By Catarina Queiroz
An eclectic bunch. Tears and strong emotions. Scholars and sturdy research. Great food and networking. So many interesting people to talk to. That was my first Families in Global Transition (FIGT) experience.
All the different backgrounds
I caught bits and pieces, glimpses of the whole story as I hopped from one session to another to keep up with my writing scholar duties. The sessions I covered were great, but I wish I could have attended the others as well. My favorite part of the conference was getting to meet people from so many different backgrounds and soak in their rich experiences.
Hybrids and originals
What do a missionary kid, a PhD student and a grieving mom have in common? A lot it seems, since their humanity has been shaped and reshaped by their nomadic life. Living in different countries and adjusting to several cultures changes us – body, soul and all. We become unique cultural hybrids. Amidst locals we sometimes feel lonely, misunderstood, out of place. But when we go to a conference like FIGT, it’s as if we are finally reunited with our Original family – a bit like in the TV show (minus the vampire aspect).
Writing it down
Now that it’s over I’m lucky I get to process it through the articles I will be writing. The beauty of writing is it’s subjective. I’m sure my view of a session is mine and only mine, but that’s what makes it interesting and shareable. It’s a gift, the writer’s life – being allowed to phrase and rephrase until you are content. You cannot truly get something out of your system until you shape it into words. In that sense writing it down is the ultimate redemption.
The whole story
I’m going to write about the sessions I attended – that’s my contribution to the bits and pieces of giddy exhilaration, overwhelming sadness, great sense of humor and profound reflection that were scattered in those conference rooms and the FIGT atmosphere in general. My fellow scholars will contribute with their words as well. I’m sure they saw, heard and felt a lot that I missed. They also have different filters and preconceptions, other experiences that will fit in just right, maintaining the balance of it all. Together we can maybe attempt to tell the whole story.
Catarina Queiroz was a PPWR scholar at the FIGT 2016. conference. Catarina was born in Portugal but spent her childhood in South Africa and Botswana. She was in her early teens when her family returned to Portugal, where she went on to major in Philosophy, becoming a trained high school teacher. After getting married and having her daughter she traded teaching for freelance writing, translating and coaching, and joined her husband for a two year adventure in the Netherlands. She is now back in Portugal, enjoying reverse cultural shock yet again, writing on her blog and working as an Expat Partner Consultant. In her free time she loves reading and travelling. www.bycatarina.com