Editor | Yip Jie Ying Contributing Writer | Ingrid Maciel Photographer | Sangam Paudel
As a child growing up in Singapore, I always longed to travel around the world and often found myself having “wanderlust feels,” easily getting bored of having to stay in one fixed place. Yet, what comes along with this restlessness is that I can refer to Singapore as “home” – after all, this is the place where I have spent my whole life and where most of my loved ones are. This isn’t the same for many third-culture kids or people who have spent extended periods of time in various parts of the world. To them, the concepts of “home” and attachment to a place become vastly different from what I, and many others, have ever experienced. Here, Ingrid Maciel shares her thoughts:
“Where are you from?” may be an innocuous question, but I seldom feel comfortable enough to answer it. To me, the question implies that a person identifies strongly enough with a place to the extent of claiming they belong there –
and I don’t have that.
Having grown up in several countries over the course of my life has been, needless to say, quite an experience. I have lived in South and Central America, South and East Asia, as well as East Africa. I moved around every two or three years, which continuously obliterated and synthesised my concept of self. To this day, I do not identify myself as being “from” anywhere in the world. How could I? I could never recognise a single place in the world as my “home”. I have multiple homes and none. I am foreign and local. From everywhere and nowhere.
It is perfectly conceivable for a person who has grown up in a single place for their entire lifetime to feel out of place. Indeed, being “from” a place connotes sentiments of belonging. I do feel like I belong sometimes, and I have felt like I belonged in the past. However, more often than not, I’m told I don’t look, sound or act a certain way to be considered “from” a place. So I’m from neither here nor there.
But the thing is, I am more than where I am from. What matters is where I am now. And I am here. You are here. And I invite you For a conversation.
Ingrid is an exchange student from Waseda University in Tokyo, and has lived in eight countries (and counting!)