#BlackinScandinavia: Where is home?


by Akilah “Kiki” Monifa

Stardate 12/10/16

Stockholm– It’s Nobel Day and I have been here for 8 days.  In addition to asking why I come to Stockholm so much, Sonia Russell asked if I was going to move here. At the time I said not, but I really have been thinking of the concept of where why home is.

I was born in Manhattan, Kansas, raised from ages 5 through 17 in Huntsville, Alabama, with the exception of one year in San Jose, California.  Upon arrival in San Jose I uttered to my parents:  “I wish I had been born here” and refused to elaborate.

I was in San Jose when President Kennedy was assassinated a defining moment.  I was in Huntsville, Alabama when Dr Martin Luther King was assasinated, one day after my birthday.

I spent two years of college in Atlanta Georgia, then travelled in Europe for a year, then two years of college in upstate New Year, then law school at Santa Clara, California.

I have lived in the Bay Area since 1979.  I feel that Oakland is my home, note my tee-shirt with the tag line, “this is how I roll”.

My children have two homes, one with me in Oakland, another with their other mother in Alameda.

Sometimes I feel that wherever I am is home, whether it’s my home in Oakland, my girlfriend’s home in Oakland, or the place I am visiting.

But Stockholm feels different.  There is a connection and a comfort level.  I will have spent 15 days at M/S Birger Jarl Hotel and Hostel.  This is also my home.

As Nobel Week concludes today with Nobel Day and the banquet, I am thinking about today’s festivities and Sayan Isaksson who is the chef.  He and his team will prepare food for 1,350 guests.

Sayan operates the Rakultur (I dined there after taking the metro with him and his publicist), Shibumi och Imouto, and Esperanto.

Sayan was born in Thailand, but raised in Sweden and considers himself a Swede.

I am not revoking my U.S. citizenship but feel that both Oakland and Stockholm are my homes although I am still getting to know the latter.

I feel more like a “sister outsider” in Oakland than I do in Stockholm.

If home is where I feel I belong, where I identify, then Stockholm is one of my homes and I am #BlackinScandinavia soon.

Shout out to my besties here, Bette and Dwayne.  I leave on Monday, I’ll be back and still black.

Peace, love, gratitude, compassion and blessings.


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