The grounds where I planted my roots lie over seven thousand miles away. I’m here now and it’s been two years, but it still feels like I have one foot across the seas. I still see ghosts of my childhood home in every concrete building that I pass. I see my hometown submerged in February flood in these puddles of rain. I feel the blazing sun against my face in England’s frosty autumn air, and everything reminds me of home.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy now and I’m grateful for every tear that my parents have shed to get me here. And it’s taken me more than a year, but at last there are people I’m glad to call friends. I now have memories of nights spent in comfortable silences, of cooking meals and sitting around a carpeted living room, of a rainy storm outside while we’re heated from hysterical laughter, Shark Tale playing quietly in the background.
Blindfold me and my feet will take me around the twists and turns on campus. I know how to wake up an hour before a lecture and still have time for breakfast and a hot shower. I recognise faces in the library and I know which days to come to the Hive for a plate of jollof rice, but I’d be lying to say that I’m not still haunted by the memories of home. I love a hearty roast dinner, but it’s simply not the same as my mother’s oxtail soup, and though flapjacks have become my guilty pleasure, they’ll never be the familiar indulgence of a chunky martabak slice.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that no matter how far you travel and no matter how much you think you’re settled in this new land, your roots will always remain in the same grounds you were raised. Not even a lifetime of new memories will ever change that.