Is this true for you?: You like to jump into an airplane and then get off in whatever country you like. You travel around, get an impression of what you believe the other country is – and home again into the culture you are familiar with. We are living in times of easy tourism, what a wonderful thing to get to know other countries a little bit. But can you imagine LIVING in those countries? Not only for a year or two, but for important chunks of your life?
Imagine you are born in one country, then you move to another country when you go to school – and you certainly don’t belong to the tribe yet, you first must learn the rules of that other country. Well, then 10 years later you go to a different place and you are seen again as a foreigner. And finally you do the big step and move to the country of your ancestors – and certainly this doesn’t give you the sense of belonging either. So where is your HOMELAND? Nowhere? or the whole WORLD?
This will be the question we are going to explore in Connections this week withShe will tell us about her story of continuous non-belonging, the ride through countries and epochs. Your hosts, and are suited well for this discussion as both are living in a different country from the country they were born and educated in.
If you have a similar experience we are happy to receive your shares – and when you have always lived in the same culture and never experienced this deep feeling of non-belonging come and get inspired to be happy and grateful for what you have.
I hail from Scottish parents, but was born in South Africa when it was under British rule, an immigrant Scottish family member in a country with an African majority and many languages and cultures. When I was 7 we emigrated to Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), and I was again something of an outsider because I had moved there from South Africa, and again I was in a White minority.
I left my Rhodesian school a year early as it was possible to enter university there a year before it was possible in Rhodesia. Here of course they considered that I was ‘foreign’ as I was from Rhodesia, and I did not speak Afrikaans, by that time the official language of government.
And so it continued. I studied medicine in South Africa, and when I finally emigrated to the UK – back to my family roots – I found I did not understand the UK medical system nor the disease patterns here.
Like both of you, I have not been born into the culture in which I was succoured and raised, and educated. I cannot imagine what it would feel like to have a strong national identity, and to deeply know and understand the culture and systems of the country in which you live.
ABOUT The KNEEguru
co-owner, 1995 – present
I qualified as a medical practitioner in 1974. I developed a special interest in knee surgery and rehabilitation during my early years as an anaesthetist (anaesthesiologist) working for knee surgeons. Later I became involved in the educational activities of The Knee Foundation and the management of the Droitwich Knee Clinic (both of which I co-founded with ex-husband knee surgeon, Angus Strover). I launched the KNEEguru website in 1997, to provide a meeting place for patients to learn about knee problems from each other. I worked with clinicians to build informative and illustrated content for these patients to have the right tools to educate each other, but the site has become an education hub for anybody wanting to know more about this orthopaedic niche. Finally, as a further service to patients, I established a directory of clinicians with the appropriate skills to offer help with knee problems.