Neither Here Nor There

I have a problem. (It’s not really a problem but I can’t seem to find the right word to describe it.) I sometimes feel like I am neither here nor there.

A few years ago, I first heard the term “Third Culture Kid.” It’s a relatively new term that according to Wikipedia “refers to someone who, as a child, has spent a significant period of time in one or more culture(s) other than his or her own, thus integrating elements of those cultures and their own birth culture, into a third culture.”[1] Third Culture Kids are also referred to as Global Nomads.”

I suppose that is what I am. A “third culture kid,” a “Global Nomad.” Broken down into categories, I become a “Foreign Service brat” or a “diplobrat.”

Being the daughter of a diplomat, I was privileged to have spent most of my entire life outside of my native country. I spent my childhood life growing up in Europe and the US. Even my name is a testament to my international life. “Swisa” comes from my country of birth, Switzerland. My father invented the name.

So what if you grew up internationally? It is an increasingly global phenomenon. Nothing is the matter I say. It’s great and I feel fortunate to have had the life I’ve had. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The only thing is that I sometimes feel neither here nor there.

When in your native country, sometimes thoughts, ideas, and perspectives differ. Manners of expressions differ. Sense of humors differ. Interests differ. You can never be as native as the natives. Your friends end up being all “Global Nomads.” We mix languages as we talk. We laugh at the same jokes.

Yet, at the same time, when abroad you are forever the “international student” or the non-local one. You are caught somewhere in the space between “here” and “there.”

So the question then arises where should you live? Here or there? or just live anywhere ? People used to ask me where I regarded my “home.” It’s an easy question for me. Home for me is where my family is. Where the people you care most about live. Where your loved ones are. That is my home.

You learn to make the best of wherever you are. There are pros and cons to every country. The greatest part is that the world becomes your home. You can live anywhere.

So what do you think of Global Nomads? Are you a Global Nomad?

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