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e-Writer in Residence

  • Looking through lattice window.

Federico Chaux | January 31, 2018

Recently, I spent a little over three weeks in Colombia, my homeland, in other words, where I was born. It’s a familiar and strange feeling most first generation immigrants, especially teenagers feel when visiting one's country of birth.

Growing up here, it’s always been quite weird for me to identify myself as a real Canadian. I mean, yes I grew up here and I eat poutine, all of that. Except it’s always been a bit uncomfortable calling myself Canadian. All of this is to say that when I visit Colombia it feels weird to call myself a Colombian, first because people see me as a tourist or “gringo”, a term to identify foreign folks and secondly the struggles that living here gives me a certain privilege to be able to live in a country like Canada. And even then, when visiting one's homeland, the self entitlement of being one hundred percent a Colombian is just as unfitting as the Canadian one.

Visiting Columbia is amazing: spending time with family, the beautiful scenery, friendly people and amazing food are something I’ll never underestimate. But this feeling of displacement, will forever be there. Here I’m from over there, but over there I’m from here. It’s a feeling that can only be described by this cultural diaspora one feels when being immigrant. Which in all honesty, has more positive than negative. The shared culture of Canadian and Latino is great when borrowing only the radiant, attractive and positive from both, to create something even more amazing: being bicultural.

I hope that every immigrant, whether it’s first or second generation, old or young, Latino or not, gets this amazing feeling of not nationalism, but satisfaction, with who you are, sharing all the amazingness Canada has offered for us, and the beautiful culture where we and our parents originated.