Is this home?
22.09.2012 - 22.09.2012 14 °C
Night fall covers me, but you know the plans I'm making. Still overseas, could it be the whole world opening wide?
- View to a Kill, Duran Duran
It has been a busy few weekends past. First was my trip to the Paralympics, and then, with a friend from Canada in town, two weekends of day trips to Hampton Court Palace, Brighton, Canterbury and... um, this is a little embarrassing... The Harry Potter Studio tour. Actually, Harry Potter was surprisingly good, even though I haven’t read any of the books and only seen the first of the films.
Given all this activity, I decided to take it easy this weekend. I slept in, did some laundry and as a final activity got my haircut. I planned to grab some take-out chicken from Nando’s and head home for a Saturday night in.
My haircut finished up about 16:30, so a little early for dinner. Instead, I popped into a local pub to catch the end of the Saturday Premier League football. I had a couple of pints, watched the football scores come in and surfed the internet on my phone.
18:00 rolled around, so I decided to head home. Wandering out of the pub, a thought flashed into my mind. “I am enjoying visiting this country,” I thought, “I will miss it when I go home.”
I stopped dead in my tracks. “Wait a second,” I thought. “I am not a visitor here. I live here, just around the corner.”
It’s not the first time I have caught myself thinking like that. Thinking that this is just a temporary situation - a holiday away or a longer-term business trip. I still, after four years living here, sometimes find myself surprised at the fact that I really am living abroad.
The truth is, I don’t really feel like I am British. Certainly, legally I am not - not at least for another couple of years.
However, at some point I would have thought I would start to feel like I belong here.
This isn’t an externally driven feeling. The people of London who I know have never made me feel like I wasn’t welcome. I feel accepted here. I feel like I have a life here. I feel like people are happy to have me here.
But I don’t feel natural here. I don’t feel far outside, but I do feel like an outsider, just always outside of the circle of those who have lived in the UK all their lives.
I wonder if that ever goes away?