Memory is potent…for almost any immigrant. As you scramble to piece together your future in an unknown environment, you only have the past and its customs to guide you. But the past and its customs are increasingly murky and useless. Faced with an unknown future, we retreat to the past for its safety. An inability to assimilate to their new homes—to abandon memories, language, traditions is the charge most often lobbed at immigrant communities.
For immigrants, solitude and the trap of memory are central conditions. If our memories are a series of linked stories that our consciousness tells us, it’s possible they could be used as shelter: nostalgia becomes a type of tarp we can hide under when the present becomes unbearable. —Adnan Khan, “Finding a Home in the Apocalypse”