I grew up in Thoricourt, a tiny village in southern Belgium. My British parents had traveled the world and settled there. We went to the local school and had lots of books read to us. I remember shelves and shelves of books along the corridors in our farmhouse. I now realize it was most probably haunted. There was a brothel down the road.

I think about Thoricourt a lot. About the choices my parents made that brought them there, and about the way in which my first few years were spent being formed into who I am now. We sold the house when I was 13, shortly after my father died. Now it is the house that haunts me a little. After that, it felt like my sisters and I were almost immediately thrust into the world. And none of us really ever went back to Thoricourt. My oldest sister Alice lives in Cairo, Egypt and my second sister May lives in Mexico City. Mummy lives in London. She works and leads a hyper cosmopolitan life. She never remarried. I am in between New York and Detroit. Actually, none of us are married. I am divorced.

Looking back, I think the expectation was always that we would live – and should strive to live – an interesting life. Aside from lessons on treating everyone as absolute equals and questioning everything, I think that’s the biggest expectation we were given. Our life was for the taking and we were expected to run with it.

—Rose Hackman
Born Here Project
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