Gifts for Third Culture Kids

Third Culture Kids have the world at their fingertips. They hike volcanoes, watch wildebeest migrations, don’t need language apps because they actually know several. Plus, they probably live far away from a lot of the people who love them and want to give them a gift. So what are some good gift ideas for the Third Culture Kids in your life?

Between Worlds

By Marilyn Gardner and also, Passages through Pakistan

Dreams from My Father

By Barack Obama, a fellow Third Culture Kid, not too shabby of a fellow TCK companion.

Books for younger TCKs

Esperanza Rising 8-12 years old

The Turtle of Oman 6-12 years old

B at Home 8-12 years old

Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match 4-8 years old

My Name is Yoon 4-8 years old

Homesick 8-12 years old

Persepolis a graphic novel, teens

I Hate English! ages 4+

My mom has created paper books that tell a familiar story, like Snow White, but include my kids’ names. She has also made them CDs with music that inserts their names. These make great gifts, the kids love to hear themselves in the songs and the stories and they feel like Grandma is telling them the story herself.

Record a Story Books, like this one:

Awesome Luggage Tags

After 20+ hours of travel, every suitcase starts to look the same. Help TCKs find their own bag and distinguish themselves with something like this:

Portable Battery Charger

Portable Power Adapter

Noise Canceling Headphones

My TCKs don’t have these, so I’m not offering a product review, I’ve heard these are pretty amazing. Just sayin’ TCKs probably wouldn’t be opposed to using headphones to cancel out some of the cross cultural noise they encounter.

A Local Experience

There is always another restaurant to try or trail to hike, a cultural event to participate in, or a regional sports game to catch. Find out what your TCK loves and see if you can gift them a local experience.

Their Favorite American (or passport country) Candy

If forced to choose based on taste preference, my kids would probably go for the gum and muesli cereals they have grown up on here. But there is still something special about those brightly colored candy boxes of Nerds or Smarties that rings of “treat!” My TCKs love getting surprise packages with American goodies inside.

A Commitment to Take Them Shopping

Next time they return to their home country, take them shopping for clothes or shoes, so they have something new and culturally ‘cool.’ Or, if they have Amazon Prime (I promise I don’t hate you, I’m just a little jealous), send them something the kids their same age in your country love.

TCKs, ATCKs, parents of TCKs, what other gifts would you suggest?

Gift Ideas for Runners, 2017

Runners just need shoes, right? Technically, yes. Plus shorts, t-shirts, sports bras, socks, entrance fees, magazines, GU, vaseline, cheerleaders, good podcasts, headphones, armbands, water bottles, massages…need quickly becomes relative, but there are some items that are super awesome for runners, and that make each run less challenging.

What, specifically, might the runner in your life appreciate? Here are some ideas.

 

Once a Runner

I haven’t read this yet, but I should. I hear that every runner should. It has a sort of cult following among runners. I’ve read excerpts.

Run Fast. Eat Slow.

Shalane Flanagan (winner!! of the New York City Marathon, 2017) and Elyse Kopecky wrote this fantastic cookbook for runners. Delicious food, nothing complicated, all designed with the runner in mind. I’m a big fan of their Superhero Muffins and so many other recipes.

Run Gum

I heard about this on a podcast, in an interview with Nick Symmonds who created Run Gum.

TomTom Spark Watch

I got this last year for Christmas and I still absolutely love it. I use it every single day. I tore the band and the sent me a new one. It holds podcasts, music, does GPS for all my runs, is easily programmed to buzz during intervals or tempo training. You can read more of my thoughts on this watch here.

 

Gu, Nuun, gel blocks

Gus may feel slimy going down but they really do make a difference on long, sweaty runs. Gatorade gives me diarrhea, so I’m all about these other energy sources. I like Gu because it goes down easy, I like the blocks because they allow me to spread out my intake. Nuun are electrolyte tablets I add to my water when I get home after a sweaty run and they help kick start recovery. All of these things can also be done naturally, bananas, dates, chocolate milk, etc. And these processed items get kind of gross when during really, epic-long training. But they are easy to pack, store, and travel with. They make great stocking stuffers.

Headphones

Bluetooth, like these, are amazing. No more getting tangled up in my cords.

Or, I love these for how they fit around my ears and don’t chafe and don’t cost a billion bucks.

 

Foam Roller

Essential for post workout recovery. I use mine on my hips, especially.

Hair Band

If you have wispy hair or short hair and want to keep it out of your face but don’t want bands that will slide off your head, check these out. They stay on, they look cute, and they are super affordable.

Non-rash causing sports bra

Why are we still talking about problems with sports bras? Even expensive ones? Who thought sports bras need to have big, fat, abrasive seams? I get rashes on my sternum, my shoulders, my chest, even my back. They chafe and bleed. Finally, I found a sports bra that doesn’t make me bleed. Still supportive (for the smaller-chested among us), still affordable, no more scarring.

 

Compression Socks

After a long run, the feeling of something gently squeezing my feet feels divine. These socks just plain feel good. They also help with recovery. But still, they just feel good. Your running friend’s feet will be happy.

Toe Nails

I asked my mom for these and while I thought moms were supposed to give their beloved children whatever we wanted, she didn’t. I don’t even think she tried. But then, she didn’t need to! I didn’t lose my toe nails after all. See, Asics changed the shoes I’ve used for over a decade. They shrank the toe box. Since I live way over here, about a 20-hour flight from a decent shoe store, I used to order and order the same ones. I can’t do that anymore (thanks a lot Asics). I took a risk on a new brand and I scored. I cut up my Asics to make room for my toes and when I logged too many miles in those shoes, I turned to my new Brooks Ghost. And I fell in love. So much room for my toes to wiggle and turn and not squash into each other! And my nails stopped bruising. I just might keep them. Thanks anyway, mom.

Not the cheapest shoes out there, I try to buy last season’s shoes and that usually shaves $40 off, which makes them excellent quality and a more affordable price.

Runners, what do you love to get or give for gifts?

*affiliate links included

Gift Ideas for Writers, 2017

Here comes gift-giving season. (There are definitely affiliate links in this post).

What to buy for the writer in your life? Speaking from experience, here are some awesome gifts to both receive and to give. Gifts that will encourage, support, and inspire.

Coffee Mugs

I love this one, with Jane Austen quotes

And this one, with Cheryl Strayed’s signature quote, “Write like a mother f*er.”

 

Scrivener

To quote their website, scrivener is

“For writing. And writing. And writing.

Scrivener is the go-to app for writers of all kinds, used every day by best-selling novelists, screenwriters, non-fiction writers, students, academics, lawyers, journalists, translators and more. Scrivener won’t tell you how to write—it simply provides everything you need to start writing and keep writing.”

I just started using Scrivener in November and wish I had started long ago. Instead of using paper index cards, spreading them all over my living room floor and sweating because the ceiling fan would destroy the meticulously arranged piles, I could have used the handy digital index card tool. Scrivener has so many other useful tools, I’m still figuring it all out.

A standard license costs $45.00

 

 

The Artist’s Way

“A course in discovering and recovering your creative self.”

I checked this out from my Kindle library, not realizing it is actually designed to be a course with tools and ideas to be implemented over time. Sadly, my checkout period ended far before I had time to finish, but I could already tell this is an incredibly useful tool and resource for inspiring creativity of all kinds.

Available, currently, for $13.29 from Amazon

A writing class

There are so many options for writing classes: in person, online, in small groups, in large communities.

For the writer you love, you could check out Gotham Writer’s Workshops, The Loft Literary Center, and Jeff Goins’ Tribe Writers, to name a few.

Prices vary widely

An afternoon or evening of free babysitting

For parents of small children, this communicates that you both enjoy their kids (hopefully!) and that you value their creative endeavors. A large chunk of time spent concentrating on the work can make a huge amount of difference, especially in the lives of longer projects or work that requires uninterrupted thinking and wrestling.

Small candy


I seem to concentrate better (and have fewer excuses to leave my desk) if I have either gum or pieces of small candy. I’ve heard this from other writers, too. These serve as rewards: finish three pages and eat a Swedish Fish. Or, they serve as mindless things to nibble while untangling a conundrum on the page. One at at time is the key for making this work and for not later rolling away from the desk instead of walking. Nerds, one by one, though? Not sure that would be as effective. I like hard candy or chewing, like Werthers, Starlite mints, Mike N’ Ikes, or gumdrops. And I will never acknowledge how many Swedish Fish I have eaten over the course of writing this book.

These make great stocking stuffers.

 

Bird by Bird

Writers need this book, by Anne Lamott, and they need to read it again and again.

On Writing

Same with this one, by Stephen King.

Walking on Water

And this book, by Madeline l’Engle

Writers, what do you love to give and receive for holidays or birthdays or at random, gifting moments?

Good Things, the Fifth. November.

1 school open house, fourteen nations represented

2 my dad, going home from the hospital and overflowing with sappy tears and gratitude

3 a friend falling in love

4 a wild heron flying into the sunrise

5 inauguration of a new sanctuary

6 conversation about soul-matters, in French

7 a fresh passport

8 being substitute coach for Girls Run 2

9 planes that leave an hour early

10 junior high drama performance

11 junior high girls basketball tournament

12 mostly all-of-us family meals

13 foggy morning mist over mountains

14 jazz band concert. birdland.

15 back to high school physics, lab partner

16 interview with the man whose family brought pineapples to Kenya. Plus, pineapples.

17 being mistaken for someone’s college-age sister

18 pinewood derby and doughnuts

19 senior men’s choir

20 going home

21 roasted pumpkin

22 birthdays

23 Thanksgiving brunch sans turkey: sweet potato waffles, bacon and sausage, eggs, fruit, friend. Thankful.

24 cloudy morning run

25 kids.home.friends.

26 baseball traditions

27 the perfect watermelon

28 6 teens, 1 tween, 1 dog, walking along the beach at low tide and sunset

29 old friends from far away and long ago, in my kitchen

30 sleeping under the stars, beside steady waves and scrambling crabs

Endure, How Spiritual Assets Build Resilience

Dan Maurer, my Minnesota writing friend (we met way back when we were both writing fiction), wrote his fourth book. Four. Books. And this one is my favorite yet. Dan has a gift for taking hard stories and highlighting the hopeful aspects of them, something we all so desperately need. From a graphic novel on addiction recovery to a nonfiction book of a young boy who was trafficked in the US, his work is always about transformation.

Endure, Dan’s latest book, explores how spiritual assets contribute to resiliency. He tells the stories of several people who endured intense trauma (domestic abuse, war, refugee life) and weaves his own story of recovery into the book. The people he highlights are incredibly vulnerable and brave in sharing their stories, I am amazed at how much empathy Dan showed in listening to, probing into, and sharing them.

The book has moments of horror, surprise, grief, and tenderness. And while I appreciated the stories people shared, as a wanna-be psychologist who loves learning about what makes human beings behave certain ways, my favorite parts of the book were when Dan examined specific spiritual assets and how they helped people overcome their personal traumas.

Hope, love, forgiveness, honesty, these are some of the assets the book highlights. Dan describes spiritual assets like this:

…spiritual assets become the transforming spark that undergirds a resilient response in many life situations, even yours.

Heavy on anecdote, but with research and Dan’s theological training as a Lutheran pastor sprinkled throughout, Endure is a book that is a pleasure read and that offers practical tools for a resilient response to trauma.

Endure would be a great book club pick or community read. Read a chapter and then discuss as a group how you have experienced the highlighted spiritual asset in your own life or how you could develop it in the future.

I don’t believe our world is any more broken now than it was in the past, but I do think we hear about pain and suffering much more. What we also need to hear about is hope, strength, character, and beauty. This is a book full of these kinds of stories. And, it is a book that can help readers live those kinds of stories.

Find Endure on Dan’s blog and on Amazon.

Dan has written several times for Djibouti Jones:

Strong in the Broken: Living While Recovering

On Writing, 7 Steps to Finding Your Niche

A Little Piece of Fiction (bonus: a photo of Dan playing the bagpipes in my Minneapolis backyard when we lived there in 2012!)

Save

Save

Save

Save