Outside In is a bi-weekly series that highlights immigrant experiences through words and images. Each immigrant chooses an image that somehow relates to their story, and I write up  a profile based on their answers to this quasi Proust Questionnaire:

  1. What does your chosen image mean to you?
  2. Where are you from?
  3. Why did you leave?
  4. How did you end up here?
  5. How long have you been here?
  6. What is your occupation?
  7. What is your immigrant status?
  8. How do you feel about your status?
  9. What has been the strangest part?
  10. What has been the most difficult part?
  11. What has been the best part?
  12. How has it changed you?
  13. What do you most miss?
  14. Where is home?

In all fairness, I can’t ask other immigrants to do something I wouldn’t do myself, so here is my image.

This photograph was a mistake. I snapped it through the dirty windshield of a rental car when we were driving along Table Mountain at dusk during a visit “home.” The more I looked at it, though – the specs of dust, the monochromatic blue tones, the silhouettes of the stone pines that are so typical of Cape Town – the more I loved it. So much so, that I used it for the cover of Beyond the Baobab, my collection of essays about immigration.

In brief: I am from Cape Town, I left South Africa because I could, I came to Baltimore to be a classical music DJ at WBJC 18 years ago, and I am proud to be an American citizen. The strangest part is accent; the most difficult part is feeling like a misfit; the best part is being artistically spoilt for choice. My immigrant experience turned me into a writer. I most miss lifelong friends. It’s impossible to say where home is.

I hope you enjoy the series!

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