TCK Voices: Audrey Howe

Today we have Audrey with us! Welcome, Audrey!

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and the different cultures you are part of?

I’m a sixteen-year-old junior in high school. Some of my hobbies include writing, traveling, speech and debate, and reading. I’ve lived in the US, Brazil, and Kazakhstan – all really different cultures. It was definitely strange going from small-town Louisiana to colorful, fresh Brazil, back to Louisiana, then to Houston, then to Kazakhstan, which is pretty much the opposite of Brazil, and then back to Houston when the pandemic hit. 

What is an advantage of being a TCK?

One advantage of being a TCK is having a broader viewpoint than so many who have lived in one place their whole lives. It’s easy to be dogmatic and unyielding when it comes to issues in areas such as politics and culture, but I feel like because I’ve 1) seen so much of the world and its condition, and 2) lived with so many different people of all ages, ethnicities, backgrounds, religions, viewpoints, etc., it’s easier for me and my family to be compassionate and open-minded when discussing difficult topics.

What is the hardest thing about being a TCK?

It’s got to be the disconnection with people “back home” – whether that be old friends, family, etc. Most people don’t know how to connect with TCKs, who have had such a vastly different experience than them, and so they don’t make an effort. There are always outliers, people who understand, but they’re in the minority.

What is one thing you learned from being a TCK?

One thing I’ve learned from being a TCK is how to be my own company. From long, silent flights to being in places where I’m the only English speaker, being a TCK can be lonely. I channeled that into my writing – finding ways to enjoy the solitude is key. 

How has being a TCK influenced your faith?

I feel like I’ve learned a lot more how to lean on God in my TCK experiences. For instance, when Coronavirus hit China, we were living in Kazakhstan. With only a few days’ notice, my dad decided to send us back to America, in case COVID got to Kazakhstan and we couldn’t find a hospital. My dad stayed in Kazakhstan because of work. Right after we arrived in America, lockdowns started. It was a pretty tough time for my whole family – being away from my dad, finally being back where our friends lived but unable to see them. The situation with my dad being overseas continued for over a year – he was able to visit every few months, but otherwise, he was halfway around the world. I learned from that time how to place my faith in God, and not worry about what I can’t control. I think I really grew in my faith during that period. 

What is one thing you would like to tell your fellow TCKs?

I want to tell my fellow TCKs that they’re not alone. For every misunderstanding family member, every culture shock, every lonely day, there’s another TCK out there experiencing the same thing. We’re a family. There are all kinds of ways to meet TCKs in person and online now – take advantage of it. 

Thank you so much for sharing with us, Audrey! 

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