When we were growing up my Dad would always jokingly say that we lived “in the middle of nowhere”. It was true in a sense, they ran an orphanage in the middle of the central jungles of Sri Lanka and to get there was a long and arduous journey to “the middle of nowhere”. As I’ve grown older I’ve begun to feel that this phrase can apply to my life in more than one way. Culturally and socially I’m in “the middle of nowhere”.
One of my most loved memories of growing up in a bi-cultural household is of Lucia, the Swedish celebration. Except instead of snow and ice our Lucia battled mosquitoes and leeches. Some of the girls from the orphanage would dress in long white robes, and we would grab candles and walk around the project, singing alternately Swedish Christmas Songs and Sinhalese Christmas hymns. If you’ve been to Sweden you know that Lucia is a big deal, every village, town and then the whole country would choose a Lucia who would herald the coming of Christmas on the 13 of December, singing and serving traditional pepparkakor, ginger cookies. All this would happen very early in the morning so that most household in Sweden wake to a lovely young woman singing Christmas songs to them on that day. It wasn’t quite the same of course but celebrating Swedish traditions in tropical Sri Lanka was just part of life for us, the ones who grew up “in the middle of nowhere.”
I am from two cultures and live in yet another now. I don’t identify fully with any culture and at the same time I identify fully with all of them.
I know that feeling, loving and living are the same struggles no matter where you live or what your culture is.
I call myself a citizen of the world.
I believe there are more and more people like me. People who refuse to see in terms of “me” and “them”. We see in terms of “we”.
We read, listen, and educate ourselves about others, about people like us everywhere.
We live in the middle of nowhere.
I hope, and therefore I MUST believe that as our world becomes global, smaller as the middle east comes into our living rooms, as India speaks to us on the phone, as the Child in Africa reaches out their arms and we reach out ours to hold him that we will become less enamored of ourselves. We are not superior because we are blessed. To him who much is given much is required.
I believe we should all live in the middle of nowhere, where there are no colors, boundaries, borders.
I Believe in the ultimate humanness of humanity.
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