Hundreds of emotions run through my body every time when my friends are telling me about leaving the UK and moving back to Poland. The longing for my country, the nostalgia for its customs and landscape, the love for my family and their way of life. Time has not been able to change those emotions, but what I am very grateful for is that it has managed to add new ones too.
I was travelling today through one of the busiest and most multicultural areas in my town. I was looking at people of different ethnic origins and cultures shopping for fruit and vegetables together, chatting and greeting each other at the street and on the bus stops. Immigrants, locals and newcomers all in one place. I looked at them and felt deep love for all of them. They’ve been forming me for the last ten years, letting me get to know them in everyday situations. They’ve been enriching me beyond measure. They’ve been educating me beyond measure and been stretching my identity beyond the borders of my Polish upringing. In so many ways I am them now and they are me.
On Saturday I took my son to a local hardresser. He was a young man, probably not even in his thirties, originally from Iraq. To my astonishment he started speaking to us in fluent Polish. To me this confirms that we are reaching out towards each other and that we like to learn of each other’s cultures. People have been always curious about people… and if that curiosity is removed, through whatever means, we will lose our ability to evolve as a society. We must remain curious of each other. We must want to get to know each other.
The other day I heard someone saying on the radio: “I wasn’t born in Scotland; but Scotland was born in me.” I think I can easily use those words to say: I wasn’t born multcultural, but multiculturalism was born in me.