TCKDating

Third Culture Kid Dating; adults who have spent their developmental years outside their parent's culture


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The Expatriate Spouse and The Power Imbalance

I always wondered what it must have been like for my mom as an expatriate spouse. When my parents met, my dad worked for a multi-national French company. They lived together in Paris and a couple of years later, the company offered him a new position in Tokyo, Japan. He took the job and off they went with my older sister in tow, who was only two years old at the time. As an adult, I finally realise how much of an impact these assignments must have had on my mom, the expatriate spouse. Whereas my dad was moving for a financial improvement, an exciting new role, and a guaranteed social network in his workplace, my mom was moving to a city without a job, friends, or any foreseeable financial resources of her own. She had become an expat without the perks of a new career move.  I came across a relationship study that showed that an expatriate spouse has an increased…
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The Cheerleader Effect

Have you heard of the cheerleader effect? You may remember the term from watching one of the episodes of How I Met Your Mother. Barney, one of the characters of the American TV Series, confidently states that a woman always appears prettier in a group as opposed to alone! Surprisingly, a research study recently came up with findings that a person does in fact appear more attractive when they are among a group of people rather than alone.[1]

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The study was based on five different experiments using both photographs of women and men. In the first and second experiments, they used group photos and cropped each person out to create an individual portrait. In the fourth experiment, they change the method by not using cropped photos, but instead simply taking individual photos and group photos of that same person. The researchers observed that those looking at the photos found an individual…

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My monogamous love affair with London

Being a Third Culture Kid, I was always restless. The reason for this restlessness probably arose as a result of moving around so often in my formative years. After being born in Tokyo, I moved to Dusseldorf, Johannesburg, Vienna, and Hamburg, all before the age of 18. After settling in a school for a couple of years, it was time to move and say goodbye. On to the next and the new. It was thrilling and exciting to discover a new culture and customs in a brand new country.

After growing up in those five different cities, I moved again – this time on my own – to Boston University. It was thrilling to discover new cafes, restaurants, the Boston Red Sox Baseball team! Everything was fresh, exciting, and unknown. Little by little, I learned more and more about the city. After two years though, I realised I was trying to find ways to get out of the city.  I’d take a bus to New York on the weekends and started planning visits to Philadelphia to see my sister. I was starting to feel antsy, and I knew it was time I move again. I’d moved past the honeymoon phase and needed a change.

I decided to pack up my bags and study abroad in Auckland, New Zealand. It was lust at first sight. A beautiful country with luscious green everywhere, we would spend endless sunny days hiking, camping, and swimming. My friends and I went on an incredible road trip all around the South Island: I had never seen more beautiful landscapes in my life. The people I met in Auckland were warm, friendly, welcoming and relaxed. No one seemed to be in a rush. Or if they did, they knew how to hide it! No one would bump into me on my way to my internship and no one seemed to push and shove. Although it was refreshing at first, it slowly started bothering me. How could everyone be this relaxed? This calm? Where was the urgency and the fast pace I’d seen in other cities? I was making that fatal mistake of comparing Auckland to my exes. Vienna, Hamburg, and Boston were nothing like this! I wanted things to be more exciting and unexpected. I needed a city that was more lively, hectic in its own way and stimulating. Similar to a relationship, the original spark and butterflies I’d felt with Auckland had gone away, and I craved the nerves you feel in the very beginning!

Instead of going back to Boston, I looked at my university credits, and realized I could still do another study abroad program with Boston University. Another option for those in Business School was London. I thought, why not? I’d been there once or twice for a weekend growing up and was looking for a change. Could it potentially turn into a long-term thing?

I took my two suitcases with me and flew to London. I expected the same pattern to happen: I would spend a couple of months living there, meet new people, get accustomed to the English lifestyle, and slowly but surely, get bored of the place and want to move to a new country again.

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The first thing I noticed in London was the thrill, the fast pace, the excitement, the business, the new bars and restaurants that would pop up each night were enticing. And the people. They were from everywhere around the world: you would hear German, French, English, Chinese, Spanish, and Portuguese on every underground train. There was no ‘normal’ because everyone was so different and unique. Those who were from England had often spent a year travelling abroad, and those who hadn’t had the opportunity to go away, had an overwhelming curiosity of what other places and other cultures were like. I couldn’t get enough of that open-mindedness. Having attended international schools, I had always expected that everyone should be open to differences and even more than that: welcome those differences. London did just that. And that’s when I realized it. I’d fallen in love.

When I flew back to Boston to finish my degree, I knew this was not the end. I received my interview offer from Bloomberg in March 2010, and was working and living in London in June 2010. It’s been love ever after ever since.


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Video Blog: Single & an Expat in London

So as much as I love writing about different topics, I thought why not change it up and start vlogging?  For those of you who are new to the term, it just means I’ll be posting videos on my blog. Don’t worry – I will do a mix of both writing and videos.  It will still be all about dating, relationships, and the adult Third Culture Kid experience.  Hopefully, it will be more personal too!

If there are any topics you’d like to see me talk about, don’t hesitate to leave me a comment below!  Here’s the very first Vlog with a gorgeous shot of me looking incredibly scared – enjoy !


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DATING AS AN EXPAT IN LONDON

There are so many amazing things about London, but dating can be both exciting and frustrating! In such a big city, people don’t necessarily have locals as such so you won’t see the same people twice. Also, since there are people from all over the world here, you’ll find that language can be an issue if you meet someone who doesn’t speak English. When they don’t get your jokes and struggle to understand you, it can make it really difficult to understand. The fast pace and constant change happening in this city means people are also not always looking to settle down because they might think: What if there’s something better out there? I had to share this post about Dating as an Expat in London from this fantastic blog: Journey to London. I think you’ll find that the challenges she faces are some we’ve all faced ourselves when single in a capital city!


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Closeness and Jealousy

The following finding on a new relationship study didn’t surprise me, but it was hard to hear. The study found that if your romantic partner is a large part of your self-concept and a part of your future projects, you are disposed to jealousy when the relationship is at risk.[1] The study is limiting in that only around 230 students participated, and they were all from American universities. The average age of the participants was also only 19 years of age and 60 percent of the participants were women, which could skew the data as well.[2] However, it did get me thinking about how the closeness of your romantic relationship can have an impact on the likelihood of you feeling jealous…

It was hard to hear that being in a close relationship and making your partner an important part of your future plans makes you prone to jealousy, and especially frustrating to me as it took a long time as an adult Third Culture Kid or TCK to warm up to the idea of keeping friendships and relationships for the long-term, rather than only for a couple of months.

Find the rest of my post here: Culturs Magazine !