I’ve always wanted to see & experience new places. When I was young, I used to imagine myself under the Big Sky of Montana, or enjoying the sea breeze on the Greek Isles, or skiing the slopes of the Alps. Perhaps it was a presage of what my life has become as an adult with my own family.
We’ve moved multiple times in the last decade and a half, two of those moves halfway across the globe. I consider myself a global citizen, my ideas, perceptions, & values having been shaped (& still being shaped) by diverse & varied life experiences. An old classmate from Medical School commented recently that I have had a somewhat unusual life, compared to the rest of my cohort.
I don’t think this kind of life is for everyone. I know a few of my closest friends are befuddled at how I can do what I do. But it’s not that strange or unusual a lifestyle after all. There is a small percentage of the people of the world who are quasi-nomadic in nature. Their jobs bring them to different parts of the world, often far & vastly different from their home country. Their families are relocated every few years. Previously, these were mainly military families who went where they were directed to go. Now, with the globalization of so many companies, businesses are expanding to places all over the world, sending their senior managers to these places to help run their organizations. And these employees bring along there spouses & kids to unfamiliar environs.
Their kids are known as third culture kids. One usually finds these children in international schools, getting to know kids in the same shoes, from other cultures & ethnicities. And because they don’t live in their home country, they develop a unique culture of their own, assimilating views & opinions from their international friends.
I don’t think I would consider my kids TCKs. Half their lives were spent in their passport country, while the other half in their mom’s passport country. And part of the latter was spent assimilated in a local school while the other part in an international school. Perhaps a more suitable term would be “Different Cultured Kids”. I am not sure how this will affect them as adults. With our impending move to China, doubts & fears of settling into & living in such a different country arise, especially for my children, as they have to make new friends & get used to a new school. Heck, I will have to make new friends as well!!! And make do with less English movies/books/TV programs (sigh).
Despite how daunting the move may be, what I am sure of is that ultimately, their experiences & my own, will be unique and enriching. At least, we will be able to learn proper Mandarin!