Adrika Lazarus, goes by Adri
(phonetically: AW-DREE-KA or AW-DREE)
Hey everyone, I am ecstatic that you are here to join Liam and I on our journey!
I grew up being a Third Culture Kid. There is a group of us whose lives are spent in places separate from the countries where we were born or where our parents are from. Most often, TCK’s move from country-to-country every few years, before returning to our place of nationality. We are a group of people who had the utmost, one in a million privilege to have this lifestyle. I can only speak for myself here and say that I am beyond grateful to my parents for giving me these opportunities.
I am Bangladeshi-American. I was born in Queens, New York before jetting off to see the world as an infant. I lived the expat life abroad until the age of fifteen before returning to America, but I never stopped being a TCK.
My parents, Taslima and Dennis Lazarus, both worked for the United Nations in international development. Mom was invested in global health – aiding individuals and families across the world – and Pop led a career in UNDP, focused on economic development. My family (AKA “The Laz 3”) lived in Kenya, India and Indonesia collectively. Beyond that, my parents worked in Somalia, Afghanistan, Honduras, South Korea and Bangladesh.
I was lucky enough to catch a glimpse of what international development work looks like due to my parents’ careers – both its impact and its challenges – and this exposure motivated me to pursue professional opportunities in social justice and development work. As an adult, I am passionate about human rights and advocacy.
As a TCK, my first memories were of dry grass shooting out of the soil of the expansive Kenyan safari – laughing with hyenas, gawking at magnificent lions as they roared into the setting sun, and climbing the avocado tree in our backyard just to bite into the ripe green fruit. I fondly recall the decadent smells of Indian markets in New Delhi as we passed stalls lined with intricately decorated jewelry, colorful saris, delicious samosas and piping hot chai. I remember the rough surf of the Balinese waters, and the turquoise ocean gleaming around Kotok Island – where I first got my SCUBA license when we lived in glorious Indonesia. This is a miniscule glance at the incredible experiences that I was lucky enough to have, and I cannot wait to share more with you all.
Generally, TCKs view the world and our families as home, but still struggle to answer the question, “Where are you from?” I have wanted to create this blog for about seven years now, when I was fifteen, but I figured back then, I wasn’t ready yet. I needed to wait it out, to live life first, see where it would take me and what lessons I would learn that would shape the person I am today. As we embark into 2018, and as a twenty-two-year-old woman, I believe it is finally time to share what I have learned with you all. And finally give a definitive answer to that nuisance of a question.
When I first came up with this idea seven years ago, my target audience in mind was fellow TCKs. After graduating from both high school and university, and into my first year as a professional, I wanted to reach out to people who are going through any kind of change. That means graduates of any educational background, military service members both active and veteran – and their families, career adults and those retired, kids, pre-teens and teenagers who are facing what it means to grow up, young professionals who have just moved to a new city and are struggling with their first chapter of adulthood – anyone and everyone from all backgrounds, sexual orientations, pronoun identities, ethnicities, religions, languages, cultures, levels of education, etc. – please join our community. You are welcome here.
This blog is about mine and Liam’s firsthand accounts as TCKs who moved back to their country of nationality, and how we dealt with the transition. You will read, watch and hear about the defining lessons we learned. I hope this blog will help you if you are going through these kinds of challenges too, or if you have already experienced them, or if you are just looking for some comfort and understanding.
This is a judgment-free zone. This is a place where you, too, can come and share your story with us.
I want this to be a place for everyone. I hope through our different experiences, we will find common ground in the emotions behind them. I am an advocate of empowerment and diversity. I make it a point to uplift people who are trapped in their own mental illness and struggles. I want you to know that it’s normal to feel overwhelmed, and that you are not alone. You have a friend in me.
Moving and adjusting can be overwhelming. I want you to know it will all be okay. We’ve been there, and we’ve got you. We know how hard it can be, but we also know the incredible lessons and memories that come from facing your challenges head-on. The experience you will archive for your own life, the amount of growing you will do – these years will make you who you are, and that’s beautiful.
So, with enthusiasm and open arms, welcome to Thoughts of a Third Culture Kid
Hi, my name is Liam and I am a Third Culture Kid (TCK). The textbook definition of a TCK is a term used to refer to children raised in a culture other than their parents’ for a significant part of early development years. In my case, I have lived in Russia, Malawi, India, Bhutan, Thailand and the United States, hold three passports and I am twenty. As a textbook definition, being a TCK may seem overwhelming and let me confirm that it is sometimes overwhelming. We as a collective group of people, have been places and seen things most people have not heard of. We have been exposed to many cultures and adopted them as our own. And although, I lost many friends and contacts throughout the years, I would never give up the lifestyle I have been so fortunate to have had.
Similarly, to Adri, I have been wanting to create a platform such as this one for years, however, never felt as though I was up to the challenge. I had too many of my own issues going on and until I overcame those challenges, I knew I would not be ready. The last year has been a huge personal self reflection period for me and I know it is time to share the life experiences I have had. As well as share the coping mechanisms I used for getting through some of the toughest times a human-being can face in their life.
The idea behind Thoughts of a Third Culture Kid, at first glance may seem as though it is targeted at current or former expats. I would like to now take this moment to extend a hand to everyone and anyone dealing with their own struggles and life obstacles and welcome you to a judgment free zone where anything can be said. This is a place where your feelings, concerns, anxieties, worries and thoughts are welcome. We may all have different backgrounds whether it be, religion, race, sexual orientation, political views, and upbringings, but the one thing I believe is that we are all human and our differences should be celebrated not segregated. Being human means we are each imperfect in our own way and that is what makes us so diverse as a race. We do, as a race, however, face the same problems in our own personal environments and we each tackle these obstacles in our own ways. I hope that by creating this platform you will share your own life obstacles and how you overcame issues that arose in your life. Whatever you are dealing with or have dealt with, you are not alone. Someone else, whether it be your neighbor or someone on the opposite side of the world has dealt with the same thing. And it is important to know that.
So with that being said, welcome to a platform for not only for Adri and I, but everyone as well.