Tuesday, September 30, 2008

3 months Annivesary

Can you believe it? Today We have been 3 months in Northern Ireland.

Most people immediately guess that I am from South Africa once they hear me speak. Yesterday a man treated me as English person that belonged in Northern Ireland after he heard me speak. You could almost see the relief in his face and definitely realise them in his words. We needed to protect our own. For a moment I belonged.

That is a strange feeling for me, I don't often get it.

Growing up I didn't feel like I really fitted into anything family, church, school etc. Later I found out that sister and brother were adopted by my dad - it actually made me feel more accepted - they loved me and treated normal even though they knew the truth. Now I know I fit in my family and wouldn't choose any other.

Church - I was seen as the do gooder, the person who also knew what was right and did the right thing. The guys actually said they were watching what I did to see when I would fall. I was always in trouble for some reason or another with one or few of the adults. Either because i was outspoken or liberal. It hasn't changed much - I think I more understanding and hold my tongue better.

Being Coloured - I always get strange facial expression here and in the US when I describe myself as coloured. Both my parents and grandparents are of mixed race with bloodlines from all over the place. In school I was accused of acting white because I didn't use slang and tried to pronounce my words correctly. I also did not like all the same music they like. I did not drink or smoke (for religious reasons) - I just didn't really fit it. I went to church on Saturdays, I could go on. My three closest friends accepted be fully and still do. My class mates eventually came round and tried to organise a party that I could attend.
When I dated race was not an issue for me but it became an issue sometimes. Now I am married to a white afrikaner. People talk about the children - my child would have been of mixed race no matter who I married - no issue for me.
Some of cousins were against our marriage, some people from his community opposed it.
Our core family supported us and still do.
One of the typical sayings amongst South African coloureds is: First I was excluded because I was not white enough, now I am excluded because I am not black enough.

Funny that moving Northern Ireland has not changed my status much - but what's funny is that its about whose governing the place - we are part of the UK but excluded from some of the special offers and benefits - we can't use northern Irish £ in the UK and cost of living is higher. I am technically living in Ireland but I am not a part of it. If we were a part of Ireland I would be part of the minority because I am Protestant. I might not get a job because of my religion or the fact that I am a foreigner.
People are very friendly but I don't really have any friends. Those who I would count as friends are foreigners too.

For a short moment yesterday i felt like I belonged - it made me smile. Today I am writing this and I feel sad. But I will pick myself up and create my own space where I belong and I will be happy. In area every area of my life I found there a place, a space that has my name on it. I exist for a reason, I belong.

The adventure continues.
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