 
Just because it’s hard for us to articulate the impact of growing up abroad does not mean it didn’t have a substantial influence on our lives. It’s hard to put into words because we will never know how we would have ‘turned out’ if our parents had decided to stay in the States — I feel as though everyday I realize another blessing – or curse – that has come about from my childhood overseas.



Thanks so much for sharing Paul! Stay tuned next Thursday to hear what Evan has to say about his experience.


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