“Why did you cut your hair? I liked it better before. It’s okay now, but it was better before. Don’t worry it will grow back. Hair grows faster in the winter, it will come back quickly. Now you are more a foreigner, before you were Indian.”
(See photo of some of the girls at the orphanage where I live, and you can kind-of see my haircut too…the girl in the front in the middle has taken a special interest in me and greets me every day when I wake up and when I come back from meeting with teams. I’ll write more about her another time. I’ll call her Sarah. (P.S. Some of the girls are holding up a picture of my family - a request they made before I left).
All of the comments made me laugh, but especially the last one. First of all, I like that just the length of my hair can dictate my ethnicity! But it’s also interesting to think that I spent the first two years in India trying hard to become Indian, I even dyed my hair black and resisted cutting it as much as possible. But now, out of practicality, I have given up trying to become what I will never be. What has been stated is true. I am a foreigner. Always have been, always will be.
And yet, if I am a foreigner here, why do I sometimes feel like a foreigner at home? I still feel like I fit more at home, after all I’ve spent most of my life there in that culture, language, etc. But there is a part of me that has been changed after being over here. A part of me that can never change back. I’m still pondering this fact, and haven’t come to any conclusions as to how it has and is, and will continue to impact my life. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic – those who have wrestled with something similar in their lives, or who have known others who have handled this bi-culture type of life.