I was a third culture kid. I didn’t even know that term until recently, and was astounded that there was a phrase to describe my life experience. That of a child living an expat lifestyle in a number of foreign countries. I left Australia at 4, and returned at 14, living in various countries around the world but never for more than 3 years.
This childhood, inevitably, has formed me – it is an integral part of my make-up. From the very bizarre fact that I had never flown economy class until I was 16 years of age (yes I was shocked I tell you!); to the fact that my friend, (who is half-Malaysian) says that I am sometimes more Asian than her, due to the time I have spent growing up in Asia.
But in looking back on my childhood, I don’t think I was hard-done by. I don’t think my parents made a mistake in travelling so much with their young family. I count my upbringing as an amazing opportunity that I was given at a very young age. I have an international outlook on the world, I have an understanding that other cultures and nationalities do things differently and that’s okay. I have an ability to make friends easily, I have a love of languages and cusines from other cultures, and so much more.
Yes maybe, I missed some important maths basics along the way (because maths is taught sequentially) – but really, I was never going to be a maths whizz. Yes maybe, (initially), I found it difficult to know how to maintain friendships past three years – but I now have friends who have known me for 21 years. Yes maybe, I can’t drive down the street and show my kids where I went to primary school – but one day (maybe) we will fly there!
And yes, this is in me, this yearning to once again live overseas, to give my children an experience of another culture, another lifestyle, another country. This need to acknowledge that there is so much more out there than our little square with our house, and our church, and our family. This need to show them just how big the world really is!