Total Pageviews

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Third Culture

Third culture kid.  Ever heard of it?

My sister in law is doing her master's in International Education and she brought it up by recommending Ryan and I read this book about third culture kids.  Especially since Q and his cousin Audrey are experiencing it right now.

It's the label for a kid that grows up in a culture different from that of their parent's culture.

So, Ryan and I both grew up in America.  It's the culture that defines who we are, how we view the world and many of our lifestyle customs.  Q is also American, but for the foreseeable future he's not going to grow up experiencing that culture himself.  He'll get snippets of it when we travel to the States, and from Ryan and I, but for the most part he's going to be an American who doesn't really live in America.

Ryan and I knew going into this "move to Egypt" adventure that it wasn't going to be just a two year affair.  There have been many others who jump into this lifestyle as a quick joyride before returning to the lives they know and understand.  But we're not done yet, in fact we may not be done for quite some time.

Some of our family members have had a hard time adjusting to the fact that we not only signed further contracts, but are now moving to yet another country, even further away.  And I understand their anxiety.  It's not like we moved to Paris or London.  First we moved to Africa, and Egypt went through so many revolutions we had to tell our family to stop watching the news.  And now, just as we're poised to move to Moscow, Russia starts invading other countries.

I get it.

But the real hard part for them is the knowledge that at best, we only get to see each other about once a year.  That's all the face to face time/hug time we get.  And that is really hard, for all of us.  Now that Q is in the picture it's even harder.

And yet, we're continuing to live abroad, which means that Q will be a third culture kid.

I hope with all my heart that this will be something he thanks us for later, instead of something that leaves him feeling displaced.  He'll be multilingual, have traveled the world, have a greater appreciation for other cultures, foods, beliefs, viewpoints than most people his age.  But I also hope that our time in America will foster a respect for freedom, the knowledge that with hard work he can accomplish anything, and of course the love of a hotdog at a baseball game.

Our first culture is amazing, strong and such a part of our identities.  But I didn't really feel like I understood the world until I moved to a different culture.  And one day, Q will be set to choose where he wants to live.  My greatest hope is that our lives abroad have taught him that he can be at home anywhere. We're all people, we all matter, and whatever our culture, we all need a place to call home.

1 comment:

  1. Amen. We need to learn to mind our own business. ;-) What a blessing it has been for all of us to see a new world totally different than ours. Loved your last sentence, we are people we all belong, just because some of us are purple or blue it does not mean that we can not view this world according to our own life style. May God continues to bless the three of you and the next one, lol lol