She Is Looking for Something

It’s not the first time people I have just met have been a little curious about where I come from. For the most part I am pegged as being English, however I have also been told (too many times for my own comfort) that I sound Australian. In turn, the way I sound confuses some people because at a glance they had passed me off as Spanish. Most are usually surprised to learn that I have actually spent the majority of my life in Malta. Which brings them to the next question, ‘What are you doing in Ireland?’ This is all well and good; it makes for an easy conversation starter. However, it has only started to become apparent to me over the past year that being born in one country and growing up in another has had a deeper effect on me than just how I look/sound.

The question that has been on my mind for a very long time is, ‘Where do I belong?’ At the age of seven I moved to Malta and immediately realised that I didn’t quite fit in. As a child it was easy enough for me to pick up the language and do my best to be accepted by all the other kids, although I was referred to as ‘l-Ingliza’ (‘the English girl’) by everyone in my school, despite my efforts. Throughout Secondary School I made the most of being the odd one out by joining forces with the other kids who didn’t quite fit in either and I came to embrace being different, my tastes in music and fashion becoming more extreme one year after the next. Eventually this plateaued as, I suppose, I became more comfortable in my own skin. However, the question lingered, where did I belong? I always knew Malta was not somewhere I would live permanently and whilst I initially wanted to move back to the UK, I later came to realise that this was not the place for me either. Choosing Ireland as a place to move to was simply down to my circumstances at the time.

Having grown up knowing I didn’t really feel an affinity to any particular country, the question of where I belonged was always there but did not particularly bother me. Until recently. As the urge to uproot myself once again and travel (with no final destination in mind) becomes stronger and stronger, I have also started to wonder just what this means. Am I destined to wander aimlessly from country to country until I find somewhere I can call ‘home’? Is this a bad thing? What makes a place ‘home’? If anyone can answer these questions, that would be great because I am at a loss as to the answers myself. On the one hand, I am grateful that feeling this way has given me the push to get out there and see the world. On the other hand, I can’t help but envy those who instinctively know where they want to be. There is a great deal of comfort to be had in belonging.

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2 Responses

  1. Davinia says:

    See – I was born in Malta and have lived here my entire life, and still it doesn't feel like 'home' to me. I'm still searching too. I'd like to think I'll find somewhere in the world where, as I get off the plane, I'll breathe deep and feel like I 'belong'. The only place that really has that for me is London.

  2. Tracy says:

    Your final paragraph gripped me & although I don’t have the answers for you- I would like you to know that how you feel is completely normal. I too do not know where ‘home’ is anymore & am currently in the position of trying to figure out where I belong. I am a 32yr old australian who has just returned back here after living overseas in various places for 12yrs. I feel like I should know where I want to be & who I want to be because of my age but I don’t. I’ve actually started wondering if I am ever going to figure that out. I’m attempting to ‘settle’ down with a ‘real’ job at the moment & it doesn’t feel right at all, I just want to pack my bags & head off overseas again. So in answer to your question- is it a bad thing? No, absolutely not. It takes some people longer than others to find their place in the world & the longer it takes the more adventure we get to experience. Don’t be envious of those who know what they want & where they want to be- it will make it harder to figure out exactly what you want. Life is a one off experience, full of ups & downs, don’t take it too seriously, just be a good person & enjoy it. Happy travels- Africa is an incredible place 🙂

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