I asked my younger brother if he ever felt like he belonged back home in Fiji and he simply said no and I couldn’t have put it better myself.
Since we were 5 years old we’ve been forced into the processes of cultural and social assimilation, unpredictable nomadism, gripping farewells and constant personality and tolerance adjustments. We quickly developed a knack for establishing relationships and deepening them swiftly. We became adept to the liberation of lingering emotions that places and people often left upon our brief settlements. We seemed to easily permeate through the boundaries and walls of cultures and various social orders, creating within us a great appreciation for multiculturalism, minorities and general knowledge about the world and the vast array of people that crossed our paths every day. And inevitably we incorporated pieces of these different cultures, people and places within us, which of course sounds exciting and possibly even exotic yet it also rendered us without a sense of ownership not even to the place of our passports.
(Source: Adrian Bautista http://vimeo.com/41264088)
Although, my brother and I are only a fraction of what other children have and are going through. We have many friends that we incidentally went to school with as well as grew up with that experienced the same circumstances much more radically than we. Imagine living in a new country every 2-3 years from a very early age till your mid-20s. Born is the “Third Culture Kid” (TCK). An interesting species that thrives on short-lived relationships, carries temporary intentions and expectations, is socially awkward yet, also socially practiced and speaks with a hybrid other worldly accent normally found acceptable in International Schools. And with that general overview of the complex layers of a TCK, I arrive at my point, my brother and I never felt like we belonged in Fiji or any of the other countries we’ve lived. There will always be a part of me that will never fully identify with the deep ancestry that runs profoundly through my veins. In no way am I dismissing this beauty of heritage and history that many I have come to find cannot even claim within their own bloodlines. Instead I emphasize that although I know who I am, sometimes I struggle to know where I am from.
I remember in my first year of university I use to think about why I never really felt like I belonged, not even among my own family and every time I would entertain the thought I would hear a small sweet voice tell me that in fact I didn’t belong, that this was only a visit and I was foreigner waiting to return Home. I found solace in these words and I soon would understand my insecurities from a much larger scale. My lack of ownership to any particular place was never a constant nagging in my head growing up, I was definitely aware of the complexities that this word and question possessed especially when encountering others who did not share a similar background. However, I never saw it as a burden, I saw it as something quite funny if anything. At times I find myself loosely using the word origin and sometimes I don’t. Either way a fully confirmed physical origin is not a necessary route to identity, knowing who you are is.