I am a 27-year-old Chinese-Indonesian lawyer currently living in New York City. Prior to this, I’ve lived in Jakarta, Singapore, Berkeley, and London. I get restless quite easily, no doubt as a result of being a third-culture kid. It’s this trait that has kept me traveling whenever possible and thirsty for exploration anytime else.
Estherina’s World. I started this website as an online diary of sorts. A way to document my avid globetrotting, shopaholism, and frequent nom fests. Since then, it has grown into a living, breathing record of my favorite sights, sounds, tastes, and feels. My hope is that it becomes both a source of inspiration and information for all of you.
This is a tough one to pin down. There’s a lot of literature on this subject, much of which explores the TCK phenomenon with more grace than I could muster. What I offer you here is simply an explanation of what the phrase means to me and how self-identifying as a TCK has impacted my life.
Growing up in international schools, I was taught that a third-culture kid is one who spends their formative years in a culture different from their parents’ or passport country’s. I suppose that’s a good starting point, but it really tells you the “what” without explaining it. Personally, I believe I am a third-culture kid because I grew up straddling many different cultures- my parents’, my host countries’, and expat culture- at the same time, none of which were more or less pervasive an influence than the other. As a result, there is no one place that I would call “home” in a complete sense.
This sense of perpetual uprootedness might be overwhelming if it weren’t for the following truths:
First, that all around the world fellow TCKs are feeling the exact same way and banding together to form a welcoming but close-knit community. When meeting a fellow TCK, friendships often form instantaneously. Most of my closest friends are fellow TCKs. I think it’s because, regardless of the details of our backgrounds, we find in each other kindred spirits and an inexplicable, profound understanding.
Second, that by not feeling at home anywhere, I am able to feel at home everywhere. By not feeling entirely Chinese, Indonesian, American, Chinese-Indonesian, Asian-American, or Singaporean, I get to embrace being a global citizen.
I have been to over 200 cities in more than 30 countries, including China, Japan, Indonesia, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, the United Kingdom, France, Vietnam, Switzerland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Spain, Iceland, South Korea, Sweden, Morocco, Denmark, Turkey, Italy, Germany, Greece, the Philippines, Taiwan, Peru, Thailand, and the United States.
Here’s hoping I get to keep expanding this list!
To view my blog posts by destination, you can use the map index.
I regularly eat desserts as meals.
I am addicted to crime-solving shows, such as Criminal Minds, The Mentalist, Law & Order: SVU, Castle, and Sherlock.
I find nearly all insects terrifying.
When I was in high school, I was in a reality TV dance competition and got as far as the Top 7.
I do not know how to ride a bicycle, or more importantly, how to drive a car.