Being expat

What kind of memories will our TCK’s share with us?

I’ve got inspired by a post from MaDonna about what she calls the feout season, the „fear and doubt“ season, parents can have while raising children or TCK’s abroad.

The feout season is the season when we would like our children to experience those memorable moments we experienced in our childhood. When we visit the places we’ve lived in, we would like our children to understand how life was then, how we felt and what our experiences were.

I remember that my parents did the same with my sister and me: they showed us the places they used to live in Germany and Belgium and told us about their memories and experiences there, (before moving to Italy, where we grew up). Well, they were just “stories” for us. We couldn’t really picture them doing the things they told us and not really understand what they felt. – What I recall and really cherish today, are the things we did, we experienced together.

MaDonna mentions that sometimes she would like „to make up for all the losses (her children) have because of the decision (she) made years ago (…) to live overseas“, well, I understand this feeling. But I’m pretty sure that our children don’t feel the same way. How can you feel a loss of something you haven’t had?  – Maybe we, as parents do, but that’s our problem, not our childrens’. And I don’t really think that our children miss out something because they don’t have the opportunity to experience the same magic moments we experienced at some point of our life. They have their own magic moments and experiences and they will have other memories than ours, and that’s fine. And this doesn’t apply to TCK’s only, but also to children who grow up in the same country, maybe the same city or street, their parents did. It’s life.

When we raise TCK’s, we can only give our children the chance to experience some aspects of the cultures we used to live in and they don’t experience in their daily life by visiting those places or by celebrating festivities we cherish. By naturally integrating  part of these cultures into our daily life, we can build memories about what we would like our children to share with us. But we shouldn’t expect our children to like the same things we used to like.


I remember that my parents wanted me to appreciate some things in Germany, they really tried hard. Some things I still remember and can relate to, some others I disliked or forgot. For example, I still remember my grandma baking wonderful cakes (she was a baker), I remember the smell when I walked into her kitchen and I remember how she would spend hours and hours making jam, sirup etc. and telling me all about food. I remember how my German family used to celebrate the festivities and how different it was in Italy.

When I visit the places of my memories with my children, I tell them stories. It’s like describing a painting without seeing it. Everyone will picture another painting, with other colours, shapes etc.: this doesn’t matter. What matters is to share the moment.

When we raise our children in another country (or city) than we used to live or grew up, we have to realise that our children, one day, will have the same feelings toward the place(s) they grow up right now. Later, they will probably be telling their children what they used to do during their childhood or some other moment of their lives. Maybe they will remember the stories we told them while we walked down our memory lane, maybe they won’t. – By my own experience I know that they will be fine. I don’t think that TCK’s „survive their experience“, they live it. And as parents, we should help them to build memorable moments with us, here, right now, today.


7 replies »

  1. Hi there, I completely agree with you! Our precious moments will never be the precious moments of our children.. they will have their own! I am certainly incorporating into my daily life all the little things that ‘make my culture’, i.e. a mix of Belgian and German traditions. At the same time they are experiencing Swiss Romand traditions (and also have the accent when they speak) plus learning a lot about Quebec where their father comes from. The beauty is: they are citizens of the world and will be able to choose where they want to live and what they want to do, always taking the ‘best’ out of each culture and place where they lived in! Jenny

    • Exactly, Jenny! And I think every child or person does the same. Being TCK’s, TCA’s, global nomads and expats just means to have a wider range of opportunities to collect memories. But it’s not about the number of memories someone collects during his or her life, it’s about the quality of these memories. – What I observe among some friends who are not TCA’s, but who are raising TCK’s, is this fear of not being able to transmit their culture. But we all do it through our language, our habits, food, stories, music etc.. – Thanks for stopping by Jenny 😉

      • 😉 your pic of fondue made me very hungry suddenly! Let me know if you are in the Lake Geneva region some day. Would be a pleasure meeting you! Jenny

  2. Glad I got to inspire someone today. I agree with you on believing my kids don’t miss anything I think they are missing – it is me. What’s funny is they are living the childhood that I had dreamed about when I was a kid. Funny, huh? But, I still have those whacked out “feout” days that just make me wonder, but that is when I talk to my husband, read your blog posts, and see that life is good and there is nothing to worry about. And then I say, “Silly girl, chin up. This is a great life for you and the kids both!”

    • MaDonna, I guess those feout’s are very common to every parent. Not only TCK parents, all parents. Maybe, if you would raise your children where you grew up, you would like them to experience more about other cultures, traditions etc. ? Who knows. We can be glad about not having to raise our children in a war-situation or in a life where we feel somehow threatened. When I have this kind or moments, I try to ponder if it’s really a problem or only a question of perspective. Usually it’s just me 😉 – I like your inner voice telling you to chin up! You’re a loving and caring mum, and that alone makes you special for your children, those you spend your life with and you share your thoughts with (like through your blog). Keep on inspiring me 🙂

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