O Lands! A Personal Reflection of an Immigrant

O Lands! O all so dear to me – what you are, I become part of that, whatever it is. – Walt Whitman, The Land

This picture was taken June 15th, 2018, at the Wanderlust exhibition inside the Staatliche Museum of Berlin. This exhibition will always have a special place in my heart, as it was able to express feelings of mine, I could not fully comprehend, nor express. It was able to explain and fill an emptiness I had been feeling for years, feelings that I still feel to this day.

Something I have struggled with for a while was understanding where I stood in this world, where I belonged. After leaving Italy at the age of 11 to live in the US, I started being recognized as different “person” in both places; in Italy I would often be known as the “American friend”, whilst in America I’m always known as the “Italian friend”. This has made me feel as if in some way I was stripped of my identity, something I still feel confused about - where I just do not know where I “belong”. This feeling, while it may sound in someway "silly", can make you feel quite lonely, and I know some friends of mine have, or are struggling with this same thought.

My aunt and I visited the Wanderlust exhibition, and this is the best exhibition I have seen besides the one in Gothenburg, “We Have a Dream”. I felt close connection with the traveler’s art and words, and I am very thankful for that because, among my travels, it took that loneliness and confusion away and helped me get a better sense of my own identity / who I am.

The song below, Wanderlust, is from a music video that was part of the exhibition, and these are the lyrics that are able to reflect everything I felt (and still feel) but could not put into words - the bold lyrics are the ones that I relate to the most. While I visited this exhibition two years ago, it holds a special place in my heart as it enhanced my happiness and helped me feel confident about what I call "home". I remember during my small Europe tour, my friends overseas would point out that I had not been at that level of happiness in a very long time, if ever. Not trying to scare anyone, I am a very happy person, but these two weeks have brought me a new kind of happiness I do not think I ever experienced.


(by Björk)

I am leaving this harbor Giving urban a farewell Its habitants seem too keen on god I cannot stomach their rights and wrongs I have lost my origin And I don't want to find it again Whether sailing into nature's laws And be held by ocean's paws Wanderlust, relentlessly craving Wanderlust, peel off the layers Until we get to the core Did I imagine it would be like this Was it something like this I wished for Or will I want more Lust for comfort Suffocates the soul Relentless restlessness Liberates me (sets me free) I feel at home Whenever the unknown surrounds me I receive its embrace Aboard my floating house

Wanderlust, relentlessly craving Wanderlust, peel off the layers Until we get to the core Did I imagine it would be like this Was it something like this I wished for Or will I want more Wanderlust, from island to island Wanderlust, united in movement Wonderful, I'm joined with you Wanderlust, wonderland Can you spot a pattern Can you spot a pattern Can you

I also shared Walt Whitman's quote because I feel that it also helps explain the feelings that the Wanderlust song portraits - how, in whatever way, I become part of the lands that are most dear to me, with no specific place to belong to.

Now I want to hear from you...

Wanderlust by Björk (Music Video Art) Click the title to checkout the music video.

Landscape with Pilgrim by Karl Friedrich Schinkel.

In the countryside by Richard Riemerschmid.

Where were you born? Where are you now? Have you experienced these feelings - and if so, what has made you feel less alone, or feel a stronger sense of belonging?

Comment below - I'd love to learn about you guys' experiences and see how our stories are different and similar at the same time.

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