The Milne Family are a cultural melting pot. I am the granddaughter of a Ukrainian Refugee, #MJM is Eurasian with Dutch, Scottish and Malaysian roots and we have two Singapore born sons. We all have British passports, but for now and the foreseeable future, are living in Singapore. When we fly to the UK to see family, we always say “we are going home”. When it’s time to come back to Singapore, we always say “we are coming home”. Having lived in Asia for 8 years now, I’m a firm believer of ‘home is where your bed is’. But I do sometimes wonder, (ok worry, I am a Mother after all), that sometimes we can feel like legal aliens and are raising children in a state of cultural confusion. To get around this, we have taken the approach to embrace everything!
As with any situation in life there is good and bad. The bad always giving me plenty of opportunity to laugh. As someone who speaks British English, it makes me cringe when #SHJM trots in and asks “Mommy can you change my diaper” with an American drawl. When we landed back in the UK last June, as we walked out of the doors at Heathrow, faced with the British Summer, #SHJM looked at me in shock and said “Mummy it’s so cold!”. That day reaffirmed our decision, to only take our equator babies back to the UK in the summer months. Then there was the time that we went on holiday to Italy, collected the hire car and #SHJM proclaimed, “Mummy the drivers gone!” As he had only ever in his memory, been in taxis.
But just as I cringe, I’m also amazed on a daily basis, about this incredible world my boys are growing up in. At the age of three #SHJM is able to count as high in Mandarin as he is in English and happily shares the Chinese names for fruits, rolling his eyes when I mispronounce them back to him.
His currently Best Friend is Japanese, his last Best Friend (she was stripped of the Best Friend status when she called him a slug and said she didn’t want to marry him anymore), was Australian. And I have lost track of all the nationalities in his preschool class.
Then there are the celebrations! Singapore celebrates EVERYTHING, as the year rolls through, we are lucky enough to celebrate Chinese New Year, Hari Raya, Diwali and Christmas. Every celebration a great reason to be happy, embrace a culture or religion and eat…a lot! So today, as I packed #SHJM off to pre-school, dressed in red (actually pink, he refused to wear any of the red items he owned, because “they weren’t soft enough”), armed with two auspicious mandarin oranges, to swap with friends, to celebrate the start of the Year of the Dog, I feel so luckily that for my boys their normal is that of diversity, celebration and acceptance. I am not naive to think this will last forever, and one day they will sadly see the ugly side of this world we live in. But if we all at least tried, to see the world through the eyes of my little legal aliens, I recon we would all be a little happier and open.
I wish everyone a very Happy Lunar New Year. Gong Xi Fa Cai!
Mummy Milne xx