Sample submission from a 16-year-old

As you know, entries for The Worlds Within anthology have to have been written or drawn before you were 27 but it does not matter how old you are now. Remember, entries close at the end of March 2014…

What follows is a piece of writing (well, the start of it anyway) from a young girl, who is Dutch according to her passport, but that isn’t how she feels inside:

Third Culture Kid

My passport says I’m Dutch


Where are you from? What nationality are you? I get asked this on a daily basis. I always answer Holland or the Netherlands, most of my extended family still lives in Holland. People automatically accept this because I am white and I speak Dutch, “Ja, ik spreek Nederlands.” However when I really think about the question, I start to wonder. Where am I really from?

You see I turned 16 last February. I have lived three years in Italy, a total of five and a half years in Holland, and I am now completing my eighth year in China. I have lived half of my life in China, and I have slowly “Chinezefied”.

When I visit Holland my family is always happy to share with me, that when I speak Dutch I have an English accent. I try to improve it but I guess my Dutch just isn’t that good any more. When people ask me what my mother tongue is, I can’t really judge. I actually speak many languages: Dutch and English fluently, quite a bit of Chinese, some French, and I can understand a lot of German and Italian. I have noticed that when I read National Geographic magazines, I much rather read them in English than Dutch because I have learned words like ‘photosynthesis’ and ‘Cartesian plane’ in an English school. My art teacher once told me that to find out what my mother tongue really is, I would have to see what language I do my math in and what language I dream in. So I tried to find out, and I guess I do most of my math in Dutch, but I always convert prices back into RMB’s. And what really surprised me is, that I dream in Dutch, English, and sometimes even in Chinese!

People have asked me, “Where is your home?” Well, I don’t really know. Holland has become more of a vacation place rather than ‘home’. My family doesn’t own a house. I guess I feel at home where ever my belongings are, right now my belonging are in Qingdao, so maybe this is my home. But then again, living in China has taught me that belongings are not mandatory, friends and family are much more important. Maybe my home is where ever my parents live. Actually, it doesn’t matter how I define home because right now Qingdao is my home.



About Jo Parfitt

Publisher at Summertime Publishing since 1997. Author of 32 books and publisher of 150 or so more (number grows every month). Mentor to hundreds of new writers. Specialises in producing books by and for people who live overseas. Books sold via and online bookstores. Offers a personal author mentoring service, supporting, editing and advising writers from brainwave to bookshelf and beyond. Additionally run and run writing workshops.
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