Born U.s American, born German, born English, born Aussie, born Swedish, being born a foreigner with overflowing wanderlust; tripping from one country to another whenever your first world passport allows you to.
I kinda know what it feels like, to be a foreigner, an outlander, a human import/export good warping through different socio-national realities and enjoying the old in-out, in-out, with exots.
I know it.
Many Inlanders in LatAm can’t even have a glimpse of it for obvious reasons. True travelling requires guts, lack of fear before the unknown, boredom out of your own place of residence, and lastly… money (in some cases unfortunately, lots of it). Many that have the guts don’t have the cash and many that have the green don’t have the wings. Or they’re simply too wimps.
Back then when I left High School and I wasn’t more than a lucky slacker with rich parents that had the choice to travel to Germany for a year. I did it not because I was the ultimate fearless champion eager to know the world. In those days I was an insecure 17 year old boy with no social skills whatsoever. But then, when the cards were laid down and I had to take the shot, I did it… not because I was brave… I did it because… why the hell would I not? YOLO right?.
Since I was the type of guy that stayed home on the weekends because he had no friends, I therefore used to lived in a bubble. I didn’t even had a clue about the country where I was living. To make things worse I attended a right wing male-only catholic school. I was Plato’s cave-allegory’s dude, I was white collar Neo in the Matrix, and I was a nerdy cul-de-sac prince waiting for a horse riding princess to save him out of his miserable and boring lonely life.
This trip was in a way my salvation. Not a challange whatsoever.
So when I got to Krautsland, it was the first time that I was in a real school. Like girls and boys, living in complete freedom of any pernicious ideology creeping on their backs ready to take their brains.
Naturally it changed me completely.
You can’t change the nationality of a guy that played street soccer with his hood pals.
Of a guy that went to all traditional celebrations with his family.
Of a guy that danced salsa like a prodigy.
Of a guy that waved his flag with pride.
But you do can change the nationality of a guy that for starters, didn’t even knew much about the country where he was born in.
If you’re into hearing hard rock from other parts of the world there is this energetic scream-for-freedom song played by South African Band Fokofpolisiekar (do I really need to translate that?). It’s name is ANTIBIOTIKA. The second stanza of the text says:
Ik ben een toerist in my geboorteland, gekwesde dier in a hok op antibiotika.
I am a tourist in my birthland, (a) wounded animal in a cage on antibiotics.
I’ve felt like that ever since I arrived at Lima’s International Airport, when I came back after my school exchange year.
The humidity of the city had sickened me constantly, as an intentional warning.
I am not welcomed here, because I don’t belong here. Regardless of my birthright, tongue and race.
Lima doesn’t care about the color of my skin. She simply wants me out.
I get it, ‘cause in three days, I’ll look down on her, on top of a plane.
Goodbye grey city. I shall remember you with kindness, even though you certainly hate me.