Sometimes I forget about how much being a TCK affects me. For those of you who don’t know, a TCK is a Third Culture Kid. Or, a Totally Confused Kid. Or, a Don’t Ask Me Where I am From Kid. Any of those work. In other words, I grew up in a culture entirely different from my ‘home’ culture. Because I am an American and grew up in Africa, I have taken on aspects of both American and African culture, blended them together and now have a third culture unidentified by most Americans and single culture kid.
Not a day goes by that I do not think about Niger. I think about it every day. Some days I miss it like crazy, and just want to buy the cheapest airline ticket I can find and land myself back there. Sometimes I just think fondly about the memories that I have there, but think about how happy I am where I am right now. But, seriously, not one day passes that I don’t think about it. Sometimes I am not aware that I am thinking about it, but it affects everything that I think about. It affects my relationships. It affects how I view the world. It affects the things that I take for granted.
Yesterday I was going through some really old papers and I stumbled across a list that I had made the beginning of my junior year of high school. On one side of the paper I had listed ‘friends that are gone’ and on the other side I listed ‘friends that are still here’. If most high schoolers created a list like this, they would probably have one or two friends leave on an average year. Guess what my number was? 12. 12 of my friends had left at the end of that year. And my ‘stayed here’ list numbers 18. This year was probably the most drastic year of friends leaving, but can’t you imagine how difficult it would be to ‘lose’ 12 friends in one year? That is one of the downsides of being a TCK.
But I think that the upsides outweigh the downsides. I have been to 15 countries. I speak 3 languages. I have experienced homeschool, public school and private school, not to mention boarding school. I have seen the poorest people in the world and I have seen their joy. I have seen their need for Christ and through that have learned my own need for Christ. I have learned how to build relationships that really matter, not just ones that are superficial. I have learned to keep in contact with those who are thousands of miles away. I have experienced the first rainfall on the desert and the first snow on the mountains. I have led and gone on numerous outreach trips that allowed me to see how deeply the love of Christ reaches. I have worked at an orphanage. I have been honored and blessed to have some of the best teachers in the world- ones who are willing to pour into my heart, not just into my mind.
Hmm just some ramblings. Being a TCK can certainly be bittersweet. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Just some good memories with these girls…many of these girls were on my list of ‘ppl that left’.