Flip the Script

Will I ever settle down some place?

Will I ever choose a nationality?

While looking at my life and the consistent struggles that come my way, I can’t help but laugh at how much of a TCK I am. I grew up in a country and a culture that are completely foreign to those of my parents. My parents are of Puerto Rican and Colombian descent, first-generation Latinos that grew up American. Then there’s me: I grew up in Central America, in Costa Rica. I’m your classic TCK who is used to traveling and trying out new things, a language learner who can’t help but not be still. And for some reason, I cannot choose a country to be from.

What is nationality? What is culture? What is identity? These are questions that could take forever to discuss and figure out, or spark a constant outflow of new questions with each answer that arises. While writing this and reflecting on the many times I’ve researched TCKs or sought anything to grasp that could explain or encourage me on this path of discovery in the realm of identity, I realize that we often tend to focus on our struggles and not so much on our strengths. 

I take myself out of the box that these questions build and take a look at my life experience. I can shout with full confidence that it is a blessing in disguise. It prepared me with a deep compassion for people and a great understanding of human action and intention. I am a citizen of the nations, and I can embrace this fact. 

Will I ever settle down some place? Will I ever choose a nationality? Those are questions that limit and box people like me from flourishing into who they have been born and molded to be. Why not ask, what is the next country you envision living in and exploring? Who are people groups that catch your attention? Why not flip the questions? Why limit the human heart from venturing into the foreign or the unknown?

 As a TCK desiring to encourage the TCK community, all I can say is, don’t put yourself in a box. Embrace the fullness of cultures you carry, and show off the beauty in each and every one of them. Don’t avoid the uncomfortable feelings in this voyage of belonging. There will definitely be grace for you as you’re humble and open with yourself about where you are in the journey.  

We are wired to explore, to venture into the unknown, into the uncomfortable, to understand and adapt a little faster than others, and to be wild at heart. Show it off. Don’t be afraid to be you. Deal with the consequences and make it a part of a beautiful story. Embrace God’s gift to you. Take a deep breath, look around you, and take on the adventure of living between worlds.

 Photo by  Yoann Boyer  on  Unsplash

Photo by Yoann Boyer on Unsplash

I Am From: a poem

I am from Manila, where oceans of people meet oceans of cars.

I am from Taiwan, where the scents of my childhood fill my belly.

I am from Hong Kong, where the buildings smile coldly and the streets tell a story.

 

I am from the seaside, where what I don’t know and do know crash together.

I am from the hilltop, where ants heard our secrets and ate our lunches.

I am from the jungle, where trees spied on us and birds laughed with us. 

 

I am from my father, whose emotions fly and pride stands still.

I am from my mother, where wisdom has eyes and a heart has ears.

I am from my brother, where mistakes are stubborn and a song is always giving.

I am from my sister, where blame never points a finger and kindness always lends a hand.