What is this Hearts Abroad thing…?
Based on their personal history as an immigrant or first generation member of the African Diaspora, people share what they believe to be the unique challenges and joys of dating people from their country of origin and/or other African countries.
You are welcome to submit your piece in the Comments section at the bottom of the page, using your real name or not, and letting us know how long you’ve been a diaspora.
Hearts Abroad # 3
Name (real or made-up): DustyFoot
Diaspora since…: 2009
Your absence is an assault on my solitude. Like the gloom of an untimely loss, it casts itself over me absolutely.
And then you’re back. Long-subdued rainbow colors explode into a hyper-reality as I speak a word, you breathe another and a sentence comes out dancing to its own rhythm.
It’s a high so thorough that catches me unawares even when I see it coming, it conjures a world uninhabitable to anyone but us. Terra incognita it may be, I’m swift to throw it all up in free fall; let it settle into its own place.
In that state, I fit snugly on my side of the hyphen next to yours.
You make towards departure; our exclamations stammer mid-sentence. My, my, body, mind and heart together tug at me to keep you another minute, entice you into a wordless kind of play. Just stay. Hush time with me; watch how these tectonic plates lock, drift, whirl around each other.
We’re soaring again. Just at the thought of it, a denial more overwhelming than submission.
But you leave too soon; the impossible closeness of an us caves my lungs inwards. Blandness batters the solitude I played by myself in before you, cherished and longed to be left alone to create in. Every place we frolicked into and out of feels now desecrated, once by your presence then again by your absence.
Name (real or made-up): Kenubish
Diaspora since…: 90’s
Name (real or made-up): Joys>Challenges
Diaspora since…: 1995 at the tender age of 10
My story: A female’s perspective from an Ethiopian diasporan
– There is mutual understanding of certain habesha phenomena, which make for wonderful awkwardness if the understanding is not there.
– There is a certain kind of ease to the relationship due to the lack of familial friction. Both his and your parents are boisterously happy and they “get” each other – your mother and his mother with your dad and his dad, chatting-it-up like old childhood friends.
– You “get “each other and the many Ethiopianness that make you who you are. You find tire siga with a dap of mitmita mouth-watering, not nauseating (unless one or both of you are too “Americanized” and have now become vegetarian/vegan). You both find that grubbing off of a big tray of food with a group of people, all without the use of utensils, is the best part of the meal.
– You feel each other’s dilemma – the neither-here-nor-there, the one foot in Addis, another in the States, dilemma, which lies at the core of your mutual existence.
– Contrary to common and natural assumption, there can be profound disconnect between an Ethiopian woman and man. The great distance traveled far from home and all that they were makes for two lost souls. And it makes sense that two lost souls cannot find each other. If they do, they cannot lead each other.
– Relationships are wrought with enough troubles already. Why try to duke it out in a foreign land, while simultaneously trying to settle the above-mentioned dilemma?
– I can mention other generalizations here that are part of the challenge (i.e. Ethiopian men are too prideful for their own good) but I won’t because, again, they are mere generalizations.