I haven’t written anything for a while on my childhood in the Middle East, though for numerous reasons as of late it’s been on my mind a lot. Sometimes I wonder how my life would have been different had I not been born in Saudi Arabia and every time that I think about it, I can’t help but be so thankful for that experience and for my parents choosing that life. It has completely shaped who I am, created in me a passion for this planet, a belief in equal rights and in respecting each and every person for who they are and where they come from. But it has also brought some interesting and often awkward moments throughout my life. Sometimes I can’t help but laugh at reactions from people and situations my childhood abroad have put me in, but nonetheless, it’s part of who I am and something I’m proud of.
Not familiar with what the term Third culture kid means? I wrote about it here.
You know you’re a Third Culture Kid when…
+People ask you where you’re from and you question if you should give the real answer or make something up.
+You give the real answer to the question about where you’re from and it takes 10+ minutes to explain, followed by a round of questions that take even longer.
+Your birthplace is an interesting topic of conversation.
+You grow up knowing you probably won’t be able to drive by your childhood home as an adult or go back for holidays.
+You spent years not fitting into your “home” country.
+You feel as if the world is your home, not one particular place.
+Living with people of different religions, different ethnicities, and different beliefs isn’t a bad thing, it’s wonderful.
+You crave the food of your birth country on a regular basis…. like schwarmas and will go any length to get them.
+Your memories of childhood revolve around travels to exotic countries, near and far.
+People you meet later in life will never fully understand the way you grew up.
+You are met with a round of questions going through Immigration booths around the world asking why you were born in _____________.
+That melancholy feeling you can’t quite shake about missing that home you had as a child never quite goes away.
+The world becomes your passion and your instincts are to help make it better.
Interested in reading more about my childhood in Saudi Arabia?
See all of my posts on the country!
Wow- that is a complex situation and emotion, especially in young adult years. I can’t blame people for being intrigued and wanting to hear about your childhood. The closest I can come to relating is the various places I’ve lived. I grew up in Nevada, but also lived in Arkansas, Grenada, and now NYC. Sometimes I pause before telling people where I’m from. It can depend who I’m talking to and how much time there is for conversation, but I can only imagine the next level you feel when it comes to Saudi Arabia.
It definitely is a complex situation and brought me a lot of hard years as a teenager trying to figure it all out… but now looking back, I wouldn’t want it any other way 🙂
Becca @ thePersephonePerspecti says
You have totally nailed it! I feel like the only people who can truly understand me are other 3rd culture kids. 🙂 It’s funny how when I am overseas, I yearn to be “home” in the United States, but when I finally get here, I feel like I don’t really belong at all…thanks for sharing. 🙂
Totally! It’s hard to really relate to someone else how it feels!
Lea Binta says
Love this! I was born in Denmark, but spent my teenage years living in Nigeria. Although I’m back in Denmark, and people see me as Danish (and rightly so), my heart will forever feel half-Nigerian, which is something people can’t relate to. Especially as I don’t look half-Nigerian. 😉
I can totally relate! It’s hard especially when you don’t look like you’re from your “adopted” home, I am the same… I’m obviously not Middle Eastern but you feel that in a sense you are all the same!
Nick Nieto says
This was a great post. You were lucky enough to experience such diversity in life at such an early age. The experiences really make you unique and make you…. you 🙂
Thanks love 🙂