Making the transition into a new country can be difficult for anyone. Some Third Culture Kids (TCKs) have moved five, six or even ten times in their lives. Often before their twenty-first birthday.
I was speaking with a friend’s daughter the other day. She is twelve years old and a student at an International school in Hong Kong. She loses friends every year in Hong Kong, but is devastated that her very best friend that she’s had since she was eight years old is leaving and moving to the UK.
I was trying to think of advice to give her. I have had a best friend since I was five years old. We survived a cross country move when we were 13. And this was before the days of the internet. We wrote letters, made weekly phone calls (limited to ten minutes), we even sent faxes to each other because our dads were cool enough to have fax machines at home. I remember also getting to fly across country and see her in Dallas. I had a tragic Sun-In incident, my hair turned orange, but I thought I was cool, bless…
My best friend and I survived the move. We stayed and became better friends because we were able to overcome distance. College, grad school, moving abroad for a job seemed minimal, now that we had Facebook to communicate. I think if you are dedicated to your relationship, if you put the time and effort into writing each other, catching up… then your friendship can survive any distance; no matter how far or how long it is before you see each other again.
Transitions aren’t just hard on the people who leave but the people who stay behind. I’ve always felt cities like Hong Kong and Singapore have a bus station feeling to them. People come and go constantly; some stay longer than others. We’re all just waiting for our bus to come. Yes, there are the local people that work at the bus station and they’re always here but we’ll never fully assimilate into the bus station culture unless we start working for the bus station. Or marry a bus station employee.
How do you deal with the transitions of moving to a new location? The culture shock?
How many times have you moved?
Share your tips and thoughts by leaving a comment below. We want to know how you deal with it!