Second generation Third Culture Kid. That is what my daughters are. I guess in my mind this was the only way to raise my children. People who had satisfactory childhoods want their children to share in their experiences, to be able to connect at that level. Psychologists will tell you that (unfortunately) those with unsatisfactory childhoods will unconsciously do the same thing. I cannot tell you if my childhood as a TCK/Global Nomad was satisfactory, but I can tell you that I couldn’t help but “bless” my own children with the same experiences.
You’d think I’d be proud. As if a former tennis star just watched his daughter play a perfect 6-0, 6-0 match in her first tournament. Instead I panicked. The phrase that went through my mind was, “What have I done?” I knew that this would be a moment I would have to debrief with myself later.
Fourteen months later I am sitting in South Korea writing this piece, my first official blog post for this site, and isn’t it interesting that I have picked this topic as the first one I dive in to? Perhaps it has all been weighing heavily on my mind since then. Now my already stretched girls are being stretched even further, living in East Asia and attending an international school here. They are learning a completely new culture, a new language, new foods and… new airports. In the past three months we have flown through Kunming and Shanghai in China, Bangkok, and Seoul.
Hotels? Lets not even talk about this just yet. That is for another essay. Suffice it to say that they expertly navigate all aspects of hotel life and immediately figure out what to order from room service while making sure to drink lots of water and remain hydrated.
I’ve internalized this for a while now, and the result has been a sense of pride. The questions are all always there; what if I break them? What if I do irrevocable damage to their personalities? What if *gasp* they can never settle? After a brief moment of insecurities, the sense I always get is: and what an amazing life they will live, if that is what ends up happening.
I don’t know what the future holds, and what my girls will end up doing with these experiences. What I do know is that (barring death, of course) I will always be there for them. They will always have not just me as an older person to talk to about their struggles and joys, but an entire collective of fellow global nomads and TCKs who are true friends. Because this tribe does take care of its own. Always.