Return to site

Can you ever really feel 'at home'
in a different culture ... overseas?

Moving abroad, whether definitely or indefinitely, is quite a courageous move that isn't for the faint-hearted. Of course this isn't usually apparent from the get-go for some of us whose wanderlust hormones are constantly tugging at us, or for those who grew up believing that the greener pastures are elsewhere - that is, for many of those from a country like mine. However, feeling at home - feeling like a 'fish out of water' - in a new country, in a different culture, while speaking a different language ... often times seems to me like walking towards a mirage.
During the first few years in of my stay in Germany, I thought of myself as a tourist or a sojourner. Indecisive about whether to stay definitely or indefinitely. My world was clear cut; here and there, us and them, home and abroad - no shades of grey (no pun intended). When strangers broke the ice with, "So, where are you  from originally?" I'd respond without thinking twice, because unlike some people with a similar amount of melanin as myself that were born here, I actually wasn't born here.
But later on as I started blending in and feeling comfortable in my new surroundings, the thought of perhaps making this my second home slowly turned into an urge. I would retain some of my core values and blend them with my newly found ones. My command of the wonderful German language (cf. Mark Twain) and its nuances (accent, jokes, jargon etc) got (nearly) perfected. I started realising that many of my habits started to reflect my new surroundings. This became more apparent on my occasional visits to Kampala where I inevitably stressed about unannounced visitors or about friends that turned up an hour late or stood me up without bothering to call. And it would take me about a week or so to get used to the 80% humidity of the tropics - this was sad, though (because I dread the winters on the other side of the hemisphere too).
Yet despite blending in, I still get my 'fish out of water' moments. Like the icebreakers about where I am from originally or the lifelong process of breaking into the inner circle of (new) friends or the nagging feeling that people are at staring when I visit places like Schwarzwald or Würzburg. 
Mariam (Germany)
All Posts
×

Almost done…

We just sent you an email. Please click the link in the email to confirm your subscription!

OKSubscriptions powered by Strikingly