8 January 2017

Discussing with my father about one of the crossroads in his/our lives. In ‘91, he had to choose between staying in the US (we moved there about 2 years prior), or coming back to Belgium. The choice was pretty much made for him, due to some bad luck. We moved back, and I barely remember any of my time there.

But it’s fun to wonder what would have happened if we stayed. My father thinks he’d probably have an extra house and a boat in the Ozarks. There would be a gate to pass before we got to our street. As a 6 year old, I’d pledge every day, and quickly forget about my native language. Me and my sibling would be a quite embarrassed about our family “back home”, and especially our grandfather, who didn’t own a pair shoes till he turned 12. We’d take the oath at 18. My brother would work somewhere in DC, my sister probably at the Pentagon, and I’d be in California. Instead of hanging out with the wrong crowd in Berlin, it would’ve been the wrong crowd in Berkley. We’d see each other at Thanksgiving and Xmas, weddings and funerals. Our extended family would come and visit, but there’s so many I would never remember their names.

I guess it wouldn’t be too different from staying. But imagine these are parallel universes, and through a fluke, they get merged. What I really wonder is: would American me get along with European me? Or would it be similar to listening to your own voice through a tape recorder?