So now I’ve started to make the slow transition from travelling a country to living there. The ‘Welcome to Addis’ or ‘You, you, you, I love you’ have started to wear a bit thin, and the young mothers, children and elderly begging for birrs, have moved to my periphery of my vision.
I no longer stare wide-eyes at the jagged construction ripping the skyline, nor the dead animals decomposing on the sidewalk, nor the ingenuity of the homeless to construct a warmer, less wet place to sleep.
Although most people are indifferent, some kind, and some infuriating, (much like home) I still feel like I will never truly belong in Ethiopia.
I will always be stared at, heckled, over-charged, given advantage to and laughed at. I will always be different. Alien.
And this makes me realise, what it is to leave your language, your culture and most importantly your friends and family.
I want to take a moment to reflect on the refugee’s, new immigrants, displaced persons and asylum seekers out there feeling these exact same feelings and having no way to go home again.
It’s much harder than you think it is. Only by experiencing this alienation can we begin to understand how much easier life is, in the place you were born. These people leave because they have to.
And I leave because I can.