My father always called me a lioness, a lioness of two worlds. I could live where I wanted, speak the language I wanted, be whatever I wanted, even a street clown, as long as I was the best damn street clown out there. I even had two countries I could pick to live a life in. What a lucky little cub I was, knowing this. Yet, the best analogy of this life I live is this:
When Mexico and the US play against each other in fútbol, I have a real dilemma- my team always loses.
Oh yeah, but my team always wins.
Are you confused? Don’t worry, it’s complicated.
When I decided to come back to the US, I was coming back to my hometown. I know the lay of the city, where to buy clothes, the best place to get a fried bologna sandwich and a big beer on the cheap.
I told a dear friend of mine recently that I live the life of an immigrant, she scoffed at me.
“I think you think the idea of being an immigrant is romantic. But you were born and raised here so don’t give me that shit!”
At first I was sheepish at her remark, I laughed, we hugged and I went home. Never content with not having the last word I looked up the word “immigrant”. The first definition I found was this:
A person who leaves one country to settle permanently in another.
A person who leaves one country to settle permanently in another. Hmmm. Ok, yes, I was born and raised here. But even though I have so many memories attached to this place, family, friends and so much love, it doesn’t mean that I am not living the life of an immigrant. I’ve left the US for Mexico and now Mexico for the US. My parents are far, far away in another country. I ache to be close to them, I yearn for the traditions, for the festivities, for the warmth of my culture. When I am in Mexico, I miss my friends, I miss the long rolling chats I have with my friends that are family and my family that happen to be my friends.
(Check it out, my hometown is amazing. A friend of mine made that video about mutual friends who worked on that project. So when I was answering, it was legit what I was living every second that summer. I tear up at the thought, around the 3 minute mark, and even typing this…Extra bonus points to the fact that the guy who made the video and his lady decided to take me up on the offer to visit Mexico and wrangled two other friends into going, thus creating the most mega Michigan/Mexico vortex the world has ever seen. I tell you, friends that are family and family that are friends!)
So you know, I go home and I come home and I am at home and away from home and I’m always comfortable but I always want. No matter where I go I have arrived into a cocoon and no matter where I am my heart aches and wants. I want it now, I want it now I WANT IT NOW!!!!
I must disagree with my friend. The life an immigrant is not romantic. It is not exciting to always be a little empty, desiring some sort of something you can’t have at this moment. It is wonderful to have two worlds, two lives, two passports, but also heartbreaking to always have a missing piece, out there, somewhere.
The day I arrived in Mexico, i went home and laid in my parents bed and fell asleep. My dog jumped on the bed and started kissing my face. In the instant I was not sleeping and yet not awake, I thought it had all been a dream, that I had only dreamed of the trip. Then I woke up the the familiar smell of my house and I overwhelmed with joy.
I am sitting here, housesitting for some friends. I have a cat staring me down and purring in my face. I have submitted three poems to my teacher for my online class. I am making plans for a scholarship ceremony in a few weeks and I am overwhelmed with joy.
How can I have everything and still want more? How?