Thursday, November 29, 2012

Tokyo Memories

Yours truly and Albert Matano, picture was in the ASIJ yearbook in 1968.  I still remember being taken out of class to have this picture made, on a cold, cold day.
My mom found a copy of this poem amongst her "stuff" today.  She asked me if I wrote it; I'm pretty sure I didn't.  But I can certainly add to it.

1966-1969 TOKYO WAS

A flower vase in a taxi with a swinging door
The unannounced splatter of a bucket at any time in front of a shop
A lightly pressed palm suppressing a self-conscious giggle
A soba horn on a deserted, sleeping street
A Chrysler Imperial with lace curtains and a feather duster
A yukata with a cake of soap and a blue plastic basin
Yakitori on a stool and yakiimo on a cold street
A cyclist with a stack of soup bowls on a tray
A black umbrella holding hands with a little red one, running across the street
A hot towel before a meal
The clomp of clogs on the pavement at night
A Frank Lloyd Wright hotel
Gold fish on a cart - or in a plastic bag
Drains in the bathroom floor
A rice paddy with a three-wheeled truck
A policeman with a dim candle lantern
A gauze mask
A mouth full of teeth and one of them gold
A lunch box at Kabuki, and an invisible stagehand in black
A souvenir shop at a shrine
Six lanes of cars at a stoplight on a two land road, requiring daring at intersections, sometimes with results ... rear view mirrors on the front fenders ... reminding yourself, "Keep to the left, gaijin"
A yellow flag to cross the street
A panel truck that reads, "Dry Cleaning and Linen Suppry"
A farewell at the airport with banners
Five tangerines in a mesh bag
A carousel in a department store rooftop
Swan Lake with bowlegs
A thoroughfare that becomes a canyon of repair at night
A tea ceremony at the Silk Gallery

We flew BOAC a lot .. 
My additions:

The smell of Oriental Bazaar ... rice paper and lacquer
Irises at the Meiji Shrine
The cream on the top of the bottle of milk in the cafeteria at ASIJ
The lights of the Ginza
Wasabi, osimbe, dried squid
The chocolate ice cream at the Tokyo American Club (okay, not Japanese, but ...)
A giant water tower in our back yard
Japanese baseball players across the street, who gave me rides on their motorcycles.
Riding a bicycle, alone and unafraid (at age 7!), in Nishihara-cho, down to the machi
Yamamoto-san, Saiko-san
The smell of diesel exhaust
Long bus rides from school, falling asleep
The Imperial Palace, and the huge carp in the moat
Wizened old men in yukatas; eyes having seen who knows what
Student demonstrations that created huge traffic jams
A urinal in the bathroom
A lady at the bottom of the escalator at Takashimaya, holding a cloth to clean the hand rail
The slides of pearl divers in a hotel gift shop (with naked breasts!)
A small store selling candy and plastic toys
A baby strapped to its mother's back
Skiing in Nikko and KEEP ...
Giant Buddha at Kamakura
Blonde curly hair in a sea of black.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Finding Lisa

Today is my sister Lisa's birthday.  It is also the 40th anniversary of her death.  I have thought over the years that it's better that she died on her birthday; at least there is only one day of remembering and grieving.  Small consolation, I know.  At times, it seemed that this day was my mother's day.  My dad used to call me every year around this time and "remind" me that the 27th was coming, and "be sure and call your mother."  As if I would ever, ever forget.  It made me a little angry that it all seemed to be about my mom. That it was all her grief, her loss.  Didn't my father lose a child too?  It seemed that my grief and my loss was secondary.  Which, I suppose it is, because how can you ever compare losing a sister to losing a child?  Indeed, how can you compare an apple to an orange?

It is not such a searing pain these days, as 40 years can scar over just about anything that ails you.  But it's still there.  She was, as you can see, beautiful, and, according to my mom, "She was everything."  Her talent was singing.  One of the last memories I have of her before the accident was of her singing a solo in church.  Standing up in the front in her green skirt.  She sang solos in school recitals.  She was in all the musicals, Carousel, Spoon River.  When we lived in Brussels, she would bring her friends home with her, and they would take over the living room with their 12-string guitars.  My dad would set up microphones and record their jam sessions on his reel-to-reel tape recorder.  I would peek in from the kitchen.  A few years ago I had those tapes converted to CDs and listened to her voice again.  I thought it would be hard, but it wasn't.  I actually thought to myself, "Well she wasn't THAT good!"

Lisa, front & center, as a cheerleader at the American School in Japan
She was funny.  Sometimes at the dinner table, when we had very important guests from my dad's company, she would look over to my sister Debi and make a hand signal that said, "I cut one."  Then it was up to Debi to maintain control and not fall on the floor laughing.  Debi remembers a time at a Hallmark store, reading all the funny cards and cracking up.  They went to an Elton John concert and Debi talks about the pure joy and excitement of just being there.  They ran up to the stage at the end, while Elton played "Crocodile Rock".  When they were driving together in Debi's Volkswagen Beetle, Lisa used to reach over and turn off the ignition.  Debi was scared to death, but Lisa thought it was hysterical; she was the epitome of mischief.  

My memories of her, from the perspective of the bratty little sister, include my constant refrain of "Those two get to do EVERYTHING!!"  I remember banging on Lisa's bedroom door, begging to be let in while she had her friends over.  I got into her makeup, and listened to her records.  To this day, "Madman Across the Water" and Cat Stevens remind me of her.  Especially the song, "Sad Lisa".  Crosby, Stills and Nash (and sometimes Young) remain one of my favorite groups to this day, partly because they are amazing, and partly because they are emblematic of my sister's teenage years.  

Being a high schooler in Brussels was magic.  Over spring break Lisa went skiing in St. Moritz, Switzerland with a group from school.  While she was away, my parents bought her a moped.  I remember her arriving home, her face tanned from the slopes, and her excitement about the moped.  It was "cool" to ride the motorbike to school with her girlfriends, rather than ride the bus.  Mom and dad always insisted that she wear her helmet.  Often the school bus would pass her and her posse of moped riders, and I would look out the window to see her hair flowing in the wind, the helmet strapped to the rack on the back.  It wouldn't do to arrive at school with helmet-hair, I suppose.  

My father became ill, necessitating our move back to Louisiana.  Right before we left, Mom and Dad let Lisa and Debi take a trip to Spain with Lisa's boyfriend and his best friend.  Alone, unchaperoned.  I guess Debi was the chaperone. Ha!  I was left behind while the movers came.  My father had to be transported to the hospital one day, while strange men packed up our house.  I was alone and afraid.  

I know it was hard for Lisa to leave the magic that was Brussels.  I was miserable too.  In the early days back in Baton Rouge, I remember Lisa waking me up for school one day and I reflexively slapped her.  She slapped me back.  We were both deeply angry, and we took it out on each other.  She started her senior year at a new school, Tara High.  She was well on her way to recreating herself, and had been selected to join an elite chorus group.  She was looking at colleges with music programs.  She had the world by the tail.  

I was twelve years old when "the accident" happened.  It was a tender age for me, already damaged by the move and my father's illness, and I couldn't figure out if my later adolescent angst and confusion originated with losing my sister or being a Third Culture Kid.  We moved to the Philippines two years after the accident.  In the strange new place, I felt incomplete, unformed, awkward.  I never fit completely in at school.  I was on the fringes, trying hard to be Lisa, trying to recapture her spirit, her enthusiasm for life.  Her joy.  

I try not to fixate on my loss, but to celebrate her life.  I named my first daughter after her, and in many ways, their personalities are similar.  My mom said, over and over during the days after the accident, that she didn't want people to forget her.  It's much easier to laugh about her antics these days.  Yes, there will always be sadness, but it will be peppered with a lot of joy.  

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Last Days of Tehran American School

Notebook:  The Last Days of Tehran American School
By Tori Egherman
5 November 2012

"Everyone wants to go back," says one former student.
62057_534598313221368_656369302_n.jpg[ feature ] In 1978, the Tehran American School closed its doors after 24 years in operation. J. Thom McInnis, a high school senior at the time, had a part-time job working for Pan Am. "I remember evacuating many of my schoolmates and their families those last days when I worked at the airport," he says. "I remember fathers throwing their children over the heads of the crowds at the airport in a bid to get closer to the front of the line for those limited seats out of the country."
For Anthony Roberts, author of Sons of the Great Satan, the sudden departure from Iran came as a shock. "I was angry. I was pissed off. I didn't understand it because I was a teenaged boy. Now that I am older, I understand it was the loss that really made me angry." Overnight, his whole world abruptly changed. He was separated from his closest friends and uprooted from the place he'd come to call home.
When I left Iran, I didn't know what happened to any of my classmates for 30 years.... It wasn't like so-and-so went off to this college and so-and-so went off to that college. It was like 24 hours. You can pack one bag. You have to leave now. Nothing set up on the other end. You're just going home to set up with relatives and go on from there.
Social networking brought the former classmates back together. They started reaching out to one another and now have several active groups on Facebook. Roberts says, "For some of us there were tears. It was like a 30-year-old weight lifted from us."
Paul Stevenson, who now teaches linguistics and grammar in Iraqi Kurdistan, was excited to go to Iran as a teenager. He was interested in language and enjoyed the chance to learn Persian. He talks about the special dynamics of the students at the Tehran American School. "The intensity of our relationships was stronger because we didn't have the rest of American society to live our American lives. School was a very, very big deal. It was a lot of fun being there. We'd get there early. There were plenty of after school activities."
He explains that, like most teenagers, he was too absorbed in his own life to notice the growing political unrest around them.
"If you really wanted to know what was going on in Iran at the time, you needed to talk to the elementary school kids," says Jonathan Lee, who was "a very mature 12" at the time he lived in Iran. Many of his classmates had parents in the State Department who worked closely with the Shah's government. Adults spoke in front of them, he explained. They thought they were too young to understand. "We'd get on the bus every morning and compare notes."
Despite his young age, Lee explored every corner of Tehran using his father's expense account to hire taxis. "For some odd reason, Iranians thought I looked like a young Cassius Clay. We had doors opened up for us because everywhere we went people saw this young black American kid who looked like Muhammad Ali. Everywhere I went, a crowd gathered."
When American Bell International (now AT&T) evacuated its employees and their families, Lee was excited to return to the States. Soon after he started school, however, things changed. With the hostage taking at the U.S. Embassy in November 1979, Iran became Americans' enemy number one. Lee states, "I was not an American kid who lived in Iran; I was the Iranian. I got picked on constantly."
T. Lilly Littlewater's father was in the U.S. military. Her neighbors were families with people who worked for the Shah. "I hate to think of what happened to the people we left behind," she says. When she was older and asked her father what had happened to them, he wouldn't tell her. "You don't want to know," he said.
"My father really believed he was serving his country. When we left Iran, he was a changed man. He never recovered."
Despite the fact that most led lives fairly isolated from Iranian society and had few if any Iranian friends, many of the former students of the Tehran American School developed life-long ties to the country. "I feel exiled from what I consider my second home," says Littlewater.
What they miss about Iran is not all that different from what any Iranian in the diaspora misses. They miss eating labu, roasted beets, sold on the side of the road. They miss the mountains, hiking and camping. They miss bread cooked over open flames in ancient ovens. They miss their friends and the community they formed together.
Lee comments, "Why do people fall in love with Iran? Anyone who has spent time there will say it's the people and the country."
Littlewater adds, "Both my parents were American Indians. One of the reasons Iran was so relatable to me was because it is so ancient, like my culture. Our cultures aren't really similar though. The similarity is in how ancient and how valuable ancient cultures are to this world.... I felt very comfortable there."
As a teenager in Tehran, Anthony Roberts listened to Pink Floyd and the Rolling Stones, dosing himself with readily available hashish and rotgut alcohol. "The good old Tehran daze," he says. He and his friends found ways around restrictive parents, tense family situations, and the unfamiliarity of their surroundings. In many ways what he describes is not unlike what many urban teenagers experience today. "I get freaked out when I see these young Iranian kids playing Pink Floyd and stuff like that. Because I think they are in the same emotional state we were in back then," Roberts says. "Depressed. 'Woe is me.' That music is kind of the freedom of it, too. Of course, they are more depressed than we were. We didn't get depressed until we felt unsafe."
The collapse of the Shah's regime came as a surprise to many of the students of the Tehran American School, and their parents as well. They had witnessed growing social discord, but nothing that made them feel the society was on the brink of revolution. Littlewater remembers what her family's Iranian housekeeper, who she describes as a gentle woman, said to her one day, "We are going on to the streets, and we are going to protest the Shah. We are going to kill the Shah."
Roberts recounts the day the man who ran the neighborhood store started ignoring him. "He had turned that corner. He was done with Americans. He wasn't going to be rude to me, just pretend I wasn't there."
Because of his (un-American) love of soccer, the young McInnis made many Iranian friends at neighborhood pick-up games. He learned to speak fluent Persian in the homes of his new buddies, and even helped to make huge cauldrons of ash (porridge) for the Shia celebration of Ashura (pictured below). When his father was transferred out of Iran in the spring of 1978, he managed to convince his parents to let him stay behind to graduate. It wasn't until that autumn that he noticed a change and the "friendly people" he knew became openly aggressive.
JthomMcInnismakingash4Ashura1977.jpgOn Facebook lately, the alumni of the Tehran American School have been talking about Argo. Who's going to see it in Atlanta? Omaha? L.A.? Chicago? They long for a glimpse of the lives they left behind, even if it's sensationalized. They want to see their own experiences reflected in the film. Online, many share their stories of harried evacuations, some noting the kindness and protection offered by their Iranian neighbors.
After leaving Iran, McInnis joined the military and was quickly given the task of using his fluent Persian and knowledge of Tehran to track the escape of the group of State Department employees featured in the film.
I fielded calls from Iranians, friends, and former employees of the U.S. government and American companies still in Iran.... Using my knowledge of the streets and bus systems of Tehran, I plotted the group's day-to-day and house-to-house movements on a large map until they finally reached the relative safety of the home of a Canadian diplomat on November 10, 1979.
All of the alumni with whom I spoke, even those who had experienced anti-American hostility firsthand, shared warm memories of the country and its people. Littlewater calls her time in Iran "a gift." In social encounters, she often speaks about her experiences living there and every once in a while even changes a negative opinion or two.
In an essay on his experience in Iran, McInnis writes,
It's easy for many to condemn what they do not know or understand. But for those of us that lived there and became friends with the people, their music, their food, their customs and their country, we know that there are many good people in Iran, and we hope for the day when peace and sanity will prevail and the doors to their homes will once more open to us.
While their online message boards reflect an array of opinions on all things Iran-related, including Argo, sanctions, and the prospect of war, the former students I spoke with long for nothing more than peace and a chance to return to a country that left a deep mark on them. "Everyone wants to go back," Lee says.
Roberts shares his wishes for Iran:
I wish they could celebrate their poetry and their culture and play rock and roll without hiding. I wish young girls could go out on the streets without being stopped about their hejab. I wish they didn't have to go through all that.... I don't want to see war. I don't want to see these sanctions. To me they are just another form of war. Economic warfare. It's a blockade. Where will that lead?
Follow Tori on Twitter @ETori.

Read more:

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Get Out Any Way You Can

After I finished "Born Under an Assumed Name", I found that Sarah Taber's father, Charles, had written a short book about his experiences in Vietnam before Saigon fell to the communists in 1975.  He had been the part of the CIA there, running a propaganda radio station called House Seven.  When it looked like the fall was inevitable, he realized that all of his Vietnamese employees (KIPs ... or "Key Indigenous People" in CIA-speak) were in very real danger.  Charles Taber wasn't about to leave them behind.  We all know what happens to collaborators in war.  

Against incredible odds, Taber arranged for the evacuation of more than a thousand people, the employees and their families, to a remote island off the Southern coast of Vietnam, Phu Quoc.  They camped at a former US military base there.  Over several days the people had been ferried to the island on American C-47's.  Tabor negotiated with an American merchant ship, the American Challenger, to take the group to safety to Guam and Hawaii.  Of course it wasn't a matter of the folks showing up at the dock and sauntering on board.  In the middle of the night, a Landing Ship Utility or LSU had to make three trips out to the ship, anchored five miles offshore, carrying more than 500 people at a time.  

An LSU (Landing Ship Utility)
The book is short, but is filled with suspense and danger.  Out of radio communication with Saigon, Taber didn't know moment to moment if the scheme would play out.  There were road blocks at every turn: A signature needed by an absent Vietnamese official; trying to 'sneak' 1300 people to a beach under cover of night without arousing suspicions of the local authorities; fitting 1300 people on the open decks of a freighter.  There was another refugee camp near the base where the CIA employees were encamped.  There was a real risk that if the refugees at that camp caught wind of what was happening, there would be an uncontrollable panic, much like what had happened just a few days earlier at Da Nang Air Force Base.  Somehow, miraculously, Taber pulled it off.  I wonder how many other stories like this one have been lost in time?
We were living in Manila when Saigon fell.  Most of my memories of the time are of the news coverage of the American POWs landing at Clark Air Base near Angeles City, on their way back home.  Pictures of elated families rushing to meet their loved ones are seared permanently on my brain.  We heard of the "Boat People" who threw themselves at the mercy of the sea to escape their fate in Vietnam.  Too many of these poor souls met their end in the ocean when overloaded boats sank, or were overrun by pirates, the women and girls raped and killed.  Unspeakable things happened to these people. In our cushy American lives, can we ever relate to such desperation?  I think not.  

One of my dearest friends from the Philippines, Lisa Andrews, arrived in Manila for the fall semester in 1975.  Her father had been with the Asia Foundation in Saigon, and was the commencement speaker at our graduation in 1978.  Lisa's brother David was my date to the Christmas formal in 1977.  Neither spoke to me of their experiences leaving Saigon until just the other day. 

My friend, Lisa Andrews.

 "Actually, Dave and I were on the last commercial flight out of Saigon on April 3, 1975. He and I flew to Guam for an overnight alone and then went to San Francisco to be with relatives. David was overjoyed to be in the US with everything 'American' and easily blended with our cousins. I had a horrible transition having left my first boyfriend (I never saw him again ) and my very best friend in the whole world (she and I are still in touch). The most devasting realization was that NO ONE wanted to hear about Vietnam. There was a resounding negative sentiment in this country about the US involvement in the war, since the country had fallen to the "Communists" the loss of American lives had seemed in vain. The US media portrayed a very different perspective than we had known, which consequently has left me jaded since. The documentary featured on PBS showing the Fall of Saigon is a small camera lens of insight into the magnanimous event that occurred. There was absolute hysteria in that city and that sense of forboding stayed with me for years, even after we moved to Manila. David and I finished the school year in an American public school. It was hard to transition from the Phoenix Study Group in Saigon, where I did homeschooling with a few other high school kids. The group remained close knit and has a Facebook page called Phoenix Study Group.  The most memorable aftermath of leaving Saigon was the profound loneliness that following because NO ONE (including adults) understood the journey other than those of us who had been evacuated as a Third Culture Kid. The irony is that in my adulthood, I have met several people who have similar stories....leaving Iran, leaving Cambodia, leaving Pakistan (my dad and his second family experienced that after 9-11).  The most serendipitous part of leaving Saigon is that my brother had a Vietnamese best friend. The parents were law professors in Saigon and my dad facilitated their 'departure'. Years passed and lo and behold, Koi, Dave's pal, is my mom's cardiologist here in California. Truly amazing!!"
I don't know how much warning the Andrews family had that they were going to be evacuating Saigon.  (Remember Lisa and David at that time were around 15 and 14 years old.  Flying out on the last commercial flight.  Alone.)  Like the teenagers at Tehran American School, they left in the face of a revolution.  No quiet talk at the dinner table from dad, "We're moving again!"  It was a matter of life and death.  It was "Get out any way you can."  Sudden grief ... like a sudden death, not a long lingering one.  A traumatic amputation.  

As I dig further into what comprises the soul of the Third Culture Kid, I find that there are too many untold stories.  Usually we are reluctant to share these stories, either because they are too painful to revisit, or we are certain that no one wants to hear them.  Who in the world would ever relate to us?  We're all too familiar with that "glazed over" look in our non-TCK listeners when we start reminiscing about the past.  It is only by sharing these things with each other that we can put the sadness and the grief in their proper place.  Not to put them behind us, or to negate them, but to acknowledge them.  

David Andrews and yours truly at the 1977 Christmas formal.
I am reminded by my own mother who, when I start talking about my hurts from the past, keeps asking me why I can't let it go?  Why can't I go to Home Depot, buy a ladder, and get over it?  (She's so funny!)  It's because these things are a part of our identity, our history, our very souls.  It's not possible to put it behind us, because it is who we are.  When we talk about it today, the hurt of the past is very much in the present.  However, along with the pain there are flashes of joy and amazement.  There is realization that our lives, while often filled with challenges, were unique and, on so many levels, blessed.  Start sharing folks.

Lisa today with her husband Mark, and two of our classmates, Fouad Assad and Steve Assad. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Dangerous Lives of Third Culture Kids

Argo, The Canadian Caper and The Story of a Young Third Culture Kid (link)

We moved to Manila in August of 1974.  Martial Law had been declared by Ferdinand Marcos in 1972, "to suppress increasing civil strife and the threat of a communist takeover following a series of bombings in Manila."  (Wikipedia).  He arrested all of his political opponents and shut down all the media outlets.  By the time we got there two years later, things had more or less settled down to a dull roar.

Of course there was the curfew (1 a.m. to 4 a.m., but couldn't shenanigans still go on in the dark hours before and after that curfew?)  Signs were posted at building doors to "deposit firearms before entering".  There were armed guards everywhere: the grocery store, the movie theater, and at the entrance to our village.  Everyone, foreigners included, was required to stand at the playing of the national anthem before a movie started.  Pity the fool who tried to sit it out; he would get a poke from a theater employee lurking in the darkness.  Shards of broken glass lined the tops of the concrete walls surrounding our house.  I didn't feel threatened in any way; in fact I saw once that the guards at the bank had big guns, but no triggers.  Everyone whispered quietly about "Camp Crame", the prison where anyone who broke the law ended up (including curfew breakers).  I'm pretty sure there was a raid on our favorite disco, Where Else? and some IS students ended up there.  There were rumors about elegantly dressed women picking up trash along the highway after being caught on the way home from a soiree.  (I never saw them).  Perhaps I was living in a surreal adolescent sense of denial, naivete or innocence?

The dreaded Camp Crame
One time I woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of heavy footsteps clomping around on the tin roof of our house.  One of our maids had found a man in our yard, and the police were summoned.  By the time they arrived, the perp had taken off into the night, but nevertheless the cops performed a thorough search of the premises.  Towards morning, they found a poor ragged soul who had been sleeping off a bender at a nearby construction site.  They brought the guy to my dad, who took pity on him and refused to press charges.  I'm pretty sure he had nothing whatsoever to do with the so-called "crime" but I guess the authorities figured they needed to produce a scapegoat.

A great history of US-Philippines policy during the Marcos era.
A lot of serious things happened before we arrived.  A classmate had been kidnapped for ransom and her maid murdered.  Some nut case tried to assassinate Imelda Marcos with a bolo knife.  Another attempt was made on the life of Juan Ponce Enrile, Marcos' Secretary of Defense.  Fragmentation grenades exploded at political meetings.  Things were very very bad; I can't imagine living in this Filipino version of the Wild, Wild West.  Things riled up again with the assassination of Ninoy Aquino, and the Marcoses were sent packing in 1986.

Nothing can compare to the events in Tehran in 1978-1979.  Reading Mr. McInnes' first person account (above) of his last days there gave me chills.  The American School, a school much like mine in Manila, is no more.  The movie "Argo" terrified me more than any Texas Chainsaw Massacre film (you can ask my husband, I crawled into his lap more than once at the theater!)

I highly recommend another book written by a student at the Tehran American School, Anthony Roberts.  Sons of the Great Satan gives you a glimpse into the life of an American teenager living in an exotic foreign country.  You'll see that our lives weren't all that much different from the typical adolescent in the U.S., just with better scenery and a little more intrigue.  Oh, and go see "Argo".  I can't recommend it enough.

***P.S.  Please send me any of your "dangerous" stories, and I will compile them in a future blog entry!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Professional Athletes and their Third Culture Kids

Zac Lee Rigg: What it's like for U.S. soccer players raising kids in Europe
Interesting article (click on the title) about professional soccer players who are raising their own Third Culture Kids.  Nothing special about this; we TCKs are the children of all types of international types.  Government, business, missionary, you name it.  But to have a parent who plays professional soccer (excuse me, football) all over the world injects a whole new degree of "cool" into being a TCK.  

My dad was cooler than George Clooney.  
Not that I didn't think my dad was cool .. he had a passport with so many inserts he could hold it over his head and the pages would flutter to the floor.  As he was packing his bags, I would ask him where he was going "this time."  Instead of Poughkeepsie or Baltimore, it was India or Thailand.  Maybe two weeks in Indonesia or Greece. No wonder I did so well in geography; all I had to do was trace my father's travels.  And yes, I can pronounce Thessaloniki correctly.  Dad used to bring me pirated cassette tapes or American shampoo bought on the black market in Malaysia.  That was pretty cool.  

It was pretty cool that in a new post we stayed in the most elegant four star hotels for months before our furniture came.  I remember ordering champagne flavored sherbet from room service at the Okura Hotel in Tokyo.  Imagine our parents' reaction when we told them we were tired of eating veal cutlets and vichyssoise in the hotel dining room.  Can't we just have a hamburger?  Oh, wait I forgot that even the hamburgers showed up with parsley garnishes and a fancy toothpick (delivered by a guy in a white jacket).
I won't even go into the fact that we had a cook, a laundress, and a gardener, not to mention a driver.  And that mom had matching Christmas uniforms made for the maids for her holiday bashes.
Our annual home leaves usually involved a stopover in Taipei or Nikko.  Where most families aspire to a "once in a lifetime" trip to Hawaii, we stopped there every time we crossed the Pacific.  Ho hum.  We were regulars at the Halekulani Hotel.  And how cool was it that I had the opportunity to be a nanny for a British family in London, who had been our neighbors in Manila.  

Aww, Mom, the Halekulani again??

So yes, I have convinced myself, that professional athlete or not, being a TCK has plenty of cool moments.  

Hubris:  Means extreme pride or arrogance.  Hubris often indicates a loss of contact with reality and an overestimation of one's own competence or capabilities (Wikipedia).