Lately I've been reading my "baby" brother's blog . What struck me about it was his subtitle, "Nobody tells you when you get born here how much you'll come to love it and how you'll never belong here." Never belong.
That's what I've been thinking, almost like the rhythm of a railroad, and I bike the side streets of Tianjin lately. Never belong, never belong. This is not my country. I have learned to cope, I like some things about it, and I can learn to even (dare I say?) love it here. But I will never be a Chinese person. I'll never belong here.
Local people point that out to me regularly. "Waiguoren? Waiguoren." Foreigner. Literally “outside country person.” I am reminded of TV shows in which some hick says, “Too many fur’ners ‘round here.” I’m not sure what American people group that represents; maybe it’s the perpetual tension of the southerners toward the northerners. Maybe it represents the attitude of ignorant people who don’t realize that an overwhelming majority of Americans have ancestors born in some other country.
Waiguoren. Foreigner. Never belong. Interestingly, every time I have heard that the last few days (and it is at least once a day), a verse pops into my mind from Hebrews 11. It says that people of faith “admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth.” I don’t have anything profound to say about that; I think it is profound in its own right. What I am concluding is that every time someone calls me a foreigner, I should smile, because my Father is reminding me that I am a citizen of a far better country – and I don’t mean America.
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