This post was initially titled, where am I from? But I felt My TCK-ness would better suit it. By now, if you don’t already know, you must be thinking what’s a TCK? So…
By the will of Allah, I have never been to my motherland. I grew up in four Provinces across Canada, so that’s Ontario to British Columbia to Manitoba and Alberta, alongside two Countries outside of Canada which happen to be Egypt and Uganda. As a result, I feel like I have no home but rather the world is my home. I don’t think I’ve ever lived in a Province or Country outside Canada for more than four years. I don’t think I have ever attended a single school for more than four years. I am not a soldier, so I don’t have my bags packed and on standby but I’m always up and ready. I currently live in Edmonton, AB and this is my second year, and with my track record, I don’t see myself here for more than two years,
I would have to say, as open as I am, one of the hardest questions to answer in life is, “where are you from.” I mean, how would I go about answering that, “Ummm…Well, I was born in Canada and then…” It’s like, “why, oh why did you make our exchange complicated?” because there never is a short answer.
Looking back, I see many benefits to being a TCK. I am a global child. I am a product of this world. Through clash of the cultures/slangs/accents that I experienced, I am who I am today. I am adaptable. I am relatable. This is why some would go as far as to say I am ‘a people person.’ I always have something to say. Or maybe I am just talkative, right? I will leave you to reach your own decision on this matter. So, when I meet an Ethiopian or Eritrean, I am inclined to discuss recipes from their native dishes. If I meet an Egyptian, I turn my 3amiya(their speaking dialect) switch on and everyone is my ‘3mu’(meaning Uncle. Please note: In Egypt: the word uncle is thrown around in respect. So, everyone male individual who is older than you is your Uncle by title.). And when I meet a Ugandan outside of Uganda, one of the questions that rolls of my tongue is, “Where can I get Matooke?” And when I meet a Congolese, I feel a need to ask, “Are you from Congo or Congo-Brazzaville?” If I met a Kenyan, I would pick up on their accent and suggest YOU’RE SO KENYAN’. Or if I were to meet a Burundian, we would talk about Burundi as If I had been there myself. Shall I continue folk?
Anyways, all I’m trying to say is, I may have grown up in three countries and six cities, but I grew up in a demanding multi-cultural society in which cultural members expressed and wore their cultures on their backs. I may not know how many cultures I clashed with, but I certainly am aware of and appreciate the diversity this world has to offer.
As you can see, a lot of good came out of my fruitful TCK upbringing. But make no mistake, there is always room for the bad. Amongst which are the “who are my friends” dilemma or the “I can’t commit to anything for more than four years” or the “It’s been too long, I’m tired, I need change” phases.
But one thing is for sure, it was eventfully fun, and I wouldn’t exchange it for a ‘normal’ lifestyle.
P.s My dad is not an Ambassador. (I say this because when I give the long answer to where I’ve lived, the most famous assumption is: Is your dad an Ambassador?)