It has been five years since I started this blog. I feel it is a good time to close this cycle and move on to other projects. Multiculturalism has been and will remain at the heart of my life, so it will always be one of the lenses through which I look at my surroundings and the world beyond. Still, there are more vantage points than just this one.
Minette is of course the person in the blog who has changed the most during the last five years. The five-years-old little girl is now a 4th grader who has just turned 10. She is still lively and thoughtful, as I described her half her lifetime ago, but in such a different way — her upcoming teenage self sometimes in clear sight and sometimes still hidden in the blessed silliness of childhood. We, the parents, have changed too, though in a less spectacular way. A significant dimension of our own changes is our increasing awareness that we have, or will soon have, to let go of Minette’s childhood.
As I knew and experienced time and again with Dosa Clafoutis, writing is a powerful way of shaping and enriching your thinking. The very process makes you connect people, situations, and ideas that you most certainly would not have otherwise. The way I think about multiculturalism has become more complex because of my blog writing. Exploring other people’s multicultural experiences and perspectives has also played a significant role in refining my thoughts and seeing my initial framework as just that, an initial framework.
My initial framework was that multiculturalism was bound to make my life richer and more meaningful. I did not ignore the obstacles it could entail but I thought they were well worth the journey in any event. The reality is less simple. It is true multiculturalism has enriched our life. It is equally true it brings a structural imbalance. Grasping my partner’s perspective can be challenging at times because of our different backgrounds. Our life, including our child’s life, is certainly less anchored to one place, one community, or one worldview, than if we were not a multicultural family.
As an adult and as a parent I don’t know what it’s like to live a monocultural life. Our daughter does not know what it’s like to grow up monocultural. These experiences will forever elude us. What I know at this point is that I no longer view the other, traditional, path as intrinsically less interesting. I now see its meaningfulness and benefits.
Both Sides Now, the Joni Mitchell song, comes to mind when I think about this:
Well something’s lost but something’s gained
In living everyday
Multiculturalism was a personal inclination and a deliberate choice in my case. I think it is fair to describe me as someone assertive and goal-driven. These attributes, generally perceived positively in Western cultures and not always so positively in Eastern cultures, have shaped my life, in good and not so good ways. As time passes, however, I understand a little better that what I want is only a fraction of what matters — in the world at large of course, but also in my very own life. I wonder where this realization will take me if I become able to embrace it fully.
Beyond writing and self-expression, one of the things I have loved about blogging is the process of stitching posts (and pictures) together to compose a kaleidoscopic ensemble. There is a common thread but the angle, the subject, the mood, or the tone varies from one post to the other. Sometimes it has taken me in unexpected directions, like my reflections on the United States and the American way of life from this outsider’s point of view. It’s not art or literature, but it’s a craft for sure. I call it my patchwork.
Another thing I have loved is having readers engage with Dosa Clafoutis. The two persons I want to single out are Appa, always my trusted first reader / editor, and Susan (you’re in a league of your own when it comes to consistently sharing thoughtful comments and expanding the conversation — thank you my writer friend). I also greatly appreciate all my other readers, whether regular or occasional. I have written to be heard and to hear back. So it’s only fitting, at the time of signing off, that I should express my gratefulness for each of you who has spent some time following my blog. Bye for now!