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You have lived all your life abroad, away from your motherland, you were born there, schooled there and only went back for two months a year on vacation with your family. Now you are finished with high school and you are off to university in another country, with the hope of getting your permanent residency and then your citizenship. My question is where do you belong? What’s your nationality? Where can you sincerely call home?

I am still faced with this dilemma and I don’t think I would ever be able to answer that question even though am far better off compared to a few of my friends.

I am a Sri Lankan, born in the Middle East, schooled there and visited Sri Lanka during the summer months. I finished with high school and of all the options I had for university, I was lucky to get the chance to come back to Sri Lanka for my undergraduate studies.

There are times I feel am standing between two worlds. For I don’t feel like I truly belong anywhere. My mindset’s different from the people here, it’s more suited to the environment I grew up in, but we all adapt, and I have, but I know that am holding myself back and am not being my whole true self.

I have learnt to accept feeling this way, I have realized that no place will truly be home but that I am capable of adapting and being happy anywhere in this huge world. I am happy to be here among my people, where I am developing a sense of belonging for no where else does everyone speak and understand the same language, no where else does everyone celebrate the progress of the war together, no where else does everyone feel the disaster caused by a tsunami collectively as the people whose country is truly their own.

Being here, I am learning their ways, being more like them, in other words, being more of a Sri Lankan. Of course, I choose what I like and disregard the irritating quirks that come with all cultures. I have realized that I have the chance of making my children truly Sri Lankan, but “reconditioned” minus what makes this society so pathetically sad sometimes.
But what will come of those who have left the Middle East to dwell in other continents further away from where they truly belong? Will they be Sri Lankan? What will their children be? Hybrids? Will Sri Lanka for them just remain that exotic vacation spot?


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