Week 29

flowers on table

If you have previously heard about the concept of Third Culture Kids–people who have spent significant parts of their developmental years outside their parents’ culture, and as a result have developed their own ‘third culture’–then shame on you. How is it possible that no one has ever explained my struggles, relationship patterns, confusion, and general me-ness to me, by pointing out that I am, quite clearly, a Third Culture Kid?

Which, to be honest, isn’t all that clear, of course. I grew up in Germany, and there isn’t much to argue about here. While I did spend a year in Florida when I was 15, the majority of my generation has spent at least one semester abroad during their college years, so that hardly counts towards making me a Third Culture Kid.

And yet, I do tend to feel distinctly out of place among Germans, especially when not in Germany, and have always hesitated when having to answer the question, “So, where are you from?The very title of this post, as you already know, is to be explained with a cultural habit I picked up when living in Scandinavia.

breakfast {Cross-cultural breakfast with Italian cappuccini, and American French Toast}

Nonetheless, there is that awkward phase in my life after my parents separated and my father moved to Spain, during which I traveled to the Balearic islands every other weekend. Every other weekend. Which may sound more ridiculous than it was, given the abundance of 20€ round-trip flights from Germany to Spain at the time. Oh, low cost flights in the early 2000s.

But my point here is this: If you spend virtually all of your vacations in a place, go there every other weekend for years, move there after you graduate high school for a while, move back for your undergrad. How could you not build a connection to such a place? And make it your own somehow, part of who you are.

Now I read that “Third Culture Kids” is a term coined by American sociologist Mrs. Useem in 1950, and that it describes people who bond more easily with those who have likewise grown up around several cultures (true), who are highly linguistically adept (well, of course), unlikely to follow their parents’ career choices (true), prone to depression (what, really, but, no), and more mature than their peers during childhood years, but slower to ‘focus their aims’ during their twenties (which is what might be going on right now).

Oh, well. Who knows if this is me, or not. All I know is that we’ll keep on going out for coffee like this was Italy and there was no tomorrow. So without further ado, here it is, our cross-cultural week 29 in visual terms.

Almond CroissantCappuccino{Pastries and coffee at La Boulange, which may sound French, but is definitely American}Boy with cappuccinoLemon BarsBoy in caféBlueberry Muffins {Coffee almost as good and pastries probably as good as in Southern Europe. At Flour & Co., which lets you sample lemon bars, which anyone in their right mind must love}Nob Hill Houses{Nob Hill, our neighborhood, is known for its French Beaux Arts influenced architecture}Mural San Francisco Mission{San Francisco’s Mission district, in contrast, is the epicenter of Mexican American cross-culturalism and covered roof to ground floor in murals}Kale SaladKale Salad Close-Up{When ever did I become the girl who makes herself a kale apple almond salad for lunch?, you ask. When I moved to San Francisco, my friends}


6 thoughts on “Week 29”

  1. Huh! I’m liking that term- Third Culture Kids… Much better than just describing myself as ‘weird’ or ‘I don’t belong anywhere!’ (which just sounds tragic and self-pitying) :p

    1. I had never heard about it either until today! Isn’t that crazy? And it’s been around since the 1950s…

      As for the salad: I sauteed a few cherry tomatoes in olive oil in a pan, added chopped up kale and vegetable broth, covered the pan and let it simmer until the kale had softened, about 5 minutes. Then I mixed in one grated apple, and a dressing made from 1 tsp of olive oil, 1 tsp of dijon mustard, a bit of balsamic vinegar, a splash of orange juice, and lime. Topped with chopped almonds and – done! This turned out good!

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