Have you read my ‘My Story‘ section? I’m a TCK – I say it all the time and people give me funny looks. I only bring it up when I’m hanging out with other TCKs – just because there’s this weird connection between us. You immediately feel like you are best friends even though you grew up in different places and have never met them before. I recently had lunch with someone at work who had a thick British accent but lives in Boston and did a bit of moving around as a child. She doesn’t call herself a TCK but there still was this connection and I was relaxed around her – sharing my stories and experiences.
Same day, I came across this video, “So Where’s Home? A Film About Third Culture Kid Identity” by Adrian Bautista
The focus of the video was that TCKs have a hard time determining where ‘home’ is or feel like ‘home’ is always changing. In short, the definition of ‘home’ is different to everyone else.
I used to ask myself that a lot. ‘Where is home?’ I am Korean and while I was living in Cambodia, when people asked me where I was from, it was easy.. I said ‘Korea.’ And in Korea, when people asked me where my home was, I said ‘Cambodia.’ And then the story changed as I moved to Boston. The first group of people I met were from my dorm floor. They asked me where I was from and when I couldn’t answer the question, someone kindly said.. ‘where were you before here, where did you grow up?’ and I said ‘Cambodia.’ Soon enough, Cambodia became my home. It was my home – after all, my holidays back home were back to Cambodia. I barely mentioned I was Korean and got several confused looks from people as I spoke Korean with my then roommate.
At first, I hated it. I hated saying.. ‘well, I’m Korean but I grew up in Cambodia. I now live in Boston though’ (I always have to start that sentence with ‘well’). Now I have no problem saying it and explaining it.. only if that person seems interested, of course. I have developed this sense where I know who wants to hear what I say, who really don’t care, or who would just be way too confused to function if I uttered that phrase about my home and identity.
The biggest factor in determining ‘home’ to me is what affected my cultures, values, ethics and morals the most – the place that has shaped me into the person I am today. That is Cambodia but as I utter occasionally, I’m still very Korean. So I don’t think I could ever pick one place when people ask me where I was from. Also, having my parents in Cambodia really helps me to call it my ‘home’ and my ‘safe haven.’ I know that if things go wrong, that’s where I can be and be safe in.
So, for now, I’m a Korean who grew up in Cambodia and lives in Boston. Maybe tomorrow it’ll change. Who knows?
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