The Third Culture Complexity 

By Tasnim Hasan

What is home?

Is it the people, feeling or just a city?

Maybe I will know, or maybe I know it already.

They say, “Home is where the heart is.”

In that case, my heart is displaced in three cities; Dhaka, Dubai & Philly.

Each of the cities gifted me precious people and memories.

Dhaka reminds me of the earthy fragrance as I head towards the baggage area at the airport. The warm embrace of my loved ones as I walk out of the gates, my grandmothers’ long wait, cousins’ travel plans. But there is always a disconnect in that city.

Growing up only to learn spoken bangla and nothing else, I often struggle to bargain with the shopkeeper or give directions in bangla to the rickshaw mama. 

Yet, there is familiarity, as much as unfamiliarity. 

Maybe, that is the ultimate beauty? 

I had “Abuwabu Tughla’d” my chapter in Dubai two years ago after living in the city for 26+ years.

But even today, I search for that perfect Lebanese shawarma. 

Trust me, it’s tough to convince a Middle Eastern raised person about a mediocre one (You know, the ones with tomatoes and cabbage? Yikes!).

Even after living in Dubai for 26 years, I know I don’t belong there, but in my heart, I still do. 

Singing “Eishi Biladi” since childhood feels home, sitting on rides that play arabic songs as we scream for our lives, celebrating 50 years of both countries I identify myself with feels like a win win.

After I left my roots, onto the next one, I found myself lost again, looking for meaning, a home, a place I can say I belong, at least completely even if not halfway through. My stay in the United States was uncertain too, it always has been.

But then, they say, “Time heals the toughest wounds.” I soon found myself lost in beautiful Philadelphia streets, subway, parks and the city. 

My source of happiness was my favorite roommate , friends, and extended family. Even when I lost,  I still found happiness amongst carnivals, ferry rides and ferris wheel. 

I often get lost in thoughts about my roots, my identity.

Living in Dubai, U.A.E for 26+ years of my life, and now currently living in the United States for the past 2 years how it shaped.

To me, Bangladesh is home, my identity, but will it ever be home?

To me, U.A.E is home, but will it ever be home?

To me, United States is home, but will it ever be home?

When someone asks me where I am from, I struggle to explain where I belong.

Born in Bangladesh. Raised in the United Arab Emirates and lived in the United States.

I often feel like I belong and I don’t belong at the same time in these cultures and spaces.

Like my heart is half hearted here and half hearted there. Pretty much, scattered everywhere…

I often look for a home in every place, in every city. 

Trying to find peace and stability.

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