About a year ago, my mom dragged me across the globe to a far away country in the Middle East. On my first day there, I discovered a puzzle piece that was missing from my life. I finally knew who I was and where I fit in best. It was extremely difficult to leave after that. But when I did, I took that puzzle piece with me and left half my heart instead.
It was not the first time I visited Egypt, nor will it be the last. Why was it such an unusual experience then? It was different because on the very first day, I opened my mind to adventure. I absorbed everything around me like a sponge, and that made it all the better. I learned that over there family isn’t just your blood relatives, or your loved ones. Family means your neighbors, your classmates, your co-workers, beggars on the street, or even total strangers you meet in crowded public transportation, and have the most random conversations with. Everyone spoke one language, and that united the whole country.
When I came back, I noticed many actions and perspectives that were turned upside down. My experience opened my eyes to the categories people put each other into, and the way people are sometimes even embarrassed to say where they were from. And even though I was not born in this country, I am proudly embracing my nationality.
People who spent almost their whole life in Egypt have asked me why do you love it there so much? They confessed that they left without shedding ONE tear, they just couldn’t wait to leave, and that I was insane for wanting to return. I simply replied, “It only takes a second to fall in love. It may not be perfect, but it feels like home.”
This made me think, though. Back in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, people were willing to fight and die for their countries. It is sad that today people are ashamed to even speak about where they are from. What about the future? Will people deny themselves, or murder others just to keep themselves hidden from the truth?
In English class, I wrote a myth about what I thought would happen in the future. I claimed that technology will take over, and people will be living in a world without acknowledging each other, or the nature that flourishes in their world. But now that I think about it, is technological advancement worse than living ghosts, with hollow hearts? Is it true that someday in the future, humanity will take a dark turn, and my great grandchildren won’t know who their grandmother was? Or even recognize their family history? I pity the future because it won’t have any idea of the unique culture that surpassed every country. Especially, the country that was once my grandparents’, my parents’, and now my home.