Two in one


by Ibé • This may be stating the obvious. But sometimes even the obvious takes time to sink in. So today, I’m watching TV–Another 48th hours of betrayal leads to murder– when the bloody scene blacks out to the 10 O’clock News. My TV lights up! My family room fills with the sound of happy children and I wondered why. I looked up at my television set and saw sun beaming on glistening snow-packed earth under the feet of children at play. The sheer joy that came from these people was extraordinary. The announcers, the parents, the children…it was as if right outside my door gold flakes had fallen from the sky. And the camera was right there to capture it, and tonight pour it into my family room in all its bounty.

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Maybe it was how it contrasted from the scene before, but man, I felt my TV come alive! All because of the weather. Because the temperature had peaked to almost 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Just few degrees above freezing!

That’s when it hit me: the weather is really a culture in this place!

Like I said, it’s stating the obvious. But then I thought about the weather back home in Guinea and Sierra Leone, and realized there was nothing to think about. All I know about the weather in those countries I learned after coming to America. It’s like the weather doesn’t exist in those parts of the world. During the rainy reason, it rains sometimes; it’s dry sometimes. During the dry season, it’s dry sometimes; it rains sometimes. And rain in and rain out, every morning we wake up knowing with almost certainty the day ahead will not just be sibling with the one before, but twins. Who needs thermometers.

If I made any sense in this posting, I hope it’s the simple recognition that to be an immigrant is to reconcile two sometimes drastically different places. And sometimes that difference is something as universal as the weather. Because you see, I understood perfectly well how the people on my TV felt. When I stepped outside today, I felt the same way. But unlike them, in my blood, another experience runs deep.
originally published February 1, 2009