Ni de Aquí, Ni de Allá: Not from Here, Not from There
Do you ever feel like you don’t belong? Do you feel like you are from too many places, but also from none? A nomad, perhaps?
Let me explain…As an immigrant who came to America at age 14, I never really felt like I belonged here. But since I left my birthland, I never felt like I belonged there either.
I first came to the United States during the second half of freshman year of high school. Not knowing the language, my teachers confined me into an ESL (English as a Second Language) class and sent me back to 8th grade. With so much desire to learn and understand the culture, I learned English in less than a year. By the time high school came around, I was taking “regular” (non-ESL) classes. This achievement alone made me believe in the path to living the “American Dream”.
As much as I consider myself an American and have assimilated to the culture, there are still idioms and cultural references that go right over my head. When I don’t understand some American references, that’s when it becomes obvious that “I’m not from here”.
When visiting my birth country, playing “catch up” with family members and old friends could be challenging at times. They start talking about new trends, artists and slang (I feel like Dominicans come up with a new word everyday) and those too go right over my head. The harsh reality settles in very quickly; I am not from there either.
The fact that people from my birth country consider me “Americanized” and people from America consider me Dominican, leaves me in a space of limbo. This reason is why I have decided that I am a citizen of the world. I assimilate easily to other cultures, respect others views and beliefs; while still holding my own values.
I look forward to someday assimilate to a new culture for an extended time again.
In part, my wanderlust could be attributed to never feeling like I fully belong somewhere.
Have you migrated and assimilated to a new place? I would love to hear your story.
Thanks for reading!