A lot of people are used to the concept of home. Their family, childhood memories and sense of belonging all come within a specific territory and wherever else they may go, it never compares to that warm feeling of home.
Not certain bilinguals though. What happens when you have two homes? What happens when you feel partly at home in one country-partly at home at another and never feel like you fully belong in either?
I want to pause here for a second because I don’t want to sound ungrateful. Being bilingual and feeling like you have two homes is a huge privilege, especially since there are many people that have none. I am aware of this and don’t want to sound like an ungrateful brat, but sometimes the “struggle” is real with this one so I hope you won’t judge me and hopefully relate to this 🙂
- You are always the “outsider”.
Being half-Greek, half-South African means you are not fully Greek nor fully South African
I know-you’re mind blown-but just give me a second.
The thing is, you are always a sort of “outsider”. When I was in South Africa, all my friends knew I was Greek and heard me speak the language countless times to my parents. Therefore, I was different. This didn’t mean that they treated me badly (which I’m very lucky for), but I always felt like I wasn’t like them. They didn’t acknowledge me as a true South African which I was starting to feel the longer I stayed there.
This happened and continues to happen equally in Greece, especially when people hear me speaking English. To many people this is extremely weird for some reason.
- You never feel fully at home.
Whether I am in Greece or South Africa, I feel that something’s missing. I love both countries but never feel fully at home in either. Half my best friends and childhood memories are in South Africa and the other half in Greece. Ugh, I want them both!
- You miss a lot while you’re gone.
I cannot begin to explain how much I missed while I was in South Africa, something that still reflects on my everyday life today. I didn’t get the basis for Greek that you need from the first years in school and still to this day feel like I have gaps.I also never fully experienced being a teenager in South Africa and being independent there. I was only 10 years old when I left so I feel I never fully experienced life there.
Either way, the “struggles” can be real sometimes for us bilinguals. There are times when you feel and are treated like a sort of tourist in your own countries.
Am I alone or have you experienced similar situations? No judgement, lets whine about our privilege together 🙂