Where do you come from and where is your home?
As a non-white Scandinavian, I’ve gotten my fair share of this question. Well, all right—I don’t look Swedish, and I wasn’t born there (nor were my parents). Still, it’s my first language and home for almost half of my life. With one foot in the far north and one firmly anchored in the red soil of Africa, I equally identify with the struggles and history of the people in both of “my” countries.
Still, I consider myself a citizen of the free world (a privilege I’m greatly thankful for) and I have had the pleasure to choose where to live and when. Despite the fact that I identify myself as an Abyssinian Viking, I admit to carry strong influences of all those places I once lived. My move to the U.S. is by no means a replacement of any of my previous homes; rather, by moving here, I’ve gained yet another home.
When I meet with family and friends, we seldom reflect over the lack of a common place as “home;” our kinship comes from the history we shared, the present we live in and in the future ahead.
You might think that distance can sometimes be an obstacle, it’s true, but it also allows for profound appreciation of those scarce moments we get to share together.
Home as my grandma used to say, “home is where your heart’s at, the sum of the people you love.” Personally, I believe that who you chose to be with in life is far more important than the place you come from and the connection to the place that you now happen to call home.
In this video Pico Iyer challenges the idea of home as solely a place in space to call one’s own.
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Ed: Sara Crolick