There is an old saying, “there is no place like home.” That philosophy has been spread everywhere from generation to generation, lands to lands, and families far and wide. Even in the popular old Hollywood smash hit, The Wizard of Oz, that of all the exotic places you may roam, and all the beautiful scenery that captures your sight, the only thing everyday that crosses your mind is the will to trudge on and return to where your heart resides. This phenomena that resides with so many of us unconsciously is the grave illness of being homesick. But what is the alleviation of this powerful yearning that has infected so many of us?
As I commemorate the past occurrences of my past self, the word homesickness has taken on a new meaning now more than ever. I was born in a different country called Nigeria, over 7,000 miles away, in the Northwestern region of Africa. It was a beautiful place, with long flowing rivers like the Niger River that intersects almost three countries in the region. It also grazed rich, fertile, brown humus soil that made farming life easier. It grew beautiful trees from the ones that stood tall with pride, like palm trees, coconut trees cashew trees, to the petite and modest saplings including willow, Langley, empress and chestnut trees. It resembled one of those mystic lands that people assumes is a myth, like Atlantis.
But with all the grace and elegance my country shared, I being a blossoming, yet crude toddler with a mouth as sharp as knives, only perceived the negatives of my blissful hometown. From the crowded, bustling streets filled with pollutants and exhausts in the air. To the busy market days clogged the air with the wretched scent of dead animals. Then even, the unkempt roads, and crumbling villages made of clay and sand, that in the ancient times would have been royalty, but is now considered poverty. I was repulsed that this trembling land was where I referred to as home.
My biggest fear was to end up living my whole life there, as a slum. That is why when We got the news that We were going to the new “promised land of the world,” known as the United States of America, I was overjoyed beyond belief. Everything from the more prestige schools, soaring buildings, advanced technology, state of the art electronics, current fashion, modernistic approach and the promise of a better future to every aspect of my life fascinated and resonated with me through all my years living there. And after 7 years of experiencing the “American dream”, I must say it did meet, even exceed my expectations.
I am grateful for all the amazing opportunities I have received after living here. But, there has always been a hole in my soul, a longing for more, and a serene emptiness that can only be filled by one place. The only place that you can begin your life long business dreams without needing approval from anyone, where you can graduate high school at 15, because school starts 3 years earlier, where you can leave your door open and smile to your neighbours without fear of wrong doing. That was the place where I belong. But alas, I am too young and cannot repair that hole until about six more years.
I will carry this feeling and a new sense of being more appreciative of all the positives and the negatives in life. So as we spend various precious hours fearing the inevitable, the nostalgia for the familiar, the urge for the past, or even the longing for something that never was. It would be wise to use that time adorning our friends, cherishing our families, and living our lives. For, everything that glitters is not gold.
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