This question bothered me for a multitude of reasons. The primary reason probably being because it made me second guess my decision to start graduate school now - while working full time, traveling to France each spring, advising the Eta Zeta Chapter, and attempting to maintain a social life of sorts...
Not only that, it made me second guess my decision to "nest" in Hattiesburg for a few years. I decided to buy a house, a house I'm VERY excited about, but nevertheless I started second-guessing myself.
I started second guessing my entire reason for living my life the way I am.
"Aren't they paying for 6 hours at a time, Jess?" asked a fellow graduate student pursuing her Doctoral degree in Communication Studies. "Yes, they are paying for 6 hours at a time." "Well, THAT'S why you're doing it now! Why not take advantage of that while you can? This is a great time to do that - and besides, if you hadn't started this semester we would have never met." [grin] - so true.
I've come to terms with it now, I think it's healthy to meet people who ask simple questions that challenge everything you think you've learned to a certain point. It intrigues me to have met someone who challenges my very being...too bad this person is a man, that always complicates things.
The reason I sat down to finally post after being silent for many months? I have an assignment due in three days. I have to choose a topic to research, present the rationale for the study, then create a proposal for the study, research questions, sub-questions and method. And I've been over-stressing about this seemingly minute task (or so says the professor).
And what does this mystery man who challenges me to question my very existence and purpose in life have to do with my research topic?
After some self-reflection, and some reminding myself that I'm not "here" forever, that this too is a temporary nesting place for me, that it is OKAY for me to stay in one place for a while even if the rest of my life experience contradicts that, and that my nesting place for now can be America, Mississippi, Hattiesburg, for the time being, I started to think about people like me. I started to wonder if others have had this same discussion with themselves. Do other TCKs ever fully adjust to life at "home" in America?
So I hopped on the computer to research TCKs and to look at research that already exists. I decided if I found enough support, I might like to propose further research on Third Culture Kids and their identity, successes in life, re-entry into their "home" country (according to their passport)...I haven't come up with a specific topic yet, nor a rationale for studying this group of people, but I did stumble across an article that caught my eye. Specifically this paragraph:
"The answer to the question of how long it takes them to adjust to American life is: they never adjust. They adapt, they find niches, they take risks, they fail and pick themselves up again. They succeed in jobs they have created to fit their particular talents, they locate friends with whom they can share some of their interests, but they resist being encapsulated. Their camouflaged exteriors and understated ways of presenting themselves hide the rich inner lives, remarkable talents, and often strongly held contradictory opinions on the world at large and the world at hand."
For the entire article visit: http://www.iss.edu/pages/kids.html
Again, I was already feeling very satisfied with my answer to the question posed at the beginning of this post, and to the sub-questions that then arose from it. But, this article reinforced a feeling of pride, self-understanding and calmness in me - specifically the paragraph above. It sums up my thoughts and experiences here. It sums up what I feel my entire life will be, a constant adaptation to my surroundings.
Now, if I could only come up with a way to propose a research study related to all of this thinking I'm already doing!