Today, I encountered a well-written article describing TCKs such as me in a nutshell (Mayberry, 2016). I hope it would give you a better understanding of people who grew up in multiple countries. While reading it, I stumbled upon a quote from a fellow TCK:
“Everyone knew everyone and no one knew me.”
That was exactly how I felt when I moved to Singapore, my birth country, in 2010. Being born there, I felt the expectations of society and myself that I need to fit in because I was born a local, but I couldn’t. I could try to fake it, but that meant lying to people and to God. So I presented myself sincerely.
However, my different accents and behaviors possibly made some locals think I’m faking it or that I’m too proud of my background that I refuse to change myself. My lack of patriotism to Singapore (I’m not patriotic to any country) made me feel guilty, and that I shouldn’t even have a local identification card.
It took me two years to adapt to the place that was supposed to be my “home” partly because I was caught in between these: being foreign and being a local that I should be. I struggled with my identity.
My long adaptation also resulted from this preconception: I already have an established social community there. I didn’t. I moved out of Singapore when I was five. I didn’t attend their local schools nor did I grow up in the same socio-cultural environment as them. In other words, I didn’t share the same childhood.
Thus, I barely had connections outside my relatives. I eventually decided to treat Singapore as I would to other countries I’d lived in. By simply adapting without changing myself. Then I made new friends (again) by being the friend Christ wanted me to be.
My irregular puzzle shape doesn’t fit in not only Singapore, but also any other country. I may not be completely a Singaporean, a Korean, a Chinese, a Czech, or an American (I say this due to my education). My accent and behavior may consist of five cultural parts, but I’m not any of them. I’m a person just like you in God’s eyes.
My rootlessness ultimately drove me to depend on Christ instead on my “homes” and the “national identities” I picked up. That being said, I formed the two statements:
I may be rootless, yet my root is in Christ. I may not call any country my home, yet His Home is my Home.
His Home is the best Home because I will be with Him for eternity (Hebrews 11:16). After all, everything on earth is temporal, including countries and national identities.
Very Sincerely Yours,
Clarissa Choo-Choo Train
P.S. Friend, regardless of your being a TCK or not, where is your home? And what is your identity?
Mayberry, K. “Third Culture Kids: Citizens of everywhere and nowhere.” November 19, 2016. In BBC Worklife. Retrieved July 16, 2020, from https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20161117-third-culture-kids-citizens-of-everywhere-and-nowhere?fbclid=IwAR39E10Ph1MwyO3EBtwZA7aFInQNvFtMYWBgGKBKRQXeYZsYmq3YwelE96I
Tapp, G. 2016. Quoted in Mayberry, K. “Third Culture Kids: Citizens of everywhere and nowhere.” November 19, 2016. In BBC Worklife. Retrieved July 16, 2020, from https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20161117-third-culture-kids-citizens-of-everywhere-and-nowhere?fbclid=IwAR39E10Ph1MwyO3EBtwZA7aFInQNvFtMYWBgGKBKRQXeYZsYmq3YwelE96I