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:
- What does your chosen image mean to you?
- Where are you from?
- Why did you leave?
- How did you end up here?
- How long have you been here?
- What is your occupation?
- What is your immigrant status?
- How do you feel about your status?
- What has been the strangest part?
- What has been the most difficult part?
- What has been the best part?
- How has it changed you?
- What do you most miss?
- 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!