T ravelling 4 hours north within the same state I grew up in didn’t seem to be a big deal, actually it didn’t feel like much of a vacation, but I had no choice in the matter. The first stop on our travels was Traverse City and I remember feeling a world of a difference. I couldn't pinpoint it, but I felt like I was in a completely foreign place. It didn't make sense because I was in the same state, but the people seemed different. The day before we left Traverse City we decided to go jet skiing and while waiting for our jet skis I spotted a dog out of the corner of me eye. The dog’s owner was a friendly middle-aged white guy that allowed me to play fetch with his dog and while we made some small talk he eventually brought up my Sikh religion. I remember my astonishment and immediately asking him how he knew my religion. Looking back I laugh at this, because in that moment I completely forgot the 6 turbanned men standing behind me and the kara I wore on my right hand being a clear indicators. That was the first time in my 14 years of being in America that someone didn’t confuse my family as Muslim and that was the first time I didn’t feel like I had to explain the men that stood behind me.

Tizarat Gill
Brownstown Township, MI
Photo Location
Traverse City, MI
Mackinac Island, MI
My immediate family (Dad, Mom, Brother) my 3 cousins, Aunt, Uncle, and two families from temple.

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