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This blog post is a little personal. Depending on how you get here, from most recent to past, vice versa or completely by chance, I just want you to know that this is kind of more for me to look back on than for Google search. But hey, if you can relate to being a third-culture kid then I guess this was useful.
What does it mean to be a third culture kid?
As I write this, I am currently in bed with herbal tea, listening to the church bells ring from a street away. I am in Zurich and ever so slightly jet lagged. These pictures were shot a few weeks ago in Singapore. I thought that once I was back in Europe I would be like, ‘ugh Singapore, I don’t feel a connection there at all and I definitely don’t want to go back’. But I was so wrong. As soon as I touched down in Heathrow two days ago, I was thinking about Percy and Gatsby, my fur kids. And now I’m in Switzerland.
One night when I woke up from jetlag at some strange twilight hour, I was struck by a kind of mild anxiety. What bed I was in – was I at my parent’s house? My old flat in London? My room in Singapore? It was so disorientating lying there in the dark, trying to figure out where I was and correspondingly, how old and what stage of life I was in during those ten seconds before I drifted off back to sleep. What I then realised from all of this was that it actually didn’t matter where I was. I felt a bond with all of these places and one that surpasses time. It’s a bond strong enough that transforms memories into reality, albeit while I’m half conscious.
To me, travelling and figuring out where I could call home was one of the cruxes of identity. When I was confused about where I wanted to be, where I currently lived and where people that I love was living, the whole third-culture kid thing became way more of a burden than a privilege that so many believe it to be. Recently I realised that none of us are ‘stuck’ in one situation or place in life, none of us have to accept where we are if we aren’t happy about it. We have to find our own freedom, not just sit around waiting for imaginary keys to be handed to us to unlock our imaginary cells. Yes it takes time and it’s much harder to do than to write but even being able to admit it and visualise it was one of the steps towards being able to be happy in a country whose culture I didn’t and still don’t understand.
I think this is why, sitting amongst pillowy hills of my white duvet, filtering through pictures for my blog, scrolling through Instagram, waiting for the strength to get up and get dressed for the day, I can say that I am finally content. Not because I am in a certain place doing a certain thing, but because I feel at peace knowing that I can be who I am, anywhere that I want to be.
photos by Chrystal, @chrystlm and Jay, @soulforsouls
Tinselrack dress | Forever21 accessories | Alexis Bittar earrings | Saint Laurent bag