…ni somos de aquí, ni somos de allá…
After visiting the Expo 2020 Dubai, I’ve been thinking lots about my identity. Walking into the Colombia Pavilion exhibit with my Colombian flag, I became emotional to see my cultural homeland represent its beauty and spirit. I felt this joy en mi corazón, un orgullo I can’t explain but expressed through my dancing and love for soccer. Even though I was born an American and I’m called a “gringo”, mis primeras palabras eran en español, and my blood will always be Colombian.
Which leads me to the USA Pavilion exhibit. I’ll admit, we didn’t go inside the exhibit (both times the lines were long). From what we saw on YouTube, the exhibit highlighted its democracy from the Declaration of Independence to Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, perhaps in an attempt to highlight the exceptionalism of its society. For myself, a child of undocumented immigrants in the U.S., I’ve never felt fully accepted in America though. I’m an American citizen, but I have a “funny accent”. I’m an American citizen, but I’m not white. I’m an American citizen, pero hablo español.
In Miami, we have this saying – ni somos de aquí, ni somos de allá (we are neither from here or over there). For a long time I’ve felt this emptiness about not being fully accepted somewhere, anywhere. But traveling in the past couple of years as opened my eyes to a new identity – that of a global citizen. I’ve felt at home in places such as Bangkok, Dubai, Florence,and Tokyo. I can’t wait to feel at home in many other cities and countries. I’ve come to appreciate their history and culture, and embrace my thoughts to be challenged on anything, from politics to sports! When so much of the world is fighting about identity, maybe we should all embrace a more open concept of belonging.
La sangre mía es Colombiana, my passport is American, pero soy un ciudadano del mundo.
Vamos viajando. The world needs to see us!