Monday, August 12, 2019

Ni Hao China!

Ni Hao Friends! I have officially been in China for 4 days and I am just starting to settle into my routine with my dog Angel. I have been to the mall with a supermarket on the bottom, a fruit and veggie market, the police station to register, to a few restaurants, and to my school.

Fun fact about food here in China. They do not really call it Chinese food but they do ask if you want North, South, East or West food. Each geographic location has a special cuisine that has influences of counties that surround that region. It is really unique to the tastes of the cooks as well. I am very excited to continue to explore the food options throughout my years here.

I am in the 10th largest city in China. If you think about a large city you may think it would look like New York City, Dubai, or Las Angeles but that is not the case here. Changchun is full of people but is very clean. There is greenery everywhere and everything is nice and spaced out. Rush hour traffic lasts about 30-45 minutes and driving is like a game of chicken. There are massive apartment buildings in compounds as well as individual houses but they use the space wisely. Parking for compounds is underground. Parking around the city is wherever you can find it. Small shops are located on the very first floor of apartments on the outside of the compounds. Another great use of space is that people are always renovating older buildings.

The school I will be working with is an old factory building. The use of space around the school is so amazing. You can tell the owner has really put his love into the school. Walls are bright and fun colors as well there are zen relaxation areas spread around in space that would be deemed as empty hallways. Classrooms are large and spacious and the staff is so friendly and warm. Everyone gets along with everyone and the administration is there to make sure you are feeling welcome in the school and country. I have been on a tour of the school with a few of the admins and when they talk about the school you can see how much they love working there and admire what is happening.

I am so very excited about starting my season of life in China. There is so much to explore and do in the area and I cannot wait to see more. Enjoy the pictures of the small glimpse of Changchun that I have seen so far!


Part of my Classroom. It is already decorated for the year and I am thrilled!


Zen/ Relaxation Garden in the School right beside the ballet classroom.


One of my favorite things about the school. The PreK bathroom. Look how cute those little stalls are!


Out driving around the city. You can see the stores at the bottom of the apartments.


A view from our walk in the morning by our apartment which is so pretty and green.


Angel and I in front of our building


Saturday, June 15, 2019

Let's Cruise!


Last week my best friend, Lauren, and I took our annual best friend trip. In 2018, we went to London (you can ask me how that went) and this year we decided to do something fun…. A CRUISE!

We boarded the Carnival Freedom for eight days of salty air in our hair, lots of laughter, excitement and the thrill of traveling again. Our cruise was AMAZING! We had very little complaints throughout the week. When we first boarded the boat we had a little mishap with our room but the manager Bianca took wonderful care of us. Our cruise had so many components to it and I cannot wait to share with y’all . The days went as followed:
Day 1: Leave Texas
Day 2: Sea Day 1
Day 3: Sea Day 2
Day 4: Dock in Honduras
Day 5: Dock in Belize
Day 6: Dock in Mexico
Day 7: Sea Day
Day 8: Back in Texas

Day 1: We decided to drive down from our home to the port which was a short drive compared to many who flew or drove 30 hours. We stopped at our favorite gas station BUCEE’s and grabbed some snacks and drinks for the road. When we got to port, we parked our car, grabbed our gear, and walked to the boat. After handing off our bags, we boarded the boat and ate some lunch at the buffet. When we were finally allowed to go to our room we jumped at the opportunity. Our room was a cute little exterior room on the second deck with a twin bed, a couch bed, two windows, a vanity, three closets, and a little bathroom. It had plenty of space for the two of us. After unpacking, we ended up walking around the ship and getting to know the important places (food, drinks, games, theater, and pools). We met our fab cruise director, Emma, from England and a few other wonderful people working on board. We watched our first show in the theater (Welcome Aboard), ate dinner, and ended the night with lots of laughter. 


Day 2: Our first sea day was eye-opening. We have a morning meeting with Emma who explained all the fun events on board for the day. She gave us helpful suggestions about things to do and see and how to get around the ship easily. I have to say that Emma really knew how to gain an audience’s attention. I thought she would have made an amazing kindergarten teacher and that’s what she use to do! We thought about heading to the pool on our first day but decided not to and joined a bunch of games and shows throughout the day. That night we sat down and watched the Love Aboard show. It was really cute for couples. We decided to hit a (PG) comedy show by the famous Chaz. It was a fun first day on the sea.
Day 3: Man oh man, is it nice to be able to sleep in and not have an alarm turned on. We went to the morning show once again and loved laughing along with Emma. Lauren and I decided to brave the sun and tan for a bit. Since it was a sea day, everyone was out and about at the pools and hot tubs. So I do not know about you, but I honestly feel like hotties are useless during the summer time. Since we were in the middle of the Carribean, they should be cooling tubs, not hot tubs. Anyways, we went and found a spot to lay out with a beautiful view of the water. We were out for about an hour and both got roasted. Needless to say, we spent the rest of the day indoors. The show tonight was an 80’s Pop to the Max. It was filled with popular songs from the ’80s and I have to say it was a great show. 

Day 4: Today was the day we had been waiting for. Or rather the day that I had been waiting for. We docked at Roatan Bay, Honduras and took a bus for about an hour to Anthony Key’s Resort. Our small group of 8 had the privilege to have a dolphin action swim. Now I have been swimming with dolphins before (in Cancun) and loved every second of it. This time was so different. All of the dolphins are bred at the resort and trained with trainers who know that they are doing. They are in little bays with ocean access when given. These little lagoons are right off the ocean which gives the Dolphins a feel of living in the ocean. I loved seeing how huge the lagoons were for the dolphins. They are given so much space to live in. When our turn for the action swim came, they allowed the two of us to experience the dolphins together and alone. We were given about an hour in the water with the dolphins. They took pictures the entire time and had a package ready to purchase at the end of the event. The resort had several other dolphin experiences but I feel like the one we had was the best one. We were able to swim with them, learn about our two boys (the dolphins), and did not feel squished by people around us. I recommend this excursion to anyone going to Roatan Bay in Honduras! When we finished with the excursion the two of us did some shopping, picture taking, and went back to the boat to eat lunch. See we planned it just right so we would not have to pay for any extra food on the trip and saved big. The show this night was a fun family game show from Hasbro. It was so fun to see people chosen from the audience to jump on stage and play along. Once again Emma made the show with her cute jokes and fun personality. 



Day 5: Belize was the one place I have not been to (on this cruise anyway) and I was excited about seeing a new country. We docked early and gathered together in the theater with everyone going on an excursion. We had to be water shuttled to the island and bused for an hour to Chukka where our excursion was. Lauren was so excited for this day (as was I but dolphin swimming beat everything for me) and when we got there we were not disappointed. Our tour guide Willie was hysterical. You could tell he really loved his job and showing people around his beautiful country. He even taught us a little bit of their language (Creole) in the bus ride over there. When we got to Chukka, Willie, told our group to show off and be loud and proud to be apart of the group. Every time our group name was called (you can ask me the name), our group cheered and hollered loudly. Chukka housed many excursions that the cruise was apart of. We did a private cave tour, lunch, and zip lining. Now it was not really hot (it was in the 80s) but it was 100 percent humidity. We got to zip line first going through five lines at various heights and then we did the private cave tour. They split us into a small group of 6 or 8 for our cave tour. Our group of 6 were led by Jorge and he had a plethora of knowledge about the cave. The spring fed water in the dark cool cave was a nice welcome to our hot and humid selves. The tour went by quickly and before we knew it we were in line for Belizian beans, rice, and chicken then back on the bus. The show on the boat that night was my second favorite one yet - Carribean Dream. It got everyone in the mood for Mexico the next morning. 



Day 6: We docked in Cozumel, Mexico with three other Carnival boats. Before leaving the boat, we grabbed breakfast and to our surprise, the crew had placed a towel animal on all the lounge chairs on the deck. Over 100 towel animals filled our view and all so very different. We decided to not do an excursion and just shop around and chill on the boat. So we grabbed our freebies, souvenirs, t-shirts, and headed back to the boat. This was the day I was finally able to test out the water slides on the boat. The other days the lines have been so long. Lauren and I were one of the few people on the boat and it was really nice to grab lunch and chill by the pool without a mass of people around. The show that night was a piano melody mixture followed by a glow out party on the deck with friends and other passengers. Such a fun filled night!



Day 7: This was our final day on the boat. We had another sea day as we headed back to Texas. We slept in after our fun late night and watched the debarkation information show. We supported St. Jude’s children hospital while lounging at the pool. It was a chill day for everyone while they got ready to get back to reality. That night was my favorite show out of all of them. All the shows were really well done but tonight’s show took the cake. They did a lip-sync battle between two cruise passengers who auditioned at the beginning of the week. Ironically we found out that morning both passengers were professionals. One was a professional hip-hop dancer and danced with the Rockets at times as well as internationally. The other was a Singer who is releasing her first album this fall. They are both so talented that it made the show like the real LSB on TV. The show crew, Emma and Neil (our Bingo director) had their own versions of ’90s and ’80s hit LSB as well before they announced the winner. It was a perfect end to a great week. 

     Needless to say, the Carnival Freedom crew made our vacation. From fixing small problems to making us laugh and interacting with the passengers, you could tell they loved what they did. I know people who have gone on cruise’s before where the director was not so interactive and fun or the crew was rude, but that was not our case. Our room steward called us by name and made sure we had everything we needed throughout the cruise. The excursions that we booked through the cruise were well directed and had us worry free. They cared about the safety of all passengers and knew we all wanted to have fun. I highly recommend a cruise for people who want to go and have fun and not worry about anything. I loved our week on the cruise and loved spending some time with Lauren. Happy 21st girl!!


Monday, May 20, 2019

Ma Salama Sadiqs - Goodbye Friends

     You have heard the saying, "it takes a village" when discussing children. This is so true with living the expatriate life. It truly takes a village to get you through life. Not in a bad way by any means but in a way that expats in your work (and life) all come together to live life. They become your family during your time in the country you reside in. As my time comes to a close in the Middle East, I have decided to talk about my VILLAGE. My village of people is a nice and wide span. I have different relationships with different people and I would not change a thing.
    I live with four amazing people on a separate compound than most at school. The five of us have been like family these past two years. We would have specified family dinners when we could all get together, hang out by the pool, grab breakfast on the weekends and so much more. Three of the five of us are leaving this year to new adventures. Our little family is breaking up and I am going to miss them beyond words.
     I have a few friends from school who I have great relationships with. I have been on fun trips, crazy car rides, shopping weekends, birthday fun, movie nights, and more with them. I know that I can talk to them about almost anything and I know that I will not be judged. I can talk about God with them and discuss what amazing things he is doing in our lives.
     I have friends who are from all over the world and who have the heart to teach internationally like me. Some of them are TCK's, some have taught internationally before, others on adventures of their own, or they call this sandy place home. We are all connected in one way or another and I love it.
  This past weekend I finalized everything that I needed to do in order to leave the Middle East. I cleaned out my villa and sold everything I needed to sell. It is crazy how much stress you can have when moving. You do not even think about the craziness and what all has to be done until it happens. One of the nights our compounds had a combined goodbye party for a few of the teachers leaving the school.
     Julie, one of my closest friends wrote a goodbye speech for me with help from a couple of other close friends. It's funny how you never think someone knows you until you listen to it. These ladies have done such an amazing job and I think it deserves to be read.
 
     "Kim’s off on a new adventure. She is casting off the Saudi sand and heading to Northern China along with her trusty sidekick Angel.

In the short two years, we have spent together at DEMS and living on Sara Village, I have gotten to know this girl quite well. Raised as a full-blooded Texan in the sands of Saudi Arabia, this girl is fearless. For example, she jumped on the opportunity last year to get her license within the first month it was legal and got herself a car. When she sets her mind to it, this girl can get anything done and accomplished. Although she does have her own type of kryptonite...cinnamon! Unfortunately, she has come into contact quite often with this notorious evildoer this past year which resulted in a few scary moments and hospital visits. However, she showed her strength and battled the cinnamon, and took it down with her trusty weapon of choice, Benedryl. Let us not talk about her most recent visit to the hospital when fracturing her arm when tripping over a student...oops!
She is focused and driven, though finding that a current part of her faith journey is to let God be in control - and it’s hard sometimes!
As a true TCK, third culture kid, Kim created a book to share her experiences as a way to reach out to other TCKs around the globe. If writing a book wasn’t enough, she has taken sharing her story to the blog-o-sphere.
Man though, this girl can talk. Even when strictly told by the doctor to stop talking, this girl just couldn’t do it. However, if she didn’t talk, it just wouldn’t be Kim. She is your textbook extrovert. Loves being surrounded by people. She is ever willing to help anyone out and welcomes everyone with open arms - you’ll have to decide if it is Texan or Saudi hospitality that has left the most impact, though I suspect it is being a part of a culture like in this room - full of expats, for most of her life.
If you look up the word “Generous” in the dictionary, you are very likely to find a picture of Kimberlyn. She is always willing to share any knowledge that she has about almost any topic and where to find the best shopping deals. She was the reason I transitioned so well into this adventure. She gave so freely of her time and energy at the beginning of my time in Saudi that I can’t imagine where I’d be without her.
Kim, Jennifer, Kristi, Jessica, everyone here and me, want to wish you all the best in your next adventure in the cold of China. Go walk the Great Wall, visit the Terra cotta Warriors, learn all about the ancient culture of the Chinese because when I come to visit you, you are my guide. Show your Texas hospitality and charm, and win them all over. Keep in touch, and I/we will miss you!
My Sara Village family is breaking up… are you sure you want to go? You realize you are leaving me with Ian and Ashton, and Amy and James, and Julia, and...oh! Ok...fine. Just don’t forget us. "





     Thank you, Julie, Jess, Jennifer, and Kristi for writing such sweet words. You have all left an impact on my life. I know that this is not just goodbye but see you soon. I look forward to seeing each of you in China (or a new country). I know I have made a lifelong friend in each of you and I will hold that dearly in my heart. Ma Salama Sadiqs!

Monday, May 13, 2019

The Desert is Stunning

     There are less than 20 days left here in the Middle East until I am home in the States for the Summer. This past weekend, my family and I decided to take a spontaneous trip into the desert. You see I hold the desert very deep in my heart. I have spent more than half my life in the Middle East and I love it! Teaching here has been more "home" to me than teaching in the states. I love being around those who have the same lifestyle I did growing up and it is a plus that most things are familiar to me. Moving to China this Fall is going to be different (and if I admit a little scary too) from what I am used to. The trip that we took was to a place we have heard about many times but have not traveled to ourselves.
     So we found a weekend that would work before I leave, packed the car, put Angel in the kennel, and headed out on the road. It was a long 7ish hours from our house to Edge of the World. We had to travel to our hotel for a short bit and then to the spot. Once we arrived, we hiked a bit to the edge of the canyon to different sports. It was breathtaking to see. The only thing that kept going through my mind was that only God could have created something so beautiful in a desert.


     I mean just check out the formations of the side of the canyon here. It was all so wonderful and yes you are right. I am on the edge of the Edge of the World and I am not scared at all. Which if you knew me you would know that as much as an adrenalin junkie I am, I HATE heights. I would normally be terrified to be this close but the only thing I could think of was how stunning everything was. As you can tell in the picture below it looks a little foggy. We were there around 3pm and it was not fog but sandy. You could tell see the sandstorm was picking up in the distance and it was amazing.



     The next day before we headed home, we went to go see the Red Sand Dunes. It was a short drive over to the dunes. We had the option of taking some ATV's out to the top and take pictures or park on the side of the road and climb. We chose the park and climb option because we wanted to take pictures and head out. If you have ever taken pictures in your life, you know that the camera takes out some of the colors. This leads to the picture not looking as stunning as in real life. So when we got home I played around with some filters on Lightroom and fixed the following picture.


     If you look closely you can see the different groves in the sand. This was taken at the top of a dune with my phone and you can look for miles at all the other dunes. I love how Lightroom was able to bring back the red into the dune. This is how they actually looked when we went. It just goes to show how stunning and breathtaking something so simple as the desert can be. God, you have done some great work here and I am so glad that I can come back and visit my "home" whenever I can. Right now I am going to love on my 21 littles for the remainder 13 days of school I have left with them.


Monday, April 15, 2019

Changing to China???


       So the other week, I shared my story with y'all. I shared how I became a Traveling Teacher and a few places about where I have been. So far my traveling and teaching have mainly been in the Middle East and in Europe. I had originally planned to move back to the states this summer, but God had something else in mind for me that I was not even expecting. When my original plans changed, I was scrambling like mad applying to different schools in Texas until I realized that I really did not want to move back to the states. I wanted to continue to teach overseas. I then started to apply to several schools throughout Europe and the Middle East. China was not even on my mind (actually I said I did not want to go there)
I have yet to go to East Asia (minus Thailand as a kid) and never really had a desire to go. Several of our teachers have taught in China, Japan, or South Korea before and have had so many wonderful things to say about it. I had talked to several teachers at my school who have told me to apply to China but I just kept denying it and pushing it back. I even went as far as saying that I would teach anywhere but in South East Asia. Then I went to the Compassion Summit with my school for a week and everything changed.
During the week at the Summit, I spent time talking to coaches from schools around the Middle East. I talked to them about the positives and negatives of their schools and asked them to talk to the admins at their school about me. I even attended an online job fair and talked to a school I applied for. With all of that being said, I had not heard from any of the schools that I had applied to. I was getting frustrated with everything and stressed that God was taking his sweet time in showing me what was next for my life. Then one night everything changed.
I went home and had a nice long talk (let's be honest... a cry) about what was next with me. I finally told God that I was done saying I would go anywhere but SEA. I also told Him that if that is where He wanted me to go then He was going to have to make it happen because I was not going to apply on my own free will. I woke up the next day to an email from a school in China asking me if I was still looking for a job for the next year. Shocked, I responded saying that I was and then we set up an interview. Once I had my interview set up, I began praying and asking God to show me if this is what He wanted me to do. 
When I had the interview, I had all my questions and concerns answered and more. The principal was very honest about the school and the direction the school was headed. He wanted me to talk to some teachers to get their feel on the school before I made my decision. So getting off the interview, I emailed all the teachers asking my questions and they responded and answered the questions that I did not even think about at that time.
God has a way of basically shaking your shoulders saying “listen here chick, this is what I want you to do”. He showed me through people, devotionals and by changing my heart that this is what He wanted me to do. Famous last words y’all. Do not ever tell God you will do anything but _____ because he will almost always send you there. Where I am moving in China is full of mystery, excitement, history, and tons of snow. So this gal is trading in her sandals for some snow boots. I know that China will not be easy but I know it will be a blast and a great new adventure so stay tuned!









Saturday, April 13, 2019

Oh, The Places I Went


      Boy, oh Boy what a fast two years it has been in the Middle East. The days left of school are dwindling down to a mere 35 and I take a look back on my past two years teaching abroad. Being back “home” for me has been wonderful. I feel so comfortable and connected with the culture and the people. I felt at ease going into the school year and meeting all of my colleagues. I also started my Master program which quickly kicked my butt into gear. I have been able to travel to so many wonderful places. 
I love to travel. I love flying on airplanes, seeing historic sites, going shopping, and of course eating traditional food. Since moving abroad, I have been to about 13 countries and have loved every second of my travels. Don’t get me wrong I have had my bad days when traveling (which you will read about soon) but I like to focus on the positives. I am going to tell you a little bit about some of my favorite places I went during my first two years abroad. 
When first moving to the Middle East, my family, friend and I went to Egypt over a short holiday and I was finally able to see the pyramids. Okay, I am going to be honest here, I was expecting them to all be massive but some of them were as tall as a two-story building. It really needed to be able to go inside some of the pyramids and see where people were buried as well as the hieroglyphics on the walls. I was also able to see the famous sphinx unclose and personal.  During our short three days, we were also able to see the newly renovated Choir Historical Museum. Inside the museum, there were a TON of mummies (young and old), old ruins from building throughout the year, and many more awesome things. Our group was also able to get dressed up and take a boat cruise on the Nile for dinner one night. Needless to say, Egypt was a BLAST and I was able to cross that country off my list!

Pyramids in Egypt

Another trip to cross off my list was to Switzerland. My entire family and another close friend of mine all went for two weeks and traveled around Switzerland. We visited the Cailler Chocolate Factory, saw St. Peter’s Cathedral, saw the United Nations building, took pictures with Jet d’eau Geneve and saw so much more. I have to say one of my favorite things about the trip was seeing the Matterhorn in Zermatt. We stayed in a cute little condo a little bit away and took a train to Zermatt for the day. We rode another train to the top of the Matterhorn Mountain and I was blown away. I decided not to ski this trip and so I just walked around and enjoyed the views. It was so SWEET to spend New Years in Switzerland. 

Matterhorn in Switzerland

This past summer, I was able to spend time with my best friend in London, England. I have been to London many times as a kid, but this trip was one for the books. Going back to London as an adult was great but experiencing it with my best friend was something special. Lauren had never been to London and is a huge Harry Potter fan so of course, we had to add platform 9 3/4 to one of our stops on the trip. We were able to see two Broadway shows (Wicked and Mama Mia), take the subway, see the crown jewels, Buckingham Palace, and do a three-day bus tour. We experienced so many amazing things this trip and learned a lot as well. I cannot wait for our next adventure summer 2019

Buckingham Palace in England
!
One trip that I was able to take was a family girls trip to New York. My mom, aunt, cousin and I met in New York City for a fun few days to kick off Christmas vacation. We had some New York pizza, walked around China Town, took some subways, bought some gifts, saw a few comedy shows, went to Times Square and visited Carlos Bakery and saw the massive Rockefeller Tree. My all-time favorite thing about the trip was seeing the Radio City Rockettes. It has always been a dream of mine to see the Rockettes live since I was a little girl. I grew up dancing and watching the Nutcracker but had never seen the Rockettes. It was fun to get dressed up and walk down the streets to our spot. Sitting up close and watching these amazing women dance was phenomenal and the highlight of my Christmas vacation.

Rockefeller Tree in NYC

This year I have been blessed with taking a group of students to Amman, Jordan for a week at the 2019 Compassion Summit. During the Compassion Summit, our students discovered ways to bring compassion to our schools. They developed ways to share what they learned with their classmates and thought about ways that could prevent them from living out what they wanted to do. I am so proud of our students during this week and opening up to all of the teachers about things we would need to fix. We rewarded the students’ hard work through a fun {wet} night of play. Students and staff played bubble soccer and laser tag and were able to bond even more. Our last day in Jordan we went to the city of Jerash. Jerash is an old Greek city of ruins that shares a story. We were able to take a tour and learn all about this city while we walked around the ruins. Jordan was a great place to go back to and I can’t wait to go again. 

Greek Ruins in Jordan

No matter all of the places I had traveled the first two years abroad, everyone always has their favorite place. My favorite place to visit was another dream come true which was Santorini, Greece with my parents. The Mama Mia in me was going crazy the entire time I was there. Now it was not a walk-in-the-park getting to Greece. Our bags were left in another country for most of the trip but it gave us an excuse to buy new clothes. Everything about Greece that you see in the movies is true. Greece had breathtaking sunsets and sunrises, delicious food, great shopping, amazing scenery, and friendly people. Our time on Santorini Island was great. We stayed in a cute little cave home for our first few days and walked everywhere. The second half of our trip, we stayed at a resort on the other side of the island and went to two of the three styles of beaches. We also were able to visit a few wineries, go parasailing, and learn about some Greek history. 

Nightlife in Greece

As I have said in my first blog, I am a TCK. Traveling is in my blood and is a way of life for me. Everyone who knows me personally knows that I have a huge travel itch whether it is going to a new country or taking a road trip in Texas. These first two years abroad have allowed me to live out my dream to be able to travel. I have been blessed with the opportunity to do so with my friends and family. Now these are not all the places I have been and I have so much more to say but you will just have to ask me one day. From now on, I will be posting about all of my trips and adventures in life so STAY TUNED!

Monday, April 8, 2019

My Story

      If you look at the average American teacher, you will most likely see them rundown, overworked, overcrowded and sadly broke. Many people move to the United States of America to live the American Dream but not everyone has the same results. Even though there are people moving to the United States daily to search for their “dream”, there are some people moving overseas to find their own version of a dream. People are moving internationally to teach, work for oil companies, or work for businesses all over the world and I am one of those people. I am a traveling teacher and this is my story.

      I grew up as a third culture kid in the international teaching setting with both parents being teachers and my life was forever changed. A Third Culture Kid is someone who has spent the majority of their childhood in a country other than the one on their (or their parents) passports. Living overseas as a kid was a blast because I was able to meet friends from so many different countries. I had seen more of the world by the time I was 13 than most adults ever do. I know how to count to 10, say hello/ goodbye, ask where the bathroom is, and sing happy birthday in many languages just from traveling. I know how to maneuver an airport and feel comfortable traveling with others or by myself. Airplanes and the next adventure excite me. To the average American kid’s eye, I was being raised in a spoiled life of a “rich kid”. The reality was that my parents made enough money to be able to save and still give their family the best life imaginable.

      Being a TCK was not always all roses and glory. I lived away from my family in the States and saw my cousins grown close with my grandparents which was hard for me to see. I was not able to be in a church with a bunch of kid activities like those of my friends or family in the states. I had friends come and go in my life and as a kid, I understood that friends moved when their dad got a new job assignment. I always wanted to live that American dream where I could live in the same house my entire life, growing up down the street from my family, attend the same church for a long time or have the same best friend for most of my life. When I was in middle school, my family moved back to the states and I was able to live that life I thought I always wanted. 

      Life in the states was far from easy. I soon realized how sheltered I was and how grown up kids my age were. I struggled with having the “strictest parents” on campus and hated not being able to do everything my fellow classmates were doing. Looking back now, I can actually see how right my parents were withholding me back from not doing certain things with my friends. High School was a new experience. I went from a school of 1200 students K-12 to a freshman class of 1200 students until we split sophomore year. Although I was able to finally be in the same church for a long period of time, kids in my group had known each other for most of their life and it was hard to fit in. School was not much different since I needed to find where I belonged and realized quickly that I had friends in a variety of groups.  Fast forward through a whirlwind of high school drama, animals, dances and a ton of football games, I decided that I wanted to attend a small college where students and teachers had some of the same beliefs I did. 

      I attended a small Baptist college and found students who l connected with. Some classmates grew up overseas, some grew up in small towns, somewhere coming from a high school like me, and most of them lived a sheltered lifestyle like I did. It was so nice to finally be able to connect with people who lived similarly to me. Even though I connected with many of the students, some were not able to really understand my international lifestyle and my “itch” to travel and live overseas. I knew that there were some people who still thought that I was that rich spoiled kid who had life handed to her on a silver platter. People could not really understand that life is not a piece of cake for people like me. I found friends who loved me and could understand the life I had lived. I was able to fit in with those around me more than in high school. I enjoyed my four years at school and graduated with my degree in Education and continued to have the itch to get back overseas. 

      I did what anyone with the travel itch needed to do. I worked for two years at a great school, packed my bags, and moved to the Middle East for my first teaching assignment. I was finally back where my heart belonged. I am still currently teaching at my first school overseas and I have loved being with teachers who enjoy the Third Culture Adult lifestyle. I have met people who lived the childhood I wanted from the States but they still had that travel itch. I feel like I have finally found the place where I belong. People of every nation, religion, background, and lifestyle are all working together overseas and traveling to the heart's content. I love being able to teach students that are living the same lifestyle that I did. I can relate to them and I know they love that I understand where they come from. 

      There are still people in my life that do not understand the lifestyle that I was brought up in or why I currently live overseas and love it and they may never understand. What I know is that I absolutely love living the lifestyle that I do and experiencing life the way I am. Some may consider me crazy for having gone to over 10 countries my first year overseas but I enjoyed visiting old and new countries. I love being able to experience countries and cultures as an adult. God has done so many wonderful things in my life and has allowed me to experience life this way for a reason. He has guided me throughout this life and has been beside me every step of the way. God is a major part of my life and I am excited to experience life with him. He has given me the next adventure and teaching location for my life, but that is another story in its self. So this is my story about how and why I became a Traveling TCK Teacher!