What if I just stayed in Malaysia? Time and again, my mind wanders to this place. It’s particularly present at the moment, being surrounded by stories of migration over #ESEAHM2023. A story in particular shared the similarities of moving to a new place (to whatever extent) to the process of propagation.
The sense of displacement can be jarring and it takes time to take root. And I don’t think 17 year old me realised that. I just learnt to make do, to push through.
I don’t regret leaving at all, in fact I do appreciate the life I’ve carved out over 6500 miles away from where home was. Where family still is. I just don’t quite think I fully understood just what I would be losing as I gain in other ways.
The number of years I’ve lived in the UK is slowly equaling the number of years I’ve lived in Malaysia. While certain parts of me have become increasingly distant, I’ve also discovered new sides to David including a deepened connection to my birth name 家伟.
This I don’t think would have happened if not for distance from my birth country. Appreciation is truly bittersweet in that sense.
I’ve learnt that home can exist in many places. And if anything, I’m grateful that my world has been made bigger from my experience of migration.
So much to process and reflect upon, and I’m grateful that September has now become a time for me to sit with this complexity, brewing in the nurturing company of others who’ve been on similar journeys.
Find out more about East & South East Asian Heritage Month in the UK.