I’m an immigrant in the UK. Some might call it ex-pat cos I don’t struggle. The point is I’m away from home. And have been for 11 years.
Emigration was not the plan. I came to study abroad for a while, have the big adventure. But the here and the now have so many innercia points holding you back. Especially when, when studies finish, you have a job here you like better and pays better than the one waiting back home.
But here I am a foreigner. Not by choice of others. Just my skin doesn’t resonate here. Everything is foreign to me: from the look of the houses, the choice of carpets, the love of alcohol, the flowery dresses, the breakfast, the flirt style, the sense of sensuality, the sense of humour, everything is not natural to me. And so all the time I must find an inner comfort despite all the things around me that, pretty tho they are, are not natural to me. It’s tiring.
When I go home, everything makes sense, nothing needs explaining. It’s like the exchange of my skin cells with the environment is a take and receive of the same chemistry stuff. I don’t think everything is pretty there, but even the less pretty I understand, a bit of lack of taste from the 80s explain that building just like my mother used to have puffed up hair. I know why the lady in the caffe looks like she has some old sadness in her eyes. Why the man makes loud jokes. Why that couple walks like they own the world from their house to a hundred metres each way. How the ocean has sounded that way from the beginning of times. And what weather to expect at the beach when it’s warm in town. And I get the jokes. And the poetry. And the heart moving songs. And the modesty. And I just rest.
I am finally going home on Wednesday. I’m here now in my favourite London caffe thinking that I just have to wait a little longer to feel immersed. Immersed in a mess that is all mine. Ugly here and there but mine. Filled with people who will be angry with me and love me immensely with the same profusion. And so many of them. People whom I have known my whole life. People who have been friends for generations. Made of the fabric that I get!
I deserve that already.