I met Kris a few years ago at a Transition Seminar sponsored by Interaction International. I was impressed by his friendliness and wit at that point and have been privileged to stay in contact with him over the last few years. I hope you enjoy getting to know him.
So–Kris . . .
1. How old are you?
I just turned 20. (wow, 20 already!?)
2. Where do you live right now? Why do you live there?
I currently live in North Carolina, but only until mid February. I am on my externship for the Culinary Institute of America, so I am working at the bakeshop at the Pinehurst Golf Resort & Spa Hotel. When I am done, I’ll head back up to Hyde Park, NY to finish school. You know you’re a TCK when you keep moving places…
3. What other countries have you lived in?
I lived in the United States until I was three, then moved to India where I lived for the majority of my life, returning to the States in 2007 for my senior year of high school.
4. Where do you consider home?
Home, for me, is wherever I am at the moment. I used to consider home in Pennsylvania, but soon learned that when I was there, I thought home was back in India. So I decided that home would be wherever I was at that time, and it’s worked out so far.
5. What passport(s) do you hold?
I hold a US passport, and wouldn’t trade it for any other passport.
6. What do your parents do that makes you a TCK?
My parents work at Kodaikanal International School in southern India. My mom is the Alumni Officer, and before that was the Principal’s Secretary. My dad has been everything from woodworking teacher, to the dean, to now being the Grounds Manger and Auto-Mechanics teacher.
7. What are some of your favorite things about where you live now?
Well, some of my favorite things about living in the United States (since I haven’t lived in NC for too long) have been having reliable electricity and the convenience of grocery stores and also being able to have a taste of “American” life, something I have always wanted to experience.
8. What are a few of your favorite things about anywhere else you’ve lived?
The list is endless, but some of the first things that pop into my mind are being able to sit outside in the grass with brilliant blue skies and sunshine and just relax without people wondering why you are sitting out on your lawn in the middle of the day, or being able to go hiking every weekend out into true wilderness, where there are no trail markers, or state parks, or tourists hiking along with you. That and fresh lime tea!
9. What is the most interesting thing you’ve eaten?
Hmmm, this is a bit difficult. I tend to be a picky eater, so anything that looks suspicious, usually doesn’t make it onto my fork. However, I will say that the most interesting thing I have eaten would be either a Dragonfruit or Purple Curd, neither of which I liked very much.
10. Do you think you have any advantages in life because you’re a TCK?
Of course, I wouldn’t trade being a TCK for anything in the world. It wasn’t always easy (and still isn’t), but the life-learning experiences and the opportunities for understanding another culture is very rewarding. I feel privileged to be able to have experienced that growing up. I feel that I, as a TCK, learn not to take things for granted as much as a non-TCK person might. It helps me be more humble.
11. Do you think you have any disadvantages because you’re a TCK?
Being a TCK has its disadvantages as well. Yes, I do feel as though I have missed out on lots being a TCK, growing up some 8,000 miles away from the United States. Going to the movies for fun or to the mall to hang out or just being able to talk about the latest music or movie that is playing is something I find very difficult, because I am a TCK and didn’t grow up with it. My everyday “fun things” to do are soooo different from that of a person who grew up in the USA. At times, I do feel as though I’ve missed out at a somewhat “normal” (is there such a thing!?) lifestyle of growing up in the US.
12. What schooling options have you used? What are your opinions of them?
Well, I went to Kodaikanal International School from Preschool through Grade 9 and then again for Grade 11. I also had the amazing opportunity to attend a US public school, Conestoga High School, in Berwyn, PA for Grades 10 and 12. Now I am currently a sophomore at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY working on my associates degree in Baking & Pastry Arts. All very different types of schooling, and all of them have their pluses and minuses.
13. What advice do you have for those becoming TCKs?
Advice, oh dear. I would say to always remember where you are from, what your home country is, because essentially that is who you are. However, I think that it is also important to realize that you are in another country with another culture, so don’t expect everyone else to conform to your likes and dislikes or your way of life. Be open to new ideas, new experiences, and above all, be positive and realize that God is in control and won’t put you in a situation that you aren’t meant to be in that won’t benefit you later in life. He’s in control. Enjoy being a TCK, it’s a privilege, even if you don’t know it at the time.
14. What advice do you have for parents of TCKs?
Realize that it can be extremely tough for your kids, whether they show it or not. Be there for them when they need you. If my parents weren’t there for me, I don’t know what I would have done. I’m so glad to have such awesome parents who were there for me, ready to listen and took an interest in my interests as well. Family is so important, because once you graduate or decide to return home to the USA, you’re split apart and you realize just how much you appreciate your family and everything they’ve done for you.
15. What else do you want the world to know about you?
I am a big fan of Sandra Bullock, Scooby Doo and an even bigger fan of Sharon, Lois & Bram. Yes, they (Sharon, Lois & Bram) are children’s entertainers, I know, but without them I wouldn’t be where I am today. I enjoy getting up early and watching the sun rise and studying geography/maps of countries. Rainy, foggy days are my favorite. I love the sound of rain on the roof, the smell of eucalyptus and freshly cut grass. Hot lime tea is where it’s at. I like to make people laugh and don’t want to grow up.
16. What do you plan to do when you finish your education?
Good question, I wish I knew. I thought I wanted to be a Pastry Chef, but now that I am at school and have worked in two professional kitchens, I am starting to wonder if I should use my degree with another degree and work on the business / non-food side of the industry as that seems to interest me more at this point. I’ll see where God takes me, after all he is in control and I can’t wait to see where he takes me next.