Mum arrived in Australia over 60 years ago. She died over 7 years ago.
As a new immigrant (refugee actually), and as a 9 year old girl, all she wanted to do was fit in. She wanted to look like all the other girls, to dress like them, eat the same food, and speak the same language. She taught herself to speak English by going to see movies at the cinema. And she succeeded – she finished high school and went to university, had a career and travelled the world. An Australian refugee success story.
Yet, when she died, with her died a culture, a history, a language, and everything that made her unique. Although I understand all her reasons for rejecting her past, and wanting to be Aussie, I am also sad about that. Now, for me, being half Ukrainian is something I am, but only in fact, not in my being. So I hold on to the little things, that tie me to another world, to my grandmother and to my mum, so I can preserve a little bit of that connection for me, and for my girls.
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