I’m what’s known as a Third Culture Kid. I spent my childhood in the US, Thailand, and Singapore, creating a bizarre cultural blend never seen before or since. If we’re all products of our environments, my environment was a product of my dad’s job, and my dad’s job took us all over the place. As such, I am more than a little culturally confused. When I’m really tired, it’s frighteningly common for me to mix up my languages, so I might respond to “Hablas Español?” with “Nit noy!” or to suddenly lose the word for “chicken” in English but be able to remember it in Danish (despite not speaking Danish).
But one of the oddest things about TCKs compared to our more localized counterparts is how we conduct our friendships. My friend Hannah is getting married in October and I’m a bridesmaid, despite not having seen her in about six years. Maybe seven. Actually, I think it’s seven. Her friends in Oregon think this is completely bizarre. It’s totally normal to us. We’re still close, even when we don’t talk, even when we don’t see each other. Hannah is an important part of my life.
As is my friend, Gregg. Gregg (affectionately known as either “My Gregg” or “Kilt Guy”) and I have known each other for ten years, but I could count on one finger the number of times I’ve seen him since my parents left Singapore. We happened to be in Dublin at the same time a few years ago, so we spent our days with our families and our nights drinking beer all over the city. Gregg knows his beer. We keep in touch, we chat every now and then, and when we’re near each other’s current country, we visit.
So now I find myself planning a trip to Barcelona (a city I love, but have already been to twice) to go hang out on the couch of a guy I’ve seen once in the last ten years. The nice thing is, though, there is no stress. We both have a ton of time to kill, I want to see the sun, and it’ll be good to catch up. I mean, let’s be honest – who knows when I’m going to see him again?