Moving around so much, I’ve found that one of the best ways to process everything you see is by keeping a travel blog. While I won’t be posting as frequently on this Third Culture Kid blog (don’t worry I won’t give up on it I promise), I am more active on my travel blog. Check it out for travel tips, really cool places I have been, and my backpacking trip to SE Australia this June!
It’s been a while since I made my last blog post, but I thought it was time to get started again! Yesterday I received a pleasantly unexpected call from an old friend of mine, someone I haven’t seen (and talked to really) in over 6 months. Sometimes it gets really awkward when you haven’t seen someone for half a year and you’re expected to carry a decent conversation. But that usually isn’t the case with TCKs. It seems that we just pick up where we left off, no matter how long ago that was.
TCK friends are great to talk to, because we’re all experiencing the same thing, even if we were born on opposite sides of the Earth. The connections we make when we are younger can make us so much richer when we are older. It is in our late teens/early twenties that TCKs get dispersed, and everyone starts living their own life. A few years later, though, it seems that we realise how much we miss each other. That is when TCK friends are great, because it means we can visit them in countries all over the world. No matter how lonely we feel in our current geographic location, we will be rewarded in the future because of the amazing connections we forgot we had. Stay in touch, but even if you don’t, you’ll be surprised at how many people are actually on your side.
Emese’s photograph at the Tate Modern last year. “I just found it extremely funny that people actually took chairs and stared at this specific piece of artwork.”
Photograph taken by Alexia during her community service and educational trip to China last year. “One small sassy Chinese girl in Shanghai.”
TCK Alexia, Shanghai
I’ve been speaking to a lot of old friends from high school, mainly through Facebook since most of us are spread around the world, about our experiences as third culture kids going to university, and the response I got was quite unified. We all seem to think the same thing…
Back in high school it was quite easy being a third culture kid. We were all expatriates, or at least we all went to an international school. Even the teachers (usually American, Canadian, or British) knew what it was like to travel a lot and be away from home. We grew up in an isolated community where people didn’t care about your accent or nationality, and bullying was very rare. In international schools there is a feeling of solidarity and trust that you will find in no other institution, because people realise that we are all essentially the same, no matter what background.
Going to university, I find myself yearning for the international school community more and more. Old friends I haven’t heard from in years are reconnecting, and my Facebook timeline is full of reunions between international students. We are at the point in our lives where we are no longer traveling with our families, but we are trying to find ourselves on our own. More than that, we have been thrown into communities of non-TCKs and come to realise that the expatriate world is a lot smaller than we thought. Don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely not complaining about my background as a third culture kid; I am just saying that the older we get, the more complicated the concepts of identity and belonging seem to become.
Philip in Le-Grau-Du-Roi, France
Bloopers from the third culture kids video I posted earlier!