Far From Home Discovering your identity as Foreigners on Earth was written by Mabel Ninan. This book is about how Mabel felt as an immigrant in the US and realizing that no matter where we are on Earth, this is not our forever home.
Mabel is from Hyderabad, the capital of one of India’s states of Telangana. She and her husband moved to the US soon after getting married. She was 30 years old. They both are Christians, and soon after moving to the US, she tried to find a church to call home because she knew the importance of church community.
Back home, her family and church community were very close. She grew up around her church community; they were there for important milestones in her life; however, being in the US, she had to start all over and often felt homesick.
There were a few things in the book that stood out to me. In chapter one, Mabel talks about reading American literature and watching American TV shows; she learned about Western culture, but that did not prepare her for immersing in the culture. So, for example, she knew the language and spoke English in India; however, she was unfamiliar with the nuances of social mores and etiquette as she wrote. In India, it’s impolite to call an elder by their first name, whereas here, it’s normal. And here people do not eat with their fingers unless it’s finger foods but in India and other countries that is normal.
It was difficult for her to navigate life when she first arrived in the US because she came on a dependent visa. Her husband’s job was the one that sponsored him. So, she didn’t have a work permit, and the process can take months; she didn’t have a driver’s license, which made it challenging for her to get around; she felt stuck. She was so used to being independent back home, and now that was gone.
Because of her emotional challenges, she admitted to herself that her faith was not as solid as she professed it to be. She was stuck between two cultures – the one she grew up with and the new one she was trying to embrace.
In chapter eight, she talks about being homesick for heaven. This was a new concept for me. Although I know that Earth is not our final home, I don’t ever feel homesick for heaven. I honestly am not ready to leave Earth yet.
And the last thing that stood out to me in chapter eleven was Christians being in the East before Westerns came. Mabel wrote that many Americans believe Christianity is a Western religion; however, some of the oldest Christian communities can be found in Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Ethiopia, and India.
I recommend this book to anyone, believers and non-believers because she details what immigrants go through when they move to the US. It’s not easy starting over in a new country. And it’s hard; moving to the US is not an easy decision, and many do it every day for a better quality of life.
Mabel was also a guest on my podcast – so if you want to hear her talk about her immigration experience, listen to the episode here. And please, leave a review after. This helps people find the podcast. Thank you.
You can purchase Far From Home on Mabel’s website: https://mabelninan.com/
With Love, Heidy
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