Archive for 23 March 2010

The Accidental Writer

I want to be a writer. Don’t you? Perhaps you already are one, and don’t even realize it. I’ve decided that I’m a writer. I LOVE to write. I write constantly. I actually LOVE the act of writing. I love holding a pen, creating words with ink on paper, typing letters on a screen that become a message to a friend across the oceans. I love that I can take what is in my head and record it forever, or change and mold it a thousand times.

I just returned from the FIGT conference in Texas where probably a third of the 200 participants were writers or wanted to be. Those who were published writers weren’t necessarily famous outside their field. But it didn’t matter. What I discovered was this strange human fascination with writing; with telling a story.

Expat childhood from a Brazilian perspective

I had the pleasure of meeting Simone T. Costa Eriksson at the FIGT conference. Her name alone was too interesting to ignore. How did this Brazilian woman end up with a Swedish name? She came into the pre-conference session “Cross-cultural Coaching: Tools for Successful Cultural Adjustments”, carrying a colorfully illustrated box. I later found out that is the tool she uses to explain the concepts in her newly published book The Mission of Detective Mike: Moving Abroad, which was written in honor of and because of her children, both TCKs.

Educating Global Nomads blogs about FIGT

Since attending the FIGT conference, I have been connecting online with several of those I met. I have found and am following several inspiring blogs, including Rebecca Grappo’s at EducatingGlobalNomads.com. There was so much that came out of the conference that I can’t possibly cover more than a fraction. Her observations fill in some of the spaces that my notes and memory missed and they touch on some important topics; namely how to build a close expat family and advice for couples separated by assignments.

The Who’s Who of FIGT

At the FIGT conference I met so many interesting personalities and people I’ve admired. One highlight was meeting Ruth E. van Reken, author of Third Culture Kids – Growing up Among Worlds, which was instrumental in helping me to define my identity and explain my experiences growing up. The conference had a very collaborative and open atmosphere. There were so many helpful individuals who offered me their time, advice and resources. These people and so many others I haven’t mentioned have really inspired me to stay on this career path that I’ve chosen. I really feel like I’m in the right place. And I can’t wait until next year’s conference in Washington DC!

Fun, Fascinating and Familiar – FIGT

The first day of the FIGT conference was almost overwhelming. I had a bit of reverse culture shock coming to the US from Norway and getting used to anyone and everyone engaging me in conversations. I was surprised at what deep impressions Norwegian culture has already had on my behavior. But it felt good to be in a friendly and open environment again. I realized that those you meet at FIGT really are a bit like family. Many of the experiences of the conference were very personal. The discussions we had delved into our own experiences as expats and TCKs and I found myself getting emotional and choked up on more than one occasion. It was like reading Third Culture Kids – Growing Up Among Worlds for the first time and thinking “oh my gosh, that’s me!”

FIGT Conference

I just returned from the FIGT conference in Houston. I attended because I wanted to find out what was happening in the US in regards to expats and cross-cultural issues. The US market is so advanced and specialized and I knew that I would learn a lot that I could bring back with me to Norway. I was expecting three full days of networking, learning and inspiration. I got all that and more.

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