What makes an immigrant?
Christmas dinner is my absolute favourite meal of the year as it consists of me gorging on the following:
- A whole roasted turkey crammed with delicious stuffing
- Roast potatoes
- Jollof rice
- Cranberry sauce
- Fried Rice
- Peppered meat or fish
- Pigs in blankets (sausage wrapped in bacon)
- Apple Pie
- Ice cream
It’s not your typical ‘British’ roll call of foods for Christmas and that’s because it is a fusion of my Nigerian and British culture and thus that’s how I see myself – a fusion of two cultural roots but where is home for me?
Cape Point, South Africa
Born in Hammersmith, London to Nigerian parents, raised in my Geordie homeland of Newcastle, I have known no other home other than Britain. However up until the age of 15, my passport would tell the world I was an immigrant to the only home I knew of. As Margaret Thatcher infamously quoted ‘being born in a stable doesn’t make you a horse’ and so thus being born in Britain did not make me British, as my parents were not British. This statement always played on my mind as a kid as I felt very much British yet if the government wanted to they could ask me to leave. I am now through ‘naturalisation’ recognised as a British citizen – ironic given that I had never felt I was not. Although I imbibe my Nigerian culture and love aspects of it, I can’t call the country home and I doubt they would consider me a true native of theirs with my British way of thinking. So where does that leave me?
Chilling in the motherland of Nigeria at the hotspot, Bogobiri
I refer to Nigeria as my motherland, where my legacy of life began and shaping its course. Let’s say I’m British Nigerian –is that acceptable to me, to the world, can I have both? Knowing my home is Britain and my culture is a fusion of the two, as my values are shaped by my Nigerian upbringing. Sometimes I feel it is easier or palatable for Caucasians to openly claim more than one home but for me, as a black women with my ‘melaninated’ self I have to justify my presence in the UK when asked that question ‘but where are you really from?’ because visibly I am not thought of as British. This will change over time (I hope) as multiculturalism increases and becomes the norm.
Despite not wanting to call another place home, part of looking at migration is where does one leave their heart? I love to travel and explore the world and I can’t help feeling so at home to the Afro-Latino vibes that I experienced when visiting South America. I am also convinced sometime in my future I will live in Barcelona, as it feels like a second home to me whenever I go visiting this amazing city. I think as many people say sometimes we discover bits of home when we explore our world and why not, when we meet people in different countries like ourselves.
Why does one need to choose one cultural status, one nationality? What is being British anyway? So like my Christmas dinner, I am a fusion and personally, fusions always taste so good!
Share your migration story in the comments below.
Love a proud Brit,
I recently took part in a Santa Fun Run to raise money for the Farleigh Hospice. Click here if you want to donate to this brilliant cause!
The 5 to 9 Traveller
Merry Christmas to all my readers. Have a fab time with your family and friends.