by Eleanor Parker Sapia
Tell me where you were born, where you’ve lived and about your travels, and most probably, I’ll intuit a bit about you. Of course, I don’t know specific details about your life, your favorite color or song, or everything about your culture, but I’ll feel a kinship with you.
Now if you tell me you are bi-cultural, a third culture kid like me or you love to travel, and you’re a writer, there will be a whole lot of nodding and smiling between us after we meet. And I’ll have a million questions for you; it’s natural to gravitate towards people with similar life experiences and sensitivities.
“Third culture kids are people raised in a culture other than their parents’ or the culture of the country named on their passport for a significant part of their early development years. They are often exposed to a greater variety of cultural influences.” Wikipedia
Luckily for me, I’m still curious and love learning about different cultures, languages, and traditions. I’m a bona fide sponge (I’m learning Latin phases for my second book). I adore ancient and newish history and research (vital for a writer of historical fiction); I love meeting new people; and I still travel, which is a huge blessing. My children live in the Washington, DC area and in Thailand (where I hope to visit for the first time this fall), and I have many good friends around the world I’d love to visit with again. There’s nothing more enriching for a writer than travel and experiencing life abroad.
As an Army brat, a bi-cultural and bilingual (Spanish) kid, my childhood was spent in the United States, Puerto Rico (my love, my birthplace), and in many capitals of Europe. My father is of Polish and Russian ancestry and my mother, born and raised in Ponce, Puerto Rico, was of French, Catalonian, Canarian, and Italian ancestry. I married an Army officer and enjoyed posts in the US and in Europe with many summer vacations spent in Puerto Rico with our children. After enjoying 13 years living in Belgium and France, I separated from my then-husband, returned to the US in 2006 with my children, and continued traveling throughout Europe and back to Puerto Rico to visit friends and family. In 2010, I made a solitary move to Berkeley County, West Virginia (nearly a foreign country to me), where I’d hoped to write full-time. I am happy to report I’m still writing full-time in 2019, which is not without sacrifices and many challenges, believe me. I make it work because I can’t imagine not living a creative life. At times, I think I’ve lived the life of five or six people.
But, oh the places I’ve been and the people I’ve met through travel, reading, and writing!
If you were to ask me about my favorite authors and books, I would say I love reading novels primarily written by diverse authors with diverse characters in their homeland settings, and authors whose novels are flavored by their experiences of having lived in or traveled abroad. Makes sense, doesn’t it? To me, the language is richer, lyrical, familiar, and there’s nothing like being an armchair traveler while I save up for that next trip.
Happy Spring to you!