Finding home as a third culture kid

Meet Paola Barrera.

Paola was born in Spanish, lives in French, and thinks in English. She loves words and uses them as arrows to point to the best words she knows–those left by our Maker and found in Scripture. She’s a writer, speaker, and mentor. Canadian through the gift of immigration, she loves cold, snowy winters, and lives with her husband Gustavo in the beautiful, bilingual city of Montreal.

Paola is a friend of mine and a fellow transplanted Montrealer.

Paola started life in Venezuela where her grandparents were her primary and day-to-day caregivers until she moved to Switzerland during her teen years to attend boarding school.

From Switzerland she moved to Atlanta, GA in the United States, where she finished high school and went to college. In her mid-20's she returned to her birth country and for the next decade she re-adjusted to living in Venezuela, met her husband, and completed a graduate degree.

As the situation in Venezuela became increasingly critical, Paola and her husband Gus looked for a North American immigration option. By a margin of just a few months, they met the age limit for immigrating to Quebec.

In this interview, Paola brings her experience of being a third culture kid and immigrant to the Finding Home series.

According to Merriam-Webster third culture kids are "individuals who are raised in a culture other than their parents' or the culture of their country of nationality, and also live in a different environment during a significant part of their child development years."

As with everyone, Paola's ideas of home - what feels like home and what defines home - is heavily influenced by her growing years. Which for her happened in three languages and three cultures.

Montreal's old world architecture, North American urban context, and cacophony of cultures and accents - feels like home for a grown up third culture kid like Paola.

Equally important to Paola's sense of home is her understanding and experience of God's presence wherever she is. Another element of home she shares in our interview.

Home is a universal concept but what defines home for individuals is unique and always evolving. We find home in particular geography, relationships, history, culture, language, and beliefs. And it changes as we grow. As illustrated by Paola's story, and every other interview in this Finding Home series.

You can find Paola at her website here and on Instagram where she shared the story of her immigration in a 30 day writing challenge. You can read those immigration posts starting here.

Join my Patreon at the $5/month tier and have access to this and all previous interviews.

Wrapping up Patreon Podcast

This is my last Patreon podcast episode. The interviews will exist for the foreseeable future on Patreon. To listen to any individual or all episodes you need to join Patreon at the $5/month level. You can cancel your support at any time.

Here is a complete list of episodes, with a link to the Patreon page where you can listen to or download the episode.

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« A summer garden
As I drag myself out of the woods »

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