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Thursday, September 7, 2017

The Fight of the Continents

We played a game in our welcome party for staff/faculty today. "Go stand with your continent!" the facilitator said. North and South America was on the left, the Middle East and Africa were on the right, and Europe was in the middle. For a moment I stood frozen. Where do I belong?

I fit in all of them. One--half my life. One--where my heart was and I was born. One--where I held citizenships and extended family lived but I'd only lived there briefly as a very young child. A friend shouted out, "You're Lebanese, come join us!" Strangely enough, I didn't respond to impulse. My heart pushed me to go there. After all, this was the very reason I'd stayed. I wanted to fit in, to be one of them. Instead I dutifully stood in solidarity with the Europeans. They were the smallest group and I felt sorry for them.

But where was my country? Where did I belong?

I've lived on visas most of my life. There was only about 3 years, when I was very young, that I lived in a passport country though not one I was ethnically related to. Residence visas, missionary visas, work visas, student visas, dependant visas, from country to continent, I've traveled along a very long rope of red tape that has somehow kept me from unraveling.

Geen wonder, (or no wonder), then that I am confused as to where I belong. If I have never claimed a country where my nationality allowed me to live there without question, then I am, as my friend put it, "homeless." Without a home. Without a country. Without a continent to call my own. I drift between what others would call known, but for me they are the unknowns. Never known fully to me; I am never known fully by them. This is why I still search for belonging.

It's not where you come from, it's where you belong. . .  ~Kari Kimmel

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