Thursday, December 12, 2013

A Tale of Two Cities

I am a hybrid.
Yes, a hybrid who belongs to two different places or origins; one who could survive in both environments.

It was a unique term concocted by myself and a friend who was in the same predicament.
In fact, it was far worse for his situation where he had been moving from one home to another over the years since he was born and he had grown so accustomed to his nomad life that he no longer felt it was out of the ordinary. Only problem, he could not define or pinpoint that exact place he would call his home; or the place of his origins, as he had told me in one of our conversations. Of course, many would laugh at this and would hardly call this a predicament for the place of birth would be naturally referred to one's home. However, is that truly the accurate perception of home? What if the birth place was just where the labor took place while the mother happened to be in that place at that time of delivery? The child would grow up elsewhere, does the birth place still constitute the root of one's origins?
It all depends on individual perception as everyone tends to have their own stand on definition, and there is no right or wrong, for I remembered a saying that goes, "A home is the place close to the heart"
Therefore, any place which one regards fondly of could be where they called home. It is a place they longed to be and return to; a place filled with nostalgia and special sentiments that only the person would know of.

For myself, being termed as a hybrid was also because of a confusion spurned by people around me; especially those who had just gotten to know me. They could never remember where I truly belong, and just usually went with their own assumptions, which frankly, I do not attempt to correct nor even feel the least offended of being misunderstood. In fact, there is no misunderstanding or mistake for even I myself could not distinguish my homes from one another. You see, I was born in one state, raised in another, then returned to work and work brought me back and forth between these two states. I have families in both states; and frankly, both are equally as dear to my hearts and I do not ever want to decide on just calling one home. I am proud of having both homes; and that unique sense of familiarity. Furthermore, it was not only these two states which ran in my bloodstream as there is another state which held a slight spot, but I would hardly call it home as I had never been raised nor born in that state.

Being a hybrid is not a derogatory matter; rather it is a label I carry proudly for being able to call two homes to my name. I am definitely of a city breed as both states are cities; and I have been living in both cities for years now. Traveling back and forth between these states have slowly crept into my lifestyle and I have grown so used to it. It is funny how I tend to miss one state when I am in the other; though I long to stay in the state (or both states). Perhaps this is a case of mixed identities?
While one is a complex metropolitan city, the other is a fast growing city in its developments and to me, that is having the best of both worlds and that was probably the main reason I would never feel out of place in either state. (Though of course, in terms of the shopping malls, the metropolitan city definitely has the upper hand).

I have gotten used to the smaller city state; with the smaller geographical area and also the convenience of driving around. The smaller yet closer knit community was another plus point, and perhaps there was a better level of safety in this state as well which makes me feel less worried (though not fully off guard). Don't get me wrong, having grown up in a complex city, safety was never a thing to be regarded lightly and it always pays to be paranoid as the saying "Better be safe than sorry" is all that we have been taught in a city where crime rates are constantly on the rise daily. Working in the state was perhaps less hectic, due to the working attitude and warmth of the locals; not to mention the lesser traffic flow/congestion during the peak hours. Commuting around the state may not be convenient with public transport, and one may need to own their own vehicle but still, traffic was never a major issue (though there was a spike in the traffic recently, and especially during the holidays due to the popularity of the state as a major tourism state in the world - not only Malaysia and Asia).

Therefore, the traffic was the first thing which I jumped at on my recent return to my metropolitan city home for my latest job. While I was happy to be able to return to my loved ones, I quickly realized that my lifestyle and daily routine was about to take on a change. Long hours at work were inevitable, and I was used to it so it was not really an issue. My day starts early and ends late, and most of the time I am dead tired by the time I reached home. The main issue lies in the traffic. One would think that leaving the office long after office hours would mean lesser traffic but no, I remembered how I was once stuck in traffic jam on my way home even though it was already midnight. It was frustrating, especially when I only had a few hours left to sleep before I had to wake up again for work and while I am usually a patient person, that was perhaps just intolerable and unacceptable. Well, I can't complain much, since I am after all, based in a city with ever growing population. It was always about the traffic, then the other major issue was the safety. I read with horror at the sickening crimes taking place almost every other day that makes me sick to the guts. I wonder whether there is still humanity left in the world sometimes. I do have the privilege to travel back to the other home on weekends, and it was like a change from the hustle bustle of the highly complex city. Not that the other city is not bustling, but perhaps it was more homely, due to its smaller geographical area.

Despite the similarities yet stark differences shared by both cities, I still find them dear to my heart as I call them my homes and I smile in agreement when people tell me how blessed I am to be able to call two homes to my name.
I couldn't agree more, after all, that makes it all the more unique, don't you think?

I am a Hybrid....and I am proud of it :-)

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