I recently got this email in our Denizen inbox the other day. What advice would you have given to this TCK?
“i’m 15 just moved back from malaysia. i’m 100% american but i lived there for so long it’s home. coming back to the u.s. which some people would refer to as “my home” i now don’t know where home really is. i’ve always been familiar with that term and almost hated it because i don’t want to be labeled. but i went to a “tck” camp this summer, and meeting 20+ kids that were “just like me” was 1) completely lame and cheesy and 2) amazingly identifying hmm thats not the right word, well it was amazing and i truly FOUND myself in those people. ever since then i have been chatting and texting whenever i can with the ones that are still here but i just started at a public school. i hate it, i feel invisible there, more than i ever have in my life. i know so much about all the “transition” phases, what people will say to me, how they’ll react when they hear tck, or their lack of reaction. but analyzing it more and more isn’t helping me not feel like i don’t matter. i’m so sad and i feel like i’m living this lie. i’m looking on the internet for more tcks, writing this comment, how will this even help me?”
I reached out to the Denizen contributors and we all wrote her back. Here’s what some of them had to say. But what would you have said to her? Leave your thoughts in the comments.
From Wazha Dube:
“”I moved from Beijing to the States when i was just 16, and even though I was half-American, moving here was the biggest culture shock I’ve ever experienced. I feel that I can completely sympathize with her. I still cringe when I look back on my first years here.”
“The truth of the matter is, there’s no easy way to get around it. She’s going to have to do one of two things, assimilate or acclimate (in the sense that she always remember who she truly is but also takes on this her new life, cuz the life in M’laysia is over) and come to accept that life isn’t going to be the same in the states. She should just know that, especially at her age when everyone is going through an identity crisis, she needs to stay close to her friends and family from abroad. But at the same time don’t fight this new life, but don’t let it take her over either.”
From Alan Garcia:
“She shouldn’t have to feel like she needs to hide it or live a lie just to fit in. Just tell people the truth, and some people will be really interested in it, and others won’t be. Keeping in touch with fellow TCKs is a good thing to do, and I’m sure many of them are going through the same things so they should all talk about it. Maybe get involved some extracurricular activities, whatever she’s interested in or good at – music, sports, chess club (personal fave) etc. That’s how I started to make friends. You gotta put yourself out there and know that some people are going to really like you, others aren’t, but you can’t win them all. I don’t think she should assume she knows how people will react as well – it’s easiest to just go into things with no expectations.”
What would you have said?