One of the most time consuming questions for me to answer as an Adult Third Culture Kid is “Where are you from?” Having grown up in six countries and having lived in four more as an adult, in addition to the 5 U.S. States I’ve been a resident of, I typically respond to this question with a question like, “At which point in my life? Do you mean where I was born or where I grew up? Or where I live now?”
During all of these transitions from country to country, my family would spend some time at what the U.S. Department of State calls our “Home Leave Address;” in other words, the address where we would be living in between homes abroad and where any mail or official documents were sent while between country assignments. This address was my Grandparent’s home in Whitehall, Michigan. Summer after summer between overseas moves, I would spend countless hours in the nature of West Michigan. I especially loved the trees across the street from my Grandparent’s house and since being back in Michigan as an adult, I have realized how in and through all the change in my life, these trees remain steadfast and a visual representation of the “roots” I’ve developed in this place.
Recently, I have been doing a lot of (re)considering about my concept of “home” as an Adult Third Culture Kid. At the core of it, I am wondering where my tap roots are. Certainly Michigan holds a deep one metaphorically and physically.
One way I have processed this intentional (and at times painful) reflection process is by writing. In doing so, I have crafted a children’s book inspired by true events and experiences in my own life that have reflected the importance of place-making and root-making in a globally mobile upbringing.
The book’s theme centers around a globally mobile family’s experience in being moved back and forth from one country to another with their “home base” being Michigan. Their home in Michigan has a backyard tree that they recognize as a marker of “home” for their children. The tree house built in this particular tree has all the places and dates carved on the slats to showcase where their past homes abroad have been. After coming back to their States-side home from one overseas assignment, the family discovers that this tree has been cut down and their tree house has been abandoned. Yet, they find a way to honor their grief of this emotionally abrupt change and discover a unique way to process it with what remains of their tree.
I’m pleased to share that Summertime Publishing will publish this book this year! Also, I’m so incredibly honored and delighted that my friend and fellow ATCK, Mikaela Newbanks, will be doing all the illustrations for it.
I am seeking financial contributors in the crowdfunding campaign for the publishing of it…. The way to contribute is coming soon!