Being away from your hometown widens your perspective on a lot of things and noticing the details that you’ve never noticed during those long days of meticulous routine work, tiresome attempts of surviving social situations, and finding identity. After coming back for merely three weeks, it has only reinforced the belief that there are people, people like me or my siblings, who just don’t find their hometown a suitable place to grow up in. It’s extremely challenging to find your own identity and come to any compromise with yourself in a city that puts so much emphasis on superficiality, not to mention their condescending methods of homogenizing culture. Diversity is close to non-existent.
Once you take your first steps into the futuristic looking airport, which can be considered as a tourist attraction in itself, you’re received by the smiles of negativity, the hugs of pessimism, the greetings of cynicism. Your senses are numbed by the air, which is – to my surprise – not polluted by an overwhelming blast of car exhaust but of hopelessness. Physically, the environment is beautiful in the sense that you will know it will economically thrive in the upcoming years and that it will be remembered as the technologically advanced “heaven”, but it is merely a cover, a facade to bury the hollowness of people’s lives. Of course, I am not saying that their lives don’t have meaning. It’s just that once you see the sourness of their “neutral” expressions – as in seeing how gravity does take a toll on their faces that even facelifts can’t bring it up – you’ll figure that there are probably some things that aren’t working out for them all the time…or they just find minimal value in what they do on a daily basis.
I must admit, I was initially unsettled and unnerved by the tsunami of negativity, pressured by the continuous gawks and discouraged by the casual but constant comments on my appearance. I was angry at one point at how superficial people can be around here. But fuck it. Let them judge all they want because it only shows who they are and limit their abilities to actually grow into compassionate human beings.