Career in My Suitcase
(An expatriate woman’s reflection on the job roles in Early Childhood Education Community, either local, national, international or anywhere..)
As a woman living an expatriate lifestyle, I have a bunch of roles in my hand: as the expatriate wife, the expatriate mother as well as the expatriate preschool teacher sometimes. I realize that my life is quite unique and different than most of the people on earth, but I know I am not alone.
I am so grateful to my oilfield engineer husband that his job takes me and our two little angels to the different places around the globe- to see, touch, feel, taste and having our first-hand experience to embrace such an amazing diversity in our life. Without knowing, time flies and it has been more than a decade I and my little family living our live in a ‘nomadic’ lifestyle. Not in the dark caves or the deep remote jungle like our ancestor centuries ago, but from “ocean to ocean, continent to continent, country to country” as the expatriate. Indonesia, as the home country is the starting point, then Oman in Middle East (the place where our two little angels were born) for a decade, and now Brunei Darussalam in Borneo…. And the list still goes on……! Where and when to go? Well, only heaven knows…
Living in an expatriate lifestyle, each of my family member (included my two young children) understand that we have to be ready to pack up anytime or move on every few years. For this reason, it is not easy for me to build a career on established work identity. In the other side, it has been vital that I still need to find a way for my personal self-actualization on the move!
Since I have to give up an established work identity and structured my life around my family on the move, there are times when I am pondering and contemplating, asking such reflective essential questions to myself:
“How could I replace the pieces of my self-identity that are lost when my family moves from country to country? …..How could I touch more life around me and still contribute something to the society around me? Then I finally hit the bottom line with the essential question on how I can still contribute to my nation’s development- Indonesia- a place that long I have left behind but still I call it home……
I came from here, I came from there
In truth, I came from anywhere.
My life is tethered in a rolling stone…….
My dreams are anchored in the wind…..
(Third Culture Kids Poem-Author Unknown)
So, if you were me, what do you think of the job roles in early childhood education community that could accommodate most of the essential questions in my life as well as suitable to be a job that can be ‘put in my suitcase’ while I am moving across the globe? Believe me, it takes years for me to find the answer to this quest… and I am still searching until now!
I consider that continuing my previous job and experience as the preschool teacher in the international school for the expatriate children will be very worthy. The valuable knowledge that I get from Walden University along in my journey to get my master degree in early childhood education could be a great asset to my further involvement to the different role that I choose.
Recently I found a very interesting international organization that connect the Indonesian living overseas communities around the world and unite themselves into one big community to create a tangible force in order to achieve a better Indonesia. The name of the organization is the Global Indonesia Diaspora Network that currently operates in 34 countries across the globe, with its head quarter is the Indonesian Diaspora Network in Los Angeles, USA. To my surprise, the Indonesian Diaspora Network Brunei has just been establish in March 2013! I would like to find out more about it for sure!
Who knows that my small dream to create initiatives and community of practice to preserve Bahasa Indonesia as the mother tongue and nation’s identity through our children could be a small stone that I drop in the pond. Maybe it would just make a ripple today… but who knows someday it would be a wave…..
PS: I wrote this reflection in my cozy living room, where I can still watch and supervise my children play as well as greeting our “friendly visitors” who come and visit us regularly.
Regards from the heart of Borneo, Brunei Darussalam
Indonesian Diaspora Network. http://www.diasporaindonesia.org/