To the people who took me in so I could carry on,
Home. What does that 4 letter word mean to you? A roof? Your parents? Your sibling? Your best friend? Your dog? Let me tell you what it really means, two eyes and a heartbeat. A living, breathing person that lets you see yourself and the world through their eyes. Take all the above equations away and put yourself in a foreign land for say, 6 weeks. Now, what’s home?
Once upon a time, there was a girl. She was lost and maybe she wanted to go away a while, because sometimes that’s the only way to be found. So she booked a flight and started her journey to a foreign land. It was overwhelming but a sense of independence and adventure always tends to take over and that’s the moment she changed forever. When you walk through a door, you never think, this is the day your life will change forever. It isn’t merely a place that changes you, it’s mostly the people that bring that for you. A Little positivity, a hope for acceptance and the need to carry a torch for a better life.
So while she started out with zero expectations and nothing to look forward to, people took her in till she understood what it was to have a family outside of a family. People who take you in irrespective of your faith, your colour, your nationality and mostly love your quirks which were generally hidden. So the day you accept another whole-heatedly, is also the day you decide to carry on the legacy. So she came home and opened her doors.
Fast forward to half a year later, is a phone call that made her decide to be someone else’s home. It’s fascinating how suddenly you want to know someone else just because they’re another person. And what’s even more unbelievable is to see your own nation through their eyes. Most people don’t realize that we have is so much more than so many in the world and your home, your language, your culture beats the hell out of being anywhere else. You can go anywhere but you carry your home with you and for the people who witness it, they get to take a piece back home with them so in some way, your kindness carries on. It’s that day, that you start the cycle of peace while somewhere in the world someone preaches the opposite.
To the girl who stayed a while,
It had been a while since I spoke to someone knew, so you can imagine how excited I was with my friend to pick you up at the airport. I was trying to see myself in you and trying to live what I had once loved to experience. My parents were curious to say in the least, we had never had a foreigner stay over. My mother was worried if you’d like the food because spices aren’t exactly your thing and I wondered if you liked soft or hard pillows at night. I kept talking to you on the way back home from the airport while worried if I’d already bored you. Having a good impression was so important that day and for the rest of your stay because you are truly amazing. While someone had let me feel better about myself, I was determined to leave the same thought for you.
You liked the places I took you to and every photograph had genuine smiles. I had been there so many times, but thank you for making my childhood spot special again. You were intriguing even when the spicy food made your nose go red but you tried them anyway because your taste buds craved the newness.
I saw my mom come into our room each night to check on us to see if we were sleeping okay because you were yet to adjust to the time zone. My dad was always calling to know if we were home back on time. And somewhere down the line, they had two kids and not one. It feels that natural to simply be with another human being. A smile, a little kindness and a little conversation. So we were a family that prayed to different Gods under the same roof but lived the same faith, humanity, and that’s all we needed. And we went on till you had to leave and a part of me did not want to let go and neither did you. I’m not one to shed a tear but you let me feel a little emotion that left me warm and blessed inside. And while I’ll remember you by our moments, my parents will each remember a child they adopted for a while. My mother will hang onto that little souvenir you left of how your country depicts my religion. It was your way of respecting our boundaries and yet breaking the barrier.
You’re home now and you’re safe. I hope every moment you spent here leads to you to believe there’s still some good left in the world and if you ever traced your path back to this city, you’d have more than a house, but a home. And two nations would always love each other under one roof.
It was nice knowing you.
A proud friend, a proud AIESECer and an even prouder global citizen.