TCK – Third Culture Kid 日本語がない!!

TCK – or Third Culture Kid.  I had totally forgotten about this term.  I guess it’s been a while since I’ve considered myself a ‘kid’. As one person appearing in the video below says, I’m a ‘TCA’ – Third Culture Adult now, raising 2 TCKs. As parents, as these college kids’ parents have, we have all sorts of ‘how’ we think about on a daily basis.  Schools? Comfort food?  Language? I never assimilated to a single culture, American or Japanese. Different stages of my life brought me new associations.  TCKs are generally not attached to a location, but to the relationships we’ve built with different people.  We tend to suffer a bit in our youth, trying to find where we belong. As an adult, however, we are comfortable in our own skin and more open to accepting different points of view.  We didn’t have a choice but to accept change growing up, since it usually happened without our consent, so we are well practiced at adapting to sudden resets.  I think most TCKs and TCAs can sympathize with these videos.  Spending waaaaay too much time at the airport and immigration, running out of pages in your passport. We feel different growing up, and at times, that can hurt, especially during adolescence when we feel even more pressured to find a ‘place’ to belong.

Let me not preach about TCKs, that’s been done before.  Google, and you shall find. I want to bring this closer to home for everyone else though.

I’m going to compare what TCKs go through to the life changes that most people experience. When you are a child, your family is most likely your parents, grandparents, caretaker, siblings and cousins. Where they were, your home was. Mom’s Adobo, Grandma’s Chicken Pot Pie, Grandpa’s pipes, your sister taking your CD player (oh, how times have changed!).  That’s your home. Then you meet someone, maybe live with them for a bit, maybe even get married.  I bet for most of you, it takes a while to shift your unconscious sense of family to your new partner.  Accepting that your spouse and you are the family unit now.  Your childhood family is still your family, but you have to accept that you have just created a new home that’s got its own boundaries.  Then you have kids.  Holy shit, your boundaries, your identity and your home change.  You may move to a new house, because you no longer fit into that tiny converted 1-bedroom apartment. Your relationship with your spouse will go through some transformation. Your relationship with your own parents change. And then there’s in-laws.  I’m sure I can start a discussion group for people just on that topic and it will continue on and on…and on.  Divorce? Time to find a new home. New priorities, new habits.

Well.  That’s what TCKs experience all their lives. Constantly re-defining that sense of self, getting attached, unlatching, making new priorities, and dealing with new relationships.

Marc was born and raised in NYC.  His family (other than myself and the kids) are in the US and he’s as American as apple pie.  Before moving to Singapore, the furthest he’s lived from home was Boston. And yet, when I turned to him today and said, “Where’s your home?” He said the same thing as these people in the video.  “Well, technically, it’s the US, but we’ve also made a home here, this is where you and the children are.” Funny, I thought I was so special I had my own acronym, then I find out that anyone that’s been through a family and life change can have a similar experience.  So we’re not so special after all!

Sometimes, when your kid is tired of feeling different and feeling homeless, maybe we can just tell them, don’t worry, you’re not so different. Everyone goes through it, you’re just getting a jumpstart on ‘adulthood’  : )    Maybe, even for a moment, we can make them feel like “everyone” else. Sometimes, you need that feeling.

** There’s an online magazine that’s devoted to TCKs, could be an interesting read.

TCK(サードカルチャーキッド)って、日本語で何て書くのかからないんですが、なんかないですかね?考えてるんだけどピタッと来ないわ。うわ~、これは日本語一本で別トピでやった方が良かったのかもしれない。次の一本は翻訳出来ない言葉のリストでも作るべきか。ちょい考えさせて貰います。言葉自身の説明は、幾つか他ブログでやっている方々もいるので、そちらに。みんなカタカナでサードカルチャーキッドって書いてるんだけど、長くて、一般的に使いにくくてあんまりしっくりこないんですよね。 日本で育った外国人の方が暫く前にブログをやられてたみたいですが、やっぱりカタカナで書かれてますね。 この人はビデオでやってますね。もうちょっと最近です。でもやっぱり一言で上手い言葉ないかな~。どなたか思いついたらご一報。 この方はもっと真面目に持論を展開されていらっしゃいます。不真面目な私とは大違いで、参考になるのではないかと。ご自身もTCKであり、二人もTCKを育て、社会学の博士号までお持ちの専門家です。






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