I remember when I was growing up and moving every few years. People would tell me I was lucky and I was being afforded so many opportunities.
They weren’t wrong. But what they didn’t see was the crying and frustrated questions and pain from a child who just wanted to belong. They didn’t have the memories of her parents (who worked for a non-profit organizations) struggling with money or her older brother trying to understand the political, social, and cultural aspects of a place he was “supposed” to understand because he had been born here.
Those people never saw behind the beautiful red curtain to the chaos of backstage. They didn’t see the truly unglamorous nature of it all.
I don’t want to sound ungrateful. I have been afforded opportunities to see and do amazing things. I have been given a unique perspective on the world. I see the beauty in other cultures more easily than others might. I understand why cross-cultural anything–politics, families, institutions–will always be more complex than mono-cultural dealings because I’ve experienced it first hand.
I would be a completely different person without my time living between worlds.
But now, as a young adult, I find myself longing for stability. I want to have a tangible answer when people ask me when I will leave Singapore and settle down in the US. I guess I feel like if I’m in one place for longer than four years, I’ll no longer have the awful feeling in my heart of being pulled in all different directions because of all the places the people I love live.
But the truth is my heart will always feel that way. Maybe one day it will be less painful or more manageable. But there will always be a place or a person or a memory tugging at my heart reminding me of who I was, where I’ve come from, and who I am.
It really sucks sometimes but I think I’ll be okay.