I’ve recently been interested in reading blogs and watching videos written by and about TCKs (third culture kids) and so often the question “where is home?” has been highlighted as something we have difficulty with. To a certain extent I agree that I don’t have as easy a time as others might have, but at the same time, I never struggled with knowing where my home was – it was never said in words as far as I remember, but my parents somehow taught and showed us that no matter where we went, home was where my family and friends were.
This means that I have many homes, and not just one. I have homes in at least two states in the US, and homes in Finland, and a dozen homes in the UK. I have a home where my immediate family are in London, and a home in Sheffield where I study. For most students, their place at university is not considered their “home” as it’s a place of transition, where they will spend only a few years of their lives, and often moving house a few times along the way. But for me, every place is a place of transition. By the time I was five I had lived in three different countries, so how could I say that home could only feel like home if I had grown up there, or had spent a number of years there, and spun a thick, wide web of memories there? My memories of Africa and America are few, but at the time I was there, they were home to me. Everywhere I go is a transitional place. Since moving to London, my family has moved house almost every year, and I’ve always known that even my time in the UK is not forever, so even if I were to say that England is my home, it would hold no water. And if only England is my home, then what about my homes in the states, and in Finland?
So home for me, and for most other TCKs, is not a geographical location, or a building, but rather it’s a place where our loved ones are, and so my home can be any place, anywhere, at any time. For me, it can even simply be where I am at the time; a place that I make for myself. I think this is possible because God is also my home. I spent 2 weeks in Uganda on a missions trip, and for that short while, I set my roots down in that place and made it home. I went to Japan for 6 months, and within hours, that place was my home. I went to Korea for a week and stayed in a number of different places but for that time, those places were my home. I swiftly made a place for myself in those places and spent my time relishing the experiences, not struggling over the fact that the food was different, or that I had to learn to set up a mosquito net, or sleep on the floor, or live with a family I barely knew.
So when I am asked “where is home?” I can answer in any number of ways depending on the situation and the people. More often, however, I am asked where I am from, and that’s a whole other kettle of fish!