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.