There are many of us. People who have left the country we were born in to pursue life elsewhere. For various reasons: a better life, a place where we feel we can belong, refuge and shelter, lust for adventure, curiosity. Whatever the reason that brought us on foreign land, I’m sure that at some point in our newly formed lives we found ourselves wondering where do we really belong… Not quite citizens of the country which has welcomed us and not quite deserters of the one we left behind.
Deeply buried childhood memories pop their heads out once in a while to make us feel guilty for having forsaken the land where we learnt our first words, had our first kiss and had our hearts broken for the first time. They usually come out at Christmas or Easter when we start longing for century old traditions which are struggling to stay alive even in the countries we come from. We feel nostalgia for the past and yet we fully embrace the present, giving praise to the Lord for making it in country where we feel safe and loved…
For years I wondered where I belonged, swinging from one extreme to the other, taking sides and constantly changing my mind until I gave up thinking about where ‘better’ is. This year I became a British citizen and, to my complete surprise, the battle inside of me stopped. I am taking sides no more. I love the country I live in, the country who’s seen me through my formative years and made me who I am today, but I also love the country who birthed me, sang me lullabies and fed me pork crackling at Christmas and fresh milk straight from the cow, teaching me how to say ‘I love you’ for the first time.
The country I come from is like a mother to me, who’s certainly not perfect but who loves her children and wants to see them happy if even if that means they’re happy elsewhere. The country that still has beautiful majestic mountains and green fields as far as the eye can see, the country where highschool youngsters still learn how to dance the traditional dance after school and still has probably the best food in the world, the country I keep going back to year after year as if visiting an old friend.
But I belong in this new land who’s given me a micro-chip passport to take me places no Romanian has been before. Or at least that’s the plan!… 🙂