BenThere S3 E4: Author, Coach, and Badass, Claire Hauxwell.

Claire Hauxwell Claire Hauxwell is a professional badass, writer, author, and coach. A trained supply chain professional and ex-spreadsheet lover, …

BenThere S3 E4: Author, Coach, and Badass, Claire Hauxwell.

BenThere S3 E4: Author, Coach, and Badass, Claire Hauxwell.

Claire Hauxwell

Claire Hauxwell is a professional badass, writer, author, and coach. A trained supply chain professional and ex-spreadsheet lover, she now puts her Type A personality to work by deconstructing the nuances of expat life. With more than a decade of global living experience, Claire shares her wisdom on her My Theory on Blooming blog and coaches female expat accompanying spouses to create fulfilling and intentional lives abroad. If she’s not roaming the aisles of the grocery store or meandering the forest with her dogs, you’ll find her sweating it out at CrossFit or having cocktails with friends. Claire and her family currently live in Switzerland, but every summer return to the shores of Muskegon, Michigan, for a taste of home.

Claire is also the author of the new book, “Badass Abroad-How To Get Your Expat Shift Together” and can be reached at the following:

Website: clairehauxwell.com

Blog: My Theory On Blooming

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chauxwell

Instagram: Mytheoryonblooming

Listen in as we chat about, well, pretty much everything!

benthere.org

*recorded Sunday, November 13, 2022

#expat#author#badass#imfine#global#mytheoryonblooming#getyourexpatshifttogether#coach#switzerland#michigan#benthere

BenThere S3 E3: TCK, Award-winning author and Editor of Among Worlds Magazine, Rachel Hicks.

Rachel Hicks

https://streamyard.com/ycz26j9wkd78

Rachel Hicks is a second-generation TCK raising third-generation TCKs. She was born in the foothills of the Himalayas and spent the bookends of her childhood in India, with moves to Pakistan, Jordan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Hong Kong in between. She married her college sweetheart and managed to live in one place for seven whole years (Phoenix, Arizona) before moving as a family with two young children to Chengdu, China, where they lived for another seven years. They repatriated to the U.S. in 2013 and now live in Baltimore, Maryland.

Rachel’s poetry and fiction have appeared in The Briar Cliff Review, Baltimore Review, Relief, St. Katherine Review, Off the Coast, Gulf Stream, and other journals. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee and the 2019 Briar Cliff Review Fiction Prize winner. She is the editor of Among Worlds magazine (for adult TCKs) and an associate editor at Del Sol Press. She works as a freelance copyeditor. Her career has included teaching (high school English and homeschool) and volunteering with an international relief and development agency. She uses her writing to explore themes of loss, exile, worldviews, their consequences, and bearing witness to human dignity.

To see samples of Rachel’s writing and published work and information about her copyediting services, visit rachelehicks.com.

Among Worlds magazine and submission details: https://interactionintl.org/publications/among-worlds-magazine/ (submission deadline for Dec. issue on the theme of RISK is October 30, but will accept pieces a few days beyond that date)

Resources for TCKs and globally mobile families:

Interaction International — Services to TCKs, globally mobile families, and people who work with or care for TCKs (counselors, educators, etc.): https://www.interactionintl.org.

TCK Training — Services to TCKs, globally mobile families, and more: https://www.tcktraining.com (especially check out their Resources section)

Daraja — TCK organization founded by Michael Pollock (whose father, Dave Pollock, co-wrote the TCK “Bible” Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds): https://www.darajatck.org; Daraja offers coaching, consulting, and events for TCKs at any stage of life

benthere.org

https://streamyard.com/ycz26j9wkd78

#writer #tck #thirdculture #globalliving #globalparenting #travel #acclimation #amongworlds #repatriation #life #benthere

Unabashed

BenThere Season 3, Episode 1

Photo by Daniel Reche on Pexels.com

All new BenThere, Season 3, Episode 1, Unabashed. Watch below as BenThere takes a serious but important turn, as I talk to Seth Louton and Seth Winterhalter regarding men’s mental health. Honest, raw, and unscripted, we get real about a topic that is literally killing men. Give it a listen, share, and please seek help if you or someone you know is struggling with mental health. You aren’t alone.

https://streamyard.com/q23cpreybmw5

#mentalhealth #talkitout #mensmentalhealth #grace #mentalhealthawareness #haveaconversation #youarentalone 

**Disclosure. This episode is a chat between friends and in no way shape or form should be used as an alternative to professional medical help if needed. Please contact your local healthcare provider for additional resources or try an online counseling option such as betterhelp.com and/or talkspace.com.

Seth Louton can be reached at: 

sethlouton@outlook.com

Seth Louton | Facebook

sethtakesphonepictures (Instagram)

Seth Winterhalter can be reached at:

seth@haltingwinter.com

Seth Winterhalter | Facebook

sethwinterhalter (Instagram)

BENTHERE.org

BV.

Gas Station Identity Crisis

No, this story isn’t about gas prices, road trips, or Big Gulps. This is a story about identity, or identity crisis if you will. The other day, I was at the gas station, minding my business, grabbing a quick snack, and filling up my car. It was a routine trip to get gas until it wasn’t. Standing in line and waiting for my turn to pay, I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around to see another patron grinning ear to ear. “Dave!” “It’s been forever, man! How are you doing, buddy?” Puzzled and confused, I didn’t know what to say. I had absolutely no idea who this character was, yet I was about to be on the receiving end of a solid and energetic bro hug. I thought about going along with the story and being “Dave” for a few minutes. Still, I quickly realized that wasn’t going to work, especially after he started reminiscing about the time in high school “we” headed out to Wendover, Nevada, for a weekend of drinking, gambling, and testing out our fake IDs.

After hearing all about what “our” old crew was up to, I finally came clean and told him my real name. He, of course, thought I was kidding, and when he pressed me more about old memories “we” shared, I had to remind him that I personally wasn’t there. When I humbly told him that I wasn’t from Utah originally and that I grew up overseas, specifically in Hong Kong and Taiwan, he stared at me, stunned and angry. He then told me that I was being an ass, that I was much cooler in high school (no argument there), and then walked off while flipping me the bird.

While I should have been shocked, this wasn’t the first time I’ve been confused for a local somebody, only to be accused of being smug and making up an international story. I laugh off those moments now, but truth be told, for a long time, those same moments triggered a yearning for a simpler upbringing and identity. Growing up overseas was fantastic and something I don’t regret at all, but that type of rearing can shake your true sense of identity and belonging.

As a kid, I couldn’t wait to get stateside in the summers so that I could be “American,” only to realize fast that I didn’t quite know what that meant. That feeling continued into college, and as a collegiate athlete, the game was the same, but I had to learn how to acclimate to my teammates and the surroundings. Despite having great teammates and friends, I was an outsider looking in and constantly trying to find balance and acceptance, which I still struggle with today.

This may shock many who know me now, as I view myself as more outgoing and appreciate great friends and enjoyable chats. Still, when the subject turns to me, I do anything I can to change the topic or get out of the conversation altogether. Odd, I know, but the idea of even small talk about my background, whether to friends or even a gas station stranger, still makes me sweat. It’s genuinely not a matter of arrogance, but more so that lingering childhood fear of not being understood, believed, or validated. I think to a degree, we all simply want to be seen for our true selves, even when that self can be a bit complicated. Like many others that grew up like me (Third Culture Kids, or TCK’s for short), my story is just that. It’s not better or worse than anyone else, but an identity story, nonetheless. 

BV

So long, Jumbo.

Jumbo Floating Restaurant, Hong Kong

Jumbo is no more. That’s the text message I received from a childhood friend last Sunday night. It caught me off guard at first, as I had just gotten home and was smack in the middle of unpacking from a weekend trip while also thinking about my dad being it was Father’s Day. I was and still am oddly surprised at how hard the news hit me being it wasn’t like I was losing a family member or friend. For those that aren’t familiar, Jumbo was an iconic floating restaurant located in Hong Kong for almost fifty years, serving the likes of royalty, dignitaries, and laymen like me. Yet the story didn’t stop at just the closing of its doors. It was reported just a few days later, that while being escorted out of Aberdeen harbor to an undisclosed location, Jumbo capsized and sank deeply into the South China Sea, gone for good.

Maybe it was fitting that I heard the news on Father’s Day, as one of the greatest memories I have of the Jumbo (and there were a lot) was the time my dad tricked me into eating the eyeballs of the fish we had ordered. He had me believe that doing so was good luck and a rite of passage for young men in Asia. Never one to question why and being a naïve ten-year-old celebrating my first double-digit birthday, I ate those eyeballs like a champ. Realizing I had been dupped and wanting the rubbery taste of eyeball gone for good, I reached for the closest beverage at the table, chugging my dad’s frosty San Miguel beer much to the surprise of my dad and the entire wait staff. Suffice it to say the rubbery taste was gone and replaced by a solid head-to-toe buzz.

But enough about my first beer, as this is supposed to be my goodbye memoir to a floating restaurant. As an ex-pat kid growing up in Hong Kong in the 1980s, Jumbo represented so much more than just a good meal. It was a metaphor for the times, as it was half museum and half nightclub.  More than anything, I remember the energy of Jumbo as no matter how many times you went there for a meal, no two visits were ever the same. You knew you were in for a culinary treat and cultural experience as soon as you arrived. Jumbo was a go-to for birthdays, friends and family that were visiting from out of town, and many other celebratory occasions. Realistically, there was never a bad reason for enjoying Jumbo, but that’s not to say we went there a lot. Jumbo was mystical and intriguing, even for someone as young as I was.

Decorated in neon lights on the outside, the inside was full of fancy Asian artifacts, colorful paintings, round tables, and oversized chairs. The amazing smells of Cantonese cuisine coming from the main kitchen, the sounds of patrons enjoying both loud conversations and laughs, and the sight of the wait staff moving in sync as they took orders and delivered meals to the many. As fast-paced as those nights and meals would go, for whatever reason, the memories I go back to appear almost in slow motion in my mind.

While I was fortunate to visit Hong Kong a few years ago, I never did make it back to Jumbo. Like so many of my childhood memories of Asia, I just assumed it would always be there and I’d eventually return. What I would give for one more round of Dim Sum, or sweet corn and crab meat soup, or king prawns, or Peking duck, all washed down of course with another frosty, albeit legal this time, San Miguel.

To borrow a quote from a family friend, “Jumbo was truly a fixture of life in such a magical city.”  So very true. Goodbye, Jumbo, and thanks for the memories.

BV

Change.

Photo courtesy of Mohamed Nohassi

A new year rings in a lot of reflection, hope, and potential for better days ahead. Like so many, 2021 was rough for me as I battled setbacks, frustrations, and personal loss. The new year is supposed to be about fresh starts, optimism, and change, yet two weeks into 2022, I’ve keep catching myself reflecting on the negative that happened over the last twelve months. I admit that being human can be hard at times, especially when dealing with things out of one’s own control. Wheels spin, rabbit holes get fallen into, and seeing the light at the end of the tunnel seems like an impossibility, especially the more we crave stability. We want things to instantly improve or a return to a simpler time, but that’s not reality or how life works, unfortunately. In other words, we can’t go back and there’s no speed up machine to the future. 

Truth be told, I’ve been guilty of wanting to be somewhere else, doing something else, and whether intentional or not, I’ve also taken others for granted. I’ve pointed the finger and used specific situations as the scapegoat for my own frustrations. Yet if 2021 taught me anything, it was the notion that nothing is promised to any of us. Pandemics can remain, health can quickly turn, plans can be altered quickly, and constants can crumble. We tend to overthink and worry about things that really don’t matter instead of living in the now and simply being at peace with not only who we are, but where we are. I’m not saying we shouldn’t continue to dream big and better ourselves, because we absolutely should. We must have goals and dreams, as that’s what keeps the human spirit thriving. What I mean is that instead of dwelling on the past and desperately craving the future, we should put more energy into being present in the moment. Live for today, that is. Love harder. Care deeper. Listen more. Judge less. Have fun. Take risks. Let go of grudges. Travel. Stop blaming. Start living. Obviously, I’m not reinventing any wheels regarding those suggestions, as we’ve all seen and probably read them before, but seeing and doing are two separate things. If you don’t like where you’re at, change the circumstances. Period.

While I’m not one to make detailed resolutions for each new year, I do believe in making changes. Loss can open the eyes to regret and regret is something I’d like to avoid more of this year. Letdowns and misfortunes happen to us all, but it’s how we respond that determines the progress we make. Hiding behind our stumbling blocks only intensifies our willingness to dwell on the past instead of focusing on the good. Using our setbacks as motivation for change starts by taking ownership and with a new year upon us, no time is better to act upon than right here and right now. Someone I respect greatly recently told me that it’s alright to give myself permission to be a little selfish if that means creating space and the right frame of mind for me. That’s something I couldn’t agree more with, as change takes time. At the end of the day, most people are dealing with things the rest of us know nothing about, so while working on ourselves this year, let’s also be kinder in general. Simply stated, life is short, so just enjoy the ride a little bit more.

Wishing you and yours a happy 2022 full of health, happiness and change.

B.

Family Time.

Yesterday was Christmas and while I’ve had plenty of them, this one was different in that it was beautifully mellow with a pinch of emptiness. I got to spend the day hanging with my wife and our dogs, opening presents, downing champagne, and eating strawberries while watching a plethora of cheesy television. It was also the first Christmas I’ve spent in a while without snow, and more significantly, the first Christmas I’ve spent with both of my parents now gone. My parents loved the holidays and instilled in my brother and me early on the importance of giving to others rather than receiving, especially this time of year. While it was a bittersweet day, it was impossible not to reflect on the influence of family and how much mine has and will continue to mean to me.

Like everyone, my family is beautiful, complicated, opinionated, and strong. We fight (literally), we love but more than anything, we have each other’s back. I was lucky enough to have a brother, cousins, aunts, and uncles that I still got to see and mingle with over the weekend (both in person and zoom). While a lot of the conversation was poignant in that we chatted a great deal about my parents, it was still calming knowing that others were feeling the same way that I was. It wasn’t all melancholy, as we laughed plenty, sipped strongly, and hugged even longer than normal. That’s the only way we know how to do things, especially during the holiday season, and it was greatly appreciated.

I was also happy to chat with my “chosen family” both near and far and old and new. Some called just to check in, some called to talk football, but even more simply sent messages and well wishes. From a group chat with friends from my overseas school days to college buddies, former coworkers, and even those I’ve coached with over the years, it was good to not only connect but reconnect and laugh. I also had the good fortune of getting to spend time with my wife’s family, who not only treat me as one of their own but simply accept me for who I am. I value my “chosen family” just as much as I do my blood relatives, as both hold a significant hand in who I am today and who I strive to be tomorrow.

That said, while I’m indeed a work in progress, I have been incredibly blessed with those that I have around me. While I am guilty of focusing on the negative every now and then, especially when life gets a bit complicated, I do indeed have a lot to be thankful for. I’ve failed at times both professionally and personally, but I can say without a doubt that I hit the jackpot when it comes to surrounding myself with quality people. I still have a lot to improve on, growth to make, and consistency to practice, but all in all, I’m doing well in the life department.

Here’s hoping your holidays have been full of family time, happiness, love, and perspective.

BV.