Third Culture Kids Series: Painting Pictures

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Third Culture Kids Series: Painting Pictures

Today I’m announcing a new guest post series and giving a call out for submissions.

It is something precious and dear to me, and something I am currently navigating my way through, and something I have so much to learn about.

The series will be on the wide-open topic of Third Culture Kids. The title is Painting Pictures, taken from Sara Grove’s song Painting Pictures of Egypt. The goal is to create and provide word (and image) pictures of the tapestry of experiences involved with being or loving a TCK. There are loads of quality resources available – blogs, books, websites, conferences, songs – and we’ll share those over the series as well.


by Graziella Leblanc, a Djibouti-based painter, interviewed for the Djibouti Post

There are all kinds of viewpoints

Being a TCK (young, teenage, college, adult)

Parenting a TCK

Married to a TCK

Friend/coworker/roommate of a TCK

Educating a TCK

Counseling a TCK

Child of a TCK

Grandparent of a TCK…


And all kinds of perspectives








And all kinds of experiences, from highly positive to devastatingly negative.


I want to hear and share all of it.

Next week I’ll tell you more about this painting above and why I chose it as the image for this series. The series officially starts in two weeks and you will not, will not, want to miss the opening post. I am beyond thrilled and honored that this particular writer has agreed to launch the series but I’m going to make you wait to find out who it is.

So, what do I need from you? I know there are a ton of people I don’t know but need to hear from. Sometimes the conversation on TCKs, both in real life and in blog spaces, seems dominated by Americans or by faith-based folks. I’ve heard from military kids and career kids that they have felt left out. I want to include all aspects. I also want to include a global perspective. A TCK is not just an American child raised elsewhere. Its an Indonesian child raised in Kuwait. A South African in China. Hopefully we’ll be able to hear from a wide variety.

Please email me or leave a comment if you are interested in contributing, if you know someone I should contact, if you have questions or topics you’d like to see covered, if you have resources…

painting2I am making a commitment to my own Third Culture Kids and to readers of Djibouti Jones to learn and listen and speak and pray with an extra-intentional focus over the course of this series, for however long it lasts. Will you join me?


  1. Mary May 14, 2013 at 6:30 am - Reply

    I recently blogged on my take on Mother’s Day after my Mom passed away and I moved to a different country for the third time. Losing a mom while figuring out how to adjust to this new culture while also having to participate in Western activities surrounding Mother’s Day was tough. I don’t know if that’s exactly what you were looking for but I thought I should mention it just in case.

    • Rachel Pieh Jones May 14, 2013 at 11:00 am - Reply

      Mary, how about zipping me an email: and we can talk. Thanks for sharing your post.

  2. richelle @ "our wright"-ing pad May 14, 2013 at 9:31 am - Reply

    CAN. NOT. WAIT. to see what all you and your writing team come up with.

    tcks and their issues are near and dear to my heart – for many, many reasons – but probably most of all because they are such amazing and incredible people.

    • Rachel Pieh Jones May 14, 2013 at 11:01 am - Reply


  3. Marilyn Gardner May 14, 2013 at 4:01 pm - Reply

    So excited that you are painting this picture! I just shared on the Communicating Across Boundaries Facebook page as well as on the TCK – Third Culture Kids Rock Facebook page. Looking forward to hearing a lot of diverse voices.

    • Rachel Pieh Jones May 14, 2013 at 4:45 pm - Reply

      Thanks for sharing it Marilyn!

  4. Jenni Gate May 14, 2013 at 5:03 pm - Reply

    I would love to be part of this! Marilyn Gardner tagged me in the link she posted. I am an American TCK who grew up all over Africa and Asia, and I have moved a lot as an adult. My dad was an agriculturist with USAID.

    • Rachel Pieh Jones May 14, 2013 at 5:16 pm - Reply

      Jenni – great! Can you email me: and we’ll talk? Love the pics on your blog of Arches National Park, I went there in college and have such fun memories.

  5. Laura May 15, 2013 at 7:06 pm - Reply

    I’m so interested to read this series, and would love to participate. I’m an American TCK who grew up as a missionary kid in Kenya (from birth to age 18 when I went back to the States for college). Now, as an adult, I live abroad and am raising 3 TCK’s. We are on our 3rd foreign country in 7 years (you can read all the messy details on the about page of my blog). One of the things I have been pondering lately is how raising TCK’s is different for an adult TCK than a monocultural adult. Maybe we can understand them better since we’ve been there, but do we also bring our own issues and baggage and unresolved grief to the table? Here’s the link to the post where I talk about that:

    • Rachel Pieh Jones May 16, 2013 at 6:10 pm - Reply

      Thanks Laura, I will send you an email.

  6. Angie May 16, 2013 at 6:02 am - Reply

    Hi! I just recently found your blog and its been so encouraging and challenging to me. I’m so excited about that you will be featuring TCKs next. I have 4 TCKs and we have lived overseas/America/and back overseas over the last 14 years. I started a blog with some other ladies to blog to help encourage families homeschooling overseas. I have also been struck recently how quickly some of my kids had some typical TCK issues flare up. I blogged about it here.

    Thanks for all your doing to bring people together to blog about TCKs no matter where we live!

    • Rachel Pieh Jones May 16, 2013 at 6:17 pm - Reply

      Thanks Angie, welcome to the blog! Thanks for the link too – great site.

  7. clara wiggins May 16, 2013 at 12:48 pm - Reply

    Hi, I am a tck, child of a tck and for a while had two little travelling nomads of my own. Well I still have them but we are no longer overseas. But a lot of my choices in parenting, schooling etc have been very much influenced by my own childhood experiences. Let me know if I can help. I also have my own project that I am working on, a book about trailing spouses that you might be able to help me with!

    • Rachel Pieh Jones May 16, 2013 at 6:17 pm - Reply

      Clara, I’ll send an email. Would love to hear about your book too.

  8. Ute Limacher May 16, 2013 at 2:08 pm - Reply

    Hi, I’m a ATCK/expat-since-birth raising three TCK’s in NL. I’m more an “European-TCK” as I’ve lived in several European Countries but never overseas. I would like to be part of this! As Laura, I’m pondering how raising TCK’s is different for an adult TCK than a monocultural adult. I’m planning to do a research on that ( and would be great to get some more responses. I know that most of the TCK’s are really world-citizens, but there are also many TCK’s who did live in Europe only, or “only” one continent, but several countries. How does their view of being ATCK differ from that of other ATCK’s? –

    • Rachel Pieh Jones May 16, 2013 at 6:34 pm - Reply

      Great! I’ll send you an email with more info.

  9. Rawia Liverpool May 16, 2013 at 3:15 pm - Reply

    Great idea! I am a mother of two beautiful and special TCK girls. I am not sure at this moment if I will contribute, however I would love to read and hear all about this project of yours. I love the painting you chose as the image for the series as it combines the two parts that make me. It is an image of an African and the writing is in Arabic and says “Africa”. Looking forward to the next post.

    • Rachel Pieh Jones May 16, 2013 at 6:43 pm - Reply

      Rawia, I love that you are connecting with this painting, and the series. I’ll be writing more about the picture next week. As you follow along, stay in touch and if you’d like to contribute at some point, just let me know.

  10. Lynette May 29, 2013 at 7:28 pm - Reply

    I love this idea and am excited you’re putting it together. I’m an ATCK (Army Brat) who had never heard of TCKs until I hit my 40s. I’m getting my doctorate in Psychology and have recently started studying the peer-reviewed literature as well as becoming more involved with the TCK community online. I see myself doing a lot more work (personal and professional) in this area in the future. Thank you for creating a space for people to discuss TCKs and if there is some way you think I can help, let me know 🙂

    • Rachel Pieh Jones May 30, 2013 at 4:23 am - Reply

      Thanks Lynette, good to hear from you. I’m still open to hear from people who want to write for the series, though there isn’t an opening for quite a long time! I’ll keep you in mind.

  11. […] is always browner, depending on which you love. And Marilyn Gardner makes this so clear in todays Painting Pictures post. Marilyn is an internet treasure, an Anne-of-Green-Gables kindred spirit, and finding her this […]

  12. maryanne @ mama smiles June 6, 2013 at 7:21 pm - Reply

    I just wrote about being a third culture kid on my blog today – and Janneke of DrieCulturen sent me off to check out your series. I look forward to reading it, and am happy to contribute if you want me to, at some point.

    • Rachel Pieh Jones June 7, 2013 at 12:53 pm - Reply

      Thanks Maryanne, I’ll be in touch.

  13. […] radio silence today to let you know that I am guest posting over at Djibouti Jones as part of the Painting Pictures series on Third Culture Kids. I am so honored to be a part of this series and I hope you’ll take the time to read my post, […]

  14. […] Painting Pictures post is by Pari Ali and I am so excited to share her words with you. Pari also wrote Hijab: The […]

  15. […] week’s Painting Pictures post is by Galia Rautenberg. Galia is Israeli, married to a German, adopted a Chinese daughter, and […]

  16. […] Painting Pictures post is brought to you by Joy L. Salmon. Joy is in the middle of a busy week, called up to work in […]

  17. […] Painting Pictures post comes from Trey Morrison, our first dad to post in the series. I am excited to offer you his […]

  18. […] Today’s Painting Pictures post is by Idelette McVicker. One year ago this month I wrote a post for SheLoves Magazine and then I received an email inviting me to join a community of stunning writers I knew almost nothing about. But when Idelette writes and invites you to something, you say yes because she is inviting you to joy and community and deep waters. My writing and thinking have been challenged, strengthened, and grown less isolating since that email exchange and all I can think of is ‘gift.’ SheLoves and Idelette have been gifts. I am thankful and honored to host her words, always brave and strong, here. […]

  19. […] week two of my three Third Culture Kids re-entered the United States. My third TCK is coming in a few days. This isn’t long-term […]

  20. […] the Painting Pictures series officially launches with the wise and gracious and focusing words of Ruth E. Van Reken, […]

  21. […] Painting Pictures is brought to you by Janneke Jellema, one of my favorite twitter peeps. Come to think of it, we […]

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