I recently discovered this website for third culture kids. Third culture kids are people who have grown up in different countries during their childhood. They take the culture from one place and the culture from another place and create a hybrid, thus the name, third culture. Even though I grew up in Turkey and have still lived more than half of my life there (read all about the different homes I’ve lived in here), I never considered myself a third culture kid. Maybe it was because I didn’t hear the phrase very often, but I really only considered myself a slightly different American kid. I know that I don’t understand all of American culture, but I attributed that to other factors. And then I find this website.
And I see myself in the third culture kids they are describing. I can see how I really don’t have a home, that my home truly is wherever my heart is. I can see how I can relate to people and how I form deep relations quickly because that’s what you have to do when you know you might move soon. Granted, my childhood was different from the average third culture kid’s. But it was eye-opening to be able to relate to people that I didn’t even know, just because of this website.
And someone said something along the lines of “Third culture kids are used to saying goodbye.” Maybe it wasn’t even said, but it was implied. Yes, we’re used to moving around. Yes, the airport sometimes feels more like home than an actual home. But just because we say goodbye a lot doesn’t mean we’re “good at it.” I find goodbyes to be one of the hardest things to bear. You go along and make these deep connections with people and then you have to leave them. And that’s hard, really, really hard. I’ve found that having to say goodbye a lot doesn’t make me better at it; it makes me value my home more. And home is where the people are.
And I think that’s something that’s true about a lot of people. We want security, that warm place where you know that nothing needs to change. It’s our Castle on a Cloud, to quote the musical Les Miserables. We love change; just think of Bilbo Baggins leaving the comfort of his home to go on an adventure. But we also value security. It is a precious thing, to know that you belong somewhere, whether that is a physical place or not.
Last year, I was part of a choir that song an absolutely gorgeous song called “No Time (that isn’t us singing it; I just found this link on Youtube).” The whole song is about our journey home. And I think it’s accurate. That’s what we pursue in our lives. We are just searching for a place to belong.
Just one of the many homes I’ve lived in.