“Is it hard to live in a foreign country?”
This was the last question that my kids were answering as they responded to a letter from a Sunday School class in Maryland last week. The letter asked some questions about life as a missionary. Tori and Ian discussed them, and Tori wrote down the answers. But this one had them stumped. They weren’t even sure which “foreign” country the letter was referring to. I explained it to them and after a lot of thinking and a little confusion, they finally settled on answering that they missed their friends and family in the U.S.
This conversation made me realize that my kids have made a transition into becoming full-fledged Third Culture Kids. TCKs. They were born in the U.S.A., but they are growing up in El Salvador. They speak two languages, and they go to an international school. They have friends from all over the world, and they are very comfortable interacting with people from other cultures. They love to travel. El Salvador is far closer to “home” for them than the United States. Their culture is different from ours. They live in a “third culture” that is not completely that of their parents, nor completely that of their host country. It is unique, it is their own.
I think the experience is making them amazing individuals. Their lives are enriched because they can easily relate to other people, regardless of their culture. They are bi-lingual without an accent in either language. The world is open to them, and even now they have a sense of that. I’m jealous of them in many ways.
But many TCKs struggle with lingering questions about home, putting down roots, and cultural identification as they enter adulthood. I found this video on another missionary blog and it seems to be making the rounds on the internet. It gave me a lot to think about in terms of what my children will face as they grow into adulthood. If you are a TCK, know a TCK, or are raising a TCK I think you will find it worth checking out.