As a former TCK now living and attending university in my “home” country (America), I have run into a lot of troubles. I don’t know if troubles is the right word, but they are certainly things that I have found difficult and uncomfortable, things that are heavy on my heart.
One of those is the idea of home.
If you ask someone born and raised in America, like my friends at uni, where I am from, they would mostly say Texas. Yes I was born here in Texas, but does that mean that I am from Texas? Does that mean Texas is my home? Imagine someone that was born in let’s say Denmark, but only lived there for a year and their parents are American. I would not consider them Danish, they are American. But, technically they are Danish, their passport says so. But I only have an American passport, I was born in America, and lived in America until I was 11. Despite the facts, I don’t feel American. But then I wouldn’t say i’m Scottish because I don’t feel Scottish, but I don’t feel Singaporean either, nor do i feel English. Despite living in all of those places, I don’t feel like I am from any of them.
I have a very difficult time relating to my friends that have grown up here, never moved or even been out of the country. The people I connect best with are people just like me, TCKs. They are the only ones that understand. Just spending a year in a foreign country is life changing and I spent 6 of the most developmental and influential years of my life in several countries, each one shaping me into the more cultured person I am today.
It may not seem like such a big deal that I am misunderstood or that I feel homesick for a place that I can’t really pinpoint or maybe it is just that TCK life in general that I miss. But the truth is, it is difficult. Every time I start to tell a story about living overseas or something that happened when I was visiting another country, I am hesitant because I am constantly wondering if the person I am speaking to is thinking that I am bragging. The truth is, I am not “country-dropping”, the location is just a vital part of the story. I am not trying to put myself above you by telling you that I live in a castle in the beautiful countryside of Scotland. It’s just part of my life. It isn’t a big deal to me because I’ve lived it for seven and a half years now.
I’m well into my sophomore year of university and I still struggle with this. I’m sorry I have little sympathy for you when you complain about the fact that you haven’t been home in a couple weeks when I haven’t been home in months and I still have a couple months to go. It isn’t easy being away from my home, my parents, or my dog for six months at a time. I have friends that I am likely never to see again because they are strewn out across the globe. I have a best friend in Denmark, one in Germany, and many more in England.
I wouldn’t say it ever gets easier, but I suppose it begins to feel normal (well as normal as this lifestyle can be). Don’t get me wrong, I am incredibly thankful for my life. I am so blessed to have had my experiences I have had and I would not trade them for anything. I gained a passion for travel, culture, food, fashion, and I have seen God’s amazing work and His presence all of the World. It seems that the judgement and misunderstanding isn’t going anywhere, so I am going to have to let the fear go. I love speaking about my life experiences abroad and I’m sorry if my stories aren’t what you want to hear, but it is my life and I am proud of it. I am passionate about it and I will not pretend that it didn’t happen or that I am just like you because I’m not. And I don’t want to be because I absolutely love my life, and it is so evident that God gave me those experiences for a reason. I will not apologise for my experience.
I am a TCK and wouldn’t have it any other way.