It is strange to never feel that you belong anywhere. While I’m in my home country I am too Americanized but while I’m here I’m too foreign. The thing is that what I left when I was a teenager no longer exists or has evolved without me and at the same time, I have only been here for eight years so no matter how much I have assimilated, I’m still too new. Things may be a little different if I had grown up here learning who Dolly Parton is or singing “I’m a Little Tea Pot”.
Living in three different countries has showed me that visas and passports are always required to be part of something greater than me, to be able to have a life outside of the sky that saw me grow up. But no matter the paperwork, the collection of moments that makes you be, turns you into someone who stands out. You are just “different”. My little family is the only place where I belong; where I feel completely myself and where I’m not an outsider.
I don’t feel that I’m from here, not from there but I definitely belong to my husband and daughter and to be honest with you, that’s the only membership I need. I couldn’t find a better way to explain it than with the Spanish song “Geougraf’ía” from the group “La Oreja de Van Gogh” which first two paragraphs encapsulate what I feel being with my two favorite people (the English translation comes after the Spanish text):
Me gustaría inventar un país contigo
Para que las palabras como partía o porvenir,
Bandera, nación, frontera, raza o destino
Tuvieran algún sentido para mí
Y que limite al este con mil amigos
Al sur con tus pasiones y al oeste con el mar
Al norte con los secretos que nunca te digo
Para gobernarlos de cerca si los quieres conquistar
I would like to create a country with you
So words such as country or future,
flag, nation, border, race or destiny
could make some sense to me
And that it borders in the east with a thousand friends
In the south with your passions and in the west with the sea
In the north with those secrets that I never tell you
To govern them closely in case you’d like to conquer them.
Listen to the whole song here
The more I go back and forth from my country to my home here in a foreign land, the more I realize that this sense of not belonging happens to more people than what I think. Creating a little world of your own becomes a common theme, especially among those of us who have left our home towns and countries and go back to pay a visit to the past from time to time.