What it means to be a TCK and an Introvert

I was extremely shy as a child. In elementary school, on most days I could get away without uttering a single word during class. Although today I’m not as extremely introverted as before and I can label (if I must) myself as an extroverted introvert, at my core, I still associate myself as an introvert.

As a natural introvert, I started to think – how did my introverted-ness impact my experiences growing up as a TCK? Here are a few things I thought of: (see if you can relate, fellow introverted TCKs!)

Quietly observing is a feast for the introverted brain

Instead of striking a conversation or surrounding myself with people, I prefer to quietly observe cultures and nuances unfolding before my eyes. When I encounter different cultures or a new landscape, I let my brain take in all the delicious sensory stimulants, let it process and distribute the senses throughout my body. This is how I, as an introvert, digest new experiences. As a result, I have built a vast, infinite pool of subjects to ponder about.

Being alone is cool – amazing, actually!

I love being alone. My love for me-times has given me the freedom to explore however I please wherever I go. One thing I love to do is discovering cute cafes wherever I am, do my own thing (usually writing or reading) as I sip on a nice hot cup of coffee. I love that I can embrace and celebrate my individuality by simply being present with just myself.

People expect you to be loud or outspoken

As an Asian person who had grown up predominantly in a Western culture, some people have this expectation of me being loud or outspoken. It’s as if they’re playing to the stereotype of Asians being quiet and docile. Yet when they find out that I grew up in the U.S., they expect me to be the opposite of that stereotype. Hell – I’m not being Asian or anything. I’m just an introvert!

Being a TCK makes a good conversation starter

I’m not a huge fan of small talk. As an introvert, I much rather prefer deep, insightful 1:1 conversations. But when I’m thrown in situations where I do have to make an effort to make small talk, I noticed that my TCK-ness makes a great conversation starter. (“Have you been to San Francisco before?” “Does your brother also like Chinese food?”) It’s an easy way to broaden the topics, therefore making small talks a little less intimidating.

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