A Different Childhood

Gina Butz third culture kids 2 Comments

A different childhood - the life of a third culture kid

How many Twinkies have you eaten in your lifetime? I haven’t had one in about a millenium, but our kids have never had Twinkies. Or Ho Ho’s. Or Little Debbie snack cakes, Ding Dongs, etc. etc. They also are unfamiliar with Cool Whip, Velveeta, and Cheese Whiz.

This came to our attention last night at dinner, and it occurred to me that I was both wildly happy and a little nostalgic for them. It’s like they missed a little part of Americana because of their overseas childhood, where these things were never or rarely obtainable.

Truth be told, I try to avoid putting sugar and/or processed food into our kids as a general rule, but not having EVER eaten any of those things seem akin to never watching Sesame Street. Come to think of it . . .

Yeah, our kids had a different childhood. When I first lived overseas, I was determined that our kids were going to be American, gosh darn it! No third culture kids here. (The reality is, I was told, the second your kid stepped on a plane to live in another country, he became a third culture kid and there’s nothing you can do about it).

Our kids do probably have a greater grasp of American culture than the average TCK simply because where we lived and how we lived allowed us to be more exposed to it. But the fact is, they are different. There are things they don’t know, won’t understand, won’t love, things that don’t have any association with childhood for them. And that’s ok.

But I think I’ll still put a Twinkie in their Christmas stockings.

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