Overseas American: Growing Up Gringo in the Tropics

Overseas American Growing Up Gringo in the Tropics Born in of a Hawaiian mother and a white father Gene H Bell Villada grew up an overseas American citizen An outsider wherever he landed he never had a ready answer to the innocuous question Wh

  • Title: Overseas American: Growing Up Gringo in the Tropics
  • Author: Gene H. Bell-Villada
  • ISBN: 9781578067206
  • Page: 408
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Born in 1941 of a Hawaiian mother and a white father, Gene H Bell Villada, grew up an overseas American citizen An outsider wherever he landed, he never had a ready answer to the innocuous question Where are you from By the time Bell Villada was a teenager, he had lived in Puerto Rico, Venezuela, and Cuba Though English was his first language, his claim on US citizensBorn in 1941 of a Hawaiian mother and a white father, Gene H Bell Villada, grew up an overseas American citizen An outsider wherever he landed, he never had a ready answer to the innocuous question Where are you from By the time Bell Villada was a teenager, he had lived in Puerto Rico, Venezuela, and Cuba Though English was his first language, his claim on US citizenship was a hollow one All he knew of his purported homeland was gleaned from imported comic books and movies He spoke Spanish fluently, but he never fully fit into the culture of the Latin American countries where he grew up.In childhood, he attended an American Catholic school for Puerto Ricans in San Juan, longing all the while to convert from Episcopalianism so that he could better fit in Later at a Cuban military school during the height of the Batista dictatorship, he witnessed fervent political debates among the cadets about Fidel Castro s nascent revolution and US foreign policy His times at the American School in Caracas, Venezuela, are tinged with reminiscences of oil booms and fights between US and Venezuelan teen gangs.When Bell Villada finally comes to the United States to stay, he finds himself just as rootless as before, moving from New Mexico to Arizona to California to Massachusetts in quick succession His accounts of life on the campuses of Berkeley and Harvard during the tumultuous 1960s reveal much about the country s climate during the Cold War era.Eventually the Gringo comes home, finding the stability in his marriage and career that allows him to work through and proudly claim his identity as a global nomad.

    One thought on “Overseas American: Growing Up Gringo in the Tropics”

    1. One of the things every child needs to thrive is a sense of belonging – to a place, to a family, to a culture—to something. In Gene Bell-Villada’s haunting memoir "Overseas Gringo", he writes about his and his younger brother’s childhood where there was no such belonging, and no roots to nourish them. Instead, the two children were bits and parts of many places, many cultures, and more than one family. We travel with him on his journey to discover his true self in this powerful story of [...]

    2. An excellent memoir of a man who grew up in Puerto Rico, Venezuela, and Cuba as a US citizen but who had never visited the country, and his adult life in the United States coming to terms with the country and his Third Culture Kid (TCK) childhood. It was a very honest book and as a fellow TCK found parts that resonated with me.

    3. Poorly written, disjointed memoir. Super depressing. Author unlikable. His only redeeming quality is that he was self-aware enough (about what a horrible person he is) to not have kids. I would have given him a second star for that, but he is a teacher. This miserable, horrible person has been a college professor for decades. Naturally it's not his fault though. None of his problems are. Everything is his dad's fault. That's right, a seventy year old professor with a PhD who hasn't seen his fath [...]

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