October 29, 2011

On Pirates & Global Nomads in Beirut

Even though it’s not a Dutch tradition (we dress up for 'carnaval' in February), and neither is it her father’s (some Lebanese disguise themselves for St. Barbara), but my daughter has adopted Halloween with a vengeance.
Lebanese Pirate

My daughter is what in anthropological circles is known as a Third Culture Kid (TCK). These are children that are from one culture, or more, if they’re a product from a ‘mixed-marriage’, and grow up in another culture. As a result, they form their own culture, which is the ‘third culture’, hence the name Third Culture Kids (TCK). Beirut is teeming with these global nomads. According to sociologist Ruth Hill Useem, who coined the term TCK in the sixties, TCKs have more in common with each other, regardless of nationality, than they do with non-TCK' friends. It wouldn’t surprise me.
Halloween, which is a 3rd culture item in our household, was introduced by her school.
But there’s also the added influence of a French SIL (who introduced the annual Easter Egg Hunt and keeps the Epiphany Pie alive), and some Pilipino habits (from the housekeeper), which led to my daughter’s insatiable appetite for rice, who prefers to eat it while squatting). And I might add to this all that when my mom worked in London as a nurse, way back in the fifties, she picked up drinking tea with milk. A habit, I must admit, I have passed on to my son. I wonder what traditions my children will pass on to their children.

I know multi-culturalism is supposed to be enriching, but I think this must be pretty confusing too. The lack of an own cultural identify may lead to religious fundamentalism, I read somewhere. Hmmm. Did Osama celebrate Halloween too?

But I digress. My global nomad starts plotting somewhere in January what to wear for Halloween in October. And these plans get finalized around September. And then suddenly, halfway through October, she changes her mind, and leaves her mom in a bind, ‘cause who’s organizing that costume? She was to be a ‘pirate girl’ this year! Jac(queline) Sparrow!

Halloween masks. Most of them are of Lebanese politicians. But Obama, Osama and Khadaffi (3rd from the right) are in there too .

But I managed (admitted, I cheated, her grandmother’s atelier did the job for me), and we’ve got ourselves a pirate girl, just in time for Monday. Today she went to a Halloween party at another TCK 's house.

PS: Kheireddine, you had the UNWRA depot right, and Sadat Street almost. It was a side street of Sadat though. The house in the background is indeed on Sadat. Let's see if you figure out this one. PepsiCanPat is pretty good at this too. Are you fishing tomorrow? I'm sailing. Drop by and say hi if you see me (struggling).


Anonymous said...

I like the skull and crossbones behind her to match her hat... was that intentional?

Life with Subtitles said...

I think that's the first time I hear that a mix of cultures can lead to religious fundamentalism.. my first reaction would be to dismiss it, but then again you might have the sources to back this up.

I was trying to talk a Swedish friend to accompany me and a few friends to a Halloween party here in Göteborg (even though I didn't really celebrate it when I was in Beirut), and surprisingly she got angry at me, saying this is not a Swedish tradition, and that no Swedes celebrate it, that it's just an effect of American culture..
Honestly I just think it's a good way for all the expats in Sweden (and there are lots them) to find something in common to celebrate, joined of course by the occasional Swede. I guess you could call us "Third Culture Adults" :P

By the way it's funny reading this post today, I just had a guest post about identity on my blog :)
Cheers !

DrieCulturen said...

Hello Sietske, what a nice post, lovely photo's too! Thanks. Nice to read about Dutch third culture kids. I was one too, born and raised in Africa. I recently started a blog about third culture kids. I would like to invite you to come over and "visit" my blog.
Hope it was a good halloween for your daughter!

zgharta.com said...

Another great blog , as was the rest of October's.