Tuesday, 1 March 2011

You can't live abroad forever... or can you?

or can you? Can you live abroad forever? Can you make another country your 'home'? Will it ever feel the same?

Somebody said this to me whilst in Ghana and it really got me thinking...? Moving to Ghana is something that Mr O and I have discussed before but since visiting Ghana together is a hot topic for conversation in our house. Ghana, from what I saw in just 10 days is one different place. The pace is slower, certain issues are not taken seriously and others are... I mean malaria was considered to be 'like the common cold'! Really? I don't think I could ever swing to that way of thinking? I am still afraid of mosquitoes and I imagine that I always will be If you wanna talk about respect on the other hand - this is a HUGE issue!

But health aside, I am facing the serious prospect of at least seeing how we like living in Ghana...at least for a little while, at most forever? But can I live abroad forever? Maybe I will love it, maybe I wont... what I do know though, is that to my Husband, Ghana and Ghana alone is home...where his heart is. It's home. For me on the other hand, the UK is home. This is where I feel comfortable...this is where I know how things work....this is where my heart is - or is it? When I was in Ghana, I realised just how very 'British' I am - despite looking like everyone else there (in Ghana I mean)... I was born and raised here in the UK and I am very much an Afro-British woman....and quite comfortable with this. It's just who I am. I drink cows milk in my coffee and not UHT or carnation milk! I eat bagels and yoghurt for breakfast and not waakye, spaghetti and a boiled egg! Though, I have to admit that by day two of our trip, I laughed at the idea of eating cereal for breakfast and said 'I'd prefer the kenke, tilapia and shito, please!'

So, when I call myself (if forced to label myself), Afro-British - that really is who I am. But what will Little Miss O describe herself as? Will she say she's Ghanaian? British? Sierra Leonean even? To me, it doesn't really matter what we call ourselves, but it does matter what we feel we are and where we feel we belong...where we're most comfortable...because when you don't feel comfortable and when you don't feel you belong - it can be hard.

So, back to my point  'you can't live abroad forever...' Or can you?

If Mr O can't live here forever and I can't live in Ghana forever, will we be shuttling back and forth? That is funnilty enough what I always thought I would end up doing. I just always had this feeling that I would have two places that I'd call home and would flit between them. But this is before I grew up, realised that I would have to work and not just be a lady of leisure and no responsibility...so I studied antrhopology. I figured I could just do health projects in my 'second' home, but be 'based' in the UK. But like I say, then I grew up some more, and I became a Mum and now we are considering where to continue raising our child(ren)...

Now, I am seriously thinking about this issue of living abroad... to move, or not to move, when and how... I guess this is something to add to our 5 year plan...

'can we live abroad? and for how long? Can either of us live abroad forver?'

Either way, Mr O will reach a mutual decision - it's something we've spoken about before, in fact well before we got married - so neither of us were under any illusions, but now, having travelled to Ghana, it just feels a lot more real...

What are your experiences of living away from home? Regardless of whether home is another town or country - how does it feel to live away from home...?

Mrs O

1 comment:

  1. When i used to think about home, i used to think maybe way later in life- married, kids grown or at least in college. Over the last few years there's been a slight 'longing' and i've been thinking maybe i could go for some time and see if i can acutally live there and give up the many comforts of the west...afterall i could always come back.

    Home is where i am at the moment tho'...i don't feel like i am missing anything because my family is here. If i decided to go back i'm sure i would feel just at home.


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