Where I Belong (part II). 

Belonging. As human beings, we all want to belong. We all long to be accepted and feel the sense of belonging, whether it’s with our family, our church, or a group of friends. It is an essential part of being human; our sense of belonging is tightly knit with our sense of identity.

For me, I have specifically wrestled with the idea of belonging to a certain country. If you read part (I) of this post, you will know that I have lived in two countries. Let me give a little more background on that.

I am a Chinese-Indonesian born in Indonesia. My ancestors were originally from China, but the majority of my great-grandparents’ generation migrated to Indonesia. When I was 3 years old, I moved to America. I lived there for almost my entire childhood, before moving back to Indonesia 13 years later.

Whenever people ask me “where are you from?” I always get confused on how to answer this question. Do they mean where I was born? where I grew up? where my ancestors were from?

But back to the idea of belonging. When I think about which country I belong to, these thoughts roll in my mind: In America, people viewed me as Asian. In Indonesia, people view me as “that girl from America”.

In order for us to feel that we belong, the people/group/country that we want to belong to must accept us. Now, in my case, both countries see me as a sort of “foreigner”, if I must.

Technically I am an Indonesian citizen because I was born here. And I really came to love Indonesia, which I hope to post about in further detail sometime. But at the same time, I have lived in America for much longer. So here’s my million dollar question: To which country do I belong to?

I recently heard the term “Third-Culture Kid”, which is defined as “a child who was raised in a culture other than the culture that is of the country given on the passport”. Yep. Definitely me. After researching more on the “Third-Culture Kid” (there’s even an official website), I discovered that there are many others out there just like me, and they go through the same struggles and questions. It is nice to know that I am not the only one.

But I still ask myself this question once in a while. Where do I belong? And maybe I’ll never be able to tell for sure. America or Indonesia?

However, I recently realized that I don’t have to worry. You may ask “why?”. Isn’t a sense of belonging essential to identity? Yes, of course it is. But my identity does not have to lie in a certain country. There is somewhere, Someone, to be more exact, far greater than any country on this earth to place my identity in (Philippians 3:20).

But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ…

Philippians 3:20

I’m not saying that I will completely disregard any sense of belonging to a country. As I mentioned, I love Indonesia, and I love America. I feel I can belong to one or the other, or both. As for my identity, I can be a “Chinese-Indonesian”, “Indonesian”, or “Indonesian-raised-American”. All of these are true. But I have found that there is a sense of belonging and identity that trumps all those earthly ones. And that is the identity I have in Jesus Christ my Lord.

Yet to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to be the children of God…

John 1:1


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