The gut-wrenching announcement that would become an expected, although, mostly unwelcome, part of my childhood. What I had to look forward to: a new house, new school, new friends. What I had to leave behind: the cozy home we’d settled into, my favorite teachers that I’d gotten used to, the best friends I’d made and didn’t want to say goodbye to. A move meant needing to press an internal ‘RESET’ button, basically. It was tough—every single time—but, in a strange way, you kind of “get used to it”. I grew up as a Third Culture Kid (TCK).
Non-TCKs (a.k.a. ‘normal people’) always “ooh” and “ah” at the many moves my family has made—but it hasn’t always been easy. In fact, it’s been said that TCKs only ‘feel at home’ with other TCKs because the experiences we’ve had (and our consequently seemingly “peculiar” thought processes) are very hard to explain to non-TCKs. Not to say that we are an ‘elite’ separate entity—we just feel quite alone because of these (almost) non-conformist life directions.
I remember meeting up with one of my best friends in The Hague back in July 2015. We had initially met when we were 10 or 11 years old, in the Philippines. As children of diplomats, our parents’ work took us all over the globe and, so, inevitably, (and very heartbreakingly, at the time) we had to say goodbye (within the same year that we had met), as her father’s diplomatic post was over. We stayed in touch by sending letters (yes, by post) and then transitioned to emails, ICQ and MSN Messenger, and then the Facebook revolution took over and now WhatsApp. I just want to say—technology is the savior for TCKs everywhere!
With all the challenges of moving around so often, I think the best part was moving with my family—they are the best. We’re seven of the most hilarious, controversial and different individuals. Us kids have American accents which are all tinged with the accents of the countries we have spent the most time in (people get a kick out of trying to figure out where we’re from).
My youngest sister even decided to use ‘the da Costa kids’ as the focal point of her award-winning Graphic Design Graduation Project from the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague.