“What are you? Let me guess.”

24854_10150160869445300_1918939_nReem Totonchi,
Madison, WI.

The guesses are almost never correct, unless they come from a fellow Middle-Easterner. “Where are you from?” they ask, eyes smiling and already knowing. “I’m half-Iraqi and half-Irish,” I say with a smile back. I never mind the question when it’s like this; less accusatory and exotifying than usual. In a lifelong search for home and place when both homes are so far away and my father’s is nearly extinct, I feel home in the knowing eyes and smile of my extended family, though they may be strangers. I seek cultural connections wherever I can find them and let the warmth of familiar accents, skin tones, and music flood over me as much as possible. I will always be searching.

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