As subscribers to our weekly newsletter know, our Displaced Dispatch presents a weekly “Alice Award” to a writer or other kind of creative person who we think has a special handle on the curious and unreal aspects of the displaced life of global residency and travel. Not only that, but this person likes to use their befuddlement as a spur to creativity.
Today’s post honors August’s three Alice recipients. Beginning with the most recent, they are (drumroll…):
1) CALLISTA FOX, TCK blogger and author of the serial novel Suite Dubai
Source: “Friday Night Lights vs. The Eurotrash Girl on CallistaFox.com
Posted on: 26 June 2013
Our boarding school offered cheer leading as an afternoon activity… I signed up because it sounded better than typing or drafting and my parents wouldn’t pay for dressage. We knew only a handful of cheers. None of us could name a proper jump, let alone do one. We wore white tennis skirts and blue sweatshirts and any color of hightop Reebok we owned. When we ran out onto the field to do our pathetic cartwheels the audience was quiet, a few laughed. True, the grass was wet and my roommate Samantha slipped and skidded on her chin. We didn’t have our routine perfected.
Citation: Who stole the tarts, Callista? Who stole the tarts? Your account of your bout with cheer leading at a boarding school in Austria suggests that you were in a classic Alice-in-Wonderland situation, perhaps without even realizing it. Because no young American woman in her right mind would cheer an Austrian team playing Australia in American-style football on a field marked for soccer, unless they’d stepped through the looking glass. Indeed, your description is missing some crucial details, for instance:
- Were the teams using a koala bear as the ball? Koalas being to Austria what flamingos are to England—namely, more New World than Old. (Notably, koalas like to eat the leaves of the eucalyptus tree, which doesn’t exactly thrive in The Land of Long-needled Pines.)
- Did anyone propose a trial for all of those unruly fans in the half-filled stands who were throwing things at you and the other cheerleaders?
All of which brings us back to our original question: was it an Aussie or an Ausie, the Knave who stole the tarts? That’s what we (and presumably your all-American Texan husband) would most like to know.
Still, we did find amusing the tales of ThirdCultureKid-land that you told to your better half. Clearly your quintessentially TCK life had its moments, including the time you watched a guy eat glass in a bar in Nicosia, Cyprus, when you were only 14.
Is it any wonder that when your parents moved you back to Norman, Oklahoma, when you were 20, you felt exactly like Alice, who told her sister: “Oh, I’ve had such a curious dream!” (You did make a lot of it up, right?)
2) CHRIS ALDEN, British expat; author and journalist
For his book: “101 Reasons to Live Abroad…and 100 Reasons Not To”
Published: March 2013
From the book description:
Do you dream of living abroad? If so, you’re in good company. Tens of thousands of people every year emigrate from the UK—leaving behind the security of work, family and friends for the promise of better weather (hopefully), better prospects (sometimes) and a carefree existence (keep dreaming).
So is now the time to leave Britain and start life as an expat? Or have you already started planning the big move overseas?
101 Reasons to Live Abroad … & 100 Reasons Not To helps you discover if living abroad is right for you. It’s an uplifting guide to the positive sides of life as an expatriate—and a reality check about the challenges that relocation brings.
Citation: Chris, we understand that you’re also the author of 250 Things to Do in Cyprus on a Sunny Day, so would encourage you at some point to compare notes with your fellow Alice awardee, Callista Fox. In the post cited above, Callista reports that, when attending boarding school in Nicosia, she and her friends particularly enjoyed hanging out in a bar drinking Carlsberg with UN soldiers (they were there to keep the peace between Cypriots and Turks). We’re genuinely curious: does this particular activity rank in your Top 250? Or perhaps you think it’s better left for a rainy day? (Actually, does Cyprus even have rainy days? Oh, that’s right: it’s only semi-arid.)
Anyway, we’re awarding you an Alice because, like Lewis Carroll’s little heroine, you appear to appreciate both the positive and negative aspects of turning one’s life upside down, with the balance tipped every so slightly towards the positive. We believe Alice would be impressed that you offer a final, 101st reason to live abroad for those who, having been offered as many as a hundred reasons both for and against, still find themselves dithering. After all, when Alice’s sister urges her to run inside to get her tea, she obliges her “thinking while she ran, as well she might, what a wonderful dream it had been.”
3) LINDA JANSSEN, writer, speaker, consultant, global adventurer and cultural enthusiast
For her book: “The Emotionally Resilient Expat”
Published: 22 June 2013
From the book description:
Linda A. Janssen combines candid personal stories from experienced expats and cross-culturals, with a wealth of practical tools, techniques and best practices from emotional, social and cultural intelligence, positive psychology, mindfulness, stress management, self-care and related areas.”
Citation: Linda, as you know, we’ve been an avid follower of yours on Adventures in Expatland, which has helped to stimulate many of our own “through the looking glass” insights. And now we see you’ve contributed a tome to the discourse on what to do when you fall through the rabbit hole and feel culturally discombobulated. According to your book, which is sprinkled with expat stories and anecdotes, the answer lies in calling on (or developing) reserves of emotional resilience—a quality Alice had in spades, so to speak. Upon hearing of the Queen of Heart’s intention to have her decapitated, she retorted thus:
You’re nothing but a pack of cards!
At which point
the whole pack rose up into the air, and came flying down upon her: she gave a little scream, half of fright and half of anger, and tried to beat them off, and found herself lying on the bank, with her head in the lap of her sister, who was gently brushing away some dead leaves that had fluttered down from the trees upon her face.
Now if that isn’t resilience, what is?
From now on, we look forward to reading about your Adventures in Repatland, which as we noticed from your last post, are only just beginning:
At long last I’m beginning to surface, coming up for air in a new stage in a new place in a country and culture which seem familiar yet I don’t always recognize.
Hey, if it helps to know, we’ve got your back on this one!
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So, readers, do you have a favorite from the above, or have you read any recent posts you think deserve an Alice Award? We’d love to hear your suggestions! And don’t miss out on these weekly sources of inspiration. Get on our subscription list now!
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Woohoo! Many thanks to The Displaced Nation for a smashingly good start to September and my expat/repat adventures. Like Alice, I’ve got a few more cards up my sleeve…
Well done Linda! Too cool for school! 😉
Excellent choices! I just finished reading The Emotionally Resilient Expat and it certainly fits the bill. As the chickens are chasing my cat and I’m pausing a Skype call while waiting for the loud speaker announcements to finish, I feel myself rapidly tumbling down the rabbit hole but dig in my heels, grab onto a root and yank myself back to the surface! Linda has just confirmed for me that what I have are deep reserves of emotional resilience! Phew!