Project 365

Welcome! This is my own 365 project of creating at least one post per day about the stuff that I learnt, achieved, and found, the stuff that made me happy, or the new thing I did every single day.

The project was started on 21 February 2010. It has stopped for few times but I am determined to continue!

This project is dedicated to myself. I want to feel grateful for every single thing I have. I want to be thankful for my own life. I just want to feel that I have enough.

Tag: third culture kid

"You Don’t Understand Our Cultures"

"You don’t understand our cultures," said a close friend of mine when I was suddenly lost in our conversation about Indonesian/Malay cultures. While he perceived this as a joke, it really hit hard on me. How could he say such a thing? How daring was he to even say that! It was just too hurtful to hear it and I didn’t think he understood why I took his particular comment so seriously.

Being a third-culture kid, I do understand that I am a product of different cultures. I understand that I may not be able to understand those cultures because sometimes only bits and pieces of them were taken. However, some times third-culture kids want to feel belong too. I want to feel that I am belong. For God sake, I am an Indonesian, albeit not a real one since I’ve only lived there for three years during High School. But sometimes you just don’t want to feel being cornered as a fake Indonesian all the time. When you don’t understand the jokes or some phrases being thrown at you, at the very least you’d want to know what their meanings. But if people keep on cornering you all the time; if people keep on telling you that you are a fake Indonesian and you don’t understand Indonesian culture without even explaining the meanings of those jokes or phrases; how are you going to learn to be a real Indonesian?

Or maybe I should just stop trying to be an Indonesian. Just go with the flow and be just me.

And this is one of the many reasons why I always hesitate to go back to Indonesia for good. Is Indonesia home for me? No. Not yet.

What is Home?

Yet home need not always be a place. It can be a territory, a relationship, a craft, a way of expression. Home is an experience of belonging, a feeling of being whole and known, sometimes too close for comfort. It’s those attachments that liberate us more than they constrain. As the expression suggests, home is where we are from – the place where we begin to be.

Rather than learning to live away from home or do without one, global leaders must learn to live in and between two homes – a local and a global home. Become familiar with local and global communities, and use neither to escape the other.

This takes physical and emotional presence. It requires staying put long enough and traveling a fair amount. Spending time with those who live nearby and staying close to those who are far away – showing and being shown around. Leaving a piece of heart with people and places, and keeping them in your heart wherever you are.

Hard as it may be to reconcile local and global homes, it is a privilege to have a chance to inhabit both. A privilege that we must extend to others. That is, ultimately, the work of global leaders – connecting those homes within and around them.

We must embrace the struggle to make a home that feels our own. The unease that goes with it is a reminder of how important that work is, and what is at stake. Without a local home we lose our roots, without a global home we lose our reach

Moving Around Without Losing Your Roots by Gianpiero Petriglieri

Regarding TCK #1

I’m slowly reading this book: Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds, Revised Edition. The author lists some of the challenges of being a third culture kid (TCK). One of them describes the challenge that I always face…

TCKs are often sadly ignorant of national, local, and even family history. How many rides to various relatives’ homes are filled with parents coaching TCKs about who is related to whom?

People know that I’m quite ignorant about Indonesia, but not many people know that I have a bad memory of my own relatives’ names and their relations to my parents! My mom’s family is soooooooo huge that no matter how many times my mom explains to me about how they relate to her, those information just can’t stay in my brain! Worst still, I barely remember their names. It’s so bad. Every time I meet them, my smile and basa-basi become my only weapon. Otherwise, I’m screwed! hahaha.

Few things make people, including TCKs, feel more left out than seeing everyone else laughing at something they can’t understand as funny.

Been there, done that. It’s the most frustrating thing to not being able to understand what people are talking about. Not only that, their hesitation to explain to me about their conversation makes it so much worst. I did end up crying once — in front of my friends, and they’re all heartless boys — because they always made me feel like I didn’t deserve to know what they talked about. Every time I asked them what they meant, they always said "oh, you don’t understand" or "how come you didn’t know?!" and so on… It’s okay if you wanna make fun of me, but do please explain! Some people just need a little bit of punch to understand this thing 😛