Sunday, September 3, 2017

Brooklyn - the movie and my life

I just finished watching the movie Brooklyn. It is about a young Irish girl in the 1940's that immigrates to New York. It's a seemingly "simple" tale where she finds her life - a job while she goes to college and finds and marries a good man. However, at the beginning, she finds it very hard moving to a new country and being homesick, especially as she reads letters from her older sister who lives with their mother. Soon, her sister dies unexpectedly from an illness and the girl temporarily goes back to Ireland to be with her mother. Soon, she is pressured to take her sister's place at home, at the workplace and she even starts a new romance. However, she realizes she needs and wants to go back to her life in New York and does. A happy ending....

This movie spoke to me on one major way. While my story is not quite the same, what it made me think about is the in-between that I am.

I never felt like an American and I certainly am not a Fran├žaise. The phrase, "home is where the heart is" is what feels true to me and what I hold on to because that is certainly the case here. My husband is my heart and I feel at home here with him. But I have a grim thought. If he was to die before me, Goddess forbid, would I stay here or go back to America? I believe I would stay here because at that point, I would be settled here, plus, given that this would happen when I am old, it would be way too difficult and expensive to fly back to the US, find a place to live, etc.

But again, putting that aside, who am I? Do I need to identify with my country and upbringing? There are a few Sicilian-American traditions/ties I have just based on my maternal grandparents and sort of with my parents but the strong sense of family was not truly there after my grandparents passed away. I did all I could to distance myself from it all because of an otherwise toxic family environment. When I went back to New York in January after my mother passed, I looked at my childhood home and her things from a distance again. I visited restaurants and places that I frequented when living there and while I have fond memories, I only have few worth holding. There are a few people whom are there that I love which gives me some form of connection but it ends there. However, I never felt the sense of homesick because I never felt at home there. And while I was married to my ex-husband, it was similar. There was no sense of home.

Home is where the heart is. Indeed. I feel that now. I can only hope that in time, my idea of home expands to so much more.
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