A Change of Season: From Third Culture Kid to Third Culture Adult

Photo: ACV. Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany

Remembering Fall:

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.

Photo: ACV. Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany

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.

Photo: ACV. Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany

Follow me on Instagram at @Findingherserenity

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  1. While the author does have a knack for storytelling, I wish that they described the differences between countries. I was confused because the story never said where she came from or described how the weather and the other country she’s from was different than where she is now. It made the article feel a little bit shallow. I would have liked to have seen more description of her experience as a TCK and how her time here differs from wherever she’s from

  2. I enjoyed this perspective of another TCK, as she related to it the fall change of season going on. Her use of subheadings broke up her story and gave direction to each part. The photos she included were visually pleasing and related to the content in her story. She provided a lot of personal details that made it interesting to read but still made it applicable to a wider audience.

  3. This was a really unique way to compose a piece. The writer utilized her storytelling abilities and framed her article around fall. I found it to be a thoughtful reflection on her own experience as a TCK. It was conceptual, and I think some examples of her experiences would have fit in really well.

  4. You know, as a third culture kid myself, I come to wonder if the symbolism of fall represents something greater to us. It’s my favorite season as well because I feel like the environment changes and brings something new I can look forward to. Something I thought about, really. I loved the reflection, and I love that it gives me another perspective to look at.

    1. Thank you so much! I completely agree, fall brings so much to look forward to. I’m really glad you could relate. I always love hearing feedback from fellow Third Culture Kids.

      All the best,

  5. I enjoyed how you related to it the fall change of season going on. The photos included were visually pleasing and related to the content in the story. The personal details made it interesting to read.

  6. I really enjoyed the repetition at the beginning of the article. It drove home the emotions that you feel about the change of seasons into fall without taking away from what other people also enjoy about it. The way that you go into the deeper reasons for loving fall after the repetition allows the reader to feel like they are making a more personal connection which I really enjoy.

  7. Awesome article! I love Fall, especially when all the leafs “fall” down. Get it? Like the season?
    Anyway this article truly touched me during the good ol’ turkey season if you know what I’m saying.
    It’s also super cool to see how TCK’s experience Fall.

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