Third Culture Kids


Simply having a wonderful birthday time

I’m taking a break from watching the monkeys play on the trees outside our kitchen window to write a bit about our crazy kids. This week we watched Coco as a family. The Spanish, the Spanglish, the painted concrete walls and big metal gates, the music, the way even the grandmother was drawn, with her apron and her tough square body type, made us all feel nostalgic for Peru, nostalgic for speaking Spanish and for our friends and our life in South America. Sarah reported the next morning that she had lain in bed “feeling very sad about missing Peru” afterward. Annie said watching the movie “made her feel like home.” We bought the soundtrack and sang along loudly in Spanish. A part of our hearts are with Latinos, and it made me remember again how important that has been and will be in our kids’ development.

Speaking of part of kids’ development, I’m teaching A Tale of Two Cities now, and as we discuss corrupt governments, wealthy people who don’t care, poverty, oppression, and worrying about providing food for your malnourished children, I see that most of my students understand. They have seen it firsthand. My students are, for the most part, grateful on a level that first world students will not experience. In a similar vein, Sarah had her birthday party last weekend and we played games with water, had chocolate cake and popcorn, and played some music for musical chairs. Her presents included a candy bar and a used stuffed animal. Every party participant expressed many thanks and enthusiasm for the simplest pleasures.

Annie’s birthday party, delayed a week because of Dad’s call schedule, was Friday night. Her friends came over to have pizza and outside games, but the rainy season may have arrived on March 1st, and it was raining like crazy. Annie and I went to the school gate to pick up her friends. On the way down, we saw many fluttering insects—I have heard them called flying termites—think dull brown, overgrown dragonflies. One girl squealed, “Ooh! The termites are here!” and squatted down to pick one up. Soon all six were holding a wriggling bug by the wings, watching it squirm. I smiled to myself, thinking “Only a group of missionary girls would react this way.” Then, one of the girls ate one. O.K. There you go. Wow. We got home and turned on some music while I finished preparing the pizza toppings. Every girl was dancing and singing unashamedly to Toby Mac. The third culture kid experience combined with a Christian family culture makes for a pretty awesome group of kids. We love getting to spend time with this unique group.

4 thoughts on “Third Culture Kids

  1. I love this post! Thanks for sharing, Ali! I don’t respond often, but read each post. Love you guys and grateful each time to hear how you are doing!

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  2. What a delightful and enlightening reminder of how wide the wonders of God’s world are! I love the way the Caire kids are opening their hearts to these varied cultures — it does mean that they experience “missing” when they are no longer in a particular place, but how exciting to watch what Kenya will add to the mix. Hooray for all of you!

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  3. I love this post, Allison! Raising third-culture kids could easily be a source of anxiety, but in the end, the things they’re learning — love for people & not things; an internal ache for cultures that aren’t just their “own”; an understanding of how corrupt governments and poverty can create terrible cycles for peoples they’ve come to love; a desire to celebrate happily with people they love and to appreciate every gift they receive no matter it’s cost or perceived quality — are SUCH precious life gifts! We follow closely your journey and lift you often in prayer. You’ve been an inspiration to us to be missionaries in the lives of our kids and in whatever corner of the world God may have us. Love to you all!

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