Two cultures. Two languages. Two plus one, equals…?
That English is the superior language is an indisputable fact – just look at the size of the dictionaries! – but argueably, Turkish is the most important. We live here – Bubba has to communicate with the world in which he lives..by default, so do I but that’s a whole other post… He’ll learn English with me, with us, but when it’s Disney time or we’re out and about, Turkish is the language of our life. Simple, really. Only when it comes to culture, there is no superior. There’s no easy way to separate what’s G’s from what’s mine and put them together to make what is ours. There are good, bad and indifferences in our opinions of each others heritage and inherent societal norms, but there’s no wrong and right; there’s just different.
How to explain to this baby of ours, the lives we live the way we do? Turk-lish.
Culture is as culture does. If you were to quiz a hundred people, the definitions of what constitutes their country’s culture would be diverse. Then quiz a hundred tourists on the culture of said country – it’s likely those answers would follow more of a path. It’s easy to assign a country with a set culture stance as an outsider looking in. What’s hard is when you are that outsider; only inside, looking in. What’s culture then?
After 5 years here, I still don’t know what Turkish is…as the years pass and the walls slowly peel away, what “is” becomes more of a blur, less defined.
It’s important to us that our son understands who he is, who we are and why we are the way we are. People will always stare. Obviously foreign, but with a scarf on my head; talking English, understanding them. I ‘primitively’ carry my baby in a cloth but can be found in Harvey Nicks with the best of them. If M is to understand exactly who he is, he needs to understand why we are who we are. Why his Mum is the way she is. What her culture is.
I have no idea how to do this bi-lingual thing, the bi-cultural stuff or the two generational parenting. And for Muslim parenting, I’m flailing. But am I, really?
Islam, leading an Islamic life, means living as I’d have others live for me. Sure, there are rules…the ‘commandments’ that we choose to abide, but the rest..the ‘living’ part…that’s no different to the way a Christian would live, or against the ideals a moralist would proport. But just as another Turk would define Turkey in a way incomprehensible to us, another Muslims definition of living Islamically their definition would be different. There is no right and wrong…
M, I hope we make it clear you, baby boy, that’s different is good; you make the norm.
No matter what you believe or where you live, you’re never going to be the same as the guy next door. Your family is not going to be a clone of anothers. In some houses it’s Christmas and presents, or birthdays and balloons; for some there is no day and for us, there’s the sacrificing of sheep and an overdose of helva…Our culture is a tri-rodded one. It’s the Turk and the Brit, it’s the religion that we chose and the future that we’ll build for our family with each and every every step that we take. It’s one that evolves and will keep on doing so. It’s one that pulls from me, and from G, and soon, M, it’ll pull from you also. It’s morning prayers and cinammon buns, it’s gravy with rice, and toast or tost. It’s Auld Lang Syne and Arabesque…It’s ours, it will be ours. Two plus one doesn’t necessarily equal three.