“I came here when I was 20, from Macedonia. At the time it was still Yugoslavia. I was a student, I came here for 3 months. Then I finished my studies in Yugoslavia, but they weren’t recognized here, because it wasn’t the same language, the same diploma etc. If I came back to live here it was only to make my financial situation better, while thinking that after that I’d return to Yugoslavia. But with time, the children they are born here, they grew up here, they were educated here. And if you tell them: “listen, papa comes from this country over there”, they’re going to reply “over there no one knows me, I am born here”.
I know a family from Italy, from Napoli. The guy had saved money like me all his life, and he built over there a little house so that his children could return there. His children grew up in Geneva, and they built their life here. One day he tells me: “I made a big mistake! All that the money I had saved, and my children they say: but where is papa’s house? All my savings of 40 years that I put in this house and they tell me: but we are in Geneva!”. In the end he comes and goes, but his children they develop here.
I still miss Macedonia. Because a man will naturally always be attracted to the earth where he made his first steps. I will always be attracted to it. There is the love of the earth and the love of the place where I played games, where I went to class, where I played with my friends from school, where I used to walk with my parents. It makes me happy to go back and to walk around there. But if I return to Yugoslavia, a young person who grew up there doesn’t have anything in common with me either.”
(Rue de la Corraterie | translated from French)