Your First Move

This summer, I’m writing a series on being a teen TCK for Denizen, an awesome online magazine for TCKs! Here’s part of my first article on moving to a different country…



“Once there was a town named Pompeii.”

My mom read the familiar words and I snuggled deeper under the covers, my mind wandering to this ancient place that only existed in books. The historic tragedy fascinated and haunted me and I decided that someday, when I was all grown up, I would go. I would walk through the ruins of Pompeii, my feet stirring the dust of a world long gone.

Little did I know that I would be doing just that a few short years later. And it wouldn’t be quite as dreamy. It would be scorching hot, my dust-caked feet would ache, and we would join our fellow weary tourists at Burger King for lunch.

So how did I go from listening to a bedtime story in Texas to exploring an ancient city in southern Italy?

When I ten years old, my parents told my little brother and I that we were moving to Florence, Italy. The year before we moved was spent dreaming about living in Europe and reading book after book about the culture and customs of my new home.

That summer, my dad’s company sent us through cultural training and that was when I first heard the term “third culture kid.” That summer was when I first realized that it wouldn’t necessarily be a walk in the park to move across an ocean, but in my mind it still shimmered with adventure.

After living in Italy for five years and labeling myself a TCK for seven years, my view of moving has transformed. When picturing my adopted country, no longer do bright images of gelato, and of Carnivale, and of gondolas, dance in my head. My glowing optimism and thrill for a transatlantic adventure have been dimmed by the reality that moving to a different country is hard.

Moving to another country requires so much more than the 50 pounds the airport lets you bring. And whether you’re excited, terrified, or horrified at the prospect of moving, one thing is true: you have to pack your suitcase. So allow me to give you some packing advice. I’m no expert, but I’ve gone through this once or twice.

Read the rest here!