It is a joy to feature Bronwynn Bliss on Communicating Across Boundaries….and yes, that would be Robynn’s youngest daughter!
I’ve always known that our children would have a different story than I did. I joined the ranks of the children displaced and transplanted when I was eight years old, becoming an MK, as we were called in the ‘old days’. Our family stayed in Pakistan for all of my remaining childhood years, with the exception of grade seven, where we relocated temporarily to Canada for the mandatory and maddening furlough year. I returned to Canada for college and the chaos of reentrying a culture I was supposed to be at home in but in which I felt decidedly foreign.
Two of our three children were born in India, however when they were a mere 10, 8 and 5 we returned to the United States and jump started their transplanting process. The older two had a more difficult time of it but eventually settled into their new rhythms and routines. Our youngest, Bronwynn, didn’t appear to miss a beat. She wiggled her way into life in America with curiosity and joy. Certainly she observed her world out loud and often made hilarious commentary on what she saw. She misunderstood the tornado drill at her Kansas kindergarten and was so excited for the huge tomato to strike—she loves tomatoes! Thanksgiving meant a pageant of sorts and an opportunity for her to once again be who she loved, an Indian! She would wear her navy blue and gold lehenga (a long full bejeweled skirt with a short embroidered blouse to match and a complimenting duputta scarf)! Imagine her disappointment when we explained No…not those Indians!
Earlier this week I came home and found a very excited Bronwynn. She had written a blog post for Communicating Across Boundaries. Did I think Marilyn would publish it? I cautiously suggested I read it and see what I thought before we talked about sending it on to Marilyn. I was intrigued and delighted to see Bronwynn communicate some of her own heart on what it means to be raised by a TCK mom and know that she is one too but doesn’t necessarily connect with what that means.
I’m ever so grateful for this child. She is discerning and kind, eager to fit, and yet anxious to be her own person. She has a great sense of humour and an uncanny ability to relate to all different kinds of people. She sees strengths in others, she’s able to look past weaknesses. Here she is, in her own 12-year-old words, trying to come to grips with who she is, who she might become:
Ever since we moved to the States my mom has read books and blogs, magazines and newspapers about being a TCK. I fit the descriptions and characteristics of being everything my mom was; I lived in India for 5 whole years, from infantry to a bratty toddler and from there to a crazy 5-year-old. I was a TCK. I imagined myself reading blogs and having life issues, going to counseling and so on. But as I started Kindergarten, I realized that my siblings had it way worse, they were behind on many levels. Though they caught up I know it was tough for them to adjust. Kansas started becoming my home, more and more as I grew up. But I was still a TCK, I still got confused when we had Thanksgiving parties at school (those Indians were just plain wrong in my mind and real Indians would have had a way better feast). But I remember that terrible feeling I had when my tenth birthday came, I was even. I had lived five years in India and five in the States. I felt like I had to choose a side, I knew that I was more American at that point but I didn’t want to let India go.
I was a TCK. The feeling got worse and worse. My eleventh birthday came. I wasn’t sure what I was at that point. I hated all the titles. I wasn’t super close to my grandparents or cousins because I missed the vital years, but I barely remembered India. I just wanted to be Bronzi, period, no Kansan or American after it, but also no TCK or MK either. Even though I have a weird story, and I’m not sure what I am exactly, I am still Bronwynn Bliss, I am me ( even though I’m still figuring out what that means).