“So here you are
too foreign for home
too foreign for here.
Never enough for both.”
- Ijeoma Umebinyuo, diaspora blues
I came across these beautiful words through that dreaded site… Facebook. It serves its purpose. They were included in a post written by my cousin’s friend in Barbados. We’ve never met. His post was entitled “Bajan White Boy: Rambles on Race and Growing Up.” It, and the poem, struck a chord.
I’ve now been in Granada, Spain for three weeks. In my first week here I was extremely ill and had to stay in bed for six days. Being unwell in a place that you’ve just arrived into is a very lonely and potentially scary time. Luckily I am now getting into the swing of things and although it’s not a place that I want to remain in long term, I also feel as though I don’t have enough time here. I would like to “own” the city a little bit more. I still have two weeks which is not a bad amount of time to explore/get to know people/improve my Spanish (the main reason I’m actually here). Yesterday someone asked me for directions. I had no idea where the street was and in my panic of being addressed in rapid Spanish I immediately said no hablo español. Although I didn’t know where calle Elvira was, I did feel some pleasure in someone thinking I was una granadiña.
I suppose the point of this ramble is that although I don’t really feel as though I fully fit in anywhere, I can potentially fit in everywhere. I think perhaps I just need to remind myself that there is no correct way of doing things. There may be more sensible routes but I’m learning to accept that if I don’t know the destination, then I can’t take the wrong road. Me arm wid dese metaphors boy. Don tink main realise how chupid ah soun. Lawdamercy. Bu’ maino how else to say it. Although not everyone I speak to has this sense of displacement, more people than I would have expected do. Alongside this, I’m learning that so many of us don’t actually know what we’re doing and we’re just trying to make a little pocket where we can hopefully fit in. This is a recurring theme and while it’s helpful, I can’t deny that I’m starting to feel a bit anxious about what I’m actually doing. The answer is apparently not going to just fall out of the sky. Suggestions are most definitely welcome.