My name is Susmita. Where do I come from? That question will always cause mixed feelings, no matter where I am. I remember one time as a kid, someone asked me that question. I felt so confused; I simply answered, “I don’t know,” and burst into tears. I can still remember the feeling I had as if it was yesterday. There were so many countries I could have said, but none of them felt like ‘home’. I have always felt slightly insecure, and never wanted to be the centre of attention; so being asked where I was from and then feeling different from others didn’t really help.
So where do I come from? My dad sometimes says that me and my sister are from four different continents. Some say the country you are born is the country where you are from. If that were true, I could say I’m from Jamaica. Though neither of my parents are Jamaican. My mother is a very traditional Indian woman, but I have never lived in India. My father is originally from Germany, but he moved to New Zealand in his twenties and became New Zealander. Later he moved to Japan, which is where he lives now.
I still like having Finnish as a secret language with my sister
So my first nationality was New Zealander. After living in Jamaica for the first year and a half of my life, we all moved across the globe to Finland. That is now my second nationality, and it’s the country I have lived in for most of my life. I still like having Finnish as a secret language with my sister, as neither of my parents speak it.
At the age of 22, I finally got the chance to visit and explore New Zealand, the country of my nationality since birth. It had been my dream for a long time to visit New Zealand. Before I went there, I had a dream job that solved much of my insecurity about where I belong. When I couldn’t go on with that job, I was devastated. It was like the floor underneath me had disappeared, and I was again clueless about where on earth I belong. So the best idea I could come up with was to get to know one of my ‘home’ countries.
Now, after traveling through New Zealand for five months, I can say that I am one lucky girl. All the doors in this world are open! I have been doing a lot of thinking and discovering and I’ve realised that for me, home is not a place. It’s whenever I am with my dear sister that I get the feeling of acceptance and a warm home.
We don’t have a big age difference, so we grew up as best friends. She is an extremely important person in my life. And although we haven’t lived in the same country for almost two years now, she is always a part of me. We share the same special background, and understand each other in ways no one else can and will ever understand.