Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sense of belonging in America (2)

I will be honest, I feel at my core, English, even though I have now done more of my growing up in America! My daughter, because of emigrating here when she was 16 months, does not have such a challenge in being American.  For her it is more of a challenge to keep alive her Chinese culture, or keep the desire alive to participate in her Chinese roots while living her American  life. 

Then there is the English part.  My daughter calls her grandmother's house in England 'home'.  She loves England and Ireland. When she first started speaking English, she pronounced words with a 'proper English' accent!  When she first started writing she used certain English words and English spelling. I will be honest, there was part of me that was happy that she was learning to speak  'proper English'. My daughter who was born in China and lives in America is speaking her adopted mother's English!. It was a validation to me that we were deeply connected.   I also love creating with words and I love the English language and no excuses, I recognize, I have a strong judgement and prejudice about how many ‘Americans’ bludgeon their way through the beauty of  putting words together to communicate! So, taking all this into consideration, when the teachers started to mark words as mis-spelled and my daughter  got comments from class mates  about how she had a wrong pronounciation and laughed,  I took it personally!
Fortunately,  it did not take me long to recognize my own part in this mix of judgement and prejudice and how my own attachment to ‘being English and proper’ was causing a potentially painful situation for my daughter.  
Now, my daughter writes and speaks American- English because that is how everyone else communicates in her environment at school.  At home and in England she takes on English words spontaneously while speaking American, and gets affectionately irate with me when I correct her grammar!.
To reciprocate, she is now teaching me the language of texting – abbreviated communication - and I have to admit part of me is enjoying it!
I still love my Birth place, England and I consider America my home, the place where I have spent a longer period of time in my adult life, growing up.  I have at times a love - hate relationship with both my Adopted country and my Birth country and the integration of both these cultural identities continues.

No comments:

Post a Comment