Hey expat mums, if you’re anything like myself you’re probably suffering from the recurring panic flash of raising a kid who has no clue where exactly “home” is. For you locals, we’re talking about TCKs, or third culture kids.
I lose sleep dreaming about my one year old daughter’s future distress on her first day of college when people ask her “Where are you from?” and she stumbles through a series of factors that basically conclude in a big whopping “nowhere really.”
We all know there are benefits to raising internationally minded kids who will have the kinds of experiences others can only dream about, but I’ve decided to list some of the pros that aren’t as obvious to help settle our restless minds and ease that mommy doubt.
- It’s adorable. Is there really anything cuter than a baby giving a wai in response to “sawasdee kha”?
- Their palates are so advanced that they could probably recognise the hidden ingredient of fish sauce in a pho recipe better than a Masterchef contestant.
- They’re very PC. They would never confuse a Chinese person with a Japanese person like many unfortunate Americans I know.
- They travel well. They will NEVER be that person in front of you in the security line in the airport that takes three hours to load their belongings onto the conveyor belt followed by eighty passes through the metal detector because they forgot to take off their watch and belt, empty their pockets, dump their water bottle, leave their knife at home, etc.
- They are easily entertained. They learn to people watch as a favourite pastime finding immense joy in theorising about others’ countries of origin, family relationships and dynamics, and strange fashion sense.
- They make fabulous conversationalists. They will have a story for any occasion, a way to relate to even the most obscure conversational topics such as vegetables that thrive in a dry climate and the way Korean pop stars become famous.
- They don’t judge. They’ve been exposed to every kind of questionable human behaviour and every imaginable eccentricity meanwhile never getting phased. Family of five plus infant and puppy on a motorbike? Old Chinese man with a t shirt that reads “I am woman, hear me ROAR”? These images wouldn’t even warrant a doubletake for most TCKs. Talking about global citizenship, their empathy is off the charts.
- They don’t see race. Literally. I know it’s annoying when people say “I’m not racist, I don’t even see colour” but TCKs know Asian people named Hector and Canadian’s who speak Afrikaans so they really do know better than to rely on physical appearance in getting to know others.
- The have an incredible sense of direction. Street numbers that go in consequential order versus the numbered by the order in which they were paved, no matter. Between all the travel and of course, the apps, they can get anywhere.
- All that bilingualism!