The perks and woes of being a NiNi


First of all, apologies to all non-english speaking readers (or english-reading reader for that matter). This is the first woe of being a NiNi, chosing a language for a blog post can be quite difficult.

"A NiNi?" - You ask.

Yes, a NiNi.

NiNi stand short for "Ni esto, ni lo otro", spanisch for "Neither this nor that" and is a term used for things and people who are exactly this. For example people like me, neither Venezuelan nor German and also both at the same time.


NiNis have a minimum of two home-countries, if not more, because once you feel at home in two countries you do quite easily feel at home in other countries too (thus sometimes further complicating things). But it is nice without doubt, complicated, but nice.

You do not become a NiNi by birth necessarily. You can also become a NiNi by emigrating, being raised in a country different from your parents country, etc... So, as a matter of fact, everybody has the chance of becoming a NiNi! Yey!

But beware, it can also be difficult. Most of all, if you become a NiNi later in life and have to get used to your NiNi-ness. You will have to get used to things, that for a born NiNi like me are quite natural. For example: Get used to almost never having all your family and friends in one place. When you grow up with it, it is quite easy - you focus on the ones available and try to stay in touch with the others. If this doesn't work, don't worry: Even with bad communication a relationship to good friends and family can be rekindled any time. Never miss people, it makes you feel bad and in a few years you will see them again anyway. Also, there is Skype ;)

When you travel between homes, never focus on the things you are not going to have during your stay in your other home. Put those thoughts in a little box and put them away for a while. Just think about the nice things that will be in your other home. And if there are no nice things at all, reconsider if this is really your other home at all ;) Before leaving again, you can get your little box out again. So you can look forward to the things you left behind and take your mind of those you will leave behind soon - just put those now in the box. And put the box away.

In either home: enjoy your duality: One of the practical things about NiNis is that they can not only switch languages, they can switch cultures. Sometimes really fast. Sometimes, when you haven't travelled in a while it takes some days where you are not only jet-lagged but also a bit uncommunicative because one of your languages is kinda frozen up (or your manners :D). But that will pass...

Also get used to some less sensitive people always treating you like you have only one nationality. Which in some cases is the one of the "other" country and tends to be associated with negative qualities. In other cases, the same people will ignore one of your nationalities, because they associate it with negative qualities and the don't want to stop liking you. Both can be really annoying, but bear with them. They have not understood NiNi-ness and you, being a open-minded NiNi, can ignore them. Unless they insult you gravely. Then, of course you can unleash the Kraken.

And of course there are always those who don't associate any of your countries with something bad, but will just be incapable of understanding some aspects of your life just because, well, they are not in your position. But if even if this bothers you slightly, it should never become a real annoyance. If it does, then there could be something wrong with your own tolerance.

If you are trying to specialise in long distance NiNi-ness (like a boss), get used to long flights. Learn to love it, if you don't already do (I somehow cannot understand people who dislike flying). Airports are nice interesting places, full of stories and in your case filled with the promise to see the other half of your friends and family soon. Airplanes are equally nice. Don't be upset by the lack of space, be proud to have the talent to curl up in a seat like a hedgehog and sleep for six hours or so. If you don't have that talent, practise, it is quite useful  If practise doesn't help, settle for watching movies. Nowadays there are so many you can't possibly watch them all in one flight. And enjoy the food! Even if it isn't that tasty most of the time, it's hella cute ^^

And, you always have some nice airport-stories. Like the one, a few years ago, where I got so annoyed with the constant questioning of some military guy in the airport of Caracas I asked him if he would also like to know my bra-size (he didn't (at least he didn't want to admit it ^^)) and got away with it without neither problems, nor follow-up questions. Or the conversation I had with the german border control guy last week:

German border-control policeman: "Good morning to you, Ms. Returning home?"
Me: "Yes, returning home from home :)"
German border-control policeman: ... (I confused him. I bet he is no NiNi).
German border-control policeman (after processing what I said): Well... But you certainly didn't bring the sun with you -.-
Me: But, of course I did! But I still have to unpack it, of course...
German border-control policeman: Ah... Allright, then - Welcome to Germany :)

I bet he did smile again later that day, when the sun finally came out and a bit of warmth finally started spreading in Germany.



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