Sunday, January 21, 2007

Winter is almost here

We could have snow tonight. Or tomorrow. Or the next day. Well, that is what the weatherman says. But then, the weathermen are notoriously wrong. It certainly feels cold enough. Here in England everything grinds to a halt when it snows. Even the trains. There was once a hilarious response from a rail company, saying that it was "the wrong kind of snow". What is the right kind then? I thought snow was snow. We will see.

I was flipping through some new blogs this morning, and I can't remember where I read about combined cultures, but it struck a chord with me. I was born in South Africa. 3 of my grandparents were born in England, and one in Scotland. My husband was English, as was his father, and his mother was Irish. My children have grown up in South Africa and England. We spend a great deal of time in Switzerland with my sister, whose husband was born in Germany. Now my daughter lives in New Zealand. So what I am wondering is whether children who move countries when they are young, tend to move countries again, possibly more than once, when they are adults. I know that I have never ruled out the possibility of moving again. I have done it once, and lived to tell the tale, and I always saw it as not leaving a life, but gaining a new one, while keeping the things that really mattered from the old one. Like friends. Nowadays that is so much simpler, because of technological advances in communication. Like blogs.

My youngest son was just 1 when we moved to England, and he is, to all intents and purposes, British. He sounds British. This is all he knows. But he also knows he was born in South Africa, and that makes him different too. He has been back and it is a part of him as well. My older 2 sound South African to the British and British to South Africans. Weird. They have been to school in both countries, and adapted well to the changes. My sister sounds Swiss. Her english is now a translation of german, which is hysterical. Most people think I am from somewhere foreign, but they never get it right. We have a mixture of traditions from 3 countries, and I see this as wonderful. If I moved again one day, there would be more new ones to add as well.

The generation I grew up with scattered to the 4 corners of the earth after we graduated from university. My best friend lives in New Zealand, and I have friends and family in Canada, the States, Australia, Europe, Britain, Zimbabwe and South Africa, and heaven knows where else. My children have godparents in Scotland, England, Zimbabwe, New Zealand, South Africa. We are a real mixture, and that has to be good.

I do BBQs like South Africans, I cook porridge like the Scots. I make raclette like the Swiss. I make scones like the English. (And stir fry like Chinese, and pasta like Italians etc etc ) I go barefoot as much as possible - African. I don't stand on ceremony - colonial. I think I take what I like from all the combined cultures and make my own in a way. Unique. We are all unique, and a sum of all our experiences and heritages, aren't we. I think that this is what makes communities so interesting. In this village, there are French, Indian, Sinaporean, Irish, Dutch, Thai, Canadian, and South African families that I know of. Not to mention the 4 home nations. Probably lots more nations represented too. I work with German, French, Polish, Rumanian, Jamaican, Zimbabwean, Ghanaian, and British people. Those are just the ones I have met so far from a staff of over 200. The world has changed. And it is all getting very interesting. When my oldest son was at school in South Africa, I remember doing BBQs for his friends, and we had 3 sections divided up on the BBQ. There was ordinary food, kosher food, and halaal food, each with its own fork and tinfoil separating it all. It all seemed quite normal to me.

South Africa is called the rainbow nation. Maybe there are a whole lot of countries who could claim the same name. We are a rainbow people. I like the sound of that.


Morning Glory said...

I like the idea of rainbow people. I've never seen a rainbow that wasn't beautiful.

I also enjoyed reading about your heritage. My BIL and his family have lived in several different countries, mostly Manchester, England, which is where he is now. His three children each have an affinity toward a different one of those countries, according to where they spent their formative years. It's been very interesting to read their perspectives on how that has influenced their lives. You might enjoy reading Nomad Down and Dreams of Rain. Both links are in my sidebar in the Family Blogging Tree section.

As usual, you leave me deep in thought.

Anonymous said...

Your family sounds really cool! Don't you love diversity??

Kate said...

I tried to go to church in Washington last night. It was cancelled due to snow, so I went to the pub instead. The bars, needless to say, were all open.


Anonymous said...

That is one thing I love about the USA - potpourri, tossed salad, rainbow.

My daughter lives in the Washington DC area where white people are definitely the minority. You can get foods from every part of the world.

I have three siblings born in England, my Dad is Irish American - not too far from the boat as some would say. He grew up in Brooklyn. My Mom is from the South and boy are their two cultures different. My eldest was born in Hawaii and you can hardly even believe it is part of the US.

It is a wonderful world we live in!

Anonymous said...

Hi Linds,
I saw the link to your site on Morning Glory's today and just wanted to say hello.
I want to come back and read some of your archives when I have a bit more time..
Always love meeting new friends!