- File Size: 445 KB
- Print Length: 317 pages
- Publisher: Adelaar Books (September 27, 2011)
- Publication Date: September 27, 2011
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B005Q92UB2
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #935,325 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Black and Abroad: Traveling Beyond the Limitations of Identity Kindle Edition
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As a school girl, she was not alone suffering from low self-esteem. Achievers sometimes don’t fit in and are labeled as ‘sell outs.’ But although wanting to fit in, she didn’t give way to negative peer pressure to blend in. She loved school and foreign languages and excelled.
At home, she received mixed messages from family authority figures, which did not give her a strong, positive racial/heritage identity.
Successful in college, she graduated with an MA in Latin American literature, and has taught in universities in the U. S. and in the Netherlands. Still, she held on to many issues that plagued her throughout her childhood and young adult life.
Sometimes we overlook that self-love and self-respect are foremost. Sometimes we fail to recognize our underlying strengths. Sometimes when we find love, we are afraid to take a chance.
While attending grad school, by chance, on a night out with friends, she met the man that would become her life partner. He was from Holland, and a graduate of a hotel school in The Hague, doing an internship in the States. Shortly afterwards, she left to study in Madrid, Spain. When she returned to the States they united and within two and a half years, he asked her to return to Holland with him.
He believed in their love. So much so, that he wanted her to live with him in Holland, and agreed to pay her credit card debt and college bills.
She did travel abroad with him, but because of issues that still besets interracial couples in the
U. S. A., she believed their relationship overseas would cause friction. Not so in Holland, where she eventually discovered an open, friendly society. Dutch people were not interested in her race, but her nationality. I agree with her statement, “…she gave herself permission to stop seeing the events of life exclusively through the lens of race…”
An overachiever, within three years, she had married, had a baby, received a post at a university, and worked on her dissertation for her Ph.D., and lost her second child.
Concealed was her depression, her burdened with her loss, with caring for her mentally ill mother in the States, and the frustration caused by her mother saddled with her sister’s verbal abuse and alcoholism.
I believe that work had become the key element of her identity. And although self-assured and heavily invested in her work, she was overburdened in a country where the Dutch believe family comes first.
She and her husband did successfully have a third child. Carolyn Vines’ saving grace is her husband’s love and understanding.
It’s an epiphany when we realize how self-defeating it is to hold onto what we hadn’t received from our parents in our early years. Childhood counseling should have been initiated for the tragedies and unhappiness she experienced.
She no longer entertains negative thoughts about herself and her worth, and is now at peace with herself, and has forgiven those that caused her unhappiness in the past. I agree with her statement we can’t control what has happened in our past, or how people feel about us. But we can control our destiny. I think that Carolyn Vines has done just that.
What I didn’t like about this book was the negativity she received as a child and young woman, and her father not participating in her upbringing. I didn’t like that her parents and friends weren’t supportive and in attendance at her wedding in Holland. I think her father should have been available to give her away.
This book transcends race. I have skimmed the surface of this honest, emotionally, heart-wrenching memoir. It’s a great gift for you, your daughters, nieces, and friends. From this book, we can see that love, encouragement, and pride in our heritage can impact our children’s upbringing in a positive way.
I've been living stateside for 10 years now, but I am very eager to travel again and experience different cultures and people of the world. This book has me even more excited to do so. I am in the planning stages right now. I'm not married and have no children and realize I can go anywhere!!
I highly recommend this book to women (and especially African American women) who want to experience life outside the U.S. This book is a great motivator for doing just that.
Thank You... Much love and gratitude and I wish you and your family many blessings!
I'm grateful that she ended her cycle of not feeling worthy. Her daughters have a great role model.
Carolyn has inspired me to move beyond my fears, believe in myself and explore the possibility of writing.
Carolyn takes you on a journey from D.C. to New Orleans, Spain, France and Holland. She shares the cultural differences and challenges along the way. After reading Black and Abroad, I have added Holland to my bucket list.