20 October 2009

dónde está el bar...

there are days when i'm beyond thrilled that the girlies three spent the main moments of their tiny lives somewhere faraway. it's been like a mini pause button extending the life of their sweetness. completely delaying the inevitable hoochiness.

but then there are moments when i wonder what the heck were we thinking?

i've been trying to explain it to you...this feeling of being home, but feeling homeless. we're no longer in the minority. we no longer stand out in a crowd. we understand the language pretty well most days. and even though none of us ever even noticed such things before, i found myself thinking that such things might be rather lovely for the girlies three to experience.

i was mistaken.

because being in the majority is sort of a snore. and we can't find each other in a crowd. this is stressful when we are in a crowd. plus? the girlies' ability to converse in arabic is now useless and unnecessary. as is their ability to mimic pretty much any foreign speech pattern they've ever heard, from japanese to south african and on to the nuances differentiating scottish, irish, australian, and bri'ish accents. although, between us, they're still genius with the urdu.

however. you'll be pleased to learn that they've been working really hard to perfect their vocals on the song adios, amigos! complete with synchronized claps and spirited olés.

peace in the middle east? puh-leeze.

mark my words. someday - probably while mémé is still trying to grow out her bangs - lillie and grae are going to change the world. or, at the very least, your birthday celebration at chipotle. and we'll all look back on this moment. and sob. i mean, smile.

they'll be the two with the indian accents.

{sorry. i needed to vent. because i spent the morning persuading lillie and grae that it's wrong to mess with their spanish teacher. grae, my master mimic, has given a different - albeit completely believable - answer every time senor asks her quizzically from which country she's just moved. i asked but i thought your spanish teacher was a woman? she is. then why do you call her senor? insert cockney giggles here. ugh. in other news, aren't lisa candela's photos of mexico gorgeous? i agree. adios, amigos. have a sweet day.}


Kim said...

Eeek, you are a third culture person in home country re-entry shock! Been there and done that. It's hard. (Although your kids are cracking me up!!! And that Arabic is going to come in quite handy someday... just maybe not so much in middle school.)

Here are a couple of blogs I've written on this topic in case you're interested...

Expat cognitive dissonance:

Third culture kids:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for reading them and for posting a comment for me! For me, it boils down to this...

You always think you will feel at home when you are at home, but once you spend a certain amount of time outside your home culture, you come to realize that you’ll spend the rest of your life in that “third culture” mode of being an outsider no matter where you are. It’s disorienting to come back home and not feel at home.

I hope someday you'll feel entirely at home in your third culture world - a little Arab and a little American and a little whatever else all stirred into one happy pot. :)


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A-M said...

Oh your girlies...so gorgeous, animated and alive. You know I am going to have to take the rest of the day off to read back over your posts, now that I have found you again. Hubby, put the coffee on pet. A-M xx

Kelly and Kelly said...

Some days I read these posts and feel like I know your girlies. Like I am right there in the middle of all of it and laughing along with you all. You're writing is inspirational.

And I'm sorry you are having a hard time adjusting! Are you guys back for good?

Meg said...

Hi. I just found you through Bee. I love your posts. I am a third culture 'kid', going on 27. Unfotunately that 'odd feeling' never quite goes away, you just learn different ways of coping with it, like instead of missing what you can't have in the US, you attempt to find the best hummus (for example) in all of Houston (my Kiwi husband is a thirdculture kid too, grew up in Dubai for many years, then we met growing up in highschool in Singapore). The good thing is that you've lived like 9 lives in one, the bad thing is that somedays you feel that no one on earth can relate to you at all. One thing we ALWAYS are reminding each other, the grass is NOT always greener. People with our experience often think living somewhere else will solve their problems, or they'll feel less lonely, blah blah, but in fact when you're in that place, you find things that you miss about other places, and it's a vicious cycle. You'll get there, it just takes time...I think you might miss maids forever though, or until you can get back overseas ;) I look forward to reading more about your journey and those three girlies ;)

Natalie said...

Well, I only lived in another country for a year, so I don't have that third culture thing going on; but I have moved A LOT (probably 34 times in my 34 years), so I know the struggle of trying to find my place. It took me twelve years in one place and a lot of complaining about it before I finally realized this is probably where I'm going to hang my hat for the foreseeable future. Once I accepted that, I could go about the business of making it really feel like home and less like a disconnected place I stumbled into by chance. (oh, and when I said that I complained, I am in no way implying that YOU are complaining.)

Oh and your girlies? Oh my gosh. They are going to absolutely appreciate the worldliness they've gained from their experiences.

melissa loves said...

Ah...Karey. I am so sorry you all are in that middle place, that must be difficult. But, those girlies three? They will forever be wiser, more accepting, gracious(once they get past the messing with "senor" phase ) :) and richer for the experience you two gave them. I am sure of it. And yes, these photos are absolutely amazing. Those blues are crazy beautiful...

Jill said...

I know how hard it was for my girlies to be back in CA for the 3.5 months ... they felt very out of place. They even commented on how everyone speaks English.

Thinking of you ... and your girlies 3. :)