Monthly Archives: May 2013

An alien at home


In my years abroad I fit the `alien to the state` definition. I was born in different country, raised into a different culture, spoke in a different english and loved all the foreign sports..
When I got to Atlanta, GA all I knew about the place were the stereotypes – I thought every party would be a rap video, i would see T.I. at the mall or my personal favorite all old white people spent their nights on rocking chairs, sipping jack Daniels and holding a shotgun….
After a year I grew tired of holding my breath in anticipation every time I saw a guy with locks and I realized it would never be little Wayne. I stopped using GPS…well that’s a lie but I did stop using it daily! What never stropped happening was people saying to me `you`ve never had ABC before` as soon as they discover I hadn’t eaten what they’d been eating since they could chew; or when they proclaimed `you don’t know where DEF is???` when they discovered i spent my `summer break` in zimbabwe where I had spent my `fall, spring and winter break` as though I hadn’t mentioned that I LIVED in zimbabwe!
At first I used to love that phrase. Immediately after I shyly admitted my ignorance, an excursion would be planned to introduce me to everything from A-Z that a true Georgian must be acquainted with. I would try everything twice.. Make sure I liked it or put it in the that’s too much for me category.
Then it began to irritate me. Was I never going to be `georgian` enough. Would every time I have to pronounce vitamin lead to questions about what school I went to… I would always be foreign. No matter how much I learnt, repeated or tried to fit in-  I would always be foreign. That realization was a load off my shoulders… I will always be foreign. I embraced it…. Now my answer was no longer a shy no, it was a bold statement which included a comparison- `I had never had grits because we eat porridge in Zimbabwe, if you cook grits for me, I’ll make porridge for you`
I was suddenly not only happy to be the foreigner, I felt proud to be the foreigner because I wasn’t the person who always needed guidance I gave some insight in return. I wasn’t just soaking in a new culture, I was sharing mine also.
When I bored the plane to come back home, I thought I was ready to be back home, to be emersed in my own culture till I heard someone say, `you`ve never had ABC before????` ARGH!!!!!!!