Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

The ExPat Dilemma

A short while back, I told you about a book I read and loved, Cutting For Stone. You know it is a really good book when, months later, you are still thinking about it.

What I am thinking about today is how the main character writes about when he got to New York, and was homesick for Ethiopia, a country where he was born, but was always an expat. He spoke several Ethiopian dialects, he ate Ethiopian foods, he was affected by Ethiopian politics – but he was never Ethiopian. He was an Indian expat, working in Ethiopia, with Ethiopians, but always an expat.

He is in the US, and is desperately homesick for Ethiopia, and at the same time, he wryly notes that he is homesick for a country-not-his-own.

We’ve been away from Kuwait for two years now, but every now and then I am disoriented, missing Kuwait. It is hot now, for one thing, and it is so hot on some days that it feels like Kuwait. There are times my mind slips, and I am crossing the street near the Afghani shops, heading into the Mubarakiyya.

Today I am working on a new quilt, and I need a purple. I see just the right one, lurking on my purples shelf, and as I unfold it, a note falls out, from my good friend, and it says “(Intlxpatr) With love I dye this for you.”

I never cry, or hardly ever. I’m not crying now. I am in that fragile state where I COULD cry, my throat is a little thick and my eyes are a little watery, and I never saw it coming. It totally caught me by surprise.

I miss my friend. I miss Kuwait. I am home, and yet, I am homesick for a country-not-my-own, and a life I used to have.

July 25, 2011 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Community, Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Friends & Friendship, Interconnected, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Relationships | 10 Comments