Thursday, 8 November 2007

Happy Blog Anniversary!

Almost exactly two years ago (late October 2005) Prema asked me to join her on her blog Kombai. She was writing about her Indian childhood, from England, and I would be adding memories of my African childhood, from Scotland. In honour of our journey together (so far) I am posting this in both blogs.

For two years we have compared very different childhoods and discovered that some truths truly are universal:

1. Childhood emotions feel the same in any language… or culture.
2. There is always a spiteful kid or bully at school.
3. You will inherit physical features you rather wish you hadn’t.
4. You will pick up character traits and family mannerisms you rather wish you hadn’t … no matter how much you don’t want to!
5. There are always perfect childhood moments you never forget.

And…

6. You cannot escape family (who you are) no matter how far you travel.

When I joined Kombai I wrote "Dog of the Wind" for my introduction:


Hello!

Since Prema asked me to join here and write I thought maybe my first piece should be an introduction to who I am. The simplest would be to say "I am a mongrel". For a long time that worried me, but in recent years I've realised there's a lot of joy in being a mongrel.

I was born in Africa in a British colony. At first I thought I was British. Well... for three years I WAS British, but then Southern Rhodesia declared it's own independence and I became a member of a rebellious non-acceptable country instead. Then Rhodesia became Zimbabwe and they took away my nationality. Now I belong nowhere. I thought I was British, but then I did my family tree and found that I had as many ancestors walking Europe and the Middle East as I had in the British Isles. I thought I was Christian, but when I went to school my religious teacher told me my beliefs weren't "right" and researching our family tree led me to distant Muslim cousins in Turkey, one Buddhist, some Jewish family in America and way too many Christian variations to list.

I have thought a lot of things only to find out they were illusions. The truth is I am a mongrel. I have no country I can hold as my ancestral home, not even a single continent I can claim as "mine". I have no single religion that runs through my family history alone. When I look in the mirror I see my grandmother's Irish face, my grandfather's Scottish nose, my father's English hair.. and in all this European-ness I have Persian eyes from some long lost ancestor.

There's a saying in Southern Africa - to be a "dog of the wind". Something homeless and restless, a person who has no roots. I am a dog of the wind and it can feel lonely. For a while it made me feel rather lost, but then I remember the blessings it brings me. If I belong to nothing I can also belong to everything. If I stand with my ancestry on different continents I can be a bridge between different cultures. I can enter many places of religion and find God... at times like that it feels good to be a mongrel. :-)

So I'm going to write from my own mongrel viewpoint. My British-Colonial mixed-up cultural muddled-religious self. I hope it will entertain more than it offends, but mostly I hope it helps to add another layer to prema's wonderful stories of her own culture and childhood memories.

This year both Prema and I became British Citizens. Perhaps no longer “dogs of the wind”, but our childhood memories and our ancestry will always play a part of who we are… and who we continually grow to become.

Thank you, Prema. It has been an honour to share blog space with you.

12 comments:

  1. CONGRATS, M!!!

    So you and Prema became British citizens in the same year? COOL! ;-D

    And I LOVE the photo. You were SO VERY CUTE. ;-D And I LOVE the lion cub he he he he...

    As always, I ADORE your writing style...so go grab your award here:

    Super Star Award

    And wish you LUCK still about a new house for you and hubby. ;-D

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  2. well done, a milestone worthy of congrats!

    i hoped you enjoyed your experiences :)

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  3. Hi Amel

    Thank you for the kind words.. and the award. :-)

    Hi Shan

    Thanks! Nice seeing you back on the blogs. :-)

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  4. Hi, Michelle! Happy Anniversary to both of you. I always admire your style of writings...Sometimes, I just got lost in words whenever I was trying to leave you a comment.

    Glad to hear that you've finally obtained your citizenship.

    Btw, everyone looked so cute in that pic. ;)

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  5. Interesting post and cool pic! I think I am a mongrel, too. I mean, it is true that I was born and continue to live in the US. However, I do tend to kick my leg when someone scratches my belly! ;)

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  6. Hi Crystal

    thank you. :-) I get that too... when people say something that gets you deep down it leaves you lost for words yourself.

    Hi Jeff

    mmm... I do NOT want to know how you feel about fire hydrants! ;-)

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  7. "Dog of the wind" is my all time favourite post!! J.

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  8. Wonderful, warm and compassionate -that's what being a mongrel and dog of the wind has made you, Michelle. Would that the world had many more mongrels and dogs of the wind!

    Congratulations on the anniversary.

    (I hope you've been able to find a new and pleasant abode without too much hassle.)

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  9. another beautiful post....

    and from it I take a new meditation...

    Help me to become a Bridge...

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  10. Thanks Hayden

    You know what's really odd? I recently discovered (The MAYAN MUSING post) that my day is "World Bridger". How appropriate! ;-)

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  11. I didn't read Kombai so far, only read this article because you mention it in the newest post. I found this article very touching. It contains deeper emotions and memories than I can imagine. Then I came to think why you use maps for blog's background. You come from everywhere and you bridge every far away land.

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  12. Thank you Orone :-)

    Kombai was started by my friend, Prema, who is from India, but now lives in England. We write about our childhoods. But not often since we both have other blogs.

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