There's no place like home

"Then close your eyes and tap your heels together three times. And think to yourself, 'There's no place like home'" --Glinda, The wizard of Oz.

Person: "Where are you from?"
Me: "It's complicated. Do you want to know where I was born? Where I'm originally from? or What is my nationality? Or perhaps where I lived before coming to Canada?"

You might think I am exaggerating, but I am not. During the last 7 years that I spent in Canada, the most difficult question for me to answer was "where are you from?". Since Canada has a multicultural society, you'll find that every culture interprets that question differently. And having a "international" background, makes it very tricky to answer that question. In the Middle Eastern cultures, "where are you from?" means "where are your grand grand grand grand parents from?". Whereas for Europeans and Americans, it is more of a "Where were you born and raised?" question. Authorities, however, would probably mean "what's your nationality". And in multicultural society, like Canada, you might find that some people actually mean "where did you come from?" as in your last place of residence.

One smart young lady simplified the question to me once; she asked "Well, where do you feel home is?". I smiled as I answered. She hit the mark. In my ideal world, "where are you from?" should always mean "Where does your heart live?".

I have been in a struggle recently due to events that occurred in my life. Maybe it is what you call an identity crises... I am not sure. But I look at myself and I see that I am attached to the place I call home, may be a little bit too much. I know many of my close friends who moved abroad, and I have discussed with them several times before about where is home for them. They all moved on. Accepted their current place as home, and are living their lives accordingly. Others still consider the birthplace of their parents to be their home, even though they didn't spend much time there (a feeling I never understood).

For me? after all those years, my heart is still attached to that place. The memories are just too much for me to let go off. The pain is way too much to bear. No matter how much I try to fit, I just don't. I have made friends in Canada, I am good at making friends. But I still read the news from home, follow people on twitter who are mainly from there, have midnight cravings every night for food that I used to eat there even though it might be just cheese spread and bread :).

I think my problem is my loyalty. I have always been the stubborn kind. Once you are my friend, in my mind, you'll be my friend till I die. Even if I didn't see or speak to you since 7th grade. But what can I do. Change? how? erase my memory? if that would happen, who would I be? I bet I'd be someone totally different. Maybe... I don't know..

For now, All I can do is take Glinda's advice and just close my eyes and repeat ....

'There's no place like home'.

If these walls could talk..

Omar Al-Terkawi

Omar Al-Terkawi

A Microelectronics engineer, PhD student, and a Dreamer. I write here my personal thoughts, ideas and stories; sometimes in Arabic, sometimes in English, depending on the mood.

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