Archive for the ‘Life lulz’ Category

Third culture kid, global nomad, or simply living a life in circles

I was linked to a survey designed by my friend’s sister yesterday. It asked questions about being a global nomad and how I used technology to keep in touch with friends and family.

Suddenly, I was thrown back into that perpetual state of wry resignation. The remembrance of being caught in limbo, enfolded by endless space. Of always being in the dark, unknowing of what was ahead, what was behind, and only knowing that there was too much emptiness.

See, my problem was that before college, I wasn’t aware of what I was. Only that whatever it was, was wrong and undesirable.

Too Westernized. Too independent. Too defiant. My mother made a comment recently about how I seemed to have no fear and how she was relieved when, after a particular traumatic incident involving being abandoned by the side of the road and the car driving off for five minutes, I seemed to have developed a healthy sense of fear.

It horrified me. The thought that my mother, one of the two people supposed to love me best in the world, wanted that knowledge of fear for me.

But then, that was how they were raised. How they saw the world to be.  I thought about it and even if I could never condone it, never really forgive the relief she had, I could try to understand her thought process.

In Chinese, there is a maxim: the nail that sticks out gets hammered down.

At least a generation ago, maybe even now — not having any fear was a recipe for disaster.

Then I arrived at college.

There, I was told that I was a third-culture kid, that I was a part of a community of global nomads.

One would think that I felt like I belonged. Isn’t that supposed to be how it goes? Global nomads finding community within themselves rather than among others?

But I didn’t.

Again that faint niggle of inferiority.

I don’t adapt well. It takes me three nights or so to get used to sleeping in a different place than normal. Crashing on someone’s couch is a recipe for poor sleep and short tempers. I carried around a safety blanket for years, insisting on dragging it along even at the expense of clothing when luggage restrictions became prohibitive.

I wasn’t adventurous.  I’m deathly afraid of heights, anything with many legs, dogs, men I don’t know, and the dark.

I didn’t know how to swear in multiple languages. In fact, I was hard pressed to swear in one.

I don’t like change.

I’m actually a fairly particular eater. I don’t like things that are too sweet; I dislike fruit with meat dishes; I detest nuts in anything other than desserts or on their own.

Moving and going to new places didn’t fill me with a sense of excitement. It suffused me with dread.

I didn’t know more than two languages, which put me as the odd person out in a community where often people know three, four, sometimes eight languages.

Somedays I feel uncomfortable claiming to be a global nomad. The skin doesn’t quite fit right, with wrinkles where the sun don’t shine and tight across other places.

So right now, I find it entertaining that once again I’m being asked to represent something that other people think I am but which I feel ambivalent about.

In China, people, even the taxi drivers who took my fare used to ask me whether I preferred Taiwan or China.

In Taiwan, every time I liked something, my relatives would smugly ask if there was such a thing in America.

In the US, even though I hold the passport, even though I speak with no real accent, even though I am for all intents and purposes American — I get asked my purpose and length of stay when I pass through immigration.

And now I’m being surveyed for my habits and thoughts as a member of a group I do not really feel entirely at ease in.

Then again, it’s always been thus. Why would I expect it to be any different?

Sibling love

Set up for the scene:

I get to work and the back door is unlocked. My parents and brother (when not at college) live here, but it also doubles as my father and my place of work. Big house: five bedrooms, 2.5 baths, basement, attic, den, living room, dining room, and kitchen, and too many doors between it all.

I text my brother.

Me: The door to the house is unlocked…. Are you home? I am very creeped out since I remember licking the door and testing it yesterday. Locking.

Brother: Take a knife and search the house


Note: the reason for being that creeped out is because I distinctly remember testing the door to make sure it was locked before I left the previous day. I had already had a bad experience once when my dad had left on a business trip earlier in the morning and the door was unlocked when I got to work later that afternoon. I took two large chef knives and walked through the house checking every closet, under all the beds, shivering the entire time.

Me: <= scared What if they have a gun?

Brother: I think they're probably gone with all the valuables that are portable.

I walk tentatively into the dining room and call into the house: “Hello? I called the cops!”

Me: The tv and thermomix are still there. (Both extremely expensive items)

Brother: Go to my room and check if my laptop is on the chair. And plus, TV is too big to be considered portable.

Me: …..GUNS????? I mean, this is SCARY, dude! And the dumb boys didn’t come so I am alone. (The kids I tutor)

Brother: It’s ok sis. Hold ur phone on ur left hand with 911 ready. And a knife in the other?

Me: Nice. You only have one sister you know.

Brother: Well what are u going to do then drive back home?

Me: Yeah :D Dad is getting back today. I will pick him up from airport :D

Brother: Tmr

Me: Today

Brother: Ok if my laptop is stolen I’ll charge u

Me: It probably is already gone!! If I die, I will charge you!

Brother: Ok sure :)

Me: Bet you it is gone.

Brother: Then it would all be ur fault lol

Me: Why? I locked the door!

Brother: Maybe u didn’t

Me: Someone broke in! I always test it to make sure! Esp. when no one lives here during the week cuz I don’t wanna have to take a knife and search the house. You are the worst brother ever

Brother: Well this never occurred when I locked the door

Me: Thieves probably saw no car and just broke in

Brother: It didn’t happen last week And the week before last week

Me: It only needs to happen once! Bad brother!

Brother: So where are u now

Me: What if I dieeeeeee! Outside the house. I shouted “I called the cops” into the house and came back out.

Brother: Lol So he probably ran away from the front door ?

Me: Hopefully? Maybe hiding in the attic waiting until night to kill us all.

Brother: Only u I’m at school

Me: No only dad

Brother: Or dad. Haha. It would be irrational to not escape And wait till the owner is back home

Me: They are THIEVES!

Brother: Stealing is a rational act

Me: Not true! Too much risk!

Brother: Haha when ur desperate u’ll do anything to live

Me: So they might shoot me and steal everything!

Brother: What if they don’t have a gun ? U can stab them and gain honor !

Me: Most ppl are bigger than me! And I suck at pvp!

Brother: For the horde!

Me: You don’t even PLAY horde, alliance filth!

Brother: In that case for the alliance! Blood and thunder !

Me: Blood and thunder is horde! You two-timing traitor!

Brother: I’ll try and get you reinforcements. Hold the line!

Me: Is Jacob around? :P I can just go pick up dad.

Brother: LOL. Yes, calling for reinforcements, hold the line!

Me: >.> ok. I’ll try not to die.

Brother: Reinforcements is on its way. Search house with knife ! Or knives.

And we did.