The Pain of Leaving

It's like forgetting the words to your favorite song You can't believe it You were always singing along It was so easy and the words so sweet - Regina Spektor Interviewing Donna in last week's podcast brought back a lot of feelings and memories for me, the fellow...

From Stateless to Citizen

What is it like to be without a country? To be born a stateless refugee? To have no citizenship, no passport, no place to belong?

Mamoun Abu Naser knows. He was born a Palestinian refugee in Syria, and has lived as a stateless person for his entire life.

This Place, That Place and the Other

For migrants, answering the question about where we come from is never simple: we are the products of the different places in which we have lived and the people who have surrounded us.

In A Blink Of An Eye

Have you ever thought about a window when you thought of home? I don’t mean the metaphorical window, but the very real thing that is not meant to be looked at, but rather looked through to see something else. Or to be seen (if you’re that kind...

The Blood of the Soul

I spent my morning at the Italian consulate today, submitting my application to become Italian. Hearing the cadences of Italian (even the elevated, exasperated tones of Italians grappling with red tape on either side of the counter of a government office) took me back...

A Sail For Peace

“…It was our way to abolish government-made borders and show the world as one beautiful nation whose ruler was the sea, where nature’s laws are strict, yet simple, and the inhabitants are all equally unique.”

The Good Old Language Struggle

Yesterday I was thinking of the downs of living “abroad”. I must say I very rarely put myself this question, but I know that it is a very relatable topic to most expats. If you are one, you might immediately have a whole spectrum of ideas on it. Things like the...

Walking into a Memory

One of the beautiful things about moving often is that you experience the "little things" of life in so many different ways. Like the smell of the plants outside your window. Or the way different fruits taste when they're in season. Or the cadence of stray overheard...

The Lily and the Rose: Living Between East and West

“The West for me means ambition, the East contentment. My heart is ever in one, my soul in the other.” – Ameen Rihani, 1921. Every morning when I looked out of my bedroom window in Karachi, I would see them. Rows and rows of carefully planted lilies in my...

Home as Metaphor

I woke up this morning from a dream in which I'd just bought a new house. It was a big house, but complicated, with odd passages meandering in this and that direction, and bedrooms sprouting off from one another like mushrooms. The thresholds of the various rooms were...

The Roots of Dispersion

I often wonder how it feels to be tied to a place, to know that your history happened there, that the rhythm of the seasons and the pulse of life are echoed by the beating of your heart. How does it feel to be secure in your identity, to say ‘this is where I come...

The Privilege of Home

My view about the concept of 'home' drastically changed when I saw my neighbour's house being destroyed in Jerusalem in 2013. By that stage, I had lived in eight countries, left a dozen homes behind, and despite having loved all of them, the two homes I most longed...

Authentic Identity – Filipino Kids Growing Up Abroad

One of the things we're very keen on here at Hiraeth is reframing the narrative of migration to emphasize our shared experiences, rather than resorting to terms that can end up compartmentalizing those experiences based on characteristics like skin color, religion,...


In the Netherlands today, many of us woke up and heaved a sigh of relief at the election results. One of the biggest causes for optimism was that 80% of eligible voters turned out to vote. So today, we wanted to share this work by the British artist and protester Bob...

The Failing of My Heart – Nâzım Hikmet

Nâzım Hikmet (1902-1963) was a Turkish poet for whom the idea of home was a poignant one. An idealist and revolutionary living in a turbulent time, he spent much of his life in exile or in prison, and many of his poems are redolent of loss and longing. Although...

Expanding the Boundaries of History

Since I talked about Amy's book and my chapter in it on the podcast this week, I thought it might be interesting to give a little bit of background here on the blog as well. A year and a half ago, when I began working for the Expatriate Archive Centre (EAC) in The...

How To Return

My first attempt to return home was close to disastrous, and stayed my last. At the age of twenty-three I moved to Moscow, and back in with my father. After only two months in my old bed I couldn’t pack things fast enough to return… home again.

How I Made Friends With Facebook

Lately at Hiraeth we've been talking about ways that people who move around stay in touch with friends and family in other places. We've come a long way since the days of paper letters that took weeks to arrive in another country. How do we use different technologies...

A New Home and an Invented Language

As members of the editorial board here at Hiraeth, we all have our own stories of migration. You'll already know if you've listened to podcast #2 that my kids grew up with the idea that periodically moving to another country was just a normal part of life. Listening...


  • Hiraeth Ep. 32- The Third Space 06/05/2019
    In this episode, Monica talks to artist Farnaz Gholami. Farnaz is originally from Iran, but has lived in Boston, South Africa and now London. Farnaz talks about how her experience of moving and living in different places has affected her work. She talks about what it means to to find home, neither here nor there, […]
  • Hiraeth Ep. 31- Reckless in Saying Yes 11/02/2019
    Describing herself as a child of "leavers and movers", Alissa Herbaly Coons has spent her life finding home around the world. From age five until the 9th grade, she lived in what she describes as a "very American" suburban neighbourhood in Montana. In high school she suddenly landed in Hungary in the middle of a […]
  • Hiraeth Ep. 30- Choosing to Walk Away 20/12/2018
    Donna Bardsley grew up in a big, warm Mormon family on the west coast of the United States. Even more than her nationality, she considered Mormonism her primary identifier, and couldn’t imagine how to leave, even as the belief system she grew up with felt increasingly irrelevant to her life. For more info visit:
  • Hiraeth Ep. 29- Window To Another Reality 24/09/2018
    ‘I like to think of my work as a window to another reality, perhaps escapist and enchanting, like an hotel room, which is a symbol of a different reality than our daily life; perhaps a dreamlike experience, a place which is a temporary home.’ Michal Raz was born in Jerusalem and in spite of growing […]
  • Hiraeth Ep. 28- Coming of Age in Trump's America 16/07/2018
    I had the pleasure of talking to two very astute young ladies. My daughter Luna and her friend Okxana. Both are 19 years old and go to college in Los Angeles, California. Luna has grown up between Europe and California. She lives in LA with her mom during the school year and, with her brother, […]

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