For those of us who are from a multi-cultural background, one way of living usually predominates in day-to-day life. As a result, it is easy to lose touch with your other background. How can you actually stay connected to your other cultural background?
Nothing keeps you connected to your culture as much as cooking your country’s cuisine. Whether it involves spending hours preparing an authentic homemade curry like your mother used to make, to browsing in the local ethnic food aisle as you search for ingredients for your favourite childhood dish, cooking can help keep you connected to your culture. Sharing a meal with loved ones also helps keep families bonded and closer together.
As a British Greek-Cypriot and a self-confessed foodie, I love the cuisine from both the UK and Cyprus. I was mainly raised on homemade Cypriot cuisine, such as koubebia, and avgolemono soupa, which I adored as a child, and still continue to enjoy. Whipping up a British meal is a joy, but a Cypriot meal is a labour of love that takes me back to my childhood, as I sat in my mother’s kitchen and watched as she literally slaved over a hot stove to prepare some of the best dishes imaginable.
Keep the Lingo
How easy it is to just “blend in” and always speak the majority language when you are from a multi-cultural background. But if you hope to stay connected to your culture, one way to do so is to keep speaking your other language. Not only will you help preserve the language and possibly even pass it on to your children, but you will also keep the connection alive with close and extended family members.
I have an unspoken rule I continue to abide by, even though it has been a decade since I moved out of my family home. I continue to speak only Greek with my family and English with my husband. Having that “division” is not easy for some to understand. Unfortunately, some multi-cultural individuals lose part of their identity when they stop speaking their other language, as they are pressured to speak English, or some other majority language, in order to “fit in” more easily. However, language is not just about communicating your feelings back and forth. It also involves preserving and maintaining your sense of heritage, culture and background.
Embrace Who You Are
Some multi-cultural individuals are ashamed of who they are and want to only identify with one cultural background so that they can fit in more easily and not have to stand out as different. However, hiding who you are and trying to reinvent yourself to please others will not result in lasting happiness. You will always know in the back of your mind that you are hiding your true self and if this is done just to please others, what happens once they move on? Will you continue to reinvent yourself just to please the crowd?
Staying connected to your multi-cultural background will result in greater happiness than in hiding who you really are in order to please others. Easy ways to stay connected to your other cultural background include maintaining your cuisine, language and embracing who you are.