You know that country your parents are from… How would it feel for you as an Adult Third Culture Kid? Just thinking about it now, packing your bags, saying goodbye to your friends, and going back to your roots, or maybe they’re not your roots, maybe it’s where your parents are originally from. But it’s still a link that you have.
After spending 5 days in the South of France for some holiday fun with the family, I thought about what it might be like to move back to France in the future. As a Third Culture Kid, the only real connection I have to it is my that it’s where my dad was born, where he grew up. But it’s more than that. It’s the songs we listened to in the car when we were kids. It’s the small town in France that we visited every summer and and every Christmas to visit our grandparents. Also it’s very simply in the food we had for dinner, in the expressions my parents explained while at breakfast, the novels we read at home. I remember watching the news on the French TV channels TF1 and France 2 at 8pm in the evening. We didn’t live in France, and yet so many bits and pieces of our life were influenced by French customs.
Every time I’ve gone back to France, and met people from there, I can’t help but think how different we are (my brother, my sister and I) as Third Culture Kids. Although we speak the same language (my parents were adamant we spoke French at home and taught us how to read and write through additional courses after school), we had an American-ness that meant we didn’t feel we fit into that French world. Some people I’ve spoken to never understand this. They think there can’t be that much of a difference, especially since our Dad is French and we speak French. But there’s so much more to a culture and a country. It’s the small things.
However, what I did realize is that even though we did not feel completely ‘at home’ in France, and we were not necessarily as ‘French’ as those that had lived there their whole lives, it didn’t mean it couldn’t be interesting to dive back into a culture that had been such an important part for our family. Who knows, I may never move to France. I am so happy in London; I don’t see myself moving anytime soon or anytime really! But I can tell that little by little, I’m more open to the idea of reconnecting with certain parts of it. If that means rereading novels I read in French when I was younger or listening to new French songs that have come out over recent years. Or even pulling out a French history book!
Of course, since my mom is Belgian, I would have to add that to the plan as well! And what about reconnecting to the place I was born and visiting Japan? What are your thoughts about this TCKs? Have you ever considered moving back to your ‘hometown’?