Fifty fifty @andreargilb

jessica gough jessicagough | October 30, 2017

Posted in Blog, Front, Keep

By Andrea Gilbert 

This weekend my two best friends from Switzerland came to visit me, we talked a lot about the fact that we had been imagining this moment for a very long time; the moment when people would come visit me in my new home – London. Indeed, I think I’ve dreamed of living/studying in London since I was about twelve. Ten years later, here I am. My parents, friends and others keep asking me “So, how does it feel to finally live in London?” The answer; I have no idea, I honestly can’t tell because I haven’t even had time yet to grasp the fact that I am actually living here. The fact is it feels weird because before I moved here I identified as “that London girl” because I was more British than all my Swiss friends and now that I am here I find myself being very confused, it’s shaking my identity a little bit because I realise howrealizeI am. Let me explain what I mean. When I’m in Switzerland to others I am the English girl but when I’m in London I feel more Swiss than English (and by “English” and “Swiss” I mean the behaviour). I suddenly notice that no matter how much I’ve identified with this place my whole life, I’ve never lived here until now and I definitely still have a lot to discover about being in “full London mode”. Indeed, most cities have a general attitude that applies to most of its population, some ways of behaving and customs that are specific to the city or even country. And I feel very in between, on one hand I feel like I’m home, but this other part of me feels very disoriented (because let’s be real, London isn’t like the little green meadow I used to live in). In some ways I really enjoy being fifty fifty but in other ways it can make me feel quite detached sometimes. I’m having a hard time explaining myself here, but since I am bi-national and bi-lingual I’ve had very interesting reactions from people who, sure, kind of heard that I speak a bit differently but still thought I was completely British (or completely Swiss) and when I tell them that I am not they almost suggest that I can’t be both, that I have to be either Swiss or British. The point is, in my heart, I am both, but being both can be a bit of a weird one sometimes. I’ll always feel a disconnection somewhere, whether it’s where I grew up, in Switzerland, or even more so, here in London. Basically I feel like a Londoner because that’s how my Dad raised me, but I don’t feel like a Londoner at all at the same time. Does it make sense? But this occasional disconnection is worth it, having grown up with parents from different parts of the world (of Europe actually) was always something that I felt really lucky about, it was definitively very enriching in many ways.

This weekend my two best friends from Switzerland came to visit me, we talked a lot about the fact that we had been imagining this moment for a very long time; the moment when people would come visit me in my new home – London.

Indeed, I think I’ve dreamed of living/studying in London since I was about twelve. Ten years later, here I am. My parents, friends and others keep asking me “So, how does it feel to finally live in London?” The answer; I have no idea, I honestly can’t tell because I haven’t even had time yet to grasp the fact that I am actually living here.

The fact is it feels weird because before I moved here I identified as “that London girl” because I was more British than all my Swiss friends and now that I am here I find myself being very confused, it’s shaking my identity a little bit because I realise how 50/50 I am. Let me explain what I mean. When I’m in Switzerland to others I am the English girl but when I’m in London I feel more Swiss than English (and by “English” and “Swiss” I mean the behaviour). I suddenly notice that no matter how much I’ve identified with this place my whole life, I’ve never lived here until now and I definitely still have a lot to discover about being in “full London mode”. Indeed, most cities have a general attitude that applies to most of its population, some ways of behaving and customs that are specific to the city or even country. And I feel very in between, on one hand I feel like I’m home, but this other part of me feels very disoriented (because let’s be real, London isn’t like the little green meadow I used to live in). In some ways I really enjoy being fifty fifty but in other ways it can make me feel quite detached sometimes.

I’m having a hard time explaining myself here, but since I am bi-national and bi-lingual I’ve had very interesting reactions from people who, sure, kind of heard that I speak a bit differently but still thought I was completely British (or completely Swiss) and when I tell them that I am not they almost suggest that I can’t be both, that I have to be either Swiss or British. The point is, in my heart, I am both, but being both can be a bit of a weird one sometimes. I’ll always feel a disconnection somewhere, whether it’s where I grew up, in Switzerland, or even more so, here in London. Basically I feel like a Londoner because that’s how my Dad raised me, but I don’t feel like a Londoner at all at the same time. Does it make sense?

But this occasional disconnection is worth it, having grown up with parents from different parts of the world (of Europe actually) was always something that I felt really lucky about, it was definitively very enriching in many ways.


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