© November 2010 by Fabienne Lopez
Mercury Retrograde in Sagittarius
One of the themes I wanted to talk about when I started Astrology Unboxed was multiculturalism. But in over a year, not a single post has touched on this subject. With the final Mercury Retrograde (the apparent moving backwards) of 2010 in Sagittarius, I felt it was time.
Mercury being the Messenger of the Gods rules communication in general, language, thought, commerce. Sagittarius and its ruler Jupiter presides over philosophy, travel, spirituality, foreign cultures.
The combination of both gives an emphasis on how to communicate with different cultures. It is a subject dear to me.
Third Culture Kid Definition
Born and raised in Brazil from a French mother and an American father, I learned at an early age to straddle multiple cultures and multiple languages at the same time.
Recently I learned there was even a word for my case: Third Culture Kid (TCK) and/or Cross Cultural Kid.
The definition is a person who has spent a significant part of his or her developmental years outside their parents’ culture. Or as I define it: when somebody asks you “where are you from?” and you have more than one reasonable explanation. And when, I should add, the answer starts with “it’s complicated”.
As I read the characteristics of a third culture kid, I could not help but nod in agreement. If a check list existed, I would probably have crossed most of the items.
Like many TCK, I have build relationships to all the cultures I lived in (Brazil, France and now the United States), while not having full ownership in any. I easily relate to all of them, but I do not belong to any of them fully.
My sense of belonging comes more from relating to other adults with similar experiences and the same background of having grown up with multiple cultural stripes. I understand and feel comfortable with any of my 3 cultures, but I do not 100% indentify myself with any of them. I am not one or the other. I am this and that and also that other culture too.
I look American and French, sound American and French, act like a French and Brazilian, but I feel so different to any of them.
And I definitely see the world through different eyes.
Creating a Hybrid Identity
As a young adult who grew up outside my parents’ passport culture, I spent an enormous amount of time wondering why I never felt fully blended with my own cultures? Why I always felt homesick for the countries I used to live in? Why moving to a different country at a drop of hat was never an issue?
Thinking back to this time of my life, I compare it to playing a permanent game of Twister®, stretching myself to reach that particular spot where I belonged and finding myself tied in knots when I felt short on finding where did I belong in the traditional slots.
It is not until a few years ago, that my search for one identity finally stopped. I realized that I love the many worlds I come from. My identity is hybrid. Not here nor there, but both.
A Cultural Adventurer
Somebody once told me I was a cultural adventurer. I took me a while to wrap my head around the concept, but finally I got it.
I am most happy when I am among different cultures. I realize that my happiness comes from the benefits of being a multicultural person.
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Photos Credits: Flickr Creative Commons