Take Pride #thirdculturekid
Meeting new people is always fun. You’re used to doing it, you’ve been moving around your whole life and your total changing school count is 6.
You will always find something that you can relate to when talking to new people – living in Japan, spending a holiday in Bali, having a relative 4,000 miles away or simply celebrating a certain holiday even though you’re English and you celebrate Chinese New year.
However, the dreaded ‘where are you from’ question at some point arises.
As a British person living in England, they expect the answer to be something like “Southampton, born and raised.”
Even when you give the short answer “Born in _____, lived abroad for most of my life,” they want to know more.
You list off the countries you’ve lived in and they are awestricken and often answer “Wow, I sound so boring compared to you…” You feel guilty for having moved around so much and for having some amazing experiences that some will never get to have.
That guilt however, should be replaced by pride. Proud of your upbringing, proud of the strength you have built from saying goodbye to your best friends over and over, proud of your pets for having lived in more countries than their nine lives usually get to see, proud of the knowledge you have of other cultures and proud of how far you’ve come.
That first move that was so difficult soon became the best move of your life because that’s when you met your best friends.
The second move made almost harder because you had to say goodbye to your best friends, knowing that with them also being third culture kids, they may be in Canada next year while you’re in Indonesia.
All these moves and changes have highlighted one thing though, for me in any case, that your family has become your home. Having been through all the same experiences as you have, they know the pains you’ve had to endure, but also the fun you’ve had together.
When moving away from home for university, I felt homesick; not for a place in particular, but for my family – that one inside joke about Chinese IKEAs that no one here would get, that arcade that Dad and I went to every other weekend in Holland, that one holiday in Japan where we met Phil Jupitus, the time our Chinese driver ran over my foot while driving away.
These are the things us third culture kids hang on to, memories of our upbringing, of our homes the past 20 years and how our family made it all possible.
Don’t feel guilty for having had so many wonderful experiences, feel happiness and empathy and sure, nostalgia, but remember that all these adventures made you who you are today. Be proud of being a third culture kid.
By Coralie Zimmerman
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