Well, hello there! Meet a 30-ehem something Third Culture Kid (TCK) who was born in Switzerland and grew up in France to a British mum (known here as ‘mamie’) and an American dad (‘papi’). I’ve lived most of my life in France, but also in Germany, the UK, Switzerland, China and the United States.
I’ve been married for almost a decade to a monocultural American I call “Tall Mountain”, or TM for short. We fell in love in Malaysia and were married in Europe (in France and in Switzerland) where we were living at the time and then, six months after getting married, we sold everything we had to move somewhere new to him and new to me – neither the US nor Europe. We chose Shanghai, China. It was a really unique season in our newlywed lives to pour into one another and make new friendships, to grow stronger together despite culture-shock… AND to make the important realization that the other’s culture wasn’t so dumb and backwards after all. It was there in China that little orphan kids decided to name the tall white laowai, “Tall Mountain”.
In 2009, we moved to the middle of the United States and boy, was it ever a shock to the system. I hadn’t lived in my passport culture (one of them) for twenty years. I sounded like an American but felt no sense of belonging to the US. I was a so-called “hidden immigrant” and buried within me was so much grief. At the time, I found great relief writing about the TCK tensions I was faced with during my ongoing transition. Perhaps those brutally honest reflections will one day resurface in the form of a book or something else. In the meantime, blogging here has a similar therapeutic purpose for my day to day life as a TCK mama.
My blog allows me as an Adult Third Culture Kid (ATCK) and a mother to three children to first and foremost remember and mark my journey as a young mother. We often call the threesome by their middles: “Ayodelé” (4.5yrs – means ‘Joy is in the house’ in Yoruba) and toddler girl “Délice” (born on Christmas Day 2013 – name means ‘delight’ in French) and then there is our baby boy “Amani” (‘peace’) born December 2015. So, I’ll readily admit it, my blog serves a totally selfish purpose. I want to record the changes in myself and in my thought process and to be able to look back on how I navigated the tension of wanting to raise my children to be multicultural, multilingual and most importantly global-minded in a monocultural setting.
Today, we are back in France. We moved to a village in the south eastern part of France this past June 2016. We’re an One Parent One Language (OPOL) family: I speak French to Ayo, Délice and Amani. Papa speaks English to them. And we have more recently been actively inviting Mandarin into our home. I get excited about language, culture, travel, natural birth but also delicious food and gorgeous design or deeper topics like injustice, adoption, faith and freedom in Jesus. If any of these things interest you, then welcome to the virtual dinner table conversation! You can also follow me on twittter: @tckmama and Instagram, where my name is @thirdculturemama.
Feel free to drop me a line anytime here: thirdculturemama[at]gmail.com
Photos by Miriam Kunz