Third Culture Co Ltd, Suite 521, Coventry House, 1-3 Coventry Road, IG14QR, London, UK


Founded by Shaima Shamsi. Storytelling through wearable art. Producing slowly and consciously.

Dear Homeless

July 6, 2017


Dear Homeless,

You asked me how transitioning was, how I "handled" the stress of uprooting myself from one country (crossing the world to live in suitcases for months, barraged by a flurry of once-familiar faces, once-routine destinations, and neverending open highway), only (just a few heartbeats later) to again tear down any hastily-assembled semblance of  "norm" to reestablish myself in yet another continent, adjusting to a new set of friends, expectations, and customs.

Quite frankly, I didn't. Or at least... not particularly well.

Because really, what do people expect? That we're otherworldly superheroes? That we're immune to the weaknesses of human nature? That like legos, we can plug and play wherever, in any sort of circumstances?

But then, that's the thing. We aren't superheroes. We're not immune. And we are definitely not legos- I still have opposable thumbs and, surprisingly, don't burst out in lusty renditions of "Everything is Awesome" on the way to work. I don't just magically fit anywhere. And you and I (or anyone, for that matter) can't "just snap out of it" when we become sad or frustrated in new situations, because that's impossible. And that road block between expectations and reality, I think, is where our failure resides. Despite "knowing" it's not easy, we somehow still expect ourselves to "suck it up, adapt!" and are shocked when the loneliness returns.

Realistically, I would say there's no easy solution to homesickness and displacement-just one foot in front of the other, one day at a time. The first step, though, is always to be kinder to yourself. It IS hard, and you WILL have bad days. And yes, sometimes pity parties are necessary. As many people wiser than me have noted, though, it matters not how often you fall, but in rising every time.

To all my friends abroad (or stateside), whether military or no, in Jordan, in Australia, in Japan, in God knows where else- no, it's not easy adjusting. No, it's not easy being transplanted. And some days will just be awful. But you know what? Some days will be great, in oddball and unexpected ways. But good or bad, that's what friends are for- to remind us when we're being dumb, to laugh with us in impossible situations, and to always, always have your back.

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