According to sociologist David C. Pollock:
But, of course, you knew that already.
1. You can curse convincingly in at least five different languages.
2. To everyone’s confusion, your accent changes depending on who you’re talking to.
3. And you often slip foreign slang into your English by mistake, which makes you unintelligible to most people.
4. You’re really good at calculating time differences, because you have to do it every time you call your parents.
5. But you also have your computer programmed to help you out when your math fails.
6. You start getting birthday wishes several hours before your birthday, from your friends farther east than you.
7. Your passport looks like it’s been through hell and back.
Or, more likely, your passports*, in the plural.
8. You have a love-hate relationship with the question “Where are you from?”
You have both a short and long answer ready, and you pick one depending on who’s asking.
9. You run into your elementary school friends in unlikely countries at unlikely times.
10. You’ve spent an absurd and probably unhealthy amount of time on airplanes.
11. And you definitely know your way around jet-lag recovery.
12. Your list of significant others’ nationalities reads like a soccer World Cup bracket.
13. And your circle of best friends is as politically, racially, and religiously diverse as the United Nations.
14. Which is great, except that you “hang out” more online than in real life.
15. So when you do see your best friends, you lose it a little.
16. You’ve had the most rigorous sensitivity training of all: real life.
Always take your shoes off in a Thai household, but never show the soles of your feet to an Arab.
17. You get nervous whenever a form needs you to enter a “permanent address.”
18. You know that McDonald’s tastes drastically different from country to country.
And you can rank them from best to worst.
19. You’re a food snob because you’ve sampled the best and most authentic of every possible cuisine.
20. You convert any price to two different currencies before making significant purchases.
21. You don’t call it “home.” You call it “passport country.”
22. You often find yourself singing along to songs in languages you don’t speak or understand.
23. You miss BBM, but Viber and WhatsApp will do for now.
24. You’re the token exotic friend in your non-TCK crew.
25. Love it or hate it, you have a strong and well-informed opinion on the I.B. system.
26. The end of the school year was always bittersweet because so many people moved away.
27. And, no matter how many you say, good-byes never get easier.
28. But the constant flow of new friends more than made up for it.
29. Now you feel incredibly lucky to have loved ones and memories scattered all over the globe.
30. You know better than anyone else that “home” isn’t a place, it’s the people in it.
31. And you can’t wait to see where your life adventure takes you next.