Brown Mom Abroad

Brown Mom Abroad: American in Amsterdam

Amsterdam, you’re on my travel list!

This next Brown Mom Abroad is actually my personal expat guru. I’ve learned a lot from her about enjoying the expat life and she’s calmed many “anxiety” moments and “mama guilt” connected to raising my child abroad – away from family!

Meet Lauren!

She’s lived abroad for most of her life and is the only woman I know who grew up as an expat and is now raising her kids as expats! Lauren was born in Bangkok, both of her children were born in Abu Dhabi. She is the mother of 2 beautiful girls!

Lauren and I actually met in 2009 in Abu Dhabi. We ended up getting pregnant around the same time and had our babies less than a month apart. In true expatriate fashion, she eventually relocated to Amsterdam and I’m looking forward to a Mama’s reunion and for our kids to have the chance to play together again!

Get to know Lauren!1521367_10204818247761907_1718206220598987745_n

BMA: When did you first get your passport?

Lauren: I received my passport at 2 weeks old.

BMA: What city or country is your favorite place to visit and why?

Lauren: There are many cities I love to visit. Any city visit is great, especially when I’m on vacation 🙂  … Currently, I love strolls through Amsterdam. There are people from all walks of life and the diversity here is beautiful. It’s nice to be part of mixing bowl full of so much history and optimistic transition.

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BMA: What city or country was your worst place to visit and why?

Lauren: I can’t come up with a ‘worst’ city. I can say that I have lived in and visited places where I have seen unfathomable poverty and where reasons for the socioeconomic gap has no valid or reasonable justification in a day and age when resources are so abundant and easily transferable.

BMA: Is there any city or country that you have absolutely no desire to visit? Why?

Lauren: There is no particular city where I have no desire to visit. I am a world traveler and there is something to be learnt in every visit, good and bad. This being said, of course I would prefer to stay clear of any city dealing with war and significant violence.

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BMA: Can you list all the places you’ve lived and how many years in each place?

Lauren:

  1. Born: Thailand – 2 weeks
  2. India – 12 years
  3. Massachusetts – 1 year
  4. Maryland – 6 years
  5. North Carolina – 3 years
  6. New York – 2 years
  7. Namibia – 1 year
  8. California – 1 year
  9. France – 1 year
  10. Abu Dhabi – 5 years
  11. Netherlands – in 2nd year

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BMA: Have you experienced discrimination for being brown while traveling abroad? Can you elaborate on your experience?

Lauren: I have been discriminated against internationally and domestically, more so in the form of micro-aggression. I believe that this is probably the case for all of us. Unfortunately, as a minority, it often comes with the territory. I’m not sure when or if this will ever change.

BMA: What made you decide to live abroad?

Lauren: I decided to live abroad because this is something that I experienced growing up and this is what I know and love. I am a Third Culture Kid (TCK). The world is a beautiful place and I feel lucky to have the opportunity to travel. Sometimes it’s challenging, but I enjoy new experiences. Further, my profession is much more enjoyable overseas as I have the opportunity to work with individuals from a variety of cultures – this is very rewarding and the reason why I love my job. My children attend a very good school alongside peers from all over the world, it’s an amazing and enriching experience for them. Further, at the moment the Netherlands provides a very safe living environment. Life is good right now.

ll

BMA: Can you list all the cities/countries you visited?

Lauren: I have visited over 50 different countries/cities over my lifetime in various capacities.

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BMA: What do you wish you knew before you decided to move abroad?

Lauren: Before moving abroad, I think that it’s important for parents to be prepared for what a TCK life is like for their kids/potential kids. Every expat family should be familiar with the intricacies and social emotional dynamics of what it means to embrace this life. Here are some significant resources for parents:

TCK 
– Here is a recent short presentation that I gave to parents. Some useful information regarding transitions.
Here is a list of significant TCK resources that I often share with families. There is some very good information here.
I feel that it’s important for parents to help your kids feel positive about how to answer these particular questions:
A. Who am I?
B.  What/who do I identify with?
C. Where am I from?
A confident answer from your child may eventually be: ‘I have roots in many places. I am a proud TCK. I understand what this means and this is the group (or one of the groups) that I happily identify with.’

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BMA: Did you meet your husband in your home country or while living abroad?

Lauren: I did not meet my spouse abroad. We moved to France a few days after our wedding.

BMA: How long do/did you plan on living abroad?

Lauren: I will most likely stay abroad for a significant amount of time, but who really knows? 🙂


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Enjoyed meeting Lauren? She’s pretty awesome and also quite private!

You won’t find any public social media profiles for Lauren but if you have any questions about Lauren or want to get in touch please post a comment and I’ll shoot my friend a message.

Thank you LL!

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