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21 Of The Most Powerful Things Ever Said About Being An Immigrant

"Do you understand the sadness of geography?"

We asked members of the BuzzFeed Community for the most powerful things ever said about being an immigrant. Here are the best of their beautiful responses.

1. "They have no idea what it is like to lose home at the risk of never finding home again, have your entire life split between two lands and become the bridge between two countries."

— Rupi Kaur, Milk & Honey

Suggested by Laura Tamarah Hernández, Facebook

2. "Is it my fault if I do not look like an English girl and I do not talk like a Nigerian?"

— Chris Cleaves, Little Bee

Suggested by Mariah Saijon Koolthong, Facebook

3. “Do you know what a foreign accent is? It’s a sign of bravery.”

― Amy Chua, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

Suggested by jamiem4f1ab4812

4. “First generation kids, I’ve always thought, are the personification of déjà vu.”

—Durga Chew-Bose, "How I Learned To Stop Erasing Myself"

Suggested by Hannah Giorgis

5. "In America, you don't get to decide what race you are. It is decided for you."

— Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah
Suggested by Roy Munoz

6. “She was nobody here. It was not just that she had no friends and family; it was rather that she was a ghost in this room, in the streets on the way to work, on the shop floor. Nothing meant anything.”

― Colm Tóibín, Brooklyn

Suggested by Marie Telling

7. "You say goodbye to your country, your people, your home, your friends, your family. Everything you knew. You cry the entire flight."

Arnesa Buljusmic-Kustura

Suggested by Shireen Ahmed, Twitter


"so, here you are

too foreign for home

too foreign for here.

never enough for both."

—Ijeoma Umebinyuo, “diaspora blues“

Suggested by beeelle

9. “These days, it feels to me like you make a devil’s pact when you walk into this country… it drags you in and suddenly you are unsuitable to return, your children are unrecognisable, you belong nowhere.”

— Zadie Smith, White Teeth

Suggested by heleenj2

10. "This is for the ones who pump tangoing mixed blood

Of entities not quite white and not quite black

Not quite indigenous and not quite invasive"

— Adeline Nieto, A Pure Medley

Suggested by Anjali Patel

11. "Do you understand the sadness of geography?"

— Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient

Suggested by Return of the Native memes, Facebook

12. "Exiles feed on empty dreams of hope. I know it. I was one."

— Aeschylus, Agamemnon

Suggested by Rick Fabricius, Facebook

13. "I go to seek a great perhaps."

—Last words of poet Francois Rabelais

Submitted by jjk46115b7e4

14. “For being a foreigner Ashima is beginning to realize, is a sort of lifelong pregnancy — a perpetual wait, a constant burden, a continuous feeling out of sorts.”

—Jhumpa Lahiri, The Namesake

15. “Immigrants, we get the job done.”

—Lin Manuel Miranda, Hamilton

Suggested by abbyc419ba0c79

16. ”All Americans have something lonely about them. I don’t know what the reason might be, except maybe that they’re all descended from immigrants.”

— Ryū Murakami, In the Miso Soup

Suggested by eunicee2

17. “It’s said that you can never go home again, and it’s true enough, of course. But the opposite is also true. You must go back, and you always go back, and you can never stop going back, no matter how hard you try.”

— Gregory David Roberts, Shantaram

Submitted by usa43v3r>


"you have to understand,

that no one puts their children in a boat

unless the water is safer than the land"

—Warsan Shire, "Home"

Suggested by Shireen Ahmed, Twitter

19. “Time stops at the point of severance, and no subsequent impressions muddy the picture you have in mind. The house, the garden, the country you have lost remain forever as you remember them.”

— Eva Hoffman, Lost in Translation: Life in a New Language

Submitted by litczyk

20. "And then you'll catch yourself thinking about something or someone who has no connection with the past. Someone who's only yours. And you'll realize... that this is where your life is."

— Colm Tóibín, Brooklyn

Suggested by Salimah Mohamed, Facebook

21. “It would be simpler if English and life were logical.”

— Tanhha Lai, Inside Out & Back Again

Suggested by 19coughlj

Don't see your favorite quote here? Tell us in the comment section below. And if you'd like to be featured in more posts like this, make sure to follow the BuzzFeed Community on Facebook and Twitter.

UPDATE Two quotes were removed at the author's request.