Do you remember that picture in the old storybook about Paul Bunyan, the legendary logger who was so tall he could straddle a valley with one booted foot firmly planted on opposite mountain ranges?
After returning from a month in Lebanon this summer, I was trying to visualize and internalize how I felt. Paul Bunyan’s storybook picture flashed in my mind and seemed to capture my feelings succinctly. I am standing strong with one foot firmly planted in my birth country, and the other foot planted in my adopted country. I am unequivocally “at home” in both countries.
The heart-wrenching longing to be in Lebanon while living in the United States has been replaced with a settling into the satisfying conviction that being “of both” is a firm foundation on which to stand. I don’t need to precariously perch on one leg or the other, struggling for balance.
Home is no longer just the place where I was born and then outgrew like skinned knees and childhood shenanigans. Instead, my home has ripened into a place that lives in my heart, no matter what language I happened to dream in the night before!
I can savor the tingling awareness of dreaming in English or Arabic, the joy of mixed up taste buds craving one cuisine or another, the hilarity of innuendo-laced bi-cultural comedy, and the return to the open arms of the place held comfortingly precious.
I am Lebanese. I am an American. I’m grateful to be both.
In what language do you dream??
You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of joy with your presence.