There’s something about being different that can be exciting, you get some extra attention, get to tell stories others haven’t heard before, and hopefully from your experiences get to broaden other people’s horizons. There’s a downfall though, being different means more adjustment, more looks, and people all around treating you different. At first I was scared to be different, everyone was from one culture and there I was some random kid from the other side of the world with a strong accent and broken Dutch. I kinda just wanted to fit in with people and not be treated differently.
At times it can be frustrating to be treated the same way as everyone else, for example when you’re expected to know and do as everyone else does despite not understanding what’s going on. I know that at school I would get so frustrated at times with the standards, I was graded the same as others constantly missing the mark because of my language, understanding, and culture differences. There isn’t one place you fit anymore, I can’t go back to Singapore now and fit in, I’ve changed too much from that. But I also can’t quite fit in here, because I’ve grown up so differently from others. There’s always a degree of difference wherever you are.
When you move to a new place from an international lifestyle, it’s really important to keep an open mindset. Just because you’re different doesn’t mean it can’t be just as good. You all find some sort of balance that fits everyone in which you are able to share yourself with them as they are with you, without our pasts getting in the way all too much. You get to show them a whole new lifestyle as they get to show you one too. Both sides can’t imagine what it’s like for the other person to have grown up the way they did, but you can expose each other to glimpses of it and teach each other new things.
For example I came from a country and a school where everyone always tried to get the highest score and everything was about getting the best results, pushing yourself to the limits. Then I came to the Netherlands where people were much more relaxed, average scores were fine to get and people hardly stress about those things. The fun exchange in that was people got to help me not be so uptight, to stop being so perfectionistic, while in exchange I got to motivate some people to work harder. It’s a continuous beneficial exchange by working with each other and speaking to each other about these things.
Through these exchanges, remember to keep a balance to yourself as well. Don’t lose what you believe you are, and conform to what people want you to be. It’s important and good to keep your mind open and adjust things as long as you stay true to yourself. I love the fact that people here have helped me lay back a bit and be able to relax, but the fear for me is losing my motivation and drive to get places in life because I enjoy relaxing too much. I’ve even realised that through my blog, that I’ve started slacking in content and posting regularly. I easier ‘forget’ to write something and upload, even though every bit of work I put into it is what I am going to get out. I can be relaxed about this blog sure, but then I won’t see results.
Moving to a place so utterly different, but that is supposedly your ‘home’ can give a type of ‘crisis’ in who you are. All of a sudden you need to identify with your so called culture even though your culture is where you previously came from or just the ‘TCK’ culture. That’s why I thought to make this post, there is always going to be a degree of difference between you, and whoever you’re with, wherever you are. That’s why I love hanging out with families like mine, you understand each other and there’s no need to explain how you feel or what’s going on in your head regarding these things. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to get to other cultures too, yes there’s a degree of difference, but there are many more degrees of learning held up in that.