A Foot in Two Worlds?

  • March 4, 2010
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I read this quote this morning: “To emigrate is to become a foreigner in two places at once.”

Or to emigrate can mean living in two places at once. As I wrote in Motherland: “Memory for most is a kind of afterlife; for my mother, it is another form of life…For her, scenes from decades ago had their own immediacy. Her inner life is schizophrenically filled with both the here and now and the there and then.”

And, in time, living in two places at once can lead to a deeper sense of alienation within the family. After she had married an Israeli and moved to Israel, an American friend of mine once said: “I didn’t realize that when I married someone from another culture I would produce children who would be foreigners to me.”

A foreigner with foreign children, in two places at once.

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