Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Long Gone

We have spent a good deal of class time discussing the idea of what makes us who we are and how travel relates to them. In many ways travel can help us to realize who we are. When we travel we are able to see things that we normally don’t. In seeing that which doesn’t represent us, we can come to a better understanding of that which does. In Tales of the Tikongs, however, Hau’ofa presents an entirely different idea. Tevito Poto, who has spent considerable time traveling out of his native country of Tiko is told by his uncle upon his return that “you have been away for far too long for your own good, for the good of the church, the Family” (p 45). Here we see the idea that by traveling for too long we can forget who we truly are, or rather become someone new. This is an opposing idea of travel that we have yet to see, and is a particularly frightening thought concerning travel. Nobody wants to be rejected by family members or those who loved them. However, this seems to be a natural reaction when someone has been away for too long. It almost seems as if home is the place that is truly foreign when we have been away from there for too long. Returning home after a long time, what was once familiar may seem unusual. There may be significant changes, or we may just not remember everything as well as we would expect to.

Tevito Poto is later told that “[he] must shed [his] foreign ways in order to lead a proper life here” (p 45). While he has been gone for very long and seems to have forgotten the ways of his homeland, it seems that it is still possible for him to become a native again. While it is always strange at first to return home after being gone for so long, I don’t think that a person’s true home, representative of who he or she truly is, can ever fully be forgotten. I can see this myself just from returning home after being at school for a few months. The first couple nights back in my house seem strange. However, I eventually remember what its like to live at home. While traveling for long periods of time may make home seem distant, as something essential to who we are, a person’s true home is something that can never leave of be left for good.

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