“Never marry anyone of a different race, as your children will not know where they belong”
These were the words spoken by my mother to me, as we were walking through a supermarket when I was a child. I do not remember what sparked her outburst, but those words made a great impression, and have stuck with me.
So, was it in defiance that I went ahead, many years later, and married someone of a different race? I do not know, my mother probably thinks so.
I have to admit, there have been times when I have looked at my children and wondered if my mother was right. I know we live in a different world to the one my parents grew up in, but have things changed that much? Will my children wonder where they belong?
Right now, living in Bali, my children have a definite identity, they are “mixed” and there are plenty of other kids just like them. They tend to flock to each other, and most of their friends are also “mixed”. This is understandable, as they have more in common. They speak both Indonesian and English fluently, we follow the Balinese ceremonies, and also celebrate Christmas. They live in Bali, but we visit England regularly, and we talk a great deal about my previous life in England. They watch American TV shows, and are very “Westernized”
Are they Balinese? Yes, but do they look or talk like Balinese? No. Are they English? Yes, but do they look and talk like English? No. So I guess my mum was right, perhaps they do not know where they belong! They find it hard to answer the question “Where are you from?” but then again, so do I. Do we have to “belong” anywhere? Isn’t it enough that we are citizens of the world, and they have the freedom to travel and figure out where they end up living?
I hope so. Right now, it looks like all three of them are planning to move away from Bali, and travel the world. I hope they will encounter open minded people that do not care where they come from, and just accept them as wonderful human beings. I hope they find a corner to settle in, and be happy, and that they will let me visit them, wherever they end up!