On a swing

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Ostatnia aktualizacja: 2020-04-22. Autor: Milena

Yesterday I read in an article written by Janina Daily that people living between two countries are called people on a swing.

I don’t want to go into details. My intuition told me different things than a definition. So what did I understand? That you’re a bit here, a bit there. Not only physically. Rather mentally.

You have a family and friends in your country – and new friends and acquaintances in the new country. You have your favourite places in your homeland – and new favourite places in the hosting country. A photo with your grandpa and grandma in your room at your family home – and a photo with your siblings and cousins in your room in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

Like on a swing…

…you weave between phone calls home and a beer with your friends here. Too early to call, too late to call, somebody’s not picking up the phone, you have no connection, it’s not important anymore, the crisis has already passed.

In a new place you meet, at the beginning you meet you people and you’re happy that they’re so nice and open. But when the exchange of phrases like “Where are you from?” and “What has brought you here?” finished, the frustration starts. That it takes time to build a friendship. That nobody understands you. That you don’t understand jokes.

You call your old friends and complain that there’s no mozzarella and that you have to wait 10 minutes for warm water. That you’re working in gloves, because during the winter it’s colder inside the building than outside.

And they are trying to help.

They are really trying, but they don’t understand. They live in a different reality. On a different planet. They want the best for you, but they rules don’t fit this game.

Because you already know what’s allowed and what’s not. Although you don’t agree with a part of things. You ignore the things that still shock newcomers. And you keep your eyes wide open with astonishment when you’re looking at the reality in your homeland.

Because that’s not how you treat other people. Because that’s not how you respond your friends. Because there are more important things in life than a dinner for 100 Euros.

And then you remind yourself about what your friend used to say: „You live under a rock, life is not so beautiful”.

And you look around and think: „But it is!”

And you look around once again, and you see everything that gets on your nerves, that doesn’t let you breathe. That squeezes you into hard-and-fast rules and limits you.

And you think that in another place you had more possibilities. That in another place you could catch any train or plane – and be anywhere. That in another place there was mozzarella and your favourite cereals in shops. And it doesn’t matter that you were eating them once a year, because they are unhealthy – they were there.

And at the same time you think that you don’t fit there anymore.

Because you love too much what’s now. Because the new reality, although frustrating, is closer to what you’ve imagined as a good world than anything else you’ve got to know so far.

But you know that you don’t fit here. You’ll be always “that Polish girl”. Even if you stayed here for your whole life, you’ll be always some kind of stranger. You will never sink in fully into the culture, you won’t have a memory of a common childhood, you won’t have as deep roots as everyone around you.

And yes, at the same time you think that you also don’t fit your homeland anymore. You think differently, you act differently, you behave differently. You miss your bed, which is in your new home. You miss the weather that you finally stopped swearing at and started appreciating. You miss another pace of life, other values.

You feel that you don’t fit this puzzle.

And then a friend enters and says:

„Honey, you will never again fit here or there. Girl, understand, now you’re a citizen of the world!”

And leaves you speechless.

Thank you for your attention. I’m coming back to my swing.

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