Immigrant

She was an immigrant.

She came to her adopted home in childhood.

In the first few weeks, she was just like a Tourist. Five years old and wide eyed at this new world.

Everything was awe-inspiring.

The red buses.

The busy roads.

The new school.

The new friends.

She watched it like an outsider.

Until it became her own.

It didn’t take long.

Her original accent was quickly swallowed away,

Chased away by the laughs;

(Can’t you speak properly?).

She learned to speak properly.

Made friends at school.

Went to the park.

Went to the corner shop.

Used public transport.

Started calling this place, home.

She can remember the day her citizenship officially began,

remembers the small white office.

The friendly man.

Her mum holding up her hand.

Speaking words.

Pledging allegiance.

She wanted to do it too.

They said she didn’t have to,

with a laugh.

She was far too young.

She remembers being happy.

Remembers opening the envelope.

Staring at the red passport.

A tiny picture of herself inside.

Hair tightly pulled back into a nice, neat pony tail.

She remembers her cousins back on the other side of the world,

laughing at her excitement.

Teasing her.

This will always be your first home, they said.

She went back there of course, over the years.

To visit.

She doesn’t know when she stopped calling there home.

But she knows each time she went back,

she felt more

and more

and more

like a tourist.

Her adopted country was now her home.

And she studied there.

Volunteered there.

Worked there.

Paid taxes there.

Voted there.

She lived and laughed …

but she knew at the end of the day,

it wouldn’t matter.

It wouldn’t matter if she stayed for another five years,

or ten,

it wouldn’t matter if she stayed for the rest of her life,

she wasn’t born here.

She was an immigrant.

That word, thrown around like a curse.

And so to some, this place could never be her home.

(“Go back to where you came from!”).

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