As a TCK, whether you like it or not, you end up becoming an ambassador of the places you’ve lived in, the cultures you were a part of. I’ve always believed that one shouldn’t shy away from these frank conversations as it is entirely possible that you could change someone’s perception, probably for the better.
I had told myself I wouldn’t have culture shock in America because I’d spent a lot of time here before. I was ready for air-conditioning and smooth highways, and I couldn’t complain about those. What I hadn’t realized was that I had secretly, unknowingly formed prejudices against people based on a first impression. This had made me quiet and melancholic.
TCKs are the silent majority who do not get a choice to relocate to foreign lands when their parents decide to move abroad. In addition, when a family moves abroad or a company relocates an executive overseas, most of the attention is focused on logistics or how to get the executive to settle in. As far as people are concerned, children are resilient and they would simply adapt.
Rahul Gandotra’s “The Road Home” was the first film I’d seen that I recognized my Third Culture Kid self in. In watching the film, I was reminded that so much of what defines a Third Culture Kid is impossible to articulate – sometimes it feels like there just aren’t words to describe how it feels to be perpetually stuck in the in-between.
The concept of United Noshes is the epitome of being a TCK. It’s where Jesse Friedman and Laura Hadden, an adventurous husband-and-wife team, host dinners from their home in Brooklyn, New York that explore cuisines from around the world. More specifically, the cuisines from the member states of the United Nations. Genius.
I couldn’t make a decision about what city to move to. When I asked my mom, she simply said, “Stop moving and stay where you are.”
In early 2012, I decided I wanted to take a year-long break from life – a gap year. I had finally gotten my parents on board, my friends had already given me their blessings. All that was left to do was make the actual move, and I no longer had anything holding me back.