To Share or Not to Share?

jumping greece

Conversation #1:

A TCK Friend: My friend and I are making macaroons this weekend!

You: That’s so fun! When I was in Paris for a conference last fall, I had these amazing macaroons on this little street across from the Eiffel Tower. You’ll have to share the recipe with me if it turns out well!

TCK Friend: Authentic French macaroons are so delicious! I tried some once in Thailand and let’s just say it wasn’t the best experience haha

Conversation #2:

Non-TCK Friend: My friend and I are making macaroons this weekend!

You: That’s so fun! When I was in Paris for a conference last fall, I had these amazing macaroons on this little street across from the Eiffel Tower. You’ll have to share the recipe with my if it turns out well!

Non-TCK Friend: Oh. That’s cool you were in Paris. That would be my lifelong dream to travel to Paris, or at least leave the country.

////////////

Have you ever had those conversations? Talking about traveling around the world seems so natural when you’re talking with other TCK friends. But with non-TCKs? Not so much. 

I hate sounding like I’m bragging – because I’m not – when I talk about living in Italy and traveling around Europe. When I moved back to the US, I didn’t talk much about living overseas at all, not even to my closer friends from school or church. And while for some people and some conversations that was a good idea, for other relationships I wish I hadn’t kept so quiet. It gets a little lonely when you shut people out of your past, even if it’s for good intentions. 

So what’s the best way to handle speaking about TCK things? I think there are three important things to keep in mind that I’ve heard from other people: 

  1. Wait to bring up your experiences until the end of a conversation. Name dropping countries and experiences can shut someone else down…it can even make your conversation sound like a competition of who’s done what and been where. Instead…
  2. Engage with the person first. If you engage with that person and you’re interested in their story and their life and their experiences, it’s so much easier to share your own.
  3. Find people who want to hear your story. There are some people who will never understand or care about your life overseas. And that’s ok. You might never fully understand what it’s like for them to have never left their home country. That doesn’t mean you can’t be friends or you can’t connect – they just might not be closest to you. On the other hand, there will be people who care – about you, your story, your experiences. Find those people and let them in. 

How do you deal with speaking about unique TCK experiences?

 

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2 thoughts on “To Share or Not to Share?

  1. What do you think is the average number of places/sensory details/experiences that a non-TCK includes in a comment or conversation? Is it worth trying to figure that out, and make our numbers (sort of) match theirs? I wonder.

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