Monday, December 8, 2008

TCK "I never" statements

Okay, according to the top google searches, "I Never" is most commonly a drinking game, ala Kate and Sawyer in the jungle. For our intents and purposes, though, we'll go with the Mormon description.

A SL friend, MissKris, is teaching a class at her international weekly gathering about Third Culture Kids, primarily for new members of the gathering whose children are often newly TCK'd (yeah, it's a verb now, too). She asked on the SL International Board for suggestions of "I never" statements, either from the perspective to of the TCK himself (i.e. "I never pumped my own gas.") or from a home country peer (i.e. "I never rode on a camel."). Between us, we came up with 170 "I never" statements!

Some are region specific, and some apply to many/most TCK's. If you'd like to, you can guess which apply to our children, in particular and/or how someone raised stateside (i.e. their cousins or friends from church) might relate to them. I'll post in a couple of days specific ones that they do or will understand from their experiences.

A few of these are repeats, since they were posted at the same time, but you get the idea. And a few don't fit the grammar structure of the "I never" statement. Just suspend grammar critique for a moment or two.

(I just realized that several of these are specific to TCK's whose parents are two different nationalities [i.e. "I never spoke my grandparents' first language."]. This is not uncommon for TCK's whose parents meet working overseas and/or second generation TCK's whose own parent married a national from where they grew up.)

1. I never pumped my own gas.
2. I never rode on a camel.
3. I never ate McArabia at McDonalds.
4. I never watched a goat be sacrificed.
5. I never used the self-check out.
6. I never bought clean eggs.
7. I never had someone else bag my groceries.
8. I never had to pay for a grocery cart.
9. I never had a library card.
10. I never went to a baseball game.
11. I never ate anything that was still moving.
12. I never spoke my grandparents' first language.
13. I never had a bedtime curfew.
14. I never met another person with my first name.
15. I never greeted a family member without a kiss.
16. I never watched live TV.
17. I never watched the Olympics.
18. I never flushed toilet paper.
19. I never separated garbage into recycle bins.
20. I never wrote a check.
21. I never heard of a Wii.
22. I never saw a fire truck or snow plow.
23. I never experienced changing seasons except wet and dry.
24. I never lived where there wasn't cheap public transportation.
25. I never left home without toilet paper in my pocket.
26. I never wore a sleeveless shirt or shorts in public.
27. I never cleaned my own house.
28. I never ate a pop tart.
29. I never drank water from the tap.
30. I never played American football.
31. I never ate a salad before my meal.
32. I never mowed the yard.
33. I never rode a school bus.
34. I've never seen July 4th fireworks.
35. I've never not had a passport.
36. I've never been in a different country as my parents.
37. I've never drank a Dr. Pepper.
38. I never used a dishwasher ... garbage disposal ... vaccum cleaner.
39. I never called adults by their first names - only "auntie" or "uncle."
40. I never thought it was odd that young men sometimes held hands or that girls walked arm-in-arm.
41. I never noticed, much less worried about little insects!.
42. I never got a drivers license.
43. I never got a job (no work permit).
44. I never travelled anywhere without my passport.
45. I've never worn my shoes in the house.
46. I've never eaten raw vegetables without carefully cleaning and soaking them first.
47. I never heard of babies/infants being sent to a nursery during church.
48. I never saw a public drinking fountain.
49. I never go anywhere without taking a water bottle.
50. I never left food lying around in the kitchen because of critters.
51. I never learned to ride a bike until I was much older.
52. I never experienced a cold Christmas, much less a white Christmas.
53. I never had a fireplace.
54. I never saw WHITE eggs.
55. I never heard of people NOT being allowed to hang out laundry in their own backyards.
56. I never had to take a stick with me when walking the dog (to fend off strays).
57. I never threw little table scraps or garbage right out the window for the chickens to eat.
58. I never worried about the power going out.
59. I never took a taxi.
60. I never smelled incense from within my own house.
61. I never had strangers cleaning the house.
62. I never could not continue a phone conversation because the rain on the roof was too loud.
63. I never had to think about "which voltage" an appliance was.
64. I never could NOT read signs.
65. I never got excited about Dr Pepper being in stock.
66. I never saw a dog/dogs walking down the church aisle.
67. I never saw a bat swooping around during church.
68. I never saw men lined-up to "take a leak" off the side of the road.
69. I never "rated" public bathrooms.
70. I never did time zones, never thought about what time it was somewhere else in the world.
71. I (hardly ever) ate out because it was too expensive.
72. I never had to rush out to the clothesline with my mom to rescue laundry before it rained.
73. I never traveled more than three hours in a car without stopping at a checkpoint.
74. I never opened Christmas and/or birthday presents in front of a webcam.
75. I have never eaten something without knowing what it was beforehand.
76. I never translated for my (visiting) grandparent/relative.
77. I have never been shopping by myself.
78. I never played a sport/taken a lesson in a language I didn't speak.
79. I have never been frustrated that a school book assumed that I lived in America.
80. I have never gotten a question wrong on a standardized test, because it assumed I knew something common in my home country.
81. I never got hot water directly from a faucet.
82. I never thought twice about the fact that my mom baked all our bread.
83. I never drank milk from a plastic carton (powdered or boxed only).
84. I never used certain words ("m") in public places.
85. I never used my left hand to eat/give things to people.
86. I never quite realized I could travel within my home country without having to show my passport.
87. I never thought only in "dollars" - I always converted to the local currency (and vice versa).
88. I've never seen a cul de sac.
89. I've never seen those mailboxes with the flags.
90. I've never seen a freeway.
91. I never shopped at a HUGE membership stores.
92. I've never seen such large milkshakes (the super sizes).
93. I've never seen those soft drink dispensers with the "free refills" at fast food outlets.
94. I'd never seen homeless people holding signs ("will work for food").
95. I'd never seen so many cool ads come in the mail.
96. I'd never seen one of those red coupon machines like they have in the grocery stores.
97. I'd never seen more than 1 Chevy at a time.
98. I never saw mail boxes to post letters in for them to be then mailed to an address somewhere in country.
99. I never saw snow.
100. I never knew there weren’t only 2 seasons - wet and dry.
101. I never had a fireplace, no central heating or a/c..
102. I never had the gas is pumped for us at the gas station.
103. I never had the food packed for us at the stores.
104. I never knew you can leave your gun in a locker while you shop.
105. I never knew you say good morning to people even if you dont know them.
106. I never knew men standing with back to you by a wall/tree usually means taking a potty break .
107. I never saw a workman taking a leak into a little plastic bag, tying it up and then putting it in his pocket.
108. I never saw mangy dogs wandering around instead of being rescued and the owners prosecuted.
109. I've never had the accent of your birth country, or from host country but from the majority of expat citizens that we know.
110. I never sharing christmas with extended family.
111. I never knew that tolilets could flush themselves.
112. I never knew that some people would ACTUALLY be offended by the occasional unrestrained burp (even though Mom had warned me).
113. I never knew that forks were ACTUALLY not optional.
114. I never knew that asking if I could push the button in the elevator at age 13 would bring strange looks from other people.
115. I never knew that I could make other little boys cry by just trying to get them to wrestle with me.
116. I never knew that longing for and identifying with the country I was raised in would be interpreted as 'anti American.'
117. I never knew that questioning the way things are done in the States would be considered unpatriotic.
118. I never knew that shoes were truly necessary.
119. I never had a boyfriend/girlfriend.
120. I never thought I was too old to play tag.
121. I never wore makeup at age 12.
122. I never worried about my hair.
123. I never heard of Tommy Hilfiger (or other name brands).
124. I never drank more than one drink at dinner (no free refills).
125. I never knew you could get a refill for free at dinner.
126. I never knew you could eat some foods with your fingers, besides just french fries, and w/o a napkin to hold the finger food.
127. I never had to look out for a motorcycle coming up the sidewalk behind me (or towards me).
128. I never knew that eye contact on the street was considered polite.
129. I never knew that ALL streets have lines dividing the lanes, not just a few.
130. I never got woken up by Grandparents who got the time difference wrong on my birthday.
131. I never realized that there were people who had never seen another culture.
132. I never knew where to shop for almost all the ethnic foods mentioned in a "around the world textbook" easily in our neighborhood.
133. I never knew that in some countries stop signs are more than a friendly suggestion
134. I never knew the English measurements (non-metric).
135. I never knew you could be fined for disturbing the peace by hiring a band to play at an all-night outdoor party in the neighborhood.
136. I never knew people might expect you to actually show up on time for an event.
137. I never could say the Pledge of Allegiance or sing the National Anthem without a cheat sheet.
138. I never knew the names of my first cousins.
139. I never knew that red lights really mean stop, even after 7 pm.
140. I never knew that a road might suddenly switch directions, such that you might be driving, come up to a friendly suggestion stop sign and also (hopefully) notice a do not enter alerting you to the fact that *that* part of the road has traffic coming towards you.
141. I never knew that some roads have traffic that goes both ways on the same road.
142. I never knew that people might live in houses, at ground level, without razor wire, or broken glass, or electric wire, or other security features on their fences/concrete walls.
143. I have never asked for the fattiest piece of meat on the platter.
144. I have never asked if it was okay to sit on the toilet seat rather than climb up and stand on it.
145. I have never taken candy from the complete stranger on the bus and enjoyed it thoroughly (without even asking my parents).
146. I have never asked why we don't study any foreign languages like regular kids (when we are already fluent in three).
147. I have never taken my shoes off right at the door when I go to someone else's house.
148. I have never told a perfect stranger that their nose is cold and that they should go warm up.
149. I have never worn tights as a boy.
150. I have never forgotten to wear a hat when it is cold.
151. I have never swallowed the coffee grounds.
152. I never knew that referring to a Hispanic in the US a "Mexican" was considered racist.
153. I never knew some people consider the metric system difficult.
154. I never knew that some restaurants serve ice in drinks.
155. I never knew that everyone doesn't buy kleenex and umbrellas from a guy standing on the corner.
156. I never knew it was impolite to tell someone they're pudgy or have gained weight.
157. I've never petted a tiger.
158. I've never made a bamboo teepee.
159. I've never sat on the neck of an elephant.
160. I've never watched an elephant poop in the street.
161. I never realised the boy in High School Musical was called "Troy" and not "Choy," a far more common name in China.
162. I have never used an old, uninteresting book as toilet paper.
163. I have never taken "semi-legal" to mean "perfectly within the law."
164. I never drove the speed limit.
165. I never parked on the curb, sidewalk or triple parked.
166. I never did a 3 car wide U turn.
167. I never went to Sunday School on a Friday.
168. I never ate camel. I never drank camel's milk.
169. I never heard the call to prayer.
170. I never went dunebashing.

Reading through these, even the ones which don't apply to our children, you can get an idea of how different and interesting the life of a TCK can be. And you can understand how re-orienting to life in the US, whether it be for a few months or a year or the rest of their lives, can be a challenge.

No comments: