My brown eyes betray nothing
My average height (2,04m), my standard clothing –
Why you can’t help but think
I’m one of you
“Hello, how are you?” You say
“Hi, I’m fine.”
The culturally appropriate answer exits me effortlessly.
The conversation ensues
We both play along,
Content in the safe zone of small talk.
Then you ask
“Where are you from? I haven’t seen you around here before.”
I fake a smile and shift my weight,
Ever so slightly
I search your eyes
For only a second
Do you really want to know?
I want to tell you everything,
But Experience has taught me
That in all likelihood
I will not fit in your box.
You see, by the age of 17
I’d lived in 5 countries.
My mom and dad
Raised me primarily in Kasachstan
Until I turned 13.
Then we moved to Germany for one year,
where the first time in my life
I was in a real school.
(before and after that only Homeschool)
After that we moved back to Central Asia…
At 18 I rented and ran
My first apartment
You see, by the age of 18
I’ve been to at least 17 countries
(Airports don’t count)
And moved 6 times.
You see, I’m from nowhere
Yet all the places I’ve been,
Cultures I’ve experienced,
And relationships I’ve built
Have made me into who I am today.
You see, I’m at peace, finally.
I’ve given up the baffling concept of
an earthly home
For the assurance of a Heavenly one
That awaits me.
But the thing is, you don’t see.
Your box is your worldview,
Your cultural understanding that comes
From the single perspective you were raised in.
I want to help you see,
Help you break through the confines
Of your box
But I know it takes time.
So for now I say only
“I live in Stuttgart, Germany.”
And at this moment
That is the truth.
adapted from the original by Breanna Thomas (the MK book)