Sunday, January 13, 2008

This blog is moving

I have moved my blog from Blogger to hosting on my website. I will leave this blog intact, but new posts will be made at See you on the other side!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

TCK music

I recently joined a TCK forum site called TCKID. Someone posted links to a video by a TCK artist called Makiza.

This is a song called La Rosa de los Vientos. Here are the lyrics and the English translation.

A veces quisiera desaparecer del mapa
Volver donde yo nac�
Pero no es tan papa, me achaca
Las duda no se saca es ta peg�
Como laca, el peso a lapa
Makiza es mi capa,
A veces quisiera tener alas como p�jaro
Volar por el tiempo donde estuvo Lautaro
Y olvidar yo, por un tiempo que la mitad
De mi familia esta muy lejos
Hay d�as en que me quejo,
hay dias en que estoy bien piola
Hay d�as en queme r�o hasta del Guat�n Loyola
Ay! Comadre lola, si usted supiera
Lo que estar dividida, no saber cual es su tierra
Ana chola, en la bola como rat�n sin cola
Mi mama me hablaba a mi del C.H.I
Por all� bien lejos donde yo nac�
Donde yo crec�
Y no juego a la gringa si eso tu cre�
Nunca niegues donde tu provengas
Tengas lo que tengas,
Vengas de donde vengas
Vengas de Dinamarca/ o de chiloe
Si el mundo es una gran arca de Noe
Y si yo he nacido fuera
Estoy orgullosa y tengo sangre ind�gena
Mejor por que es hermosa, soy una trotamundo
Sin Fijo rumbo me fundo,
Al lugar donde yo tumbo, as� es mi mundo
Soy del norte del sur,
Del oeste, del este,
Una viajer�a sin paradero sin nombre sin carnet,
Una Ulyse si tierra prometida Eh, eh
Creado en mi propia odisea moderna nene
Se eh, hacer camino al andar caminante
por eso no tengo bandera representante
da lo mismo mi nombre, lo importante es lo que hago
valorar el hombre por la calidad de su trabajo
y es que el mundo es tan grande
y uno tan peque�o,
s�lo me dirijo por la Rosa de los Vientos

Somos hijo de la Rosa de los Vientos
De la rosa de los vientos
Somos hijo de la Rosa de los Vientos
De la rosa de los vientos

De ni�o e seguido el camino de la calle
Tan dif�cil que me pare como quien me calle
Donde me halle nunca olvido mis ra�ces
Los pa�ses donde e vivido han unido sus matices
Para que me caracterice con mi personalidad
Ser una persona de calidad,
La calidez de la verdad, me ampara
Me prepara, para levantar mis alas
Me protege como un chaleco antibalas,
Cala mi alma al mundo en que vivo,
Pido un minuto pa' recopilar lo ke he vivido
Las ciudades en las que he vivido
Las ciudades en las que he residido
Las personas con las cuales e compartido
He sido yo he que he partido recorrido
Miles de kil�metros en todos los sentidos
Miro la importancia de mi vivencia
En mi existencia, encuentros coincidencias
Cuando me preguntan a que sector represento?
Respondo que en verdad yo no entiendo
El sentimiento de estar ligado aun barrio
Al contrario que el salir de el pa' no ser marginado
Yo soy ciudadano del planeta tierra
Ser humano que no cree en las fronteras
Tanto Squat, Cenzi, Anita vivieron fuera
Yo igual hermano, ah,ah
No es por que yo quiera, pero mi lugar
Es tanto aqu� como donde sea, cuatro puntos cardinales
Cuatro cabezas, ver�s que la nacionalidad no es la gran cosa
Si no mas bien girar con el viento como la rosa.

Somos hijo de la Rosa de los Vientos
De la rosa de los vientos
Somos hijo de la Rosa de los Vientos
De la rosa de los vientos

Somos hijos de la rosa de los vientos
de la Rosa

Sometimes I would like to disappear from the map
Go to where I was born, but it is not that easy
The doubt comes over me and doesn’t leave, it sticks like glue
The weight doesn’t go away, makiza is my cape
Sometimes I would like to have wings like birds
Fly through time, where Lautaro was
And forget for a while
That half of my family are very far away
There are days where I complain
There are days where I am ok
There are days where I even laugh about Guantón Loyola
Oh! My friend Lola, if you knew
What it is to be divided, not to know what is your land
Ana la Chola, lost like a rat without a tail
My mother spoke to be about the C.H.I.
In that place far away, where I was born
Where I grew up
And I am not playing at the foreigner if that is what you think
You can not deny where you come from
You have whatever you have, you are from there where you come from
You come from Dinamarca (or from Chiloé)
The world is a big Noah’s Arc
And if I was born far away, I am proud
And if I have aborigianal blood, good, because it is beautiful
I am a globe trotter, without a fixed course I am based
In the place where I find myself landing, that is my world!
I am from the north, from the south, the west, the east
A traveller without address, without a name, without an I.D.
A Ulyseis without promised land,
I created my own modern odysey
Making the way as I walk,
Because of this I do not have a flag representing me
My name does that job, the important thing is what I feel
Value a man by the quality of his work
The earth is so big and one is so small
I am only guided by the compass

We are children of the compass

(I come from other latitudes)

Since I was a girl, I knew the way of the road
I am not gonna stop and I am not gonna shut-up
Wherever I find myself, I don’t forget my roots
The countries in which I have lived have united their differences
So that I can characterise my personality
To be a person of quality, the warmth of the truth
It protects me, prepares me to raise my wings
Protects me like a bullet-proof vest
The world pierces my soul, I request
A minute to reflect on what I have lived
The towns in which I have lived
The people which whom I have shared
I have been the one to leave, to cross
Thousands of kilometres in all directions
I measure the importance of my experiences
In my existence, encouters and coincidences
When you ask me which sector I represent
I respond in truth, that I don’t understand
The feeling of being bound to a district
On the contrary it is necessary to leave it not to be marginalised
I am a citizen of planet earth
A human being that does not believe in borders
As Squat, Cenzi and Anita always lived outside
No matter brothers, it is not because I wanted it that way
But my place is as much here as there
The four corners of the earth, four faces
You will see that nationality is not a big deal
Instead spin with the wind like the Rose

We are the children of the ‘rose of the wind’ (compass)

Although my Spanish is terrible, with the help of the English translation, I really like the lyrics.

The same person posted another video by Wir Sind Helden of a song called Soundso.

The lyrics are about categorization, which relates strongly to most TCKs. Cultural marginalization has certainly been a big issue for me, and I imagine it has been for many others as well. You're supposed to be from somewhere, and when you are from somewhere, everyone already knows what you should be like. It can be quite marginalizing to be told that, essentially, you can't exist. Aren't allowed to exist, because you have to be from somewhere and be like those from that somewhere. The lyrics follow.

Sie wissen genau, wer du bist - Du bist uns so einer
Sie sagen es so, wie es ist - So gut kennt dich keiner

They know exactly who you are - To us, you’re like one of those (*)
They say it like it is - Noone knows you as well as they do

Und zwar bist du vom Wesen so und so - So und so! So irgendwie!
Verstehen sie dich, dass macht sie froh - So einer ändert sich nie

Namely your nature is like that and that - That and that! Somehow like that!
When they understand you, it makes them happy - Someone like that never changes


Aber nichts davon bestimmt dich, weißt du
Nichts davon verglimmt nicht mit der Zeit

But nothing of that defines you, you know
Nothing of that doesn’t fade with time

Nur du bestimmt nicht, weißt du
Nichts davon ist wirklich
Nichts davon

Only you surely won’t, you know
Nothing of that is real
Nothing of that

So und so
Und sowieso bleibt nichts davon

Like that and that / Anyway (**)
And anyway nothing of it stays

So und so
Und sowieso ist nichts davon

Like that and that / Anyway
And anyway nothing of it is

So und so
Glaub mir, nichts davon
Bist du

Like that and that / Anyway
Believe me, you’re nothing of that

So und so warst du schon immer - Genau so, nur kleiner
Im Alter wird so was nur schlimmer - Genau so, nur alleiner

You’ve always been like that and that - Exactly like that, just smaller
With age it’ll only get worse - Exactly like that, just lonelier

Wie gut, wenn man geliebt wird, wie man ist - So und so, und so allein!
So wie du warst, so wie du bist - Bist das du, musst du das sein?

How nice if you get loved as you are - Like that and that, and so lonely!
As you were, as you are - Is that you, do you have to be that?


Dein Vater ist froh, weil er weiß, du bist so und so
Und Mutter ist froh, weil sie weiß, du bist so und so

Your father is happy because he knows you’re like that and that
Your mother is happy because she knows you’re like that and that

Dein Haustier ist froh, weil es weiß, du bist so und so,
Dein Lehrer ist froh, weil er weiß, du bist so und so

Your pet is happy because it knows you’re like that and that
Your teacher is happy because he knows you’re like that and that

Die Freunde sind froh, alles klar, du bist so und so
Auf Arbeit: alle froh, alles klar, du bist so und so

Your friends are happy, alright, you’re like that and that
At work: everyone’s happy, alright, you’re like that and that

Zuhause: alle froh, alles klar, du bist so und so
Und du gehst k.o, weil du weißt du bist so und so
du gehst k.o, weil du weißt du bist so und so

At home: everyone’s happy, alright, you’re like that and that
And you break down because you know you’re like that and that
You break down because you know you’re like that and that

Weil du weißt du bist so und so
Nichts davon

Because you know you’re like that and that / anyway
Nothing of it

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Knowing what's going on

A while back, my boyfriend's (sambo/avomies) sister told him, after him mentioning that the dollar was falling, that the dollar falling was some kind of lie or conspiracy or misrepresentation. I'm not sure how the wording was put, I wasn't there. But she clearly hadn't heard of it in the probably 2+ years that it's been falling, and wasn't ready to believe it now. I'm unsure how to react. It seems a little... impossible not to know. Apparently, that's not the case.

Maybe it's being a TCK business brat in particular, but knowing rough exchange rates off the top of your head for major world currencies just sounds like a basic piece of being informed. And knowing whether any of those major currencies are doing anything unusual, like falling for a few years, also goes in that category. I wonder if she knows that the Thai baht crashed? I wonder how many other people in the US have no idea what their currency is doing, or what impact other currencies' behavior have on their economy?

Saturday, December 29, 2007

'Tis the season to celebrate in the third culture

This was the first year that I didn't travel anywhere for Christmas. I stayed home with my boyfriend. Although I'd been making Christmas dishes for a while, I really realized how much I associate the third culture with holiday celebrations on Christmas Day, the day we chose to celebrate. Feeling connected to many parts of the world is a huge part of Christmas for me. Thinking of my friends elsewhere and of how they are celebrating (or not) and wishing them well is really the embodiment or the Christmas spirit for me, and being the only third culture person in my house celebrating was a little weird.

Friday, December 07, 2007

President Halonen's Letter to Finns Abroad

Yesterday was the 90th anniversary of Finland's independence. My mother forwarded a letter from President Halonen to all Finns abroad that her Finnish club had been sent. I find it remarkable what this says about her (President Halonen's, not my mother's) deep understanding of cultural globalization and its implications for her country. And sort of mine. I'd vote for her. I think she should run for President of the United States of America. This letter made me feel very close to belonging in Finland, even though I know it's not that simple.


Ulkosuomalaisille yhteisöille 6.12.2007

Kuluvana vuotena vietämme Suomen itsenäisyyden 90-vuotisjuhlaa. Voimme olla ylpeitä siitä, että pohjoinen, lähtökohdiltaan hyvin köyhä maamme on vuosikymmenien kuluessa kehittynyt sitkeällä työllä pohjoismaiseksi hyvinvointiyhteiskunnaksi, joka selviää kovassakin kansainvälisessä kilpailussa. Suomalaisten on syytä olla myös kiitollisia sotiemme veteraanisukupolvelle, joka puolusti itsenäisyyttämme ja jälleenrakensi maatamme.

Tänä päivänä Suomi on osa yhä kansainvälisempää maailmaa. Olemme jäsenenä Euroopan unionissa ja aktiivisesti mukana kansainvälisissä järjestöissä, kuten Yhdistyneiden kansakuntien toiminnassa. Kuluneiden vuosikymmenien aikana myös talouselämämme on kansainvälistynyt. Suomalaiset yritykset ovat lisänneet ja laajentaneet toimiaan ulkomailla, samalla kun ulkomaalaiset yritykset ovat tuoneet toimintojaan Suomeen.
Kansainvälistyminen näkyy ihmisten lisääntyneenä liikkuvuutena. Suomesta mennään ja Suomeen tullaan työtehtäviin, opiskelemaan, eläkepäiviä viettämään. Ihmiset liikkuvat maasta toiseen jokaisessa elämänkaarensa vaiheessa.

Te, suomalaiset maailmalla, olette keskeisessä asemassa vaikuttamassa siihen, millainen kuva Suomesta muodostuu. Riippumatta siitä, oletteko asettuneet ulkomaille pysyvästi vai määräajaksi, te kaikki teette tärkeää työtä Suomen ja suomalaisuuden lähettiläinä. Te myös välitätte Suomeen ulkomailla saamianne vaikutteita ja rikastutatte näin suomalaisuutta. Teidän tekemänne työ ja luomanne verkostot ovat korvaamattomia.

Suomelle on tärkeää, että teidän ulkosuomalaisten siteet kotimaahan säilyvät. Kaikki te elätte, työskentelette ja toimitte kansallisina vähemmistöinä nykyisissä asuinmaissanne. Toivon, että voitte tässä ominaisuudessa kertoa kokemuksistanne
Suomelle, joka on yhä varsin yhtenäisen kulttuurin maa hyvin pienine etnisine vähemmistöineen, mutta vääjäämättä muuttumassa yhä monikulttuurisemmaksi. Te tunnette sen voiman ja mahdollisuudet, joita taustaltaan erilaiset ihmiset voivat yhteiskunnalle antaa. Meillä Suomessa voisi olla siitä opittavaa. Lämmin tervehdykseni Suomen 90. itsenäisyyspäivänä!

Tarja Halonen
Tasavallan presidentti



To the overseas Finnish community Dec 6, 2007

During this year, we are celebrating the 90th anniversary of Finland's independence. We can be proud of that our northern, originally poor country has developed over the decades with long and enduring work into a welfare society [difficult to translate - a society that is rich enough to take care of all its citizens] that is surviving even in hard international competition. Finns also have reason to be thankful to the veteran generations of our wars, who defended our independence and rebuilt our country.

Today, Finland is part of an increasingly international world. We are members of the European Unions and are actively involved in international organizations, such as the United Nations. During the past couple of decades, our economy has also become more international. Finnish companies have added and expanded their activities abroad, while foreign companies have brought their business to Finland. Internationalization manifests itself as increased mobility. People move in and out of Finland for work, studies, for retirement. People are moving from one country to another in every phase of life.

You, Finns in the world [implied: outside Finland, but less alienating overtones than 'abroad'], are in a central position to influence what kind of a picture people have of Finland. Regardless of whether you live abroad permanently or only for a time, you are all doing important work as ambassadors for Finland and Finnishness. You also transfer the influences you have encountered abroad to Finland, and thus enrich Finnishness. Your work and the networks you create are irreplacable.

It is important to Finland that the bonds of you Finns abroad to Finland remain. All of you live, work and act as national minorities in your current places of residence. I hope that in that capacity you can tell us about your experiences to Finland, which is still really a monocultural country with its very small populations of ethnical minorities, but is unavoidably becoming more multicultural. You know the power and the possibilities that people of different backgrounds can give to society. We in Finland could learn from that. My warm greetings on the 90th anniversary of Finland's independence!

Tarja Halonen
The President of the Republic

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Holiday Season & Life in a Can

Now that it's November, the holiday season is approaching. Yesterday, I was slightly late for a workshop in another building, and walked there briskly. Breathing in and out in the cold air felt familiar and invigorating. It reminded me of walking home from school in a snowfall in the dark. It reminded me of lights in windows, scarves, hats, Loden coats, and winter boots. I talked my boyfriend into taking a walk yesterday night, and we walked down the biggest road close to our apartment, a typically American road with neglected sidewalks, fast food restaurants, and car dealerships. The glittering lights in the dark and cold night made me miss Advent decoration events. I wish there was somewhere I could walk around and decide on a whim to enter this store or that, somewhere where each shop owner has decorated their windows for Christmas and where the city has put up lights. A downtown where you take a walk for pleasure with friends and family. Above all, somewhere you are not allowed to drive. A place meant for people and their senses, not cars. I miss smelling the fine bakeries and cafes. I miss feeling the wind on my face and the snow landing quietly on my hair and my bag and my coat. I miss watching the lights and the people. When you have to get everywhere in a car, because nothing is close by anything else, it's like living in a can. Are you really alive when you're never outside while doing things?

I don't want to take a walk at the mall. One mall is like another is like the next one. I want to take a walk downtown, somewhere that's different from Anywhere, USA. Are you really celebrating anything when all the food comes from cans and boxes and even the trees are pre-decorated? I know there are people who don't do it this way, but the consumerism is everywhere. It drowns out those people who celebrate in a different way. It drowns me out. Perhaps this recent cultural fight about Christmas here in the US is in part due to that people lack Christmas olive trees, using Friedman's framework - they see ideology and politics where others have tradition. No one can sell me Christmas, because no one can sell recordings of the silence of snowfall or can the smell of gingerbread cookies in the oven. Above all, no one can sell the energy of a community celebrating together, face to face. Individual people in cars driving past each other isn't a community.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Cultural resonance

You know you're not American when the first thing that pops into your head as a defense when people accuse you of being classist, even as a joke, is to confess your bourgeoise background (because you know you're not talking your way out of that one) and proclaim the insignificance of your suffering compared to the proletariat, and the finale is your sincere sympathy for the class struggle (and possible revolution). I clearly need an American version. Does anyone have any suggestions?