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‘like a tourist in one’s country’

Friday, February 22nd, 2008 @ 12:19 pm
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Posted in  Creative, Personal Process

I went to the cinema last night and watched that amazing film, called THE KITE RUNNER by director Marc Forster, It was such a moving story in the context of war-divided Afghanistan who led to immigration of the protagonist etc etc. So much to say about teh plot, the actors, the photography, the music the messaged conveyed, the official site of the film can be viewed here

There is this scene in the film where the protagonist who moved to the US to escape the war returns to his hometomn Kabul, when destroyed by the Taliban etc and says this phrase: “I feel like a tourist in my own country”. This is something that is so vivid to most immigrants, specially those that were forced to migrate due to was and political atrocities. However, this feeling is not far from reality also for many who were not forced to migrate, like myself and many of the participants in my research who actually chose to move abroad…it is true that whenever i go back to my home country, after nearly seven years of living abroad, and even if there is no war there, the feeling i get is often that of a stranger or a tourist in a foreign land… and yet it is the city where i was born and grew up in for about 25 years. In the literature, i found that phenomenon described as the ‘reverse cultural shock’ (remember books by Storti) and am often told that this part of the story is even harder than when one decides to make oneself a foreigner…

Whenever i travel back to my homeland Greece, i often feel like the fish out of the water, although it is ‘my waters’. The scenery, the air, the manners, the communications, the ‘rules’ feel so alien…and yet there are so many deeply familiar senses in teh background, mostly odours, tastes, colours, movements. There is sth really ‘close’ to heart and something ‘so far away’

I also sense that there is an opportunity for transformation in all this feeling of discomfort and puzzlement. It is as if one learns to transcend the need for comfort zones and routines to enter ways of being that lead to further growth and connection with what really is, both inside and outside. I know that i am not there yet, but i kind of ‘smell’it in the background…as if am heading towards that

and then, how enriching and facilitative that can be in terms of teh counsellor’s role and practice…when i am learning to exist in balance in that ‘liminal’, out of comfort zone of my surroundings and as a result my internal space, i feel that i can be stronger and more able to accompany somebody in their own zones of discomfort and sense of ‘dislocation’ …as if i can exist in those moments when the self itself feels alien or a foreign land…or when those significant others that are somehow supposed to be in harmony with us, are actually like foreigners…when we feel that it’s like we are in a different planet, even within in our home, in our own family

i will leave this there for now…it feels difficult but also so liberating to acknowledge something like that

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