Dear Third Culture Kid


Dear Third Culture Kid,
I know what it’s like to feel alone on the planet. Even though you have friends in multiple villages in multiple countries in multiple continents, you still wish you had that friend who lives just down the street. The one that comes over to just talk on your porch swing. Who with one look knows your heart is crying though your eyes hide the tears. Who knows exactly what to say or who doesn’t. Just being beside you would be enough.
Dear Third Culture Kid,
I know how wonderful it feels to find that friend you’ve been praying for only to know you’ll have to leave soon. I know the dark feeling that crosses your heart when you wonder if it is even worth it. I know how you feel when you think it is safer to live in your lonely world so your heart will never break with the never ceasing goodbyes. I’ve felt that cold sad ache in your belly knowing you could never see your friend again. I know how much safer it feels – but how hard lonely can be – when you block yourself off from everyone and choose to live in books and movies instead. I know you’d rather say “See you later” than “Goodbye.” And we both know when we say “See you later” it’s not true. But it helps us get by.
Dear Third Culture Kid,
I know how it feels to wonder if anyone remembers you exist. To watch your friends make other best friends and live out your dreams with someone more constant. You weren’t the one who went to the mall picking out prom dresses together and painting your nails and feeling beautiful and graceful for one night in your life. You weren’t the one who danced all night and laughed all night and slept all night at your best friend in the whole world’s house making memories to carry with you to university together. You weren’t the one to stand by her side at the altar watching her dreams finally come true with the man you cried with her over.
Dear Third Culture Kid,
I know what it feels like to be a lost puzzle piece that never finds where it fits. You aren’t really sure you want to find where you fit because you don’t want to lose what makes you unique. You don’t want to hide or lose half of who you are. But how you long for someone to be the puzzle piece that finally fits with you. Then maybe at least someone can see and understand that the parts of you that look so different really do make a beautiful portrait. Maybe then that restless feeling would go away and you could finally feel at home.
Dear Third Culture Kid,
I know what it’s like to feel like you skipped a beat or can’t even keep in time with the drumming rhythm because you’ve never heard it before. You feel like you’re trying to waltz at a tap dance and no matter how quickly you move your feet you still can’t count the same. Even though you use the same numbers. How do others move so smoothly? No one told you the rules. Even if you knew the rules you still can’t shake that feeling as though you’re missing something. Something unspoken. Something that is inherently learned that doesn’t match your multicultural heritage.
Dear Third Culture Kid,
I know you get scared and feel lost and alone and you hate being a nomad but you love it at the same time. You wish you could have a “normal” life but know you should be thankful for the opportunities you’ve had. Others tell you how fortunate you are and how blessed you are and you know it’s true but they don’t know how cursed you feel at times. How tortured your heart and mind have been with knowing your duty to be grateful and take full advantage of your experiences but longing for some sense of belonging and not always observing. You’re always on the outside. And no matter how many doors you pound down you never find yourself inside.
Dear Third Culture Kid,
I know how you feel. And I know it will be okay. You are not alone. There are so many of us hidden in the shadows you’re walking through. With one look we can see the foreign in your eyes and find a fellow comrade. We see the tears you’ve cried because they have run down our cheeks too. You don’t need words here. We can hear them all because they’ve come from our own lips. You don’t have to worry about keeping up here or learning a new dance. We’ve created a dance all our own. You can rest here. You can scream and yell and cry or you can just be silent and know you do belong. You’re the puzzle piece that makes our cultures beautiful. You’re the friend we all wished we’d had.
Dear Third Culture Kid, remember no matter how many times you move, no matter how many countries you’ve traveled to, no matter how many cultures you acquire, you are home here. You are inside an unseen but powerful world. And you are not alone. You are a beautiful portrait. So let your colorful cultures paint.


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