The Sound of Silence

I love talking, listening to music, hearing kids running around and playing outside, but I must admit that sometimes I really love silence. Or at least the absence of man-made sounds. No chatty radio shows, no phone ringing, barely the sound of a car passing by. That doesn’t happen very often, but today I decided not to turn the radio on, and it has been a thoughtful, serene and soul-searching afternoon. Apart from the occasional car marring the moment, all I can hear are the crickets, chirruping their way through the last hours of summer, joined in chorus every once in a while by a bird or two. It’s quiet, peaceful, silent.

It’s in those moments of quietude that I find myself reflecting on my life so far. I run through memories, I sometimes wonder what it would be like to not be a third culture kid, and I think about the future. I don’t think about it in very concrete terms, I just ponder it more than anything. I ponder how the present and the future would have been different if I had not lived the life I did, as a third culture kid. I sometimes wonder if it would easier to be content, to not always compare or wonder how it would be or how it was elsewhere. It’s a good thing to be aware that each and every place has positive and negative aspects, but there are times I do wish I could feel an absolute attachment somewhere. That one place would be THE place, and I would love it unconditionally, and either be blissfully unaware of its downfalls, or at least not really notice them or care about them. I’m not saying I regret my life as a third culture kid or that I am unable to find contentment, but those quiet moments of reflection lead to many complex thoughts. Thoughts that are always present, hidden somewhere in the back of the mind, waiting for the opportune moment to surface. The change of seasons brings with it changing winds, propitious to self-reflection and soul-searching. I love the life I’ve led and continue to lead, but of course I sometimes wonder if the grass isn’t greener on the other side, or if ignorance is indeed bliss…

Copyright - Raya Fayad

I do ultimately come to the conclusion that I wouldn’t trade my life for another, and that I would probably do it all the same if I had to do it again, but that doesn’t stop those thoughts from creeping into my mind during those moments of silent contemplation. Those thoughts generally arise in periods of adaptation, or after an event or simple conversation makes you realize yet again how different you are as a third culture kid, when you’re no longer in a third culture environment. I love how my life here is unfolding, but I would be lying if I didn’t admit that it’s been tough to adapt, to fit in. There have been endless challenges to overcome, vast adjustments to make and a lot of effort to put in. When you’re not at school, working or at least have kids going to school, it’s a lot harder to meet people, to settle in, to find a routine. But I’m here, I’m doing it, and it gets better, trust me. If there’s one thing you learn as a TCK, it’s to adapt, to be flexible. Like I said in an earlier entry – we’re resilient, and that’s a key factor to our success. It may be tough, there may be moments of doubt, but ultimately it’s definitely worth it.

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6 thoughts on “The Sound of Silence

  1. Whenever I feel like that, I compare my life with that of people around me. And there’s absolutely NO-ONE I’d change places with, I soon realise. There’s some famous person who said something along the lines of ‘When I scrutinise myself, I worry, but when I compare myself, I’m reassured’, and that really echoes with me. I do sometimes think how nice it would be to be from a small town with a greengrocer and maybe a soda bar, where everyone had lived together for yonks and knew their place and didn’t constantly re-evaluate themselves and their place in society. Some of my husband’s family are like that: they were born in Bretagne, they grew up in Bretagne, their big adventure was when they moved house 2km away from the old one, and very likely they’ll be buried in Bretagne when the time comes. It seems so wonderfully restful, to have everything all charted out for you. But it’s probably also a tad dull…
    I just looked up the proverb- it’s from Quebec, apparently.

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    1. Thanks again for your always interesting and insightful comments; they’re very much appreciated! And thanks for sharing that quote, it definitely strikes a chord. I don’t ever regret the life I’ve had, and I know it’s made me who I am in many ways and given me amazing opportunities in life. So, even if I have those reflective moments, I’ll never regret how I’ve grown up and lived so far. It’s great to share and communicate about these thoughts and feelings though, especially with someone like you! Thanks for your endless support and encouragement – I always look forward to your comments!

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      1. Hi Dounia,
        I finally figured out how to find replies and respond to them- sorry about the delay! I loved the beautiful photos: is that your garden? here in Paris it’s VERY warm but we’re starting to feel the autumn with darker mornings. Like you, i like the slow advance of winter- it evokes images of curling up on the sofa with a hot cup of tea (or frapuccino!) and a good book, listening to the rain against the window. So cosy!

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        1. Hi Anne!
          Don’t worry about the delay – I just love getting comments from you! That’s such a lovely image you describe; I love those moments in autumn and winter! I’m glad you liked the photos 🙂 They’re actually not from my garden, but they’re all near the apartment (the courtyard of our apartment, the streets nearby, the little pond and forest behind our apartment…) so I’m very lucky to be able to see some from my windows or just go out for a walk and it’s there! I heard that it’s been very warm over there, but I hope you’ll get autumn soon 🙂 Looking forward to hearing from you again soon!

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  2. What an inspiring post that speaks of your heart’s deepest longings. They say in silence, you can hear God’s whispers to you…and I think it is true based on past experiences. I witnessed a Sunrise with my son a few weeks ago, all I heard were the waves as we stared at the golden rising Sun. It was a moment I won’t forget. Thanks for the post.

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