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How can Saigon Kids Belong?

As a Saigon Kid (TCK or ATCK) … How can you belong?… and if you never had a sense of belonging, can you ever get it?

Here is an interesting interview with expert Donna Musil, filmmaker of Brats: Our Journey Home, and Paulette Bethel on Third Culture Kids (which us Saigon Kids are) and “belonging”, presented by Brice Royer.

Enjoy! 🙂

As a Saigon Kid what were your experiences pertaining to ‘belonging’?

As you moved around from place to place, did you feel like you ‘belonged’ in each place? Or, did you feel ‘out of place’?

While in Saigon did you have a sense of ‘belonging’? If so, why? What made you feel as though you ‘belonged’ in Saigon? If you didn’t feel you belonged in Saigon … why didn’t you feel you belonged there?

As a Saigon Kid where is ‘home’ to you? What IS ‘home’ to you? What makes a ‘home’ to you? While in Saigon did you feel it was ‘home’?

To you is ‘home’ a physical place? Or, a state of mind? Is ‘home’ where the heart is? Is ‘home’ simply and illusion?

What is your definition of ‘home’?

What makes you feel ‘at home’?

Can a virtual community, such as our Blog, be a place called ‘home’ beyond the bounds of space and time? Can it be a place where you feel like you ‘belong’? If so, why? If not, why not?

Do you still have feelings of ‘rootlessness’ and ‘restlessness’ stemming from all the moving around during your youth? If so, how has it influenced your life as an adult? How have you learned to cope with the wanderlust feelings and urges? How have you tempered the ‘restlessness’?

As always, please feel free to leave your Comments below.

Bob

7 comments to How can Saigon Kids Belong?

  • RandySeely

    I’ve always had a sense of ‘belonging.’ As a military brat, I belonged with my fellow brats wherever we happened to be stationed…because we all shared that same common bond of being reliant on each other for social and emotional enrichment. Same thing during my USAF career…stationed with/without my family, but still sharing and sense of ‘belonging’ with friends who were in the same boat. I feel I ‘belong’ wherever I happen to be, because I always make the best of the situation, good OR bad. Good…with family and friends. Bad…spending my work hours around social misfits in the jail (I’m a jail deputy…) I guess everything’s relative. I feel no restlessness…no ‘rootlessness’…I take great pleasure in being around people who interest me; that might explain my having been in radio/tv for 30 years. And right now, I’m in a great place..physically, emotionally, spiritually…
    because I’m surrounded by the loving people who are the core of my life…and we all belong to each other! We all belong to each other. Regards, everyone! Randy

  • Ken

    I agree with Randy….one has to try and fit in whereever one is and when you are around people in the same situation, it isn’t difficult. A common element.

    On the other hand, having spend probably more than half my life outside of the US and “on the road” as an Army brat, my own military service in VietNam and then as a Foreign Service employee, one tends to make lots of acquantances, but few close friends That certainly is my case. I think its important in life to have people one can call upon in an emergency and that I lack except for my family (or my wife’s family here in Germany). I think that is the real drawback. Those of you who returned to the US, went to colleague or started work, married and settled down have something that is, in many ways, more precious than the experience of travel and living in foreign lands. Overseas experience is wonderful, but people, people you can call upon or just spend time with and share common interests is much more important. In the Foreign Service, one finds oneself living and working with the same people, sort of an incestuous relationship in a sense and not one that I liked. No, we didn’t all live together, but we socialized together, worked together and so everyone knows about everyone else….sort of like very small town living…and not healthy in my mind.

    The Foreign Service is somewhat like the military with Foreign Service Officers (FSOs) and Administrative and Technical Staff (A&T – sort of the enlisted corps if you will). In many embassies, that is a separation and also made for difficult relationships. A&T are not diplomats thus do not have the same outside social life as the FSOs. But all of that crap is behind me and now I just want to enjoy my retirement and I am doing just that.
    Ken

  • Admin

    Randy and Ken … great comments! 🙂

    Do you think that because we grew up in a mobile lifestyle, that we unknowingly (out of necessity) developed an ability to be able to ‘fit in'(adapt) fairly easy just about anyplace we went or go?

    Bob

  • RandySeely

    Yes…I believe that we had a great ability to adapt to wherever our parents took us – a
    ‘chameleon-like’ability to adjust to the moment-and-places-at-hand. We made ourselves belong to the group and the situations around us. I made a lot of great friends in my adult years of my military ‘gypsy-life,’ many of whom I remain in contact with today. The sense of belonging dissipates, though…especially when you re-visit a place you loved so much when you were living there — but the chemistry is no longer there because the people who made it special are no longer there. Maybe that’s why this blog has drawn so many SK’s…kinda like a chance to reignite that feeling we all shared so many years ago! Have a great day, everyone! Randy

  • Ken

    Randy – you hit it right on the head…a place is just a place, but its the people that made it special. I lived in some wonderful cities but when I recall the places, it isn’t the landmarks that I remember vividly but the people that I knew there and whose company I enjoyed. And in some cases, I retain contact with some of those wonderful folks.
    I remember clearly once when Ramadan was being celebrated in Rabat, Morocco and my wife was on a trip to Germany to see her ailing mother. My neighbor across the street found out thru her son (an embassy colleague) that I was alone. That evening I was invited to Iftar (the breaking of the fast) at their house and it turned out to be a really wonderful evening. Despite my non-existing Arabic and limited French, the son and his sister who both spoke English and translated for me during dinner, allowing me to get to know the parents and the other family members. I am still in contact with the family today and I cherish their friendship to me. I could recite other such kindnesses to my wife and I and it is those kindnesses that make my travels and memories special.
    Ken

  • Burt Parker

    Thanx, Bob, Randy and Ken, for your thoughts. I share many of them.

    About ‘rootlessness’, I don’t have that thought. I always felt rooted in my family, where ever I was. We were sorta ‘us against the world’…

    About ‘belonging’… No, I never felt that I ‘belonged’ anywhere, until I married my second wife and we made a real home in Arlington Virginia, 1985, and raised our three kids. But, even then, I happily gave up that ‘home; with all its memories of kids growing up and all the bells and whistles, designer kitchen that wife designed, hot tub and all, to come to southern Virginia to our house on the Lake Gaston this year. I think this is my final ‘home’…, until old folks home or six feet under.

    On another blog thread, I think, someone said that he/she was drawn to an international community. So was I. My first marriage was to a women I met in the International Club of the University of Rhode Island, in which I participated to the max but still never felt really a part of. Anyway, I do NOT recommend cross cultural marriages. She was from Bogota Colombia and after nine years I couldn’t tolerate her different value system and her carping about mine…

    About ‘fitting in’… I guess I never did, never could, even in Saigon. Where ever I was, I always seemed to be an ‘outsider’ (maybe because I was such a ‘geek’, guess I still am). My best effort was to just try to get along.

    Anyway, it’s very late and my wife is calling me.

    Regards,

    Burt

  • Sandy Hanna

    what d9

    I found it hard to stay anywhere. I always felt the need to move every two years, long after we had left military service, college and I was on my own. I would change the rooms around just to not have to move. As a BRAT one does not fit, ever. I grew up in Vietnam in the early 60’s and returned to the States unable to merge the realities of that life with the surreal experience of America. I am a survivor. I land on my feet. I blend in when needed and take charge when necessary. I feel a great sense of relief when I find a fellow BRAT. Coming home is when I find those who had the same experience as wanderers…it isn’t a place. It is about those who feel the same way.

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