A Different Kind of Life This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

It’s not as amazing and glamorous as everyone thinks it is. Yes, we get to experience things others can only dream of, and we usually have more pull later in life. But, with all that comes more responsibility, more heartache, and a whole lot more horror. There are a bunch of us, all over the world. They call us the “third culture kids” because we grow up away from our homes, in different countries, different continents. We move every three to five years, always somewhere knew and different. Most of us see a terrible thing at such an early age in life that we don’t even register what may or may not have flashed before our eyes. At the age of four I saw a dead body lying in a bush, my mother attempted to shield me from the horror. My brother learned the act of sharing as a two year old, giving away his food to the beggar boys on the streets of Guinea. In some ways, we have to grow up faster than others, because of all the information we register. I like to think we all have a special gift, a unique bubble all of us live in. A bubble that binds us all as one. The effect of every small gesture is registered in a different way from kids in the United States who have lived in the same small town their whole lives. To go back to where one comes from is a rare occurrence for most of us. Usually, summer visits are as long a stay as we get, until college that is. I recall the day my mom decided to uproot my family once more and move back to the town she grew up in. Coming from West Africa, I was an alien in Fontana, Wisconsin. I was too different for them, too unique. I didn’t fit the status quo. I was tan from all the years I had spent in the sun. I spoke two languages, fluently. I dressed differently, I knew different people. I didn’t follow trends. I was a tourist in my own country. I came to hate Fontana, I came to despise my classmates, my piers, those who were supposed to be my friends, stabbed me in the back every day I was there. I learned that it’s better for all of us “third culture kids” to stick together, to live a separate life from society, at least until the ripe old age of eighteen. Then it’s off to college, most likely in our home countries, it’s back to the norm. But you’ll always manage to find one of us now and again. Every so often, a comment about a place we’ve lived or been triggers our attentions. We take our place in the conversation as the “native” to that country. They will forever hold a special place in our hearts. We see terrible things, but to us, they are every day occurrences. We hear gunshots in the night, but our ears have grown accustomed. We taste eclectic foods, but in passing our lips, the flavors now symbolize a Sunday night meal. We smell stench of stale sweat from a long hard day’s work, something our noses barely register any longer. We feel, with our hands, our hearts and our bodies, we feel what our earth has to offer. I adore this life, I wouldn’t change a thing about the way I experience, no matter how different it may be.





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Jewelfish said...
Apr. 6, 2012 at 11:36 am
What a thrill to see your writing published in TeenInk! I am so proud of you! Keep up the creative spirit and writing.
 
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