Grace Aldis

We are so thankful to Grace Aldis who shares what it’s like to be a Third Culture Kid:

graceWhen people ask me ‘Where are you from?’, the challenge is in trying to guess whether the question refers to my birthplace, skin colour, accent, where I grew up or my current place of residence. The fact that each one has a different answer is both a challenge and a blessing.

I was born in London to an English father and Liberian mother. We then moved to Niger, West Africa, where my parents worked as missionaries for 12 years. I was mostly home-schooled, but for the last two years I attended an international boarding school in Nigeria, with classmates from every corner of the globe. We returned to England when I was 14, in order to pursue a good British education. My first lesson, to avoid being laughed at, was to lose my ‘international’ / American accent in favour of BBC English. I moved to Nottingham for work and having now lived in the same house for 8 years, this is as much where I am from as anywhere else. By dictionary definition, I am what is known as a Third Culture Kid (TCK), having spent a significant part of my developmental years outside my parents’ cultures and passport countries. I have always held a British passport, yet I often still see things here with a foreigner’s eyes. I will often find more in common with an international student than with a peer who grew up in the UK. I have friends all over the world and my own ‘culture’ is a mixture of all the people and places of my childhood.

I often feel I don’t quite belong. And that’s because I don’t!  I will always be a foreigner. Not just in England, but in this world, because I am Christian. The Bible describes Christians as foreigners and exiles in this world; people who have a citizenship in heaven. So anyone who is a Christian is a third culture kid. We are living outside of the place where we belong. We look forward to a day when we will be with God and he will live with us, his people.  And those people will be from every tribe and language and people and nation. All of us different and yet all of us united by our faith.