I'm a TCK (Third Culture Kid). This means that I "have spent a significant part of my developmental years outside my parents' culture".
My Dad is Swiss. My Mum is English. I grew up in the Ivory Coast from birth to age 13.
In two days, I am going back to my birth country.
In two days, I am going back to one of the countries that has made me who I am today.
In two days, I am going back to the country I felt uprooted from.
In two days, I am going to smell humidity, heat, dust, sweat, rubbish.
In two days, I am going to taste sweet juicy mangoes, tender red papayas, deep-fried plantain bananas and fire roasted peanuts.
In two days, I am going to hear mosquitoes buzzing, toads croaking, locusts clacking and buzzing.
In two days, I am going to hug my Mum and Dad, my brother, my sister and my new brother in law.
In two days, I am going to say goodbye to my husband and two children for 9 days.
In two days, I am going back to Africa.
Myself as a child in the Ivory Coast
I've never felt whole since leaving the Ivory Coast. I spent 13 years in Switzerland after we left. Now I've spent 10 years in New Zealand. Nowhere is home. Home is where my heart is, where my family is. But even that doesn't mean much as we're all spread around.
Nowhere do I really feel at home.
I wonder what I'll feel when the air plane doors open and I can step down onto the tarmac. Will I feel at home again, after all these years? Or will this be yet another "almost home, but not quite" moment? I've buried so many memories since I had to say goodbye that I'm almost scared to go back. And yet I can't wait. I know it's going to be one of the trips of my life.
It is time to go back and then to face the future with my past firmly in hand.
Are you a TCK? Do you feel at home anywhere?