Wednesday, March 23, 2016

What Makes Us: A Third Culture Kids Story

For those unfamiliar with the term "Third Culture Kid" it is usually defined as a child who has lived in a culture outside their parents' culture sometime during their adolescence. Third culture kids often grapple with understanding their place is society. The most brooding and frightening question for us is "where are you from?" Others often are so confused about where to place us in their realities that they jump to conclusion, wrongfully categorizing us into a single culture, because many who have grown up in a single place or culture are unable to conceptualize that it is possible for someone to belong to many different worlds at the same time. 

But there are some blessings to being a third culture kid as well. The way we connect with others like us is the most magical feeling in the world. It's funny, actually. We tend to relate to people who have had similar upbringings more than people that belong to one culture we identify with. For example, a half-Chinese, half-American boy who grew up in France and Canada is more likely to relate to a person who grew up in South Africa with Vietnamese parents than they are to someone who lived in Canada all their lives. 

The world is so much smaller when you're a third culture kid as well. We have friends from all over, being that some of us spent our childhood in various international schools (though except for the skillful few, most of us can't speak more than one or two languages) and were given the chance to fall in love with so many places. We have so much appreciation for places and people because we feel this secret bond with the world. We feel nostalgic a lot because we find memories in the most strange places. We feel nostalgic because everywhere we go feels like home and foreign at the same time. 

Paul Young, the author of #1 NYT best seller The Shack reviewed David C. Pollock's Third Culture Kids: Growing up Among Worlds, said "As an adult TCK, I have long wrestled with how I fit into this world. This book is the 'bible' for anyone who wants to understand the blessings and the curses of growing up multiculturally."

And this captures exactly how so many third culture kids view our predicament. As a third culture kid, we are blessed with the opportunity to be a part of so many beautiful cultures, yet at the same time don't have complete ownership of any particular place or people. 

There have been countless articles about Third Culture Kids, all of them I have read been written by other third cultures kids, obviously. I have been thinking about writing something like this for the longest time, but I didn't know what I could add to the mix of articles already written by qualified individuals (unlike myself) that hasn't already been said. And then I thought about why: why do I, and why would any third culture kid, want to write about being a third culture kid if there were already sufficient material out their in media? 

So I thought about it for a few minutes, and I realized, from all my travels and short time on the planet, being a teen, I have learned this: we share these stories because they are and have always been ours. For a good portion of us, our lives have lacked consistency, but the one thing that we have always cherished is who we are. For many of teens, we still can't define our place in the world because there is so much more life we have to live. We migrate from bubble to bubble, learning more as we realize what we have lost and gained form each new place. 

So I write to you, third culture kid, and ask you, from me to you, as you venture into your future and find yourself in the most unlikely places, remember not to constrain yourselves within the boundaries you have set for yourself. We often choose to identify with a single place for simplicities sake (often out of irritation of other, less...informed people), or because we are so desperate to have some sort of "base" to call home. Sometimes we may feel that don't belong anywhere, and other times feel so attached to a people or a place that isn't even initially ours. 

I ask you not to settle with these boundaries. Because as I know you know, there is so much more beyond the matrix we constrain ourselves within. As you will continue to grow, you will realize that not belonging anywhere doesn't matter; in fact, it shapes us. This idea we have that home is a place of permanence is completely distorted. Our home moves and grows as we do. As tacky as this may come across, it is the small moments in our lives that act as the bridge between us and "home."

For old times sake, let me ask you this: Where are you from? 

I'll tell you where I'm from. I'm from eating french toast on the roof top and pretending to be warrior cats. If I grow old, these memories will be faint, but as all past homes are, their relevance will never waver. There is no where I'd rather be than this home I remember in my head. At the same time, remember the future promises new, greater experiences.

I wish you the best of luck in your journey home, 
The Gossamer

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Advice People Don't Give When You Change Schools

Hi lovelies!
Sorry I haven't been active lately, it's been a crazy couple of months. I wanted to start doing more fashion related posts, but I had no time. Please comment below some blogging post suggestions, I'd love to hear some ideas.

Hope that anyone reading this that has changed schools before will relate,
The Gossamer


1) What to wear

This one might not matter to some people, but to others, what to wear to school can be a big dilemma. What's "trendy" can vary quite a bit from school to school, although if you're the kind of person that does their own thing, then this doesn't apply to you as much. This advice can sound kind of vain almost, but when you're trying to settle in a new school where nobody knows who you are, appearance is important. The fact of the matter is, as annoying as it is, people notice other people's appearance. 

My tip: If you're not confident in the way you dress or you want to reinvent your look for your new school (or even for a new school year) return to the basics. Find a couple of plain tops and bottoms that fit you nicely and pair them up to make a couple of basic but nice outfits. You also want to appear put together, and this doesn't mean you have to spend hours going full out with curled hair, make-up, and heels. A big part of looking put-together is looking clean and neat (if that's not your style, then you don't have to listen to this bit.) Make sure your nails are neat, your face is clean, (a fresh face paired with a smile is a great asset when you want to make a good first impression!) and our hair is tamed in a way you like. Maybe spend extra time brushing your teeth and if you have dry skin, moisturize! esp. if you have dry lips. Finally, wear clean clothes. Appearing clean might seem a little bit of a basic and obvious step, but spending a little bit extra time can go a long way and also make you feel fresh and ready to go.

2) What the people are like in your new school

When you first visit a new school, you often get a cliche picture of a crowded hallway and huddled groups of people walking to class. But you don't usually get an inside peek of what the people are like. When someone is new usually one of their biggest worries have to do with making friends. When you have no idea what the people are like in your new school, you can grow nervous and begin to mull over the worst possible (and very unlikely) scenarios (at least, this is what I have done in the past.)

My tip: Don't worry. Relax. I can not emphasize this enough. Just because you don't know anybody doesn't mean that you won't get to know people. Think of it as a positive thing. When you don't know anyone, you are offered a fresh start. You can reinvent yourself and strive to evolve into exactly the person you want to become.

3) Where to sit at lunch 

Your average high school movie makes sitting at lunch seem as difficult as moving a bus with your right hand or something. But honestly, it's not something that you need to think about. But let me be perfectly honest with you and tell you straight up: if you are an awkward or shy person "tasks" like finding a place to sit at lunch will seem 10 times as awkward then they actually are, but they are NOT.

My tip: Be comfortable around people, SMILE, and people will want to be around you. Sit with a familiar face from your class before lunch. Choose someone who maybe asked what your name was or where you lived. It's not a big deal. Make conversation. It's that simple if you want it to be.

4) How to make friends

If you've never moved before and never had to make new friends, this can be hard, especially if you're not much of a social butterfly.

My tip: Just like my last tip, my key suggestion is to smile. Trust me. You don't have to be cheesing intensely or anything, but don't look like you're bored or uninterested. People like being around people who are cheerful, confident, and comfortable (CCC!) Find people who watch the same TV series as you, join a sport or a club you are genuinely interested in (maybe even join with other people that you've met that are new as well!)

Sunday, March 22, 2015

8 Spring Trends of 2015

Comment below your favorite spring trend. I know I probably left out like ten, but it would take hours to list out all of them!

The Gossamer

Spring is the time to go a little outside your comfort zone and wear colorful clothing. If you're not too into color, try to go for more subtle spring colors like olive, or faded pinks and purple's.

Patterns & Prints!
Like color, spring is when most people tend to don themselves in different patterns. Stick to simple patterns like neutral stripes if you're not into patterns, but if you are, try paisley or floral prints.

Fringe is fun! A fringed kimono or cropped top is a fun way to add a unique touch to an ordinary outfit, and gives people a clearer sense of your style.

Braided hairstyles!
These, while in practically all-year round, are especially trendy during the springtime. Most braided hairstyles, like braided buns, can be worn easily with natural hair, which I love because I feel spring is sometimes an all natural kind of season.

That being said, while keeping it natural during spring is great, it won't hurt to curl your hair if you're feeling it. There's also tons of no-heat curl tutorials online, and if you have flexible hair, just putting it into a braid after conditioning should give you curls -- (touch with hairspray when you take you hair out of the braid!)

Sheer tops are perfect for spring because the material is light and keeps you cool as the weather starts to heat up.

Mustard yellow!
I know that I already wrote about color, but I want to emphasize this one particularly. This color is perfect for spring time, and, while it may be a little too much for some people, is a lively trend that can look great if adorned and accessorized correctly.

Scallop everything!
Scallop cuts offer gorgeous detailing to a plain dress or shirt. Scallop shirts and dresses are perfect for the spring time and can often become a key piece in your go-to spring outfit(s).

Monday, January 12, 2015

Super Easy Healthy Snack Ideas!

Once in a while, when my eating habits start to get really bad, I decide to skip an after school treat of cake and frosting for a healthier approach. These are some snacks that I enjoy eating after school that are super easy to prepare and taste [almost] as good as a piece of cake [almost].

1) Hummus and Bread - Chickpeas are actually known to lower cholesterol, and it is very easy to make your own Hummus. Most recipes consist of a blend of chickpeas, water, (or other liquids ex. olive oil) lemon juice, and salt. Serve with warm pita bread or carrots/celery!

2) Sliced Apples and Homemade Peanut Butter - This one might sound a little unappetizing to some people, but trust me -- it's not.  Peanut butter, too, is super easy to make, and there is tons of recipes you can find online. 

3) Oatmeal - Some people might not consider this a snack, but this is one of those foods that I think can be eaten just about any time of day. Oatmeal is generally quite filling and is always a great healthy option when you're craving a snack. Top with honey and your favorite fruits and/or nuts!

4) Smoothies - Another easy option that you can whip up in a blender. Although I'm not usually a smoothie person, but they are so many different ways you can experiment with this one, just making it is a blast!

5) Nuts - A bowl of your favorite nuts -- from almonds to pistachios is always a healthy route when you have no idea what to eat. If you are not a nut person, then blend them up and add them to yogurt or a smoothie. 

6) Fruit Salad - This takes less than five minutes. Just chop up all your favorite fruits, whether its strawberries, pineapples, blueberries, etc. -- and mix them all together to get a super delicious fruit salad.