Portrait of Pablo Meninato

“There is a permanent feeling of longing, of missing places, smells, food, family, and childhood friends.”

Pablo Meninato is an architect.

Pablo Meninato's passport photo.

Pablo Meninato’s passport photo.

I immigrated twice to the US: I first came as a student (after four years I went back to Argentina), and after ten years I returned with my family. In regards to our second departure, I remember we had a gathering with friends and family at our home. I don’t recall any particular food we had that night. We just wanted to spend time together with people we love, talk a little bit about the oncoming challenge of moving to a new country (an experience that could be particularly hard for the kids), though we also chatted casually about diverse and mundane topics.

We flew from Buenos Aires to JFK airport in New York, from where we rented a van to Philadelphia. We were not certain if the move was going to be permanent; though we thought that was a possibility. I definitively feel pulled between two cultures and two languages. Seems to me, once eradicated from your place, you never feel again completely “at home.” In my case, since I left the first time, I have never felt completely at home either in the US or in Argentina.

Sometimes I think I’ve become a sort of “amphibious,” since I can survive in different environments, though I never feel fully adjusted. Moving, like most experiences, has its positive and negative aspects, no doubt it is wonderful to get to know so well a different culture, make new friends and engage in a new language; though by the same token, there is a permanent feeling of longing, of missing places, smells, food, family, and childhood friends.

Portraits of People on the Move tells the stories of Philadelphia-area immigrants through their own words on the Supperdance.com blog and was first shown as an exhibition June 25–28, 2015, at the Gray Area of Crane Arts in Philadelphia. The exhibition was created as a companion work to Supper, People on the Move by Cardell Dance Theater, a dance inspired by themes of migration.

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