How did you feel visiting the country of your ancestors?
Well I have this weird story. I went to Argentina for a week and I heard this tango song for the first time and was obsessed with the song. I googled it, downloaded it and kept listening to the song played from my phone all over Buenos Aires.
I came home and told my mom about the song. Thinking I was showing her something new. She said: oh I know this song. This is your grandma's favourite song and she loved going to Buenos Aires!
I thought it was a weird coincidence. The other place I really feel at home is Italy and my paternal ancestors are Italians. It's just natural to me. Even though I was not raised there, I get it.
But the maddest story I can share is the one of my friend Brenda. She was adopted when she was 2 months old. She was never told she was adopted so she grew up in this traditional family in the countryside of Virginia, USA.
She went on trip to Spain, right after she graduated from high school, and she instantly fell in love with Madrid. In just months she was fluent in Spanish like she'd always known it. And she has no accent when she speaks Spanish, nothing.
Her family back home got upset that she would not return home, she got a job and started to live her life there like she had never "left". Tensions grew and eventually her aunt spilled the beans one day and told her she had been adopted and her mother was from Madrid!
I think there must be something ingrained in our DNA or are these just coincidences? I think not.
I didn't visit the country of my ancestors per se but I did visit the place in which my father grew up and spent a huge chunk of his childhood.
My British grandfather was a doctor and worked in the British Hong Kong government health department. My father and his brother were both born in British colonial Hong Kong. The family moved back to Britain when my father was twelve. Up until that time, they lived in various government-provided villas on Hong Kong Island.
My grandmother admitted to me that they enjoyed a very luxurious and comfortable life in Hong Kong. After visiting Hong Kong Island earlier this year I can recognise the privilege behind their decadent lifestyle. Hong Kong Island is the most expensive part of Hong Kong to live. It has many beautiful beaches and a number of villas, which are very spacious compared to the shoe box apartments most locals live in.
How did visiting Hong Kong Island make me feel?
I felt happy to see and connect with the past and the history of my family. At the same time I felt a bit guilty because my family lived such an opulent lifestyle compared to that of the locals back then and today.