Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Third Culture Kid

I was born in Berlin, moved to New Orleans, USA when I was 15 months old for a little over a year, then back to Berlin, then to Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania when I was almost 5 for 5 Years, then back to Berlin for 5 years, then to Copenhagen, Denmark for 6 months, then back to Berlin for 6 months, then back to Copenhagen for 4 Years, then to Vancouver, Canada for 5 Years and now am in Berlin for the past 4.5 Years. Pffffftttttsssssttttttttttt. 

I had a patient the other day who came from Turkey but lived here (Berlin) for the past 30 years. In the first minute of me being at his bedside he said I was "such a typical German woman" without me even saying more than 10 words to him! 
I felt under attack and offended. It might have been the accusatory tone in which he was throwing the words at me but it was also a part of me feeling shoved in a box. 
Do I have to justify myself of being who I am and how I am according to my culture? It was so weird! I haven't experienced this in a long time. Yes, I believe you grow up in a place and are taught how to behave and what is acceptable and what is not- by strangers, by your parents, by teachers, by society etc.
I have never blamed my personality on a Country. I have blamed parts of my personality on my parents many a time though and they have been brought up in this Country... Mh. I guess that makes me part of this Culture.
But is it also my only Culture? Isn't the Culture you live in and love, your Culture? Can't you just "make" your Culture? 
Je suis Confus├ęd.

I am who I am, yes also very German in parts because I have German parents and lived in Germany growing up but guess what dude, I love to dance! Is that because I grew up in Tanzania and the Culture loves to dance? Or is that because I just happen to like to move my bootaaayyyyy?!
I blame his behaviour on prejudice. Screw prejudice! 

Here are some fun little quotes about Third Culture Kids I found:

- You know how to pack.
- You fried a number of appliances during the learning process.
- You get homesick reading National Geographic.
- You think in the metric system and Celsius.

- You have the urge to move to a new country every couple of years.
- You sort your friends by continent.
- You have a time zone map next to your telephone.
- You realise what a small world it is, after all. 

- The end of a school year was always bittersweet because so many moved away.
- You can speak two languages fluently but can't spell in either.
- You know better than anyone else that "home" isn't a place, it's the people in it.
- And no matter how many you say, good-byes never get easier.
- But the constant flow of new friends more than made up for it.

I love all different types of cultures and am always happy to learn about different ways to live, laugh and sing, so I say, let's stuff prejudice in the trash!

Have a great weekend- from one cultural homeless child (well... child still at heart) :D

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