TCKs You Should Know – Kris

Kris CIA

I met Kris a few years ago at a Transition Seminar sponsored by Interaction International.  I was impressed by his friendliness and wit at that point and have been privileged to stay in contact with him over the last few years.  I hope you enjoy getting to know him.

So–Kris . . .

1. How old are you?

I just turned 20. (wow, 20 already!?)

2. Where do you live right now? Why do you live there?

I currently live in North Carolina, but only until mid February. I am on my externship for the Culinary Institute of America, so I am working at the bakeshop at the Pinehurst Golf Resort & Spa Hotel. When I am done, I’ll head back up to Hyde Park, NY to finish school. You know you’re a TCK when you keep moving places…
3. What other countries have you lived in?

I lived in the United States until I was three, then moved to India where I lived for the majority of my life, returning to the States in 2007 for my senior year of high school.

4. Where do you consider home?

Home, for me, is wherever I am at the moment. I used to consider home in Pennsylvania, but soon learned that when I was there, I thought home was back in India. So I decided that home would be wherever I was at that time, and it’s worked out so far.

5. What passport(s) do you hold?

I hold a US passport, and wouldn’t trade it for any other passport.
6. What do your parents do that makes you a TCK?

My parents work at Kodaikanal International School in southern India. My mom is the Alumni Officer, and before that was the Principal’s Secretary. My dad has been everything from woodworking teacher, to the dean, to now being the Grounds Manger and Auto-Mechanics teacher.

7. What are some of your favorite things about where you live now?

Well, some of my favorite things about living in the United States (since I haven’t lived in NC for too long) have been having reliable electricity and the convenience of grocery stores and also being able to have a taste of “American” life, something I have always wanted to experience.

8. What are a few of your favorite things about anywhere else you’ve lived?

The list is endless, but some of the first things that pop into my mind are being able to sit outside in the grass with brilliant blue skies and sunshine and just relax without people wondering why you are sitting out on your lawn in the middle of the day, or being able to go hiking every weekend out into true wilderness, where there are no trail markers, or state parks, or tourists hiking along with you. That and fresh lime tea!

9. What is the most interesting thing you’ve eaten?

Hmmm, this is a bit difficult. I tend to be a picky eater, so anything that looks suspicious, usually doesn’t make it onto my fork. However, I will say that the most interesting thing I have eaten would be either a Dragonfruit or Purple Curd, neither of which I liked very much.

10.  Do you think you have any advantages in life because you’re a TCK?

Of course, I wouldn’t trade being a TCK for anything in the world. It wasn’t always easy (and still isn’t), but the life-learning experiences and the opportunities for understanding another culture is very rewarding. I feel privileged to be able to have experienced that growing up. I feel that I, as a TCK, learn not to take things for granted as much as a non-TCK person might. It helps me be more humble.

11. Do you think you have any disadvantages because you’re a TCK?

Being a TCK has its disadvantages as well. Yes, I do feel as though I have missed out on lots being a TCK, growing up some 8,000 miles away from the United States. Going to the movies for fun or to the mall to hang out or just being able to talk about the latest music or movie that is playing is something I find very difficult, because I am a TCK and didn’t grow up with it. My everyday “fun things” to do are soooo different from that of a person who grew up in the USA. At times, I do feel as though I’ve missed out at a somewhat “normal” (is there such a thing!?) lifestyle of growing up in the US.

12. What schooling options have you used?  What are your opinions of them?

Well, I went to Kodaikanal International School from Preschool through Grade 9 and then again for Grade 11. I also had the amazing opportunity to attend a US public school, Conestoga High School, in Berwyn, PA for Grades 10 and 12. Now I am currently a sophomore at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY working on my associates degree in Baking & Pastry Arts. All very different types of schooling, and all of them have their pluses and minuses.

13. What advice do you have for those becoming TCKs?

Advice, oh dear. I would say to always remember where you are from, what your home country is, because essentially that is who you are. However, I think that it is also important to realize that you are in another country with another culture, so don’t expect everyone else to conform to your likes and dislikes or your way of life. Be open to new ideas, new experiences, and above all, be positive and realize that God is in control and won’t put you in a situation that you aren’t meant to be in that won’t benefit you later in life. He’s in control. Enjoy being a TCK, it’s a privilege, even if you don’t know it at the time.

14. What advice do you have for parents of TCKs?

Realize that it can be extremely tough for your kids, whether they show it or not. Be there for them when they need you. If my parents weren’t there for me, I don’t know what I would have done. I’m so glad to have such awesome parents who were there for me, ready to listen and took an interest in my interests as well. Family is so important, because once you graduate or decide to return home to the USA, you’re split apart and you realize just how much you appreciate your family and everything they’ve done for you.

15. What else do you want the world to know about you?

I am a big fan of Sandra Bullock, Scooby Doo and an even bigger fan of Sharon, Lois & Bram. Yes, they (Sharon, Lois & Bram) are children’s entertainers, I know, but without them I wouldn’t be where I am today. I enjoy getting up early and watching the sun rise and studying geography/maps of countries. Rainy, foggy days are my favorite. I love the sound of rain on the roof, the smell of eucalyptus and freshly cut grass. Hot lime tea is where it’s at. I like to make people laugh and don’t want to grow up.

16. What do you plan to do when you finish your education?

Good question, I wish I knew. I thought I wanted to be a Pastry Chef, but now that I am at school and have worked in two professional kitchens, I am starting to wonder if I should use my degree with another degree and work on the business / non-food side of the industry as that seems to interest me more at this point. I’ll see where God takes me, after all he is in control and I can’t wait to see where he takes me next.

11 responses to “TCKs You Should Know – Kris”

  1. Hi Sheryl,

    Thanks for interviewing my son, Kris. Thanks for remembering him and staying in touch with him over the years. Thanks also, for the oportunity for us as parents to be able to read his responses. Sometimes as parents we wonder whether or not we’ve done “good” or not.


    Donn Stengele

  2. You’re so welcome, Donn! From where I’m sitting, you’ve done extremely well! Kris is tops in my book—and I’ve only spent a week with him. I meet lots of TCKs; he’s one of the keepers. Everything remaining equal, I’ll be proud to know him for the rest of my life.

  3. Hello Sheryl and Kris, I have followed Kris’s growth closely and must confess that he is a very special and dear student of mine. I love the centered and mature responses that Kris can always be expected to make. He is truly a TCK who has done well to span several cultures with ease and elan. I wish him luck as he takes this TCK-ness and uses it to his advantage in this global village we called our world.

  4. I very much enjoyed reading your interview with Kris! It’s great to see his positive perspective on his TCK background and how the Lord is using that experience in his life. I had the privilege of working with MKs for thirteen years and so I have special place in my heart for them. As the Stengeles home church we were privileged to play a part in Kris attending the Transition Seminar. I was glad to see that he considers it one of the best trips of his life. Thank you for your very important ministry to TCKs.
    Glenn Felty
    Pastor of Missions
    Cedar Crest Bible Fellowship Church

  5. Dear Sheryl, thanks for the interview of Kris. I lived next door to him in India for over a year and can attest to the strength of his character and maturity of his faith and multi-cultural understanding of the world. I think the world of his parents and know of their love for him. More than once my family tasted his marvelous baking creations in India. The lemon squares were especially out of this world! I affirm his desire to seek God’s call on his vocational life, but if it is in the direction of the business side of the food industry instead of the creation side, I know many will miss out on his marvelous, tasty desserts! Many blessings on Kris and his future call.

  6. Thanks for your input and influence in Kris’s life. Teachers can make such a positive difference!

  7. Thank you so much for your heart for TCKs and for your comments, Pastor Felty! Please thank those at Cedar Crest Bible Fellowship Church for making it possible for Kris to attend Transition Seminar. It is such a valuable tool for TCKs in tranistion; I believe it becomes even stronger when a TCK’s church promotes that experience.

  8. Thanks for your affirmation of Kris’s character and talents. I’m enjoying all the affirmations that he is as wonderful as I think he is. I have yet to taste one of his desserts, but I’m looking forward to it!

  9. I also enjoyed remeeting Kris, we share a love for sitting on grass and wallking into wilderness …and did a lot of the latter together hiking in the hills around Kodai. I now share similar adventures with his youngest brother , Tyler, another really great kid! the kind that starts a camp fire at 6:30 am without being asked to ! A TCK myself, I can understand the tug in multiple directions. I studied at KIS myself, and am sure that I’ve stayed here so long teaching is that a big part of me feels that this has always been HOME, even though I’ve enjoyed living in Ethiopia and Canada as well.

  10. I first met Kris when he came to work at Green Lake Conference Center in the kitchen and we became close friends not long after that. I enjoyed his great sense of humor getting to know him was a great pleasure; he is a real good hearted young man. Important things in kris’s life were very apparent that it was his family, religion, and all his many friends. I have no doubts that were ever life takes him he will have great success.

  11. Hey, Joe! I just realized you’re the new pastor at PMC. Very cool. I’ve been there a few times when visiting SoCal. It’s amazing how small the world can be!

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