Friends from many places at a borrowed place, that is the feeling for many who have come from other places in the world. Coming to United States is a bit like living as a stepchild in someone’s home. It is never quite your own. Sometimes the host will be generous and will tell you to feel ‘right at home’, but you know it is not your home.
You have to work extra hard to learn the new ways of the house and adjust in order to survive in the new situation, while always longing for a place of your own, ‘back home’.
While you live here you get to meet people from many other lands. That is the blessing of this land! Other foreigners will extend their families, their food, and celebrations and embrace you in them.
At these get-togethers there is much pride in sharing from each other’s cultures, learning the differences, but above all finding how similar you feel about coming to this new place, and the sadness in the realization that even if you go back to stay, nothing will be the same.
‘Globalization’, has created the kind of violence that separates families and injures the social fabric forever. In places that have been torn by war and peoples have been displaced, you will not find: the lady that used to sell “**”, or that little place where the “*** family” had the small restaurant that sold very special dishes. The violence of drugs, arms and financial strangulation has separated families forever.
In the midst of the loneliness and yearning for old times, you get to meet people from every continent and find out how similar we all are. It does not matter that food, or that social customs are different, there are the smiles, the warmth that comes from ‘knowing’ what it is like being here.
When we gather with Mexican friends we learn a lot, as we also learn from our friends from Bolivia and Kenya. These past weeks we had the opportunity to share with people from Colombia, where my family is from.
Even though we had never met there, we connected immediately and talked about so many things, while we listened to old music that reminded us of other people and places.
The visitors that had come to share with their family will go back in a few days and I feel the same as when I go to spend a few days in Mexico. I truly feel the emptiness and sadness of not been able to go back yet.
It is not that we are not grateful for the time spent in US. This is the place where the Lord brought us, and we have also met wonderful people here, but as I said before, even though I was born here, this is not home for me.
I miss the people from my country. I miss the dogs in the street, the children running around and the noise. I miss the many tropical fruits and flowers found on almost any corner.
I try to remind myself that the earth is the Lord’s and he assigned me a place here. I also will try not to forget, like maybe others have, that we are all sojourners on earth, and everyone here has come from far away. I will continue to be grateful and also enjoy the people and opportunities that this country has offered to me, and many others. I will continue to work for understanding and better ways to communicate with one another.
I hope that the children born here will have the gift of many cultures that they may encounter here.
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