a Third Culture Kid Story

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You a Third Culture Kid ?

I’m a what you might be asking yourself ? Or are you simply asking yourself … what the hell is a TCK ?

No this is not an insult and you can take back your “a la tuya”, the simple but effective commonly used phrase used on the streets of Venezuela that many of us used and still use at times in self-defense when someone calls you names … In simple terms TCK means … Third Culture Kid or Trans-Cultural Kid

To put it simply, if you lived in Venezuela when you were a kid … you’re a TCK. The simple fact that you lived part of your childhood … a month, 2 months or even 5 years in any country other than your own, your a TCK. For that matter, whether you’re from the USA, England, Colombia, Japan or any other country and you lived part of your youth in a foreign country … your one of us.

I first learned of this term from an old buddy of mine Teo Ober. We grew up and went to school together at Escuela Bella Vista in Maracaibo. Teo only lives about 45 minutes from my home here in Hollywood (FT. Lauderdale), Florida. One day over a few beers he mentioned the term TCK. A term he had recently discovered. I had no clue what the hell he was talking about … I almost told him … “a la tuya” when he called me a TCK. But once he explained the term to me and pondering over a few more beers it all made sense. It really did.

Naturally once I got home or should I say the next day struggling through a slight head ache I managed to type in the term TCK in google and to my surprise … a few articles came up. Not as many as I was hoping but none the less … I struck gold. So I proceeded to spend a few minutes reading about what the hell I was. The more I read, the more things where falling into prospective. I mean, I’ve always view the world a little different than my friends and fellow students (when I was in college here in the USA). I had different ideas, I had more tolerance to things, I adapted better in many scenarios and I could always and still can walk in a room and “blend in” even thought I may not feel completely at home. This is called “survival of the fittest” something all of us TCK’s have, some of us more than others. One of the many traits we have as TCK’s. We can adapt to our surrounding better than the average Joe. We have open minds for the most part and we usually have great respect for other cultures. I have often thought that ever kid in this world from every country should live at least 1 year away from home in a completely different culture than their own so they can see and learn to respect other peoples. This world might be a better place and not be as screwed up as it is now.

Anyway getting back on track, my mother's from Colombia, my father's from Louisiana, I grew up in Venezuela, got my elementary and high school education at Escuela Bella Vista, an American school in Maracaibo, I spoke English in class, spoke Spanish on the streets, my graduating class of 17 had 9 different nationalities, I grew up with burger & fries and arepas, I watched Gilligan’s Island and Brady Bunch, I laughed at Radio Rochela and got hooked on the occasional novela … the list can go on and on. So … TCK put a few things in perspective for me. I have mentioned the term to a few friends such as Antonio Escobar, also a fellow Ebv’er and a VEN contributor. When I called him a TCK he did not say “a la tuya” he was more direct and called me a … well I’m not going to say but he did have to apologize to my mom. Once I explained the term to him and he put a little thought into it, he told me that it put a few things into perspective for him as well.

Having brought up the term I highly recommend you do a little research and see for yourself. You might be surprised what this simple 3 letter acronym might do for you. And if you want to share any of your thoughts on the matter, any research finds such as articles, links or simply share stories regarding your experiences … you know what to do. Contact me immediately.

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