“Home is a place within your heart, not a physical place.” That quote has been a cliché that has been used to define TCK life over the years. But this statement is cliché for a reason. As a Korean living in China attending Chengdu International School, a school with an American educational system, emotional comfort is rarely achieved when I’m back to a house that my parents own. Sure I do feel the physical comfort when I finally lie down in my bed after travelling for days. But nothing can compare to the comfort I feel when I finally get to reunite with my friends who are attending schools all over China, when I meet alumni coming back for Christmas and summer, and when I meet my friends back in my city after we scattered around the globe over summer or after a tough school year.
Main challenge I face as a TCK is finding an equilibrium between catching up with my friends all around the world and doing my homework that is due next morning. As a person who cannot multitask, I either spend the entire night talking to my friends and not get anything done or get something done without talking to anyone. Most of the time I choose the former. Especially after I fly home after getting to meet my friends through certain conferences or events, my pile of make-up work gets bigger because of it. My friends, who embrace a western value that values relationships between people, tell me I’m doing the right thing. But my parents, who embrace an Asian value, tell me I’m not doing any good to myself by spending my day next to my laptop or my phone.
Consequently, I always had to make a choice. I always chose not to talk to any of my friends for extended period of time or chose to give up my grades to show friends how much I care about them and talk to them. In the end, I was stressed and depressed that I missed out on one of them. So as the result, I missed out on some friendships that had great potential by not staying in touch with them regularly. I also had many misunderstandings with different friends for not responding to them when they talk to me online. I would always have to explain my situation and recover the dent in the relationship. There were also times when I chose social life over school work and received grades that disappointed myself and my parents.
So I occasionally bemoaned God for putting me in such a situation. But recently, I found the right balance between friendship and my schoolwork. Only then, I realized the big picture that I am in. The fact that I get to make a choice isn’t something that I should bemoan, but something I should be thankful for. The fact that I can struggle with this dilemma means how much I have been given. I have been given many friends so that I wouldn’t be lonely and I have been provided with an abundance of opportunities for success because I am in an advanced educational environment. And God has put me in this environment to make sure that one of those factors wouldn’t control my life completely.
After learning that lesson, I’m thankful for my life as a TCK. I’m thankful for the fact that there are people around the globe that are caring about me and praying for me. I thank God for bringing me to Chengdu and give me this educational opportunity. I thank him for every single friend I have and everything I learn. Life as a TCK is a gift that God has gave me and I hope one day I can bring this world a positive change.
CDIS 1st place at the ISC High School volleyball tournament!!!