A third-culture kid (TCK / 3CK) or trans-culture kid is "someone who, as a child, has spent a significant period of time in one or more cultures other than his or her own, thus integrating elements of those cultures and their own birth culture, into a third culture."


Sunday, June 16, 2013

Bon día, Barcelona

The natural flow in most of my life adventures generally followed a North-South trend. The furthest I had ever relocated using this well-rehearsed routine was approximately 9000 km (5400 miles). My first major East-West move breaking the trend was from O-town to Barcelona back in 2007. This was fundamentally different as the move was also across several time zones, which I find is much more difficult as the distance grows between your destination and point of departure.

In transatlantic travel, it can be preferable for heavy sleepers to take the overnight flight - if it’s available, of course. Sleeping in a tin can while levitating a good 10,000 m (35,000 feet) above an icy body of water can be easy for some. The occasional shake and bake is just like a sweet caress. Statistics are on your side when riding a passenger jet compared to riding a unicycle around a volcanic crater – never would have guessed - but somehow I am unable to catch some Zs on what some call “the metallic condor”.

From YUL to BCN – trying to sound cool using airport lingo – the flight time is about 8 hours and 30 minutes, depending on prevailing winds, weight of the plane and the size of the pilot’s lunch prior to boarding. Aside from the travel time, there is about a 6-hour actual time difference (GMT -4:00 versus GMT +2:00), which can eventually make you feel like you are living entirely world apart from the one you loved ones stay behind. I does take quite a lot of getting used to.

Travelling for a long-term move is much different to vacationeering – term originates from those vicious beach pirates making their way from one resort to the next, one piña colada at a time. The sense of adventure grows as you bounce around like a monkey with a mad case of indigestion, wondering, “what did I get myself into.” For some, these feelings may be tough to admit, even to the most seasoned nomad. Did I make the right choice in accepting that kind invitation from that guy to stay at his apartment, or is he some Hannibal-the-Cannibal looking to savour some foreign cartilage? Yeah, you know you’ve been there too, tough guy.

After the slowest trip of a lifetime – I did sit in an airplane once with my brother for 13 hours, but we killed time reciting the lines from Top Gun word for word in three different languages – I was in balmy Barcelona. I blended in nicely with the locals carrying two humongous suitcases and my laptop bag strapped to my chest like a suicide nerd bomber. I hired an airport taxi that reminded me of the black and yellows in the Southern Cone where a gipsy driver was taking me to my first Catalan home.

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