No Where Man
I’ve lived in England for going on 20 years. I’ve pretty much been to every part of the cold, wet island in the North Atlantic. From Scotland to Wales to Ireland. My wife is a Londoner, my adopted son was born in London and most of the time I don’t hear their accents. I’ve got people I could call friends I’ve known since 1998 and yet I’m still an outsider and always will be. That’s just the way it is and I’m assuming always will be. I traded the mountains and lakes and somewhat accepted ignorance of North Idaho for the Victorian houses and narrow streets lined with speed cameras and zebra crossings. Was it a fair trade? Probably not but it’s tough to explain that to anyone who hasn’t grown up where I did. I miss the wilds of the national forrest of America and when I’m lucky enough to get back I always arrive with optimism. The reality is it’s not the place I left and this is no surprise of course. The first thing that hits me when I get back ‘home’ is how many white faces there are. This is odd because when I’m back in London I don’t see that much in the way of multiculturalism, especially since my son is black. People both in America and London ask me if I’ll ever move back to Idaho and years earlier it was a possibility but now it seems less likely. The quick reasons are healthcare and employment but the reality is I’ve lived and moved around for so long outside of America that settling back in a land with such a narrow view of the rest of world I don’t think I’d fit in. You can’t always start a conversation with ‘Do you have a passport? Have you ever used it? (Canada and Mexico don’t count) I run into the occasional Brit while back in the US and mostly it becomes pretty apparent why they don’t live there any more. They didn’t just leave one day, they were driven out because their village probably had too many idiots.