A few weeks ago, I went to a concert at Harbour Front Theatre. The concert was called Karevan. It was very different from other concerts; it included a performer/ dancer, a group of musicians, and a video clip. The dancer/performer embodied the theme of ‘home’. Through her movements, she showed how life in North America is like and is different from other countries’. There were some interviews in the video; a few immigrants were asked to share their ideas about ‘where home is’. Each person answered the question in a very unique way. For instance, one said “home is where my grandma is and where I remember my house and streets”; another one said “home is where I am comfortable, where I feel relaxed”; another person said ” home is where my heart is, where I am loved.” ; and the other person said “there is no home for me because I experience living in two places” . Very thought provoking and inspiring interviews!
The movements of the dancer, the interviews and the music made me think of ‘home’ and how subjective its definition is. The immigrants who were interviewed came from different countries and have been living in Toronto for many years. My thinking didn’t stop during the intermission. My friends and I reflected on the theme during the intermission. As we were talking about the comments immigrants made, one of my friends shared her views and said this: “To me ‘home’ is like having a chair to sit on. I had a chair; however, when I migrated to Canada, I was given another chair. So I believe an immigrant has two chairs to sit on!” She went on and said: ” I can’t sit on only one chair, I have to sit right in the middle of both chairs if I want to keep them both. I know it is hard to keep both.”
My friend’s story stayed with me for hours and days. It changed my view on Immigration and its impact on people. It is a close analogy that I have ever learned about immigration! It is not easy to let go of one and it is not easy to immerse onto another one without losing some parts of self… It is the dilemma that some immigrants have…
Next time when you talk to a first generation immigrant, remember this analogy. Try to understand her/his position without any judgment; pay attention to what this view bring to you and your relationship.
If you know immigrants who experience this dilemma, please feel free to pass on my info – www.taherehbarati.com– and encourage them to contact me.