After a decade in this country that isn’t my home, I still can’t shake feeling like an ‘alien’. You would have thought after that long in a place, some sense of cohesion would have developed, some sense of place, but nothing. Just a nagging resentment for the need to be here. And it is not through a lack of trying. I am certainly not the kind of person who avoids integration or stepping out of my comfort zone; so why? Why, in a world where we enjoy all the pleasures of ‘easy travel’, is a home still so hard to replace? And is there still a place in this globalised world for good old fashion homesickness?
I know what you’re thinking; we like the familiar. But I don’t think that’s it. Well not all of it. Familiarity is all relative. Your favourite chips and bars are easy to replace and you get used to the new accent on the radio and it too eventually becomes familiar. Perhaps what bugs me most is the feeling that my identity has been compromised. I mean who are you when you aren’t at home? Sometimes I get the feeling that I am just a smudged carbon copy that’s been through the wash.
So what do you do, give in and go home or shut up and fit in? Well I guess that depends on how much of yourself you are willing to sacrifice. I am no social chameleon and at 30 something do I still enjoy playing dress-up? Well…sometimes.