Posted by: Ed Deiss | July 20, 2014

A Journey We Will Always Remember

Singapore 2014 031‘So Dad, happy to be home?”  Those were one of my daughters first words to me after we landed in Singapore.  It had been eight years, and just as before the closer we got, the warmer my heart became.  I wanted to share a piece of my heart with each of my children, as when I answer the question ‘So, where are you from?‘ they will know with their own eyes and understand.  After all, that is what it is about, understanding and relating to each other.  By seeing their Dad’s ‘hometown’ and how he grew up as a Third Culture Kid (TCK), would encourage them to understand different cultures, experiences, and perspectives.  Also that they would see first hand that relationships are to be treasured and an appetite to be adventurous, take risks, and explore is one worth satisfying.

 ‘Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.’ – Andre Gide

When my Dad and I arrived in 1975, we were hoping for a new tomorrow.  We were scarred, and set out to make the best of it as father and son apart from my mom and brother.   Our family had broken apart, and certainly did not foresee what the relationship with my mom would become.  I have also come to realize that growing up in Singapore and Asia enabled us to rise up allowing our scars to heal, so much so that they became a source of strength.  The hope of a new tomorrow became a reality as the months and years passed.  As I have shared, my Mom wrote a letter from her heart and she noticed ”  You gained self confidence, and each year (summer) when you returned to me, I noticed. It was like watching a beautiful tree growing and extending branches – the trunk was strong. Children have a way of showing adults what is to be valued.”  They sure do Mom.

singapore from the flyer

Singapore, you and I are about two weeks apart in terms of age; good thing you are the older one!  We have known each other since we were nine, and I would not be who I am had we not crossed paths.  You are in my heart and run through my veins, I became a blend of your Asian culture and my Dad’s.  You have certainly changed in the time we have known each other, and your journey from third world country to first happened right before my eyes.  My son, Will, remarked…you are several cultures and countries in one.  I shared with him that as I thought about my schoolmates and friends, he could name any country and/or background and would likely be right.  Growing up on your shores I was able to experience relationships and gain perspectives I never would have otherwise.  For all my school classmates and friends who were there with me, this trip back certainly brought back memories of our times together growing up as know many of you followed this journey on my Facebook posts each day.  Thank you.  We will always be connected and as TCKs, we know our puzzle pieces may be out of synch however they fit perfectly. We ‘get’ each other.

with leela

Rubbed my eyes each day I was in Singapore and Malaysia with you, Will, Rachel, and Zoe.  It was a dream come true.  As I can see in yours, you could see what was in my heart, and the hearts of others.  With the three of you is always home to me, and was blessed to be able to give you my heart and go to the place that was home to me when I was your age.  I realized it opened your eyes, as it did mine as it became home after I left America.  However, truly understanding and relating to friends from other cultures, backgrounds, and countries will help you walk in others shoes.  It is an honor and blessing to be your Dad.

As we left Singapore after our 2 week journey, wanted to share my final post:
Goodbyes are hard, prefer see you laters. Same held true when I left America when I was nine years old. Did not want to let my eyes off Singapore when the plane took off. This journey actually began not in 2014, rather in 1975 and this time ‘later’ was eight years ago since was last here in 2006. Back then on that trip with my Dad, knew would be good for my kids to see this place that their Dad called home growing up. They now have and sure love the fast food here too! As we departed reminded of two things, one is to always “Treasure your relationships, not your possessions” (Anthony D’Angelo).

The other is that it will encourage a spirit of adventure and to explore because as Mark Twain famously said “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

And while doing that, find some coconut husks to get through with each other as well.

Jumpa lagi Singapura…”

Telling the story in pictures, just as songwriter John Ondrasik put it perfectly when it comes to taking chances, by saying ‘It’s all about taking the swing – there is beauty in the scars’, he also does by asking “What if?”


For this journey that we will always remember, terima kasih dan saya suka anda!

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