13 Jul 2016

Home and Belonging

As my departure from the UK quickly approaches, I think about the concept of ‘Home’ and ‘Belonging’, two concepts I’ve struggled with all my life. There are in the world today 65.3 million displaced people, forced out of their homeland by war, prosecution and conflict. Immigrants, who have left their homeland by choice have reached a staggering 232 million today.

Although no war is raging in the country where I was born, I have often felt I was forced to leave, driven away, rejected, shunned, publically and privately shamed, ridiculed. And now I am forced to leave the UK, it doesn’t sadden me anymore, I look forward to leaving this wet, grey, bleak country, with its cold, indifferent, unwelcoming people. I look forward to the future, I know there are better things out there, I’m sure of that. I try to think of what I will take with me from here, what does England represent to me? The tall black wrought iron gates, with their sharp spear-headed tips, cold and hard. When I was growing up in Scotland - in another life time – I ran my finger over those forbidding gates, closed, always closed, always tall and erect, on cold wet mornings, a female spider’s web spun between two bars would shimmer with rain drops, looking like a gorgeous diamond necklace from the right distance in the weak sunlight. What else would I take? what else would I save in the archives of my memory? The magnificent rose bushes that put on their best show every May then gradually, slowly fade for the rest of the year, those breath taking large flowers, scattering their velvet petals on the side walk, beckoning a passer to come closer, come and smell the most enchanting fragrance no fancy perfume factory can ever produce, full of mystery and desire. What else would I take? The smell of freshly baked M&S bread, the melancholy sound of street buskers, the delight of hearing a native Scot say “in a wee moment?”,  that’s all I’m taking. I often wonder why Cadbury chocolate tastes better here in England? I often wonder why Irn-Bru doesn’t taste as good anywhere other than Scotland? I don’t know? Perhaps it’s a thing of home and belonging.