Expatria · Third Culture Kids · Travel

good, bad, ugly

it’s good that aside from tommy i may have a new friend here in istanbul, a person not a cat. of course, she would be the one person that none of the other ditzy english teachers like because she is older and far more worldly than them. we connected over the stray cats and now it seems she is something of a kindred spirit. sometimes when you pray for something it turns out like the saying ‘be careful what you wish for because you might get it.’ other times you pray for something and it is just what you need.

it is bad that our sattelite is out and i can’t watch the news. i think i am going through CNN withdrawals, part of my morning ritual has been to sit smelling my coffee (drinking it makes my heart race like i am having a panic attack but somehow the smell seems to wake me up) and watch the morning headlines. stormy weather here and no CNN, no BBC. thank goodness at least the internet is working for the moment.

it is ugly that i found out, in the span of one week, that two people i thought i had a strong connection and strong friendship with who i used to spend a lot of time with in spain, have both been back to spain or are there still and did not contact me while we were all there. this hurt me probably more than it should have. this is the non-glamourous side of the internationally mobile childhood/life: i just read a paper on this and it turns out that many people who grew up living in various parts of the world do not define themselves by a place but by the people they connect with and love. it is ugly to realise that the presence of some people in my life may be more important to me than to them and it is bad that i have spent so much time and energy trying to maintain the connection. in turn, i suppose it is good that i know now and can focus more concretely on those i know are not just friends but extended members of my family, and it reminds me how precious they are to me and i am as important a part of their lives and thoughts as they are in mine. even though years and distance may separate us, and may continue to indefinitely.

it is good, bad and ugly to be reading studies about what they are calling a ‘transcultural childhood’ or ‘internationally mobile childhood.’ good because i am realising that when people like us, who have lived this transcultural life since birth, reach a certain age, we all begin to go through very similar things. difficulties with intimacy because we have learned that at some point in the future there will be a goodbye. this feeling of rootlessness and wondering where is home, searching for home and never finding it is not just part of my personal madness, nor is the feeling of being a stranger everywhere i go. being a straddler of cultures or an eternal foreigner, because of my physical appearance and the facts of my upbringing. and, even better, it is not only me who has a problem answering the question ‘Where are you from?’, the most hated and complicated question to ask one of us.

most importantly, i there is a one-of-us i am a part of! i am not just some liminal wanderer of the margins walking alone. there are enough of us to force studies on the subject, finally. there are enough of us to show that this life, as romantic as it may seem, is in fact quite traumatic for children and causes problems that begin to emerge in adulthood. it is good, for once, to read something about me that i do not have to stretch my imagination and bend myself to relate to. it is bad that noone talked about these issues when i was growing up. it is ugly to be faced once again with the pain of a lifetime of continual loss that i never realised i do my best not to think about and now has resurfaced after reading this paper. there are times when it is good for pain to resurface, because as painful as it may be it is my prayer to release it once and for all this time around.


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