Where are you from? It’s a question I’ve been asked many times. Before 2011 I would answer “Sudan” . Now after the referendum my answer changed to “South Sudan”. At first I didn’t think anything of it. For me it was an icebreaker and a conversation starter question. We would begin talking about the country and all the things that are happening in that small newest country in the world.
Now that I have lived in the States for eighteen years it’s becoming tiring. I want to talk about different topics. Topics that are exciting and I can learn from. Answering the same old question for eighteen years? I mean really! That’s seems quite unbelievable.
What made things worst for me is an incident that happened to me a few days ago.
I was sitting at a computer desk at the main library in Memphis when a guy walked right up to me. He stood on my left side while I was sitting. Then he leaned a little bit forward-he was kind of tall- and place one hand on my desk. Where are you from? he asked. Me being shocked because I didn’t hear him walking towards me, as I was busy doing something. I raised my head to see who is it. I then answered South Sudan.
He then turns around and leaves. I thought what in the world? What was that all about?
I mean, I thought that was sort of condescending of him. He is from Nigeria. I continued to mind my business. A few days later at the same library, after sitting at the computer desk for some time I decided to go and drink some water from the water fountain. While walking I saw the same guy sitting at a desk. I passed him by. He signaled me and tried to talk to me. I kept on walking. He ignored me so I tried to ignore him back. He kept his cool and stayed at a distance.
Have I been in the States that long? Making me feel old. Where does time go?