As a Third Culture Kid, for as long as I can remember, fall has been my favorite season. Something about the overcast skies and the way the air suddenly smells crisp always strikes me as comforting.
I love the way the rain comes and goes, and that numb feeling you get on the tip of your nose and fingertips after a brisk walk outside. I love seeing passersby on city streets more and more bundled up with each new day — a fluffy scarf, a stylish jacket, maybe some boots — still hurrying past me, making their way down the boulevard, a rusty tram bustling alongside.
I love that I have an excuse to drink warm tea again (with a few lemon slices) and I love how each afternoon gets darker sooner. I love cinnamon candles, and hot soup, and 90s Rom-Coms and fuzzy blankets. I love sparse trees losing one bright leaf at a time, and I love light jazz music and the way my tiny rooftop studio apartment feels like a haven.
Nostalgia, Reflection, and Transition
But I think most of all, I love the beauty in knowing the current year is ending. Fall is a time of nostalgia, reflection, and transition—more so than any other season. And it is in this very time of year that I find myself remembering who I really am.
As a Third Culture Kid, it can sometimes be too easy to forget oneself; to get lost in the daily routines and the sudden and abrupt awareness of his or her current location. A TCK often gets distracted by the life to which they are subconsciously trying to adapt. They have done it their entire lives, and although compartmentalizing is not often a conscious effort, they tend to become very skilled in it.
For me, autumn acts a beautiful wake-up call; a jolt that grabs me out of my daydream and reminds me of all that I once was in a former time or place. It shows me that I am more than just me in the present, or me in the past, but that I am a multi-faceted quilt, covered in the patchwork of homes and lives lived.
Third Culture Kids Starting Anew
Removing items of summer clothing from my wardrobe and replacing them with fall ones, I realize the last time I wore some of these; I was living somewhere far away. I was learning a language I no longer need to use today and working in a job that has since found my replacement. I pull out a few more items and remember them from somewhere else…somewhere less far away. These items represent varying cultures, and places and friends who each know one or many sides of me.
It is in these very days of fall’s awakening that I am in the process of adjusting after yet another move — one that took place almost a year ago. I reflect on the happenings of the past few months: marriage, moving to Serbia, immersion of a brand new culture. But this time I am no longer a child; no longer dictated the details of where or when or why…but rather, I have chosen this lifestyle for myself this time. During the dark days of autumn, I find my strength. I see my inspiration for the allure of this life that I was destined to live, and I no longer crave normalcy. I break out of the routine mold just for a while, and I remember all of my homes, all of my countries and phases.
For, when the seasons change, I embrace every tiny aspect of my Third Culture Adult-ness, and I patiently wait for all that is yet to come.
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