Question from Belinda: How do you fit in to your new culture without losing some of your identity?
This is a really interesting question for me to answer because I did not simply leave one culture/country to enter another one. In fact I became an ex-pat into the country I was born into as a child. Technically I am a UK citizen and have been since I was born. Technically I am also American, with American parents, who spent ten years of her adult life actually living in America until embarking on my ex-pat life. As a Third Culture Kid I will constantly be stuck in the ‘Neither / Nor’ category of life where I immerse myself in these different social groups, countries, and cultures while never fully being in one.
With that said I can now try to answer the question the best that I can. I am a chameleon soul. The type of TCK that I am when I am around someone or in a certain culture I start soaking up customs, mannerisms, expressions. A good example would be how I realised recently I start talking like my expat friend here who is also American. She has expressions that are from both cultures however I know when I say something that I have heard her say and I only speak that way when I am around her. Back at home with my husband and those words do not just come out without me consciously thinking about it. My identity is made up of every country and culture I have spent a significant period of time in, especially during my developmental years growing up in Europe around military bases. My way to keep true to my chameleon soul and the heart of who I am is to just be me. Which means staying authentic. My words, my feelings, my heart and soul are the pieces that make up who I am and as long as I can share that freely with the world I will not lose myself entirely.
A family meet up in Cambodia. We will meet up anywhere in the world, since we do not have a ‘home’.
Question from Bailie: What do you think your biggest trigger for homesickness is?
The hard part of not having a ‘set home’ or being from one place specifically is that my triggers for homesickness can really come from anywhere at anytime. Sometimes homesickness can make me sad, sometimes nostalgic for wanting to go back, and sometimes it can make full out sob in tears. I got homesick from watching a friend’s blog video about being in the Alps in Austria. This place holds a special place in my heart because we use to visit this area and go snowboarding with my family during the eight years that we spent in Germany and Italy. If I had to choose a ‘home’ it might be somewhere where I felt closest to the memory of my dad and any place in the mountains of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland will be able to do that for me. I cried watching this sweet happy video that had cute music playing along with it. I was not just sad because I missed my dad, I missed that place, and I wanted so bad to just go back there. It was not about returning to a place I traveled to as a traveler it is about returning to a place that holds my heart and might as well have been my surrogate home. I get homesick thinking about Austria and elements like germknödel. Something I talk about lot on this blog, and have not eaten in over a decade. I was probably sixteen the last time I had this sweet austrian dumpling covered in custard from an mountain lodge in the Alps. It is something I crave and can not get easily.
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