threads of our fabric

Reflections on navigating between two cultures and understanding the self-awareness process

My Blended Story February 23, 2011

File:Cameroon COA.svgAs I continue work on the Threads of Our Fabric Project, I find myself spending a significant part of time reflecting on my own immigrant’s story. My childhood was left in Cameroon and my identity as a young adult developed in America…  What began as an ongoing personal quest for self-understanding continues to evolve into a life project.

During my interactions with the many young women I have interviewed over the past 7 months, it is as if spirit recognizes spirit at every encounter.  Particularly for those considered the 1.5 immigrant generation, like myself. We instantly bond over shared difficulties and experiences. Over the course of a 30-45 mins conversation (sometimes longer!), we recognize a shared core, a mirroring of souls. Understanding beyond words the journey that brought us to a new country, the many trials and successes of  integrating. Most importantly, the weight of not fully belonging to the land we emigrated from or the one to which we now belong. Though connected in our new communities, there are often feelings of isolation because of how intimately our unique identities become tied to the overall experience. Over time, I have personally found that I have been able to preserve some of my culture. Thanks to my family and being part of the Cameroonian community in various states. However, I had to adjust over time to accommodate my identity that emerged in the context of American society.

The United States

Image via Wikipedia


2 Responses to “My Blended Story”

  1. Nnemus Says:

    You know, I find that immigrating to the US instilled a greater sense of ‘Nigerianism’ in me. I remember my pre-America days, certain things I would never do e.g wearing a Nigerian outfit or speaking pidgin English (in certain circles) was not my thing.
    Since landing stateside eons ago, my need to be involved in more Nigerian things (to identify with my culture and people) has greatly grown. Though I currently live in the US, I still greatly carry Nigeria in my head .. whenever anyone asks where I am from, I always respond Nigeria. Yes, there are certain experiences in the US that have shaped certain aspects of my identity however, I still find myself greatly tied to the Nigerian in me 😉 .. you can take the girl out of Nigeria but you cant take the Nigeria out of the girl!!

    • sharasong Says:

      Indeed you cannot!!! I think emigrating helps one appreciate the things that were once often taken for granted. It is wonderful to read the postive impact this transition had on you especially with instilling greater national pride! Thanks for sharing! Be sure to check out week 3’s discussion topic…I’m curious to hear your thoughts on the subject.

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