Where is home? A concept that raises more doubts than certainty. A few weeks ago, this concept didn’t mean anything to me, I was gauging it without real effect, unable to interpret the discomfort this question raises in me.For those who don’t know me well or at all, my name is Fedora, I’m French second generation, born in Paris and of Cameroonian origin. Yet, if we had to calculate in terms of time, I’ve spent the major part of my life out of this country, moving constantly between France and the French Antilles before finally moving in England. But in all of this, Where is Home? Believe me that if I could, I’ll make this question disappear from the earth’s surface.
I’m quite superstitious as a person, I’m a bit of a destiny believer, I really feel like everything happens for a reason. So what was more surprising when, two three months ago, I finally met after two decades of questioning (ok, I should stop being that dramatic) someone in the same situation.
It was one these stressing days before exams, I was actually taking a ‘’small’’ break with a Franco Colombian friend who is used to travelling quite a lot too , when at some point the question came out…Her answer? Quite unclear, full of confusion: If people ask I would say France, but to be honest I don’t know…As I said it before, it was the first time in a lifetime that I actually met someone living the same thing as me. There is nothing really exalting in knowing that, but how good it is when you know that you are not alone, because what appears to be a big ‘’issue’’ becomes more ‘common’. At this point, we were looking each other in the eye, speechless while I was desperately trying to find an explanation ‘’ gosh my friend, we are nomads, this is all what we are’’.
So far, I’ve always dissociated culture and territory. It didn’t even cross my mind to associate them, which is quite common when we think about it. When comes the time to determine another’s origins, people tend to make quick conclusions and forget all the cultural aspect hidden behind. Which is understandable in first place, appearances are deceptive, a Japanese can hide a Spanish, a Spanish an African. We are no longer in a dynamic where people have one and unique culture. Having a French, British, Chinese passport or else is not as significant as it used to be.
But let us return to the matter at hand ‘Where is home?’ This question has followed me my whole life, getting troublesome with time. The situation turned out to be even worse when I was on vacation, last December, and in two months I actually took not less than 9 planes. Is it even humanly possible to do such a thing? Apparently yes…
At that moment of my story , Victoria stares at me and tells me half serious half playful: but there is term to define what we are, we are third culture kids.
15 letters, 3 words which sweep away months and months of questioning.
For those who actually don’t know the meaning of this term, Third culture kid (TCK) is a term used to refer to children who were raised in a culture outside of their parents’ culture for a significant part of their development years. In other words, a third culture kid is the kind of a migrant. But there again this notion is ambiguous, we can’t generalize. In my sense a kid who’s been raised in a community distinct from the country he’s living in is not necessarily a third culture kid because he may have succeeded in capturing one culture X or Y and getting impregnated. Yet, the main issue faced by third culture kid is that he doesn’t have a fixed culture. He is from here and there; even the term ‘’third culture kid’’ didn’t just come by chance, it shows the mechanism through which the Third Culture Kid develops following his personal experience a Third culture, which reunites all the culture he has approached during his development.
Signs abound to describe a third culture kid, as they differ from one person to another, given their experiences, even though in general all have a point in common, all have been away from their natural environment, which implies that all have travelled to different degrees.