Posts

Showing posts from October, 2016

Culture, Citizenship & Hiraeth (Part 2)

Image
Now we come to hiraeth. It's a Welsh word. You may have seen it on Pinterest with a definition. Or an attempt at a definition. Because actually it has no direct translation into English.

Hiraeth. (n.) a homesickness for a home to which you cannot return, a home which maybe never was; the nostalgia, the yearning, the grief for the lost places of your past.

This week, in the face of much heartache happening among my friends and family in America, I am homesick for the US. But that is not hiraeth. Hiraeth is something so much more. It's knowing that I belong somewhere and wanting to be there but being unable to go because I am not quite sure where there even is. But I yearn, I long, I need to go there.

It is inherent in human nature; we all have it because we were all designed for this home. And this world just can't quite cut it. Somewhere in the past, in the history of humanity we had a home and we can't figure out how to go back to it. But oh, how we want to.

Hiraeth.

Culture, Citizenship & Hiraeth (Part 1)

Image
This weekend I started reading a book for work. The topic: culture.

Funny enough, the woman who wrote it is a fellow American Southerner who has lived in multiple cultures - I have to say that she beats me on that count by quite a lot.

As I read the book, I realised a few things.

First, I don't quite fit any culture anymore. If you divide the world into two types of cultures (this author uses climate which is one accepted way of doing it), I come from one type of culture (hot climate) and have moved to another (cold climate). I've still got those Southern roots, but I've also assimilated some into my British home (I'm definitely still learning).

My friends here in Britain think that my Southern drawl is sweet and laugh when I bring out my "jumper" (American English: sweater) when they think it is still summer. My American friends think I'm crazy when I use British English words but find it neat that Afternoon Tea is a real thing.

I'm not quite one ye…