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25 Things Only Third-Culture Kids Would Understand

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25 Things Only Third-Culture Kids Would Understand

A Third-Culture Kid is someone who has spent most of their life in a country which they aren’t ethnically connected to. Life in the country is usually temporary for various reasons. There are usually people of different cultural backgrounds also residing in the same country, which leads the Third-Culture Kid to adopt all the cultures he/she is surrounded by. The only person who can understand the life of a Third-Culture Kid is a Third-Culture Kid.

1. We often make the mistake of comparing things to “back home” and then get the dreaded question, “Where are you from?”

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    2. When somebody asks us the dreaded question, we have to take a deep breath and begin the journey that is our life story. Which then leads us to explain that we aren’t really from anywhere.

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      3. We are constantly shuttling back and forth between continents, so we become addicted to being jet-lagged.

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        4. Some airports feel like our second homes. We know exactly where the great food and shopping spots are.

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          But mostly we wish we were this little girl.

          5. We have spent so much of our school life surrounded by people from different cultural backgrounds that we have absorbed aspects of all these different cultures ourselves.

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            6. When we try food from a restaurant that claims it has the best *insert country here* food, we automatically become food critics.

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              It’s never as good as the food back home.

              7. We have friends scattered across different continents, living in completely different time-zones.

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                8. Therefore, we find ourselves waking up at 4 AM to call a friend on her birthday.

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                  9. Our computer has a widget that includes the time-zones of all the places our friends are currently living.

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                    Which makes us hate the whole concept of time.

                    10. People are confused when we tell them we speak a certain language fluently.  

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                      We spend a lot of time trying to explain it to them.

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                      11. We would much rather spend our time at home with WiFi so we can Skype your friends whenever necessary.

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                        Lost WiFi is reason to panic.

                        12. We have done some foreign external exam at some point in our lives that has led us to almost have a nervous breakdown.

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                          13. We feel lucky to have so many friends around the world because it’s an excuse to travel to new places to visit them.

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                            14. But then we also feel unlucky because we would much rather have them live right next to us.

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                              15. We get excited when we meet someone who used to live in the same place we did. 

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                                It’s like finding that one curly fry among all the regular fries.

                                16. Our accents fall into a specific category that isn’t recognized by many people.

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                                  17. We know so much about countries most people have never visited because we have friends who are either from those countries or who are currently living there.

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                                    18. We find ourselves still interested in watching the lame soap operas with subtitles that used to air when we were younger.

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                                      19. We can say curse words in many different languages, which comes in handy when we need to not be understood.

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                                        20. We can also say “I love you” in many different languages, which makes us seem worldly and mysterious.

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                                          We love you too Seth.

                                          21. We have mastered the art of packing our suitcase two hours before we have to leave.

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                                            22. Our group text buzzes at odd hours of the night because of the different times our friends are awake.

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                                              23. When we are frustrated we tend to rant in another language, which leads people to think we need an exorcism.

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                                                This pretty much sums up the reaction of most people

                                                24. Our playlist includes music from various cultural backgrounds that we find ourselves singing along to, even if we don’t understand much of it.

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                                                  25. We know that no matter how far we go our hearts belong to the place that held it the longest.

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                                                    Last Updated on January 27, 2022

                                                    5 Reasons Why Food is the Best Way to Understand a Culture

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                                                    5 Reasons Why Food is the Best Way to Understand a Culture

                                                    Food plays an integral role in our lives and rightfully so: the food we eat is intricately intertwined with our culture. You can learn a lot about a particular culture by exploring their food. In fact, it may be difficult to fully define a culture without a nod to their cuisine.

                                                    “Tell me what you eat, and I’ll tell you who you are.” – Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1825).

                                                    Don’t believe me? Here’s why food is the best way to understand a culture:

                                                    Food is a universal necessity.

                                                    It doesn’t matter where in the world you’re from – you have to eat. And your societal culture most likely evolved from that very need, the need to eat. Once they ventured beyond hunting and gathering, many early civilizations organized themselves in ways that facilitated food distribution and production. That also meant that the animals, land and resources you were near dictated not only what you’d consume, but how you’d prepare and cook it. The establishment of the spice trade and the merchant silk road are two example of the great lengths many took to obtain desirable ingredients.

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                                                    Food preservation techniques are unique to climates and lifestyle.

                                                    Ever wonder why the process to preserve meat is so different around the world? It has to do with local resources, needs, and climates. In Morocco, Khlea is a dish composed of dried beef preserved in spices and then packed in animal fat. When preserved correctly, it’s still good for two years when stored at room temperature. That makes a lot of sense in Morocco, where the country historically has had a strong nomadic population, desert landscape, and extremely warm, dry temperatures.

                                                    Staples of a local cuisines illustrate historical eating patterns.

                                                    Some societies have cuisines that are entirely based on meat, and others are almost entirely plant-based. Some have seasonal variety and their cuisines change accordingly during different parts of the year. India’s cuisine is extremely varied from region to region, with meat and wheat heavy dishes in the far north, to spectacular fish delicacies in the east, to rice-based vegetarian diets in the south, and many more variations in between.

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                                                    The western part of India is home to a group of strict vegetarians: they not only avoid flesh and eggs, but even certain strong aromatics like garlic, or root vegetables like carrots and potatoes. Dishes like Papri Chat, featuring vegetable based chutneys mixed with yoghurt, herbs and spices are popular.

                                                    Components of popular dishes can reveal cultural secrets.

                                                    This is probably the most intriguing part of studying a specific cuisine. Certain regions of the world have certain ingredients easily available to them. Most people know that common foods such as corn, tomatoes, chili peppers, and chocolate are native to the Americas, or “New World”. Many of today’s chefs consider themselves to be extremely modern when fusing cuisines, but cultural lines blended long ago when it comes to purity of ingredients.

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                                                    Black pepper originated in Asia but became, and still remains, a critical part of European cuisine. The Belgians are some of the finest chocolatiers, despite it not being native to the old world. And perhaps one of the most interesting result from the blending of two cuisines is Chicken Tikka Masala; it resembles an Indian Mughali dish, but was actually invented by the British!

                                                    Food tourism – it’s a whole new way to travel.

                                                    Some people have taken the intergation of food and culture to a new level. No trip they take is complete with out a well-researched meal plan, that dictates not only the time of year for their visit, but also how they will experience a new culture.

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                                                    So, a food tourist won’t just focus on having a pint at Oktoberfest, but will be interested in learning the German beer making process, and possibly how they can make their own fresh brew. Food tourists visit many of the popular mainstays for traditional tourism, like New York City, San Francisco, London, or Paris, but many locations that they frequent, such as Armenia or Laos, may be off the beaten path for most travelers. And since their interest in food is more than meal deep, they have the chance to learn local preparation techniques that can shed insight into a whole other aspect of a particular region’s culture.

                                                    Featured photo credit: Young Shih via unsplash.com

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