Indefinite Leave to Remain…

Imagine being on a working-holiday in a hotel that’s more luxurious than your home has ever been to you. You generally enjoy the experience of many necessities that’s lacking in your home, but from time to time, you’re reminded by other staff that even with your indefinite leave to remain at this hotel, you are not really welcomed. They would rather you go back to where you came from. Your needs are constantly placed at the bottom of any list of priorities, if placed at all.

16years ago, after multiple visits with one of your father’s best-friends to some guy who you didn’t even know at the time was the British High Commissioner, imagine the feeling you go through when this man who’s grown to become your favourite ‘uncle’ finally tells you

“mek shɔ se yu lɛf ɔl dɛn yu alaki ple ple biznɛs o, we mɔnt dɔn, yu de kam go Lɔndɔn”

This was mid-July 2001. My 12years brain had no idea that my life was about to change forever.

16 years later, you’re still enjoying life at this working-holiday. You think your life is generally in a better condition than it would have been had you remained back home. You try to convince yourself that this holiday-home is your home now. You try so hard to assimilate. When other staff harass you, you learn to blame it on yourself or anyone else who looks like you. You learn to live with the pain and the hurt. You even begin anticipating situations you don’t want to get yourself in.

You cross the road if you find yourself walking behind anyone whose skin hue is an Identity Code that precedes yours.

“Mothers know best”

Throughout your adult life at this hotel, your mother has been haranguing about the importance of home. In the 16th year after your departure, you finally give in, you listen to your mother and she reintroduces you to your one true home. Within 24hours of you arriving, it hits you, that place that you’ve spent the majority of your life in, the place you’ve learnt to love even though it doesn’t love you back, that place the you’ve tried so hard to be your home for the past 16years, that London that everyone in this your home idolises, that London – England, that ‘not-so united’ United Kingdom, as hard as you might try to make it so, will never be your home.

It will however hold a very special place in your heart, because it’s shaped you, its given you a better perspective of your home and without your time there, you probably will not appreciate home as much as you do in this ‘right here and now’…

[To be continued…]

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