A Little Bit of Expat Experience in Every Chokladbollar

“The preparation of chokladbollar is usually quite consistent across the different cities, with only minimal variation from the traditional recipe. I decided to put together my passion for chocolate balls and my life as a Third Culture Kid, preparing chokladbollar with ingredients from all the places that I have lived in. Some of my recipes include in fact matcha (a strong green tea from Japan), kaya (coconut jam very common in Singapore and Malaysia), bakkwa (a Chinese salty-sweet dried pork jerky meat also typical in Singapore), and even s’mores (marshmallows and biscuits melted together, commonly eaten in the USA). I put a little bit of my expat experience in every chokladbollar I prepare!”

Alaine Handa

About the Book

I love the way Alaine’s experiences all around the world have come together in this literally sweet cookbook.

Tanya Crossman, author of Misunderstood

A Lesson for TCKs – Everyone Leaves

The experience of living overseas as a child is very different to the experience of living overseas as an adult. The impact of childhood experiences last a lifetime. They are formative experiences – they teach us how the world works. We all internalise ‘lessons’ from our childhood experiences.

TCKs grow up between cultures, learning lessons from more than one cultural viewpoint. Often these messages contradict one another, and learning to navigate this conflict is part of what makes a TCK. The lessons they learn about how the world works, therefore, often come less from individual cultures and more from the fact that they juggle more than one cultural viewpoint. The experience of being “in between” greatly affects their understanding of the world.

As I interviewed hundreds of TCKs there were a lot of repeated themes, and even specific phrases, that became familiar. These were the lessons these TCKs had learned through their childhood experiences. In this post I’m introducing one of the most common lessons of a TCK childhood: Everyone leaves.

Read More | About Misunderstood

Misunderstood – fascinating and thought-provoking

Fascinating and well written book that demonstrates beyond doubt that modern day Third Culture Kids (#TCKs) really do face complex and debilitating issues – hundreds of TCKs were surveyed or interviewed for the book. As well as providing some valuable research material, the book gives a real sense of what TCKs actually feel: “My life feels like a series of learning how to stack stones on the wall around my heart,” and “Every time I felt sad, I let myself feel it. Some of those days, I laid down in bed for a while, and let myself be tired out by the grieving process.”

This is a really helpful book, bringing all the issues together in a well-structured and logical way. As well as providing food for thought for other TCKs and their families, I think this will resonate with others: many of the issues highlighted in the book apply not just to TCKs, and not just to adults who were once TCKs, but to anyone who, like me, took the plunge and moved abroad. A really absorbing and thought-provoking book.

Waterstone’s Review

The Book | The Review