Day 31: Leaving a Mark

I may have left the country of my birth, but I will always have a bit of South Africa in me. It shows through my accent, my manner of speaking, my beliefs, and even in the precautions that I make. Living in South Africa and experiencing most of my life there has shaped who I am and the choices that I have made in the past – and continue to make even now. A part of the South Africa I grew up in resides within me.

I have lived in the city of Toronto for ten years now and I feel that the city has also left its mark on me. I have learned to live within a city in a two bedroom apartment. I have forgone the space and the lifestyle I grew up with; I no longer see large stretches of veld on the horizon. I experience the life of a pedestrian now more than I did before – an experience that causes me to structure my time in a different way.

The home of my past and the home of my present both influence me. Would I like to change the mark that both have left on me? I think not as without their mark, I would not be the person who I am now.

photo (10)If you have missed any of my Migrating North posts, head on over here

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

(This post was written for the FMF 31 day challenge hosted by Kate Motaung. Today’s prompt is: leave)

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28 thoughts on “Day 31: Leaving a Mark

  1. I’m visiting from FMF. Your take of the word Leave was different. Places DO leave a mark on you, and literally make you a different person. Good thoughts on “leave”. Wishing you happiness.

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  2. Interesting post Colline, homes, when I was kid my parents moved around a lot, we moved nearly every year or two, so home was something I was ever attached to, it was transient, I guess. As a married person and mother, we have lived in our house now for over 20 years, and it seems strange to be stuck in one place. I think you are right, you do adjust and compensate, but previous homes never really leave you.

    If this is Day 31, does that mean you have finished this challenge? I will really miss these, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading them.

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  3. well done, Colline. i have enjoyed these 31 days, and what an appropriate note on which to end your 31 days of Migrating North.
     
    where we are does leave a mark – and at the same time i think we leave a mark too. even as being somewhere leaves its mark on us, the people we meet there and the adventures and experiences we encounter leave a mark on us which in turn will influence the mark we leave on others.
     
    no man is an island.
     
    thanks for sharing your story. it can’t have always been easy to share, but it was insightful. and i am sure helpful for others who have moved to another country not out of pleasure but out of duress. bless you for your courage.

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    1. I definitely agree with you. There are many people I can think of who have left their mark on me. And as a teacher, I know that each year I affect those who learn with me.
      Thank you as well for your comment on my series. I appreciate what you have said. It was not always easy to write and I can only hope that others could learn from what I have written.

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  4. A very stark contrast in your lifestyle and location Colline.
    You have experienced the best of two worlds, and both would leave an indelible mark on your persona.
    Ian

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  5. Wonderful writing dear Colline, and you expressed so nicely the feelings and thoughts. Exactly I agree with you. I enjoyed reading your story. Thank you, have a nice day, love, nia

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    1. That is so true – and when you visit your place of birth it all comes back. I saw this when we visited my husband’s country of birth a few years ago. He so quickly changed his mannerisms and took on the manner of speaking from his childhood.

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          1. it is interesting about accents. from a sociolinguistic perspective, the accent is sometimes the only thing that readily connects you to your country of origin. especially in the cases of people who leave their home country because they have been forced to do so, or out of duress, or when they have a definite pride in their place of origin, many make the subconscious choice to retain their accent – that tie to their home country.
             
            for those who willingly leave their home country behind and who are starting a new life intentionally and with no need to connect to their roots or sense of homesickness, they tend not to retain as strong an accent.
             
            so went the theory when i first heard it expressed this way long ago. while that could be an over-generalization, and while it also may be possible that the theory has long since been overturned with another, there does seem to be something to it. and it is not a bad thing, it is just reflective of the affinity people have of the place the left behind, for whatever reason.

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            1. This is an interesting theory and one I would readily believe. Personally I am proud to be South African. And my daughter? She loves that she was born in another country and works hard on keeping her accent. Often she checks in with us on how to express a word 🙂

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  6. I think (without having read all your posts) that your two worlds have also influenced you to be a better teacher. You understand change, difference, citizenship, migration. Your students are the beneficiaries of this.

    Sorry I didn’t keep up with your posts, and missed chunks of your journey. Congrats on making it 31 days. I just couldn’t

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