Saturday, March 02, 2019

Searching for an origin {fmf}

"Where are you from?"

I wondered how my son was going to answer this question when it was put to him by a stranger in a supermarket. I was busy choosing which oats to buy. The ones with environmentally friendly packaging, or budget friendly price?

The stranger tried to answer his own question based on my children's accents.

"England? New Zealand?"

His guesses sort of surprised me, but my son's answer surprised me more.


Neither of his parents are Thai, and he doesn't live in Thailand. But, to be fair, he was born there. He was totally blank when the stranger started speaking Thai language to him though.

As a Third Culture Adult I find that question hard enough to answer myself, so it will be interesting to see what the next generation make of it.

I ended up choosing the oats in the tin that the kids like to use as a toy drum.

End of Five Minutes

After reading blogs like this one, about the culture gap between expat parents and their children I realised it would be useful to find out more. At the moment I'm reading some books about Third Culture Kids (TCKs). I don't know if my children fit exactly and exclusively into that category (and everyone is different anyway) but they are definitely at least one type of Cross Cultural Kid (CCK). Growing up in Cambodia with a Cambodian father, but an Australian mother.

My reading started back here with Between Worlds, but these are books I'm part way through at the moment:

Third Culture Kids: Growing up among worlds seems to be like the "Bible" of TCK literature. And the 3rd edition broadens out to include CCKs generally.
"...the authority on "TCKs"--children of expatriates, missionaries, military personnel and others who live and work abroad. With a significant part of their developmental years spent outside of their passport country, TCKs create their own, unique "third" cultures. 

Authors Pollock and Van Reken pioneered the TCK profile, which brought to light the emotional and psychologoical realities that come with the TCK journey, often resulting in feelings of rootlessness and grief but also an increased confidence and ability to interact with many cultures.... widens the net to discuss the experiences of CCKs, cross-cultural kids, who are immigrants, international adoptees or the children of biracial or bicultural parents." 

"Tanya has spent 13 years working with, and advocating for, Third Culture Kids (TCKs). Her research focuses on TCKs born after 1985 – those who grew up in the internet age. If this topic is new to you (or even if it isn’t!) a good place to begin exploring is Tanya’s explanation of what “Third Culture” is and why it matters to expat children"

Finding Home is a collection of stories from different people about their experience of growing up outside their passport country.

"Who are Third Culture Kids? What makes their experience of identity, home, belonging, travel, trauma, school unique? And yet, what connects them together, across the globe?
How can parents and educators and friends support the TCKs we know and love as they walk through issues as diverse as transitioning to university in their passport country, where they may never have lived, to how to navigate being ethnically of one country but belonging to a family from a different country through adoption while living in still another country?"

Linking up with Five Minute Friday... a one-word prompt every week, and you have the opportunity to free write for five minutes flat on that one word, then join the link-up...the word: SEARCH

Photo credit: multiple places on the internet 


  1. I am not in this situation, but I know others who can relate. I think it's great that you have these resources, because even I can look I to it and perhaps gain some understanding of those who are living this way.

    (visiting from FMF)

  2. I heard someone ask a friend’s daughter that too. She looked puzzled then said, “I think I’m from Hong Kong.” Neither parent is from there nor does she live there, but she was born there. It’s a tricky question sometimes, isn’t it!