Quick question: what is [insert whatever country, city or state you are from] like? That, my dear reader, is the most asked question I’m sure everybody gets if they look, sound or even smell different than the others around them (minus the typical surface question of “how are you doing?”).
I truly believe that people forget that they, too, are different and unique to everybody else. No matter if you are from Africa (like me), Europe or a small country town no one knows about, you will always be a “foreigner” to someone else. After living in America for nine years as an African, it is time for me to reveal that everybody, if you don’t already know, is a foreigner to a foreigner, too!
- Do you speak African? Honestly, every time people ask me this question, I giggle in my head and just ponder on the fact that I could ask whether they speak American (or Mexican or Brazilian). I don’t, of course; I just politely respond back with, “sadly no, that would be a lot of languages since Africa is a big continent with a bunch of countries.” I have to say that coming from Africa, I do speak several other languages, but African is not one of them. #sorrynotsorry.
- What do you eat? When I arrived to the States, this question really threw me off because I never really thought about it until I experienced pizza, hotdogs, beef jerky… you get the picture. When I lived in Uganda (one of the places where I grew up), I always watched American cartoons and shows with my eldest brother. In particular, characters were always eating in the cartoon, “Scooby-Doo.” The food that I saw was not the typical African dishes my grandmother would prepare, so I was curious about what other people were eating at their dinner tables, just as you are curious about what fills that rumbling sound in foreigners’ stomachs.
- What is Africa like? I have to admit, this is the silliest question I always get. I say this simply because Africa is a huge continent, and little ol’ me has only been to three of the 54 countries. But, when I was younger and living in Kenya, I asked a missionary lady what America was like… so, we are even.
- What is the weather like? Living close to the equator, one would assume that the sun is burning my flesh off, but nope, it’s not. I typically don’t mind this question simply because pretty much everybody everywhere is always curious about the weather. If you don’t believe me, watch the news! No matter where you are from or what country you are in, you will likely see a weatherman somewhere in the broadcast. As a matter of fact, you have a small device called a cell phone that actually lets you know what the weather is going to be like – pretty convenient, I know!
Coming from a place where snow wasn’t even talked about, though, I completely understand when people ask me how hot Africa gets. In the back of my mind, I’m asking the complete opposite – how cold does it get where you are from?
As you can see, we are not at all that different. We are all curious human beings who try to understand the world and the people that surround us. But, do remember before asking a question, Google is just a click away. Use it!
Scovia Wilson is a level 1 intern at Obsidian. Interested in learning about our internships? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.