While third-culture kids have been studied and their experience has been well represented in the media, another type of third culture kid exists in the US that has been widely overlooked. I am referring to kids who have grown up or adults who have split their lives between the coasts or vastly different states. We have been shaped by our bicoastal upbringings and these are 7 ways you can tell:
1. Your vocabulary is peppered with regional words and phrases from both coasts that confuse all of your peers as to where you’re actually from. For example, whenever I say wicked people automatically go, “Oh you’re from Boston!” but then get confused when I start using mad/hella interchangeably with wicked.
2. You have trouble adapting to the new weather, which people on both coasts don’t understand because they assume the weather of wherever you lived previously is worst or comparable. Just to clarify, to everyone I have ever talked to and will ever talk to, the rain of the Pacific Northwest could never have prepared me for the cold of Boston.
3. You develop a unique sense of style that blends the two “cultures” (if different US regions can be said to have distinct cultures, which I would argue they can). My brother so aptly named my blended style “baby hipster prep” in which I like to mix Birkenstocks and J. Crew barn coats or Sperry Topsiders and flannels.
4. You feel a deep conflict over which sports teams to root for. RIP CITY ‘TIL I DIE but also the Red Sox… I know these are different sports so there shouldn’t be a conflict of interest but when you support a team you’re also supporting a city as a whole. You love both places and don’t want to be disloyal to either.
5. You’re not sure what you consider home anymore. You obviously want to remain loyal to the place you were born, but after a while it feels disingenuous to call that place home when you haven’t lived there for several years. You opt to call home wherever your parents are.
6. You’re never sure where to tell people you’re from when introducing yourself so you decide to be the obnoxious person who over shares upon their first meeting and explain your entire life story.
7. You will have a weird amount of mutual friends with random people you meet at college. Growing up in two far away places means you know a ton of people who have dispersed to many other places that often overlap with people you will meet in the future.