Neither Here Nor There: Perspectives on Identity by the Young Eritrean and Ethiopian Diaspora in America

September 1, 2009

Looking for “Home”: Experienced By More Than the Habesha Diaspora (Part 2)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Habesha Diaspora @ 4:38 pm
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Reply to:
Subject: A split mentally
Date: Tue, 4 Mar 2003 21:11:28 -0500

As your sister I find it extremely easy for me to relate to your situation…
I moved to Georgia the same time you did, but for some reason my experience in high school caused me to think greatly in the direction that you are as well. When I lived in Miami, I feel like I was in the prime of my life, not because I was young, and had a blast, but just as a person. I was ignorant to the problems of the world and the issues of culture mixing. You know what they say it is sooooo much better to be ignorant. But I feel this ignorance brought me peace and clarity. While living in Miami, I am sure you can attest to this, we fit in. I never thought about how well we fit in until I didn’t fit-in in Georgia. We were all just from Miami and we all shared similar cultures. We all kissed each other to great one another no matter where you were from, and everyone understood us when we would talk about our families, or how we would celebrate our holidays (we spend new years with our family).

Yes it was beautiful to live in ignorance. Now after living in Georgia for five year (I can’t believe it has been so long, I need to get out) and go back to Miami, I notice things that I had never noticed before; and this highly perturbs me. When I walked into (NAME’s) house this Christmas, the first thing I remember thinking, “her house is sooooo Mexican”. Why hadn’t I realized this before? Is it better that I notice now, and realize her cultural differences? or was it better that I never noticed and just said she was my friend that I would bike ride with?

I guess, unlike other places in the states, Miami has created its own culture, which tends to be quite lending and comfortable to Latinos. Allowing immigrants or first generation Americans claim a culture with out the need to stick to their own. The solid lines that are drawn in other places I think are due to ones comfort level with the mainstream culture. Latins feel comfortable (at home) in the mainstream culture in Miami. This also explains why so many of my “gringo” friends from palmetto have moved north of Miami to places such as Palm Beach… because they were not feeling comfortable in the mainstream culture.

This explanation can also be used to analyze relationships…

Although I feel that living in Georgia has corrupted my mind, I would never give this experience up. Why you ask? It is because I was placed out of my element… dropped into a situation with nothing comforting, nothing recognizable. And when I say nothing, I mean NOTHING. When you are challenge with differences, whether it be in culture, food, morals, political views, that is when you define yourself the most. When the most contrast if visible and you mold yourself to how you want to be or just simply make modifications. As a person you become stronger and more knowledgeable about why you think the way you think and the positives and negatives to how you are.

You are having yourself discovery period in nyc, while I have been having it in UGA. I have learned great things about myself and of others, and why these southerners are soooo weird. I say learn, learn as much as possible, bc not only does it widen your horizons but it makes you stronger.

Finally, to touch on the subject of relationships. Yes we do tend to flock to our own, and why? Because that is where we feel comfortable, that is where we feel home. Why do you think you feel so comfortable around people you can speak Spanglish to without thinking twice on if they are going to understand? Maybe bc that is what we speak at home. Why do you think I liked dating (Name)? it felt like home… so much like home sometimes I felt like I was turning in to mom…wanting to cook some gnocchi and take care of him. When you meet that special person, not always, but most of the time you will want to marry someone similar to you bc you tend to feel comfortable and homey in those situations. Don’t you want to feel like “home” when you start a family?
When it comes to learning about other cultures… living in the language community I see others doing this quite often. open minded Georgians fall in love with the Latin culture and completely immerse themselves in it. All these girls have all dated Latino men, and the only Latina, me, is the only one who hasn’t. funny, huh? I commend these girls, bc they are trying to broaden their world, but I truly feel they will never fully grasps the culture completely. They were not raised in the same situations, speaking Spanish, with the same morals, or culture. No matter how much you read about it or speak about it, they will never reach it. living it is completely different than learning it.

in conclusion… as your advice: learn, learn and become strong and confident in who “you” are, then don’t worry about the rest, bc you will know when your person comes along, no matter where he is from or what he looks like, just as long as you can see “home” with him.

hope it makes sense…


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