Heart is? Home is where your loved ones are? Home is where you grew up? Home is where you live now? Home is your billing address?
I am British. Well, ethnically (lol) half British with a British passport, citizenship and UK address. I have lived in the UK for the past three years, yet I know nothing about really being British. I grew up in Singapore and had lived there for 14 years before I left for University in Scotland. But at the same time, I am not Singaporean, which in many ways removes me from that culture too. But I am quarter Chinese, which should connect me more but I am also one quarter Australian, which removes me again.
So where am I from? Its a question I have really always struggled to answer. Then that beacon of hope found us all and encompassed so many of us into a defining category: The Third Culture Kid. Third Culture is essentially a blend of three different cultures; the first is your parents culture, the second your host culture, so the place you grew up that is separate to that of your parents. This finally creates a third culture, which is a blend of all these new ones that you have been exposed to in your international life. Knowing that there are so many people out there with third culture experiences is quite exciting to me because no two third cultures are going to be the same (feel like there were so many numbers in that sentence sorry). There are so many different blends and countries involved, which is so exciting. But confusing too.
Living in Singapore for all those years, we never really had to think about it because it didn’t really matter where you were from. If you were Indian or if you were Indonesian, people just nodded and continued on with their lives. So going to University in any other country was going to be a shock for many of us. I arrived in Edinburgh and consistency evaded the question purely because I didn’t know what to say. There was also part of me that recognised some assumptions of what people may think people from Singapore are like. Assumptions like wealth because it is one of the richest countries in the world. All of these assumed identities that I thought would come with introducing myself as someone from Singapore (but not really, but also yes) was just too confusing for me and potentially others. But people also know that you’re not British from your accent. Straight-up giveaway and as soon as you start avoiding the question, people will continue to ask.
So there was that. A confusing beginning in another new city with people that didn’t really get your story and felt pretty removed from your experiences. At the same time though, thats how I felt about many people I’d met at University too. As you get to know people more though, that cultural, country stuff really starts to not matter as much. I wish I had told myself this sooner.
I still don’t know where I’m from, but as the life I build for myself in new countries continues to grow I realise that I can be from wherever I want to. Anybody can. Wherever you feel home, whichever country you want to live in, thats up to you entirely. Live and let live I say.