Aloha from the Garden Island. I’m writing from my tiny studio looking at lush green fields, listening to beautiful birds singing all around and the sound of breaking waves in the ocean that’s 200m away from my door; all the while laughing at the royal-looking rooster that’s bullying every chicken that comes his way.
“Leap and the net will appear.” Sound advice. I read this in a fortune cookie in 2008 and I don’t think I am exaggerating when I say that it changed the course of my life. I think it is really great advice. So great that I find myself saying it to other people at times. That fortune was a real turning point for me.
From one city of culture to another: I am currently packing up my Dubai life for the next grand adventure in Hull. Where is Hull, you ask? Great question. Kingston upon Hull, usually abbreviated to Hull, is a city and unitary authority in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England. It lies upon the River Hull at its junction with the Humber estuary, 25 miles inland from the North Sea, with a population of 257,710 (mid-2014 est).
I’ve always considered myself a wanderer, never quite fitting in to the status quo; always transforming, or reducing myself into what others expect of me. Growing up as “the pretty girl” or “the popular girl”, I dutifully fulfilled society’s expectations, all the while feeling like a stranger in my own country.
“How does it feel?” I turned 23 yesterday, and most people who shared their “happy”s on my birthday had the same follow up question for me. And so, it was stuck in my head all day. How does it feel to be twenty-three? What should it feel like? Should I feel something? Does anyone really know?
It’s that question that I know everyone in my generation has asked themselves at least once. Which land do I belong to? Previously a given. It was the land your family grew up in, the land you were born in and the land you spent your life in. You belonged to the land you were on. Is this still the case?
I write to you from the plane, champagne in hand. Ethiopian Airlines, a short layover in Addis Ababa and then Dubai-bound. I am on day three of time off, but only just leaving Libreville, the capital city of Gabon, because of a hand-over day and then a cancelled flight.