About thethirdculturekidproject

Founded by 2 TCKs, the TCK Project aims to bring together TCKs and share our stories. " Many losses are often not acknowledged even by their own parents, and the main problem is unspoken, unrecognized, shunted aside." Through our story sharing, we want to speak of this main problem and cope together. If you're in Singapore, email us!

TCK Project #5 – Lindie

Lindie Botes was born in South Africa, speaks 10 languages and has lived in France, Pakistan, the UAE, Japan and Singapore. She is a full-time designer and a part-time language YouTuber currently based in Singapore, eager to share her passion for language learning with anyone! 

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I’m Lindie and I’m a Third Culture Kid. I was born in South Africa, and then my parents, brothers and I moved to France for 9 months. The plan was to stay there for a while, but things changed at my dad’s work and we got sent to Pakistan. We lived there for 3.5 years until we had to evacuate during 9/11. Then we went back to South Africa for a bit, followed by a 5-year stay in Dubai. After I started university in South Africa, my parents moved to Japan for 4 years, and I spent all my uni holidays there. I just moved to Singapore one month ago.

Because of my interest in foreign languages, I feel a strong connection to Korea and Japan. I am a culmination of all the places I’ve left my heart, whether that be a place I’ve visited multiple times, or spent years living in. Not going into detail, but I can also live in a place for a long time and not leave my heart there, too, hehe.  

Growing up it was difficult to make friends with non-TCKs and non-expats. I was often seen as a snob or came across as bragging when I spoke about my life. It was hard making friends because all of my world views and frames of references were so different. In university this panned out a bit and I found being in a class of fellow designers gave us more points to connect on than I ever could with fellow high school students in South Africa.

While at university, my parents lived in Japan and I would visit them every few months. I spent a cumulative amount of one year in Japan, over the span of 4 years. Having Japan be my “home” for that time really had an impact on my studies in Information Design. I purposefully chose to do my compulsory internships in Tokyo instead of in Pretoria. I was the only person in my graduating class to do their internships outside of South Africa. Many people saw me as adventurous and brave, but for me it was the logical choice not only because my parents lived there, but because of my love for Japanese design.

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If I weren’t a TCK, I don’t think I would have applied for a job in Singapore as I probably wouldn’t be comfortable with working and living in a different cultural society than South Africa. I’m glad my upbringing has given me confidence to pack up my life in one place and easily move to another without fear or stress.

What do you usually say if someone asks you where you’re from?

“I was born in South Africa but grew up in the Middle East and Asia”. People usually ask where, which is fine and I’m happy to explain! But it just feels wrong to say “I’m from South Africa” because my background is so much more than that.

Have you ever felt the “need” to fight racism? Or counter ignorant statements about different cultures?

Absolutely. Someone on the train asked me the other day “how’s the racism in South Africa?”. It was rather out of the blue and I didn’t know what to say as it was coming from a stranger. I also often get questions like “Why are you white?” or “which country in South Africa are you from?”. I try and answer politely with reference to history and politics, but it gets tiring often. I can understand that history and geography may not be someone’s strong point, but I make an effort to look at a map and know where a country is, so I would at least expect someone to know that South Africa is a country, even if they can’t place it on a map.

On the other end of the spectrum, I have some relatives who have reacted negatively when they found out I dated an Asian guy in the past. That’s just pure ignorance and needless to say I don’t really share much of my personal life with them anymore.

What country is “home” to you currently and why?

Singapore. I know I’m where I am meant to be at this specific point in time!

Do you picture yourself settling in a specific country? Why?

That’s a really tough question. Settling is hard for a TCK! I feel like many TCKs have commitment issues when it comes to choosing to live in one country. I enjoyed growing up having to move countries every few years, and it’s in my blood to want to move around a lot. If I get married and have children though, I’m not sure I’d want to subject my children to the stress of uprooting every few years, unless it was part of my job or my husband’s job. If that’s not the case, I would probably settle somewhere until my kids are out of the house. Then time to move around again!

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What are your views on relationships? There’s an on-going debate on whether TCKs should be with a TCK partner or a non-TCK partner. While love should have no boundaries, do you think the story that has shaped you should be understood in some way by the partner you are with?

I’m a Christian and the most important thing for me when looking for a partner is meeting a fellow Christian. Having the same faith already creates a lot of common ground for us. That aside, it has been difficult to connect with fellow South Africans, especially if they haven’t lived overseas. Our interests and worldviews have just been too different, and I’m not really interested in South-African-style dating, like clubbing, going to a game reserve to camp, watching rugby or having a barbeque.

Even if my partner is not a TCK, the most important thing after our mutual faith is whether or not he can understand me – and generally guys who understand me are the ones who have traveled a lot, lived overseas, or are interested in different cultures.

Though I’ve never dated a fellow TCK, I’ve had relationships with non-South Africans and found it rather easy to communicate and understand each other. I think part of this is because I speak other languages and tend to be attracted to people who speak those, but in general, being a TCK and having grown up here and there is what formed my identity, and I need someone who can understand and relate to that. For example, having spent significant time in Japan is a great talking point when I meet a Japanese guy, or being able to speak Korean made it 100x easier to understand cultural nuances when I was in a relationship with a Korean guy before.

Have you ever had to move back to your “original” home? If yes, how was that been?

Very difficult. I suffered severe cultural shock each time. South Africa is not a very safe country, and I disliked having to look over my shoulder each time I got in or out of a car or left my house. That was something I never had to do overseas.

As a high schooler, moving back to an all-girls school was difficult because girls had already established their own friend groups. I was coming in as not only an outsider to the school, but to the country and my own culture as a whole. I tried many coping mechanisms, one of them being trying to adopt a strong South African English accent, scattered with South African slang here and there. I look back at videos I took in high school and can barely believe I’m the same person.

 

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There’s a growing debate on third culture kids and first/second-generation immigrants being the same thing and that third culture kids is just a way to distinguish white people from everyone else. What are your thoughts on that?

I’ve never heard of this debate, nor have I ever associated TCKs with white people. Interesting. I can see how kids of immigrants can have similar situations as TCKs, but if they’re living in one country for a long time and have grown up there, they probably have a stronger sense of home to that country than a TCK will ever have. Whether I agree with it or not, the concept of identity and gender is very fluid these days. I think the same can be applied to the TCK term – though you may not “tick the boxes” you can certainly share the same experiences. I find that I connect well with ‘halfies’ too – mixed race people often tell me how they struggle to feel completely part of one nationality or culture, regardless of whether they are a TCK or not. This is something I can identify with, but that doesn’t mean I am a halfie.

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Lastly, are there any tips you’d like to share on adapting as a TCK? In some situations, you are in a one-culture environment and it may be a culture you are familiar with but is not 100% you.

It probably comes with confidence in foreign languages, but making friends with locals rather than expats from the start has helped me settle into a country more and reduce culture shock. Eating with locals at their favorite food stalls instead of dining at fancy expat restaurants is one example of a way to settle in quickly and comfortably. Sometimes I don’t like going to new places alone, so making friends with locals helps me feel comfortable in a new area if they can take me around. There are always websites like Internations to find fellow expats in your area, and those are great if you need someone in the same situation to talk to, but personally I enjoy using local meetups and apps to meet people who are from the country I’m in.

That being said, I found lots of benefit in talking to fellow TCKs, either online or people in the country. Knowing that there are others who deal with the same situations as I do made me find comfort in being a TCK. I’ve learnt that this is my identity and it’s something to be proud of. My background has made me uniquely me, and that’s something no one can take away from or deny.


Follow Lindie on Instagram, Youtube and check out her blog for more!

 

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Aramco Brats: Life inside the Kingdom.

By Daniela Duran

Hiraeth (n.) A homesickness for a home to which you cannot return, a home which maybe never was; the nostalgia, the yearning, the grief for the lost places of your past.

 The most complex question you can ask a third culture kid is “where is home?” Because the truth is that we cannot give you a simple answer. We belong everywhere and nowhere. It is only by spending time getting to know us that we will reveal the places that shaped us, the people we truly miss and the stories that make us who we are.

For me, living in Saudi Arabia was of one of the most exceptional and life-defining experiences. It is the country that when I list among the places I’ve lived, people stop and ask “Saudi Arabia?! What was THAT like?” and my response is always the same “extraordinarily different”. If there is one truth about Saudi Arabia that all expats can agree with is, is that the hardest part of living in KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) is leaving. Saudi Arabia is one of the hardest countries in the world to get a tourist visa especially if you are not Muslim. This means that once expats finish their work assignments and their work visa finishes, they can never (or at least in most cases) go back. It is perhaps this very fact that makes KSA so hard to say goodbye to.

Growing up we always joked that we lived in a “bubble” but it was only until I left that I realised how true that really was. My experience in Saudi was different from what most locals experience or what I myself had experienced anywhere else. I was an ‘Aramco Brat’, a term that we all refrained from using, but admittedly exactly what all of us who have lived within Saudi Aramco camps are. Saudi Aramco is the largest and leading world oil company, and due to the country’s conservative Islamic law, the company created separate gated communities to accommodate foreign workers. Within these closed communities people have access to private schools, hospitals, restaurants, pools and even cinemas (even though cinemas are prohibited by Islamic law inside the kingdom). The strict laws imposed by the Kingdom simply do not apply inside these communities. Women can drive (before it was legal), they can go out without abayas, religious police do not monitor the area and boys and girls are free to share public spaces. Saudi principles are respected but there is flexibility for western culture inside the gates. I lived inside two of these communities, Ras Tanura (3, 200 residents) and Dhahran ( 11,000 residents).

There are certain moments in life that you remember so vividly that you almost feel like you can re-live them. A lot of my experiences in KSA feel that way. For example, ill never forget landing in Saudi and feeling overwhelming fear-both for the unknown and for the little I actually did know about the country. I was used to moving around the world (well as much as one can ever get used to it) but I knew Saudi would be different. I was made well aware of that when I was packing for the move and I was instructed to get a permanent marker to cover the faces of all the actresses on my DVD covers. To top it all off, I landed in KSA on Christmas eve and my 12-year-old self was very confused as to why my family would move to a place where my favourite holiday was not celebrated. The journey from the airport to my new home on December 24th was not one filled with Christmas lights and Christmas carols. It was one with miles and miles of sand until we reached massive gates with an excessive amount of armed security.

There is something intimidating about seeing so much security in front of your new neighbourhood, I mean ARAMCO security does not mess around. ARAMCO is funny that way, it makes you feel safe in a very unconventional almost threating way. In fact, the moment I first entered an Aramco camp, I was no longer identified personally, I was instead my badge number. Aramco monitors their employees and their dependents with badge numbers. I know, it sounds very much like a science fiction type of world. But to me, that’s almost what it was. It was like it was all made belief. After passing the gates you enter an entirely different atmosphere than life outside. It was no longer desert, it was palm trees, a beautiful blue ocean, kids on bikes, signs of a life I was more familiar with.

Getting adjusted to Saudi Arabia is something I don’t think ever really happens. You just get used to living with unusual events constantly occurring to you. Despite living inside the gates, going out of camp was essential. Our trips out of camp consisted mostly of shopping trips or visits to restaurants. It did not take me long to realise that KSA was not just a desert, luxury is a big part of Saudi culture. Its architecture made hospitals and shopping malls look like palaces. Saudi law, however, was very strict and we had to adhere to the regulations. We had to wear abayas that covered our bodies and occasionally head scarfs. It was not uncommon to have Mutawas chasing you and screaming at you for not covering up entirely. It was a crazy culture shock.

Saudi Arabia is a place that is infamous for its lack of freedom, particularly for women. The women’s rights movement has a long way to go and a lot of the kingdom’s laws continue to jeopardize justice and liberty. Nonetheless, when inside the kingdom you start to appreciate the Saudi culture. People may not live following western values, but tradition is strongly valued. Living in Saudi made me grow fond of things far from my culture. I began to appreciate the holy month of Ramadan, of celebrating Eid, and days off school because of shamals (sandstorms). I also learnt to pair hummus with almost anything and yes I even got to do stereotypical stuff like riding camels in the desert. It was never an easy adaptation, but it certainly made me appreciate a different part of the world.

Inside the camp, my life was better than I ever thought it could be. It took me about a day and a half to make friends. Friends that 10 years later I would still be talking to. Everyone was from all different parts of the world, so beautifully diverse and yet also so astonishingly similar. Our greatest similarity was that despite living in a camp with more freedom than outside the gates, we all had very very little to do. This meant we saw A LOT of each other. You know how they say you don’t pick your family? Well, that’s how it felt. 90% of my teenage years consisted of the most common RT activity – cruising. Cruising in Saudi Arabia is pretty legendary. It is when your 13-year-old Lebanese friends steal their dad’s cars and drag all of your friends to listen to music while they drive around the same 4 streets the compound has for hours. I can still hear us jamming to Akon songs pretending we could relate to the absurdity of the lyrics. Cruising for us was liberating, it was a sense of false freedom. We could drive for hours yet reach nowhere. We were always confined by the compound walls… but because we were all together, this somehow always felt okay.

I always believed I was living a normal teenage life but thinking back that’s not quite how it was. School, for example, was a place where your teachers knew everything about you as they were also your neighbours. They could be punishing you one second (anyone remember 7ups?) and then saying “see you at the BBQ Friday” the next.  Setting personal boundaries with anyone was almost impossible which meant that gossip and drama was rampant. To say we didn’t drive each other insane from time to time would be a lie. To deny that we often didn’t wish to get out of the ‘bubble’ and into the ‘real world’ would be a lie. Yet, like all great moments sometimes you don’t realise how great they are until they are gone.=

Another vivid memory I have of living in KSA was staying up to watch the sunrises. We were all way too young to be staying up all night (some of us sneaking out, others not), yet we would sit to appreciate the sunrise at the RT beach. We would talk all night about whatever seemed important to us at the time, but when the sun would rise we would sit together in silence. Saudi sunrises are unforgettable. Something about them makes you feel like you are exactly where you need to be. They make you realise how beautiful the Persian Gulf is, they make you view everything in new light. No one would say it out loud but as the sun would rise we all were very aware that we would forever be attached to this place. It was home and that was beautifully heart-breaking. We knew we were too attached to a place that was not our own. Our routine was always the same. The sun would rise and we would find our way to the dining hall to have our big ‘family’ breakfast where the servers already knew exactly what we wanted. Sleeping was a waste of time and it seemed like no amount of time spent with our friends was ever enough. It’s like by not sleeping we would somehow hold time still.

Eventually, as we grew older, things became more difficult. What we called ‘partying’ was someone with a great music playlist and some SID. SID is a homemade alcohol that you literally had to drink- wait 5 minutes to see if you went blind- then continue. It was not ideal (or safe) but hey, that was the Saudi experience. Drinking was illegal meaning having any form of nightlife was complicated. We couldn’t go on dates because going anywhere outside the compound was illegal (the opposite sex can’t interact unless its family) and anywhere inside the compound was pointless/awkward. Most families chose to send their kids to continue their high school years in boarding schools. As time flew by everyone began going abroad, parents began to retire and in a way, everyone was being forced to move on. We soon realised we could not live in our little bubble forever.

But here is a secret: Aramco Brats never truly move on. We always carry a part of our childhood/teenage years with us. It is what allows us to connect with the rest of the Aramco brats around the world. Its what creates that special bond. Saudi for us is the place where we made friends that we trust with our lives, where we were surrounded by people from all places, races and religions and we cared for each other unconditionally. Saudi is the place where we were raised not only by our parents but our friend’s parents. It is the place that taught us to add “wallah” “ mishwar” “ inshallah” to our vocabulary. It is where our hearts were first broken, but where we met our first loves. Where we experienced loss and grief, but also overflowing happiness. Aramco brats don’t forget Saudi Arabia because no one forgets what teaches them how to love. Saudi taught me how to love not only people, but cultures, and sunrises, and car rides. It made me fall in love with streets and routine.

I left over six years ago, and there is not one day where I don’t miss home.

 

 

Almost Home

By Maria

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Some people have a very precise concept of home. They spend their entire lives in one city, know everyone that lives there and are familiar with every little nook and corner. The comfort and sense of belonging these people have is enviable at times.

Then there are those who have a hard time making sense of where home really is. Is it the country they were born in? Brought up in? Studied in? Or the one they’re currently residing in?

Home for me is every city and country I’ve lived in, learned to love and given a part of myself to. The world is my home and this is where I belong. What’s your idea of home?

Here’s a short poem that I wrote at a very emotional time. I was about to leave Houston after having completed my undergraduate degree.

“Almost home”

They say home is where the heart is

I say home is where –

You learn, you grow

You fall, you know

You miss, you are at bliss

You fight, you give

You discover, you prevail

You differentiate the real from the fake

You resist, you give in

You hold on and let go

Home is, where you learn to live.

High Level Security

By Mehreen

Mehreen_Living In A Bubble, Behind Bars

Growing up as a third culture kid (TCK) I became fond of meeting new people everywhere I went, hearing their stories and experiencing their cultures. I felt liberated to explore endlessly, it gave me fuel and I thrived off this multi-cultural lifestyle.

By age 7 I was blessed to be conversational in three languages, to have already lived in 2 African countries and about to move to the 3rd, and none were of my parent’s origin. I have been blessed to have the opportunity to keep doing it again and again and again.

As free as I felt, much of my childhood was spent in a bubble, behind bars, in high level security homes. This might sound strange, but it was normal for me. All the houses I lived in had 10ft brick walls with electric barbed wire on top surrounding the boundaries of the property. All my friends also had similar security set ups, like I said, it was normal growing up in Africa. All the doors and windows had metal grills and gates. There were security alarm systems that would get triggered, even if a gecko crossed its path. Not to mention the 2 security guards that sat outside the house at night, taking turns walking the perimeter of the house every 30 minutes with a highly-trained German Shepard guard dog. It made me feel safe laying in my bed listening to the gravel shift and crunch beneath the security guard’s shoes as he would walk around the house. It was the “all clear” I needed that it was safe to go back to sleep. And I thought no more of it.

It was not until my family left Africa and moved to London that I felt like a fish out of water. I was 14 now. A little more mature. The new house had no brick walls surrounding it, no guards, no bars on the windows and no security system. I felt so exposed. My dad would walk the house every night making sure all the windows were shut and the doors were locked before he turned in for the night. He felt it too. I could tell. But he kept a tough exterior and tried not to let us catch wind of his protective instincts.

As a grown woman, I now realize how much I have been shaped by my past. I need all those security measures to feel safe, even in an affluential neighbourhood in Chicago. I had my husband install a security system in our home that had sensors on the doors and windows. It was almost unnecessary precaution. But without it I couldn’t sleep at night. I have recently moved again and all the insecurities are flourishing again. New house, new city, new everything and no security system.

Today my eyes and ears popped open when I heard the squeaking of the front door open at 5:30am. My kids asleep in their rooms and my husband out of town unexpectedly. I don’t own a baseball bat, or a gun and I didn’t have a knife by my bedside. What now? I listened for footsteps but didn’t hear any. My instincts kicked in and I turned my flashlight on my phone, typed in 911, kept my finger hovering over the green dial button and started my search. Kids still asleep. Check. Bathrooms clear. Check. Front door locked. Check. No one in the living room. No one in the play room. No one in the kitchen. No one in the laundry room. Phew! All the other entry points were locked. I left the lights on and went back to my room.

I missed those security guards so much today.

As a TCK we grow up in unique environments that not everyone can relate to. These environments shape us and make us who we are. They make us multilingual. They make us tolerant. They make us cautious. They make us vigilant. They may also give us anxieties no one else can relate to but other TCKs. However, we should not have to be apologetic for being who we are. Always be true to yourself. Love always.

 

The Day I Decided to Compromise

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When you’re a TCK, it feels like you’ll always have this feeling of restlessness. There’s so much to see and do in this world and yet, whatever you do, it feels like there’s so much more to do.

Your Facebook newsfeed is filled with photos from fellow TCK who you’ve met or gone to school with and now barely talked to. But they seem to have it covered. Perhaps they’ve settled in a country or perhaps they’re going to university somewhere and travel. The kind that make you wonder if there’s more you could add to your (already hectic) life.

Some have settled down and built a family. That can trigger a sense of envy because they’ve finally started growing roots somewhere, with someone.

I’ve reached a strange place where I’m not where I thought I’d be two years ago, but then again, do you ever really know? Yet, I’ve got this feeling I’ve found a place where I seen myself staying for at least another five years.

And the thought is less scary to me now then it used to be.

When I contemplate a situation and try to think long term, I feel like it’s not me thinking, it’s one of the different cultures I’m made up of, that takes the lead. To put it simply, with different cultures, I feel like there’s different futures available.

But I’ve learned to compromise. I’ve learned that it’s okay to be scared and it’s okay to think long term. It’s okay to not have a clear idea of where you’ll be or what you actually want to do.

They say that being a TCK means you’re more able to take a job in any culture, and fit in but the truth is, you’re also more hesitant about what you want to do. Because when it comes to what you actually like doing, it depends on the different countries, the different people you have grown up with.

I’ve learned to compromise. Some activities will remain hobbies, others will become a part of your everyday life. It’s okay to not be able to do everything, see everyone, travel everywhere.

It’s not an obligation that comes with being a TCK. And while that may be obvious for some, I feel like it isn’t for others.

Settling down and compromising is not a TCK failure. It’s a fear but never see it as a failure.

#2017

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By Rebecca Coleman

               This year I wrote New Year’s resolutions. For those of you who might be asking “so what?” This is a huge deal for me. As a Nomad from birth, it’s always been hard for me to envision a future much beyond the next week. Between moving more times than I am old and never really having any stable or long lasting relationships outside of my immediate family, the future seemed more of a mystical realm, kind of like heaven. This thing that pretty much everyone agrees exists, but not really something that we, as humans can prove the validity of. Whenever younger me thought of the future, I always thought of events falling into place almost magically, everything woking itself out. Essentially, I thought the future wasn’t something that could really have an effect on in the present. Okay, so maybe I sound a bit fatalist, I might be, I’ll chalk that up to one of the effects of being raised in a Muslim country.

Anyways, back to my point. I’ve never been able to make any real, concrete new year’s resolutions. Some years I’d make a mental note of wanting to work out more or read more books. But those thoughts would be forgotten by January 3rd at the latest. Obviously the way I was approaching things was all-wrong.

2016 was definitely a “growing up” year for me. I had to face reality in a way that I’ve never had to before. Last year changed me in many different ways but think one of the largest, most important ways that it changed me was that I became a lot more realistic. As my entire fellow Nomads know, we’re dreamers. We dream of traveling, while simultaneously dreaming of having a stable home, of having friends that live down the street instead of on a different continent. We wish we had more money so we could travel more. We wish we had a flexible job that would allow us to jet off whenever we feel like it. We also daydream of being stable, getting married, having kids, buying a house and never moving again. You get my point. My mind was a constant juxtaposition between growing roots and taking flight. It was almost as if I lived my life out in my head and not in real life. So if 2016 taught me anything it taught me that while dreaming is nice and is sometimes the only thing that keeps you sane, reality is, well…reality. It’s important.

For my whole life I had never thought any further than graduating college. Can you imagine? I had never realistically thought about a real life beyond graduating with my degree. Then before I knew it, it happened. College was done and I freaked out. Cause now what? So instead of facing reality, I went right back to school and got a Masters degree. Phew, two more years of not having to think about the future. But then I graduated again, just 6 months ago. Again, “all of a sudden” I had nowhere else to turn, no other rock to hide under, I had to face reality, something I had arguably never had to think about before. Growing up, I floated wherever my parents’ jobs took us. Thailand, Canada, Guinea, and a whole slew of places in-between. All I had to worry about was making sure I packed plenty of reading material and a few snacks. Changing scenery, friends, and houses every other year made me really value the present. But it caused and imbalance. Before I realized how it affected me, I had no appreciation or real understanding of the importance of preparing for the future. It was something I ignored because I felt it was something that I couldn’t control. In my mind, well everything will just fall into place. Que sera sera or whatever.

So yeah, I graduated last July and I started applying for jobs, cause thats what you do after graduation, right? Well a month went by and nothing, two months went by and nothing. Guess what? Here we are in January of 2017 and I’m still jobless. Now, I could blame my predicament on a lot of different factors; my major, the economy, my location, my ill preparedness, but the fact still stands that whatever the reason may be, I have no job and boy, was I not prepared for that. You mean things don’t work out in real life like they do in our imaginations?? All my daydreaming of landing that perfect job right after graduation hadn’t transferred into real life for some reason. Oddly enough that was quite a shock for me.

I’ve taken many personality/strength weakness tests and one aspect that has consistently been my biggest opportunity for growth throughout my life is my inability to “manage a purpose or vision”, basically I refuse to speculate about an unknown future. Until very recently I had just accepted this weakness as everlasting (how defeatist is that?). But after many tears, a lot of denial, and finally some deep soul searching I realized that I had to take control of my future. I finally understood that despite the fact that I may not be able to control everything, I still have a duty to both my current and future self to make sure I am always in the best state of preparedness as possible.

So on December 30th, 2016 I set out to write my first new year’s resolutions of my entire life. Honestly, they came to me a lot more easily than I thought they would. I saw so many aspects of my life that I knew I needed to change. I saw so many opportunities for growth and future improvement. When I was done I showed my list to my boyfriend. His first words:

“It’s so long.”

In my determination I had written a whole page of detailed goals, resolutions, statements, and affirmations that I made to myself in 2017. Well, yeah, of course its long. They were 25 years in the making!

This year, I feel like for the first time in my life I have a sense of purpose. I’m beginning to find that balance between daydreaming about what you can’t control and actively pursuing your personal zenith in those things that you can control. Its a really good feeling. I don’t feel overwhelmed by my resolutions, instead I feel a drive to reach these goals and improve this person that I’m representing for the rest of my life. Does this make me feel less Nomad? Yes, yes it does. Having this sense of purpose makes me feel slightly more “normal” you know, like a regular person who was born and grew up in the same city. But hey, that’s okay. I’m not losing myself in the process, I’m just becoming a better, more prepared me. I never thought I’d reach this point of planning and preparedness, because honestly, I’d never done it before.

But I never want to be in the place that I was in last year, where I was doubting myself and my abilities simply because I hadn’t thought far enough ahead to put some failsafe in place in case of unexpected life turns. If you’ve been able to follow my ramblings thus far, thank you. If you’ve made it this far but still have no clue what I’m saying, I’m sorry, let me help. So what am I saying here? Simply this; I’ve finally found the value in actively pursuing the future that I want for myself. The dots between the decisions that I make today and the affect that they have on tomorrow have finally connected for me. All in all, I’m thankful for the lessons that I learned in 2016. I’m starting this year out as a more balanced individual. I’m still very much a daydreamer; just a slightly more goal oriented one.

And for those if you who are wondering, no, I haven’t thought past 2017. Geez, baby steps, guys.

That One Thing We Don’t Talk About.

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The whole of a sum.

Whether you’re a TCK, multicultural or biracial, you must have felt it. Having no real sense of belonging. Or, maybe, not the same sense of belonging as some of your peers which live where they were born. And they’re probably going to be get married, have kids and retire in the same place.

There’s no good or bad. They say the grass is always greener on the other side and this is exactly why I wanted to write a blog post today. I want to talk about that feeling of envy I get when I see people who are a single number. Not a sum of cultures, various heritage and traditions. Just people who are a single number.

On a side note – I don’t think no one is ever truly a “single number” or made up of a single culture. Watch this beautiful piece to see what I mean: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fw7FhU-G1_Q

I guess I’m referring to people who feel, act and believe with one culture. Sure, they’ve perhaps traveled a few times  here and there but they know where their comfort zone lies. Well, I’m going to be honest, I’m jealous. I wish I had that kind of stability. That sense of belonging you must feel. Your everyday of a lifetime. You’ll grow, experiences a lot, disappointment like the simple joys of life but you’ll always be anchored to a single place.

I wish I had that friend that has been there from the start. The friend I grew up with. Not a friend who I see once every 5 years for an hour. Not a friend that is becoming someone else, simply going along with whatever environment they are now. Like a chameleon.

I wish my family was next door, in the same town or even the same country. I wish I would be able to have dinner with them every Sunday night or maybe every two weeks. Give them a simple call to catch up. Now it’s all likes and comments, some private messages and perhaps pokes to spark up a conversation that should have happened three weeks ago.

Everyone thinks you’re just strolling through life, achieving whatever and being totally independent. Truth? Sometimes, you feel so lonely and wish I had a constant in life.

What hurts the most is people who have had that group of friends since they were kids. I wish I had that too.

But you know what? Like written earlier, the grass will always be greener on the other side. Perhaps people with that stability seek that wanderlust you think we portray, or maybe they’d like to experience something different. Another language, another culture, another country.

There will always be pros and cons to everything.