A possie in Aussie

January 22, 2010

What are your earliest memories of people from other countries, or other ethnicities?

Filed under: Integration,migration,race relations — Nayano @ 3:20 pm
Tags: , ,

What is your earliest memory of meeting someone from another country or of a different ethnicity?

I was intrigued lately by a couple of posts on Larvatus Prodeo.

The first one that got me going was ‘What are your earliest political memories? People responded and talked about knowing the names of Prime Ministers and that they were ‘bad’ or ‘good’, of hearing of the death of famous political figures, of the ‘Dismissal’ (the event, not the mini-series!)

This was followed a few days later by ‘What are your earliest Computer memories?’

That got me thinking about my earliest memories of people from other countries.

I remember my best friend in school who was Greek, and discovering olive oil and garlic and all sorts of delicious things at her house – and also discovering the institution of arranged marriage from her mother, who told me that husbands and wives simply learned to love each other in these situations. I also learnt that if a house had its front garden cemented over, there were Greek living there.

I remember the twin girls who wore long blonde plaits and some sort of clothes like German dirndls, who turned up in grade one.

I remember people calling Italians ‘Ities’ quite un-self-consciously – and of course we knew ‘wogs’ and ‘wops’ but were not so casual about those words – until the fabulous Wogs Out of Work loosened us all up.

I remember the boy from Malaysia who came to live in our house and go to high school, with me when we were both in our early teens, and discovering  the magic of prawn crackers cooked from those strange plastic looking chips. (His parents sent him care parcels – there was no-where to buy Chinese ingredients in Adelaide in those days).

My memories are quite cosy – and certainly benign.

Perhaps yours are too – or not? My friend told me that his memories of growing up in Singapore were of discrimination and insults because of his dark skin.

Please share your memories in the comments!

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