Some days I feel that I don’t belong here. And then I remind myself that I don’t belong anywhere anymore.
Funny thing about being an expat, running away from a well-ordered life at home to face new adventure, new cultures, new difficulties. For people like us there’s never enough of the world. I belong to the world. I feed on adventures, cities, countries. Everything “strange” and everything “new” is interesting to me. I find it in myself to fight the language barriers and knock on the walls of cultural differences. I’ve learnt that you need to knock hard enough to punch those walls down before you can really understand someone from a completely different background.
I belong to the world. I find it difficult to express my political and cultural views, because since I left my parents’ home 8 years ago, I’ve been trough hell, I’ve been though happiness, and I’ve learnt to understand people. My motto in the recent years is this – “Don’t judge others. Everybody has their own battles to fight”. Due to my upbringing (thank you Mom!), my family values and the added experience of living “outside of comfort zone”, I really DO understand everybody. Their annoying habits, their radical views, their being anti-social or overly social, their longing for space or for company, their need to explore or their need to express themselves. It doesn’t mean that I love all people. Not at all. I just don’t have any space in my mind and in my heart for hate and judgement.
I belong to the world. I speak one language with my family, another at work, and yet another one with my new friends. It is not every day that I can express my feelings and views correctly in my new language. I face irony and humour, I face superior smiles that say “oh poor baby she can’t even put two thoughts together”, but I’ve learnt not to notice it. I know who I am and how hard am I fighting for my every achievement, and so I choose to live it “light”, to be that girl that brings smiles to other people. Though sometimes I want to tell them “I’m trying to speak YOUR language. And it is my fourth language by the way. So why don’t you try to speak MINE?” :)
I belong to the world. My family is torn between different cities and countries and some days I get sad at the realisation that to visit them all I need a month “tour” with countless flights and cities to be able to hug them and talk to them in person. But for now I try to do things one by one, and I am eternally grateful for the power of Internet and all of this easy connections it has supplied us with. After years of convincing, both of my grandmothers and my grandfather use Skype now to talk to me and it is slightly easier to be away this way.
I belong to the world. Five years ago I’ve been literally kicked out of Switzerland after getting a degree and trying to get a work permit, for the unspoken reason of my nationality. But this year I thank the Universe almost every day for actually kicking me back to the world, for making me struggle and fight and appreciate other corners of our beautiful World.
I belong to the world. There’s a war in my home. A real war. In the city of Donetsk that is now a new country, unrecognised by other countries, torn with bombs, poverty, artillery shells and political disputes. We don’t understand why our families deserved this hardship and this misery. We don’t blame sides. We want peace. And more than anything it reminds me that I have nothing to come back to, I am a girl who belongs to the world.
Eight years ago, in my first year abroad, my soul was hurting and longing for home. I couldn’t understand what people around me were talking about and I thought this must have been the worst decision I’ve ever made. In these years I moved 14 times and travelled quite a bit. And yes, I still don’t always understand the languages around me, but I’m convinced that decision was the BEST one I’ve ever made and I feel as HAPPY as ever.
Sending eternal love and support to all the expats around the world, fighting the language barriers and identity crisis. You are special. You are strong. You deserve to just take it easy sometimes :) Things will fall into places sooner or later. Don’t give up!