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TCKs don’t do ‘favourite places’

Growing up as a globally mobile kid, I occasionally felt bullied into defining my international identity in ways that made me uncomfortable. This happened, for example, when people insisted I give them an answer to the question, “So of all the places you’ve lived, what’s your favourite?” If people who don’t move have one favourite place, shouldn’t I have one too? But we don’t. Global nomads know that because we...

International childhoods: a 21st century approach ...

“It wasn’t that long ago that little thought was given to the long-term effects of uprooting children at such crucial stages in their development, but research now proves there is a need to adequately prepare youngsters for what can be an intensely distressing and unsettling experience.” I took this quote from the Amazon review of a book designed to support young children to move abroad. I haven’t read the book so...

Importing a Dutch tradition

We celebrated the arrival of Saint Nicholas in Nigeria. The Dutch school was readied for the Great Man’s visit by the two pillars of this Dutch tradition in Lagos, Heleen van Rooi and Rebecca de Groot. The stage was decorated, the games were readied, the beer was set to cool (for the parents), and food was prepared. It is wonderful that cultural traditions are maintained while living overseas.* Children maintain their link...

Different worlds

In economy class on our Virgin Airlines flight to London, our knees knocked against the seat before us. In the middle column of the plane, my daughter had the isle seat to my left, and I prayed that the seat to my right would remain empty. It wasn’t to be. A short, well-rounded Nigerian woman in black trousers and a black, thickly padded winter coat edged towards our row. The young Nigerian lady in the isle seat stood up to...

Teenage managers

There are no management books that deal with the particular issues teenagers face when dealing with household staff. While in Nigeria, our kids are learning such people-management skills through trial and error as they deal with our driver, Efe, and our security man, Osagie. For those of you who don’t live in Nigeria, the idea of having a driver and personal bodyguard (who sits in the front passenger seat) probably sounds...

Teenagers in Lagos

‘Hey, mom. How far?’ Since we moved to Lagos, my son has discovered Pidgin English and the spicy barbecued beef sticks sold on the side of the road. ‘What’s up with you?’ ‘Can I go to astro-turf after school with the guys?’ ‘Actually, I’m afraid that won’t be possible today. There’s a curfew and…’ ‘What?!!!!’ I explained that security messages popped into my phone all afternoon. I...
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