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Roots are like a laptop not a desktop

Traditionally, we use the metaphor of a tree to talk about having roots. In this sense, roots are grounded in earth in one specific place. Having ‘roots’, means belonging to one place, getting your nutrients from specific soil and standing strong because of the depth and breadth of the root system. But are our human roots really like the roots of plants? Human beings were nomadic long before they rooted themselves to one...

‘Home is a work in progress’

In his TED talk, ‘Where is home’, Pico Iyer says: ‘The number of people living in a country not their own comes to 220 million… We represent the 5th largest nation on earth!’ (http://www.ted.com/talks/pico_iyer_where_is_home.html) In other words, there are more and more of us who define home in many ways. For example, home could be: Where your blood or ancestry come from; Where you were born or...

The way we see things

“The way we see things is the way WE see things; it may not be the way things are.” This quote is from H B Gelatt from his blog Positive Uncertainty: a philosophy of decision-making in uncertain times. For people who live in a country other than their birth or passport country, we are faced with interpreting what we see all the time. What we ‘see’ of the local people is their behaviour, their customs, communication...

Where am I from?

For people who are from more than one place (multi-national, multi-racial, multi-home base), the answer to the question ‘where are you from?’ is more complicated than it is for people who have always lived in one place. But just because I don’t have a simple answer does not mean that I have a problem. I, for example, can choose to reply that I am Quebecoise, Canadian or Dutch. Or, I can say something like, I am...

Searching for the Nigerian soul

If you live or plan to live in this country, particularly foreigners but also returning Nigerians, there is one book you must read. Looking for Transwonderland is a soul-searching travel through the four corners of modern-day Nigeria. It describes the country’s people with refreshing complexity, the depth and warmth of its many cultures, and uncovers many corners of the nation that most of us will never have the chance to...
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