We're in Hamminkeln, Germany, which is legally our home (at the moment it still is, that is, and has been for seven a half years, but we'll be unregistering next week, which is another story...), but have never lived here. Our other legal home is in Cyprus, and is definitely the place we call home. It's where I keep my books. :-)
We often stay in Hamminkeln while we're in Germany, as our sending agency has their headquarters here, and a guest house we're able to use. This time, we're actually here TO be here, for the Family Camp they're running for the third time. 25 children and 26 adults participating this year, plus plenty of staff, and as wonderful as always! There's a children's program during the morning and evening sessions, and lots of free time, to relax and to chat with other people.
And this evening's topic was TCKs: Third-Culture Kids, which, by definition, my children are. And three years ago I wrote a post about why I believe I have Aquired TCK-ism, identifying considerably more with TCKs than with my "passport culture," although maybe I'm just multi-cultural. Whatever. Anyway, it was interesting, although not new information for me, and I especially enjoy hearing people's anecdotes. (Had to laugh especially at one the speaker shared. She had overheard a child being asked where he's from, and he shot out with one rushed sentence: "My-mother-is-American-and-my-father-is-German-and-we-live-in-Cyprus." Guess who THAT was. Her point was that he answered quickly as if he were used to answering that way, that none of us can give simple, quick answers. Totally true.)
One thing that was said tonight was something I hadn't noticed before in definitions of just who is a TCK, though. It was that "you know you will be returning 'home' someday." That's a difficult concept for me, partly because I am always "home" where I happen to live. (I said that in the post I linked, too. I have never lived 'away from home', because where I live IS home.) And it makes me wonder if that then disqualifies my children from being TCKs, as it is highly unlikely that we, as a family, will ever return to Germany (and cannot, as a family, "return" to the United States), and if any of them did ever move to Germany, I don't think any of them would think of it as "returning home." Marie, who spent the last seven months in the United States and is going back there in September did not "return home" when she moved to her passport country; she moved to the United States. I wouldn't even call it "returning home" if I were to move back to the United States (which I have no intention of doing, but there are a lot of things I never had any intention of doing...), and I did live there 19 (non-consecutive) years, still the most years in any one country, although less that half of my life.
So I then asked a few of my children what they would answer if asked where home is.
Helen (nearly 8) said, "Well, I would ask if they know where Faneromeni is, and then tell them to go down the street the same direction as the church, and turn left at..." and gave complete directions to our house. In Cyprus, of course. (She's lived in Cyprus since she was four months old, in that house since she was six months old.)
Katie (11 next week) said, "In Larnaka, in Cyprus. Cyprus is an island in the Eastern Mediterranean, between Turkey and Israel." (And NOT part of Greece, as we have found we regularly have to explain...)
Elisabeth (6) started at me like that was a dumb question, and as she highly disapproves of dumb questions (that is, questions that she knows the questioner knows the answer to), she finally just said, "I need to go to the loo" and left. Proving again at least her international-ness, as "loo" is BRITISH and NOT a word I ever, ever use!!! (I have nothing against it, but it's not part of my vocabulary.)
Lukas (14) said, "Cyprus."
So, I thought I'd add a photo or two of our time here, but I just checked the camera, and so far, the only photos from the Family Camp are of cake and of Duplo. We're too busy enjoying ourselves to take photos, I guess.
From a family with four children (twins aged 10, a six-year-old, and a three-and-a-half-year-old):
...you don't own any small pots and pans and cook EVERYTHING in bulk!
We do actually own one small pot, and one small frying pan! But they're certainly not used for family meals--more for when just a couple of people are home or when a teenager is making a midnight (or any-other-time-of-day-or-night) snack. My husband also often (far, far, FAR too often) uses the small frying pan to make mushrooms and/or onions. He's the only one who eats them.
You count the children as you load them into the van, and occasionally leave one or two behind. (Memories of my childhood)
Well, obviously! Except that we don't have a van. :-( We did have a seven-seater car until last summer, but it died. Now the challenge of making sure we have all the children is made more complicated by the fact that on the rare occasion that we do go anywhere as a family, we have to take two cars, so it's that much easier to leave someone behind, but I don't THINK we've done it...)
When I was about 10 or so, I got left behind after church. I was sitting in a corner of the fellowship hall, reading, and didn't notice that everyone had left and the doors had been locked, until my dad unlocked the door to come in and look for me. (I'm the oldest of five.)
From another friend referring to her own childhood:
You hear your mother say, "Of course you should join us. It's just 2 more potatoes." (I'm the 4th of 5 daughters.)