When we are young we tend not to notice the physical or visual aspects that set us apart. It is not until much later that outer influences such as media, community or social contexts create divides or an awareness of these differences. When diving into module six, “Race and Identity in the Digital Age” the topics within the readings and videos really resonated with our group. We decided to share a scenario based on a group members diverse and challenging background.
I grew up as a third culture kid. Some of you may not recognise that term and it isn’t how I identified myself until late into my teen years. I was born and raised in a small country called Malawi in Africa and although my childhood and experiences were rich and exciting I will never truly be African. I hold a Canadian passport and have lived in Canada for many years now but it was not where I was born or where I grew up. I will never truly feel Canadian. So, I linger in the third culture, which means I have aspects of both these significantly different worlds deep rooted in me.
There were moments I felt extremely isolated on both continents. Not having the right color of skin or being labeled “Mzungu” meaning foreigner in a country I had always assumed was my home. Being told, I don’t belong there and I should leave their land and go back to my real home. Arriving in Canada not understanding their interests or hobbies. Being made fun of because I didn’t have the same “cool clothes” or cell phones as everyone else. Listening to jokes, music or movies and not being able to relate or sometimes even understand the context. Crying in the grocery store when I couldn’t find the one toothpaste brand I recognized in the sea of 60 options available. Feeling lost and overwhelmed by the environment I was now supposed to call home.
Media and the culture around media directly affected so many aspects of my life. Whether it was a direct visual like seeing posters of girls dressed in clothes i didn't have access to or the lack of connection to media and feeling left out of the loop. Looking back now i would have found great value in being noticed or included. If i had the opportunity to search for like minded people to share my story with or to find some way to connect. A network of people or positive media forms to identify with to help close the gap i was always feeling.
Thanks for Reading,
I just came across this awesome website! It has so many great options for us TCK's!! It looks like an amazing way to get connected and meet a few other TCK's. You should check it out. There are also some fantastic videos to watch!
Stay cool everyone
I don’t know if its even possible to understand it unless you have it, but it the most unpleasantly pleasant thing in the world. It’s walking in the a room of strangers feeling like the strangest. It’s not knowing what normal is. It’s those sets of clear foreign eyes that don’t stare at you, but still know your different. It’s the feeling you get when all you hear, you understand. It the nightmares that keep you awake, the threat to stay in a foreign land. It’s the constant flow if people leaving your life and entering. It’s absolutely terrifying. Yet it’s also so beautiful. It’s that urge you have to get on a plane and go. It’s your constant desire to swim, in anything: lakes, the ocean, rivers, pools, water towers. It the taste buds that crave adventure. It the hairbrush you never owned. It’s the opportunities to meet new people, everyday. It’s the second chance you get every time you step of an airplane. It’s a burden, but it’s worth carrying.
From your fellow TCK
I just found out today that I am a Third Culture Kid.
My passport country is America, but I spent a lot of time in Germany and Austria during important developmental stages. While I was there I had some trouble relating to other kids, at least at first, but I always comforted myself by saying “It’s okay, it’s because I’m American. I just have a different culture but when I eventually go back it’ll be all okay again.”
Eventually we moved back to America, and I was equal parts sad and excited. I was glad to be going back to my home country, but I’d had amazing experiences in Europe and had met some fantastic people as well. However, I was still expecting to come back to the States and integrate back into society like I had never left.
This was not the case, however. It was such a rude shock to return, only to find that time in Europe had changed me so much that I no longer felt a part of either culture. It took years for me to make real friends that I felt comfortable around, and even now I still sometimes feel alienated and unable to relate to those around me on a fundamental level.
I’d always assumed that it was just me, that I was the one messed up, and I’d been carrying this around with me for years. Finally today I broke down and explained this thing that had been bothering me for six years. She asked if I knew what a Third Culture Kid was, so I looked it up.
Finding out that I wasn’t alone in this, like I thought I was for half a dozen years affected me so much that I burst into tears.I’m not alone, I’m not the only one, and I’m so glad I’ve found this blog. Thank you so much.
You guys need to watch this video! I'm sure a lot of you , like me can relate.
Hey Everyone, sorry I haven't posted in a while, I went home to Haiti to visit my parents and had little access to internet. I'm home now and can't wait to tell you about my trip! If anyone wants to have a group Skype later, let me know!
You guys have to see this, isn't it so true?