I left Toronto a little over 24 hours ago, and already my mental is bursting with new-ness.
I don’t know if it’s just my particular history with travel, but a flight away = instant reset. Somewhere between take-off and landing, clutter gets swept away. Related to something that’s been on my mind a lot, something I got a chance to think about while I sat in my 21st-floor hotel room, watching the sun set on Minneapolis. A horizon obscured by the city. The breathtaking moments of dying rays on skyscrapers reflecting back into the room, while I lie on a bed overpopulated with pillows as the room grows darker. I find the sublime in the urban. I find solace in watching the city from above, knowing that it’s a lift ride down to push me right into it. I’m questioning why I live at ground level, away from mirrored reflections, rooftops, observation.
I identify as a transnational, and one thing about us movement people is that we’re constantly in the process of arriving. We have never arrived anywhere. It’s a sense of temporary being that is so consistent, so defining. I’m never there, my very sense of identity is shaped by this idea of movement. For my parents’ generation of immigrants, the ultimate move was back to the homeland of their childhood, a sense that their departure was temporary (this isn’t usually the case). For my generation, immigration is a means to an end, not a destination, and often one of the earliest steps, a prerequisite for (easier) future movements.
This realisation has me questioning my location, and so my identity. Who I am in the light of so many things geographical. As my homeland promises to fragment within a year’s time, so many thoughts. I have no idea what being Sudanese will mean should secession pass. The mythological homeland in my foreign-bred imagination was constructed so delicately, and it’s crumbling into fine dust. There can be no memory of that which was never real, and everything I have known as truth will be proven false. I don’t know what this destruction will do to id.
I quite like Toronto. I’ve been here the longest I’ve been in any one place/country/timezone. It’s easy to live there, and when I question whether my nomad-ness will drive me away, the question to where? comes up. I can picture quite a few places I wouldn’t mind living in, but after seven years of being in Toronto, it contains plenty to make me want to stay. All the obvious things. And then there are all the things that make me want to leave. All the obvious ones there too.
Truth be told, I’d just like to have arrived. And it will probably be that need to go against what is expected from my kind that will be my primary reason for staying.
I stopped to ask for directions to any Starbucks location, the only place around here to find wireless internet that costs less than my roaming charges. The first person, a parking valet, didn’t know. So he asked his colleague. A man walking by overheard, stopped and offered the useful statement that he, too, didn’t know where to find one. A fourth man walking past overheard, tossed accurate directions over his shoulder. The whole scene was quite delightful.