Have you had a "journey home" in which you discovered something about your past, your family or yourself? We'd like to hear about it. We'll post a selection of the stories we receive on the My Journey Home site.
Tell us your story!
City: Providence, RI
Sometimes I feel a tragic loneliness; that though I am here, in this city, among so many -- I am unknown. These short films helped me to know that what I have experienced is not unique. Abandoned by my father in 1959 I located him in the Dominican Republic in 1988. A broken alcoholic trying to find redemption. My forgiveness of him was essential for my own sanity -- a fate not shared by other family members who'se character have been tainted by hate. He died in 1998 and left me with bittersweet musings.
City: Naperville, IL
My journey home was similar to Faith's, and yet different. In my case, the journey home was a trip to Japan to meet my mother's culture and family. For as long as I can remember growing up in the U.S., I was always curious about Japan and its culture, and so after college, headed off to find out what I could, also lured by a romance with a Japanese fellow. As my growing-up years were tainted by some amount of racism, I thought I would be welcomed with open arms once I got to Tokyo, having assumed that my "differences" would be less noticeable. For the most part my experiences in Japan were very good, and I choose to remember much of it fondly. But it was a bit of a shock (in 1978) to find out that there was a stigma in being the daughter of a war-bride, of being only "half", as the children of mixed marriages were known. And my intended future mother-in-law was not at all happy about the prospect of having a mixed-pedigree daughter-in-law, who had a college education, no less! (The marriage to the Japanese fellow never took place.) By the time I left Japan, in 1985, things had changed quite a bit; it was quite fashionable to be half-Japanese, as you were considered to have the best traits of both cultures. Some of my half-Japanese students were by then top models in Japan.
My mother's family came from Okinawa, and when I got to meet them, I was made to feel very welcome; they treated me with great devotion and attention. It was a wonderful experience for me to finally get to meet these people, for it enabled me to understand more of my mother in the context of the culture in which she was raised, expressed in her siblings and their behaviors. As the only member of my family having made this trip, I feel richer for having gone and gotten to know them.
City: Tampa, Florida
The first leg of my journey to "Home" began one hot August day when several of us arrived in New York. Coming from Trinidad, British West Indies along with others of parents who had migrated to the United States earlier. Our families created a loving village in Brooklyn. Most of us attended the same schools, and spent weekends together discovering all that New York had to offer. Memories of my childhood in Trinidad faded and Brooklyn, became "Home" it is where I go when I need a hug of friendship.
As a teenager I heard Africa's call and began my quest to find information about my grandfather Sam Hawkins who moved to Nigeria in 1920, becoming Station Master at Edo, owning a bakery in Ebute Meta and a nursing home in Lagos. Like Faith Adiele the beating of my ancestral drums beckoned and I traveled to Nigeria ALONE in search of my "heritage." While I found no relatives, I found an extended family, long lasting friendships, welcoming open arms and a place called "Home."
City: Alexandria, VA
I just finished watching "My Journey Home." It was terrific! I loved all three of the stories but I must admit that the story of Faith and her mother best reflected my own past. I too am a White American who got swept up in the spirit of the civil rights movement and by a relationship with a handsome and high spirited Nigerian-Ibo man.
However we married, just long enough to produce 3 daughters. The cultural differences were much more difficult to navigate than the problems caused by racial differences, and I ended up raising my daughters alone. The two eldest experienced similar experiences on a visit to Nigeria. I can truly attest to the reality of the stories told on this program. Keep up the wonderful work. Programs like this one touch on the variety of lifestyles and what it means to be a modern day American.