Sunday, February 27, 2005

Oh Dear

You know, I get the feeling that my blog might make me come across as a drunkard. Particularly as I just had to try three time to spell "drunkard" correctly. Why do I think this? Because two of this year's posts have involved a hangover, and right now? Well right now I'm a little buzzed on Sangria. But honestly, most of the time I'm sober, it's just that most of the time that I'm sober I'm busy at work, or catching up on chores at home, and I only get the driving overpowering urge to post when I'm fuzzy enough to ignore the full laundry basket in our bedroom. Also, being hungover makes for funny stories, like having a severe problem figuring out you property taxes. I try to post funny stores here, not boring ones.

Right now I'm eavesdropping on my sweetie's conversation with his sister, he's mentioning our recent trip to Scotland, and how much he loved it, how much more beautiful than he'd imagined the country was. For some reason that makes my heart skip a beat. When we booked our plane tickets I told him that I'd have to use a crowbar to get him on a plane back to the dessert region we live in. It means a lot to me that the country held that attraction to him. Even though I suspect I will remain in the USA for the majority of my life, and raise primarily American children, the fact that I grew up in Scotland is a fundamental part of my own identity. I've even considered learning Gailighe for the sake of exposing my putative children to the culture. I don't really talk like a Scot, but I think like one. I think in a Scottish accent, but I speak in a transatlantic blended one. I have to, being little miss colloquial slang got too frustrating. Day-to-day I'd rather be generic and understandable than interesting and culture-specific. But it comes back to haunt me when I have to emphasize to a new acquaintance that I am, in fact, a brit, not a born-and-raised American.

Don't get me wrong, I don't deny my American half (or whatever fraction), but I first identify myself as British, and then Scottish. I certainly don't entertain the deluded notion that I'm a True Scot. When it comes down to it, Brits think of me as American, and Yanks think of me as either another Yank, or as a Brit, and frankly I feel a lot more at home being the "resident Brit" than I do being "the outsider". Considering that I'm often seen as "the outsider" in the City I was born and raised in...I think you could probably see why. It's only after living in the US for over 3 years that I begin to see that I'm becoming assimilated here and losing my obvious britishness. It's only after living here for over three years, and realizing that moving back to the UK would mean being "The American" again, and that moving to the UK is less economically viable than staying in San Diego County long term. Suddenly I have become aware of the fact that my children, Matt's and my children, will be American. Not just in name, but by birth. Aside from the technology gap and the usual cultural gap between parents and children...Our children will be American. They will not have an internal monologue that uses words like "drukit" and "dreich" or "glaekit" and "fushionless". Since my speech patterns are more John Cleese than anything else, the Scottish part of me will remain silent and unspoken to my children unless I make an effort to express it more.

The language of the region is part of me, but it's a part that carries on in silence. Culturing myself to use the obscure Scots words and speech patterns would feel like putting on an act, and would require much more time spent explaining my meaning to those I encounter day-to-day. But making these words and sayings that I find to be so definitive part of my outward personality as well as my inner world is the only way to transmit them to those around me. By the time my children, children I am not even actively planning as of now, are able to read Burns' poems and Sunset Song...By that time they will be as American as apple pie, and possibly not even interested in this obscure sub culture that their mother seems so obsessed with.

1 comment:

K said...

I have exactly the same thoughts about my putative children. My fiancé is English, and although he wants to settle in Edinburgh if he can get a job here, there is still a chance we might end up in England.

I wouldn't say I was particularly nationalistic, but... I just don't want my children to have English accents (I would probably feel the same way about American accents if there was any possibility of us ending up there).

It's not that I have such a strong accent, although I was born in Edinburgh and have only passed a few years elsewhere. It's more that I identify myself as a Scot and would like my children to identify themselves in the same way.

My boyfriend doesn't seem too bothered with this, which is just as well.