Anti-Racist SISTER meme
I was tagged by Dawn over at Meet Dawit (if you haven't been there, please go! Dawit's comments never fail to crack me up :-)) for the "Anti-Racist Parent" meme, or in this case, an "Anti-Racist Sister" meme:
1. I am:
Norwegian (50%), English (about 20%), Irish (about 25%), and just barely Polish (about 5%)
2. My siblings are:
Kristian (11)- Norwegian, English, Irish, a tiny bit Polish
Carsten (8)- Norwegian, English, Irish, a tiny bit Polish
Sasha (19 mos.)- Ethiopian
3. I first started thinking about race, culture, identity when:
Having an awareness of other cultures has been with me from, as I like to think, the time I was born. I was born in Norway, lived there for three years, and have lived in many different houses and two different states in the US since then. I have traveled extensively (I've been to 27 countries to date) and other places/cultures have always fascinated me to a great extent. Having been open to and aware of different cultures my whole life, I've been comfortable with being an "international girl" since I was very young. Although I don't remember it, my parents told me that when I was three, I told a taxi driver that, "I was born in Africa. I'm an African girl." They laugh, saying that I'm probably the farthest thing from being "African", being very fair-skinned with blonde hair and blue eyes, but I don't think that I was too far wrong, even though I didn't know it at the time. Having been to Africa three times and being priveledged enough to be a big sister to a child who has her roots in Africa, I honestly do feel that Africa is a part of me.
4. People think my (first) name is (I don't want to disclose my last name here):
Pretty and classicly fresh. In the words of my mom, "Susanna is a name everyone has heard of but no one actually has too much anymore." When I was young, I kind of didn't like the fact that I didn't know anyone else with my name, unlike my friends with names like Emily, Victoria, Alyssa, and Molly. I've since grown to like it-I think it suits me. My friends have nicknamed me "Susy" which I also like, but only when people that I know well or are around my age call me it (for example, I'd be uncomfortable if one of my teachers, who I want to take me seriously, called me that.) Unlike before, I treasure the fact that "Susanna" kind of stands out in a sea of Kates and Sarahs. I really don't like the fact that there is a Susanna in my chemistry class and a different Susanna in my government class. I don't know how that happened, but I'm unused to responding to my name if I'm not being spoken to.
5. The family tradition I want to pass on is:
Traveling. It's such a big and important part of my life. Given that I have the money and resources, I want my children to be exposed to as many different places and cultures as possible.
6. The family tradition I least want to pass on is:
Being too far away from relatives to see them regularly. It's too bad that we can't celebrate holidays and important events with extended family, so hopefully my children will have more of that.
7. My siblings' first word in English was:
Kristian- "Ball" followed shortly after by "car"
Carsten- "Yite" (light)
8. My siblings' first word in a language other than English was:
Kristian and Carsten- I think it was "ball" in Norwegian (meaning ball, but pronounced slightly differently, with a shorter "a" sound)
Sasha- "Papa" (it's the same in English and Norwegian). As far as we know (though of course we can't be sure), Sasha didn't speak any Amharic since she had only been exposed to it for five months (in the region she was born in, they spoke a different Ethiopian language.)
9. The non-English word/phrase most used in our home is:
I can't say one phrase here, really, since we speak two languages fluently. We speak English with my mom and Norwegian with my dad, so there are a slew of phrases from both languages that are said frequently. We don't speak Amharic at all since Sasha doesn't respond to it.
10. One thing I love about being a big sister is:
Oh man, I have to pick just one???? I think one of the best things is knowing that they're there, that I can come home to smiling faces and funny stories no matter where I have been and what I have experienced. I think of us all being quite close, and I hope it stays that way.
11. One thing I hate about being a big sister is:
I think "hate" is used too strongly here, but I definitely have more responsibilities being a big sister to three. Sometimes it's fun, but there are times when I have to do things that I'm really not in the mood for and have to do anyway. It's worse, though, to feel guilty about not attempting to enjoy them, since every experience with siblings should be seen as a good experience.
12. To me, being an anti-racist sister means:
Just having an open mind. I've been lucky enough to have been exposed to different places and cultures throughout my life, and welcome every opportunity I have to be introduced to more. I'm sure there are many kids my age who wouldn't have been as excited as I was to adopt a younger sibling, but to me, it has meant everything. Before and since we have had her home, though, I've been surprised by the enormous number of people, kids my age especially, who have expressed their enthusiasm and have said that adopting a baby from Ethiopia is amazing in so many ways. More importantly, many have vowed to do the same thing when they're adults, or have tried to convince their families to follow our family's lead. This shows that already, the world is a changing place. I hope that adoption and global awareness and understanding only continues to blossom with time. Being acclimated with other cultures is amazing, and I hope many other people will be able to share my experiences.
I now tag Staci and Alli. Both are big sisters of adopted little girls, one from China and one from the US. I'd like to know about your experiences adopting from different places!