Monday, March 26, 2012

National identity: sometimes all you need is good negotiations skills!

As you might recall from several earlier posts, one of the main questions I had at the begining of this multilingual journey was: who will my kids will cheer for at the Olympic games?! Which national identity will they choose? As a monolingual by birth, born and raised in one place, I had a hard time to project their vision of things, having their young lives already split between three countries. However, it did not take long to have a cristal clear vision of the situation: both Milo and Zeno have been spelling out that they feel French.
They cheer for France at international sports games, they always choose the French flag, when traveling they are proud to showcase their (supposed) nationality They have assimilated a total identification with their daily environment.  A few nights back we had again this conversation:

Milo: " Mum, I'm French, right?
Me: "You are not, my dear: you are half Italian and half Belgian!"
Milo: "Bullocks! I was born here!"
Me: "Yes, but from foreign parents. The law in France is different and you will be able to request the French nationality when you'll be 18, if you wish so.. for the moment it simply mean that you don't have a French passport."
Milo: "Yes I do!"
Me: "No, have exactly the same rights as any other French kid, but technically you are not French. You are...European!"
Milo: " Pffff...n'importe quoi!"
Zeno: " But....we ARE Parisians, right?!"

Zeno found a compromise and managed to snatch the Parisian badge for himself! That's so him!
He's also the one that, during a fantastic summer vacation on the Italian Alps, on a glorious, sunny afternoon, let himself fall backward on a heep of grass and whispered: "Aaah....I wish I was born here!"

Next on MTK: how the Belgianite and I are applying for an international school which has both the Italian and the Dutch sections and if accepted, we'll need to throw a coin!


Sarah in deepest darkest Lomellina said...


I have an almost militant mini Italian Nationalist.

When you are British it is painful to see the person you made with your very own uterus cheer on Italy in the World Cup. I mean they have won it like seven times or something, they don't need the fruit of loins giving them even more support.

Anonymous said...

isn't it kind of sad?... Just picture my daughter not wanting to be Russian, relate to Dostoyevskiy, Pushkin, Tolstoy... and it breaks my heart... Hope my vision will change over time.
How is Italian and Dutch progressing? or regressing...

Sarah @ Baby Bilingual said...

"Pfff....n'importe quoi"--I love it! Sounds like un vrai Parisien.

This is soooo interesting for me to read about, perhaps because my American hubby and I (also American) are raising our kids in the USA--they may have another language, but chances are their allegiances will never be in question.

Homeless Drummer said...

Re: International school

Why not let the kids decide?

Viva l'olandese!