Third Culture Kid Dating; adults who have spent their developmental years outside their parent's culture

My monogamous love affair with London


Being a Third Culture Kid, I was always restless. The reason for this restlessness probably arose as a result of moving around so often in my formative years. After being born in Tokyo, I moved to Dusseldorf, Johannesburg, Vienna, and Hamburg, all before the age of 18. After settling in a school for a couple of years, it was time to move and say goodbye. On to the next and the new. It was thrilling and exciting to discover a new culture and customs in a brand new country.

After growing up in those five different cities, I moved again – this time on my own – to Boston University. It was thrilling to discover new cafes, restaurants, the Boston Red Sox Baseball team! Everything was fresh, exciting, and unknown. Little by little, I learned more and more about the city. After two years though, I realised I was trying to find ways to get out of the city.  I’d take a bus to New York on the weekends and started planning visits to Philadelphia to see my sister. I was starting to feel antsy, and I knew it was time I move again. I’d moved past the honeymoon phase and needed a change.

I decided to pack up my bags and study abroad in Auckland, New Zealand. It was lust at first sight. A beautiful country with luscious green everywhere, we would spend endless sunny days hiking, camping, and swimming. My friends and I went on an incredible road trip all around the South Island: I had never seen more beautiful landscapes in my life. The people I met in Auckland were warm, friendly, welcoming and relaxed. No one seemed to be in a rush. Or if they did, they knew how to hide it! No one would bump into me on my way to my internship and no one seemed to push and shove. Although it was refreshing at first, it slowly started bothering me. How could everyone be this relaxed? This calm? Where was the urgency and the fast pace I’d seen in other cities? I was making that fatal mistake of comparing Auckland to my exes. Vienna, Hamburg, and Boston were nothing like this! I wanted things to be more exciting and unexpected. I needed a city that was more lively, hectic in its own way and stimulating. Similar to a relationship, the original spark and butterflies I’d felt with Auckland had gone away, and I craved the nerves you feel in the very beginning!

Instead of going back to Boston, I looked at my university credits, and realized I could still do another study abroad program with Boston University. Another option for those in Business School was London. I thought, why not? I’d been there once or twice for a weekend growing up and was looking for a change. Could it potentially turn into a long-term thing?

I took my two suitcases with me and flew to London. I expected the same pattern to happen: I would spend a couple of months living there, meet new people, get accustomed to the English lifestyle, and slowly but surely, get bored of the place and want to move to a new country again.

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The first thing I noticed in London was the thrill, the fast pace, the excitement, the business, the new bars and restaurants that would pop up each night were enticing. And the people. They were from everywhere around the world: you would hear German, French, English, Chinese, Spanish, and Portuguese on every underground train. There was no ‘normal’ because everyone was so different and unique. Those who were from England had often spent a year travelling abroad, and those who hadn’t had the opportunity to go away, had an overwhelming curiosity of what other places and other cultures were like. I couldn’t get enough of that open-mindedness. Having attended international schools, I had always expected that everyone should be open to differences and even more than that: welcome those differences. London did just that. And that’s when I realized it. I’d fallen in love.

When I flew back to Boston to finish my degree, I knew this was not the end. I received my interview offer from Bloomberg in March 2010, and was working and living in London in June 2010. It’s been love ever after ever since.


4 thoughts on “My monogamous love affair with London

  1. I share that love for London. I came here for a couple of years, went back to France, met my husband… and we both came back. For a few years. It’s been 11!

    • Haha! That’s the thing about London; I think I’d seriously miss it if I left. I love how efficient everything is. That there’s always a new cocktail bar opening. And that there are million places I find that I never knew existed – love that.

  2. There is something truly special about London, it wins you over and makes itself home before you realise it. My parents think it is because I spent my formative-teenage years there, but even after my parents moved on to a new diplomatic post and I started university in a whole different part of England, London is still home to me. I never felt that way about any other city we lived in.

    • I feel the same way Asli. It’s interesting that you spent your formative years in London – I wonder if that has an influence on your preference as an adult. Although, like you said, you moved again afterwards. It’s funny because I’d never lived in London (besides for study abroad when I was 21), and yet for some reason it was the first place I felt right at home – really normal and comfortable. 🙂

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