Where to belong... problems of international kids

The Man

Former Staff
Jul 2011
47,049
34,496
Toronto
#1
Wasn't really sure where to put this.

Just came across an interesting Russian article, which talked about the life experiences of several young people born of international marriages between Russians and foreigners: «В школе я мечтала о русской фамилии»: как живут дети из межнациональных семей в России

One of the stories that was really fascinating to me, was that of 21 year old Kasenia Horton

She was born in the UK, to a Russian mother, who was living there at the time, and English father. Her first name is basically a bastardization of regular Russian girl name "Ksenia" as mispronounced by her British relatives. Her Russian relations always called her just Ksenia or, diminutive, Ksyusha lol

Anyway, when she was still a very young girl, her parents broke up or whatever, and her mother took her and went back to Russia with her. Kasenia then grew up attending a Russian school, where she was bullied mercilessly ("the girls were much meaner than the boys") for having a weird non-Slavic name and, at least first, speaking Russian with a foreign accent. "There were days when my deepest, most passionate dream was for one thing: a normal Russian name, to be like everyone else..."

Nonetheless, not only did she get through that ok, but apparently eventually ended up becoming BFFs to this day with the girl who was actually her worst tormentor back then :D

She also lost touch with her dad, back in Britain. "He wrote to me a couple of times, but stopped quickly after that."

For 17 years she heard nothing from him, and, frankly, grew to hate him for abandoning her and her mother, in her view.

When she graduated from school, though, and was to go to university, her mother wanted her to learn English, to widen her potential career prospects.

So she (her mom, not Kasenia herself) apparently got back in connection with her father, and got him to invite Kasenia to live with him and his family in the UK, so she could go to college there. Because she was born in the UK, Kasenia is actually a British citizen, as well as a Russian one (by virtue of having a Russian mother) and holds a valid UK passport, so it was easy enough for her to travel there.

Her father, it seems, actually felt very bad about not staying in touch with her all these years, he welcomed her back warmly, and all his relatives were very nice to her too. Nonetheless, she says she has not been able to form a good relationship with them, and has broken off ties with them again, herself this time, since Christmas of 2018.

Overall, even as she had troubles adapting and fitting in in Russia, when moved there as a child with her mom; she says she has also not felt at home among British people she has met in London either. She had dremt for years of coming back over there one day, but when she had, she felt like an alien, an outsider. Her mentality was different by then, her culture, she now feels much more Russian than British. She doesn't understand, for example, young men in Britain, who, she says, are very immature when it comes to relationships with the opposite sex, they like to "run around" for a long time, unlike Russian men, who marry and start families early, in early 20s or even late teens (before leaving for military draft). In the UK, she says, "they live with their parents until their 30s, it's crazy".

I can relate to this, as a half Slav half Armenian mixed heritage child myself... Not fitting in everywhere, being the odd one in both worlds... I feel for this girl, I really do.
 

Rasselas

Former Staff
Feb 2010
70,988
47,850
USA
#4
Nothing wrong with mixed race/ethnicity marriage though. My own kids are the product of one lol
There's actually a lot of writing about people who are members of two or more cultures and don't feel absolutely connected to either one. Gloria Anzaldua calls such people "border crossers," with one foot on each side of the border between two sides. As the world gets smaller and travel more common, there are more and more of such people. Most immigrants feel this way and always have. In the US, we have this myth that all our immigrant ancestors were longing to be Americans and happy to give up their Old Country identity, but that's not at all the case. Most immigrants plan to return to their origins after making some money in the new country, and they stayed only because they discover it's more affordable to bring their families here than to return.
 
Likes: The Man

The Man

Former Staff
Jul 2011
47,049
34,496
Toronto
#6
There's actually a lot of writing about people who are members of two or more cultures and don't feel absolutely connected to either one. Gloria Anzaldua calls such people "border crossers," with one foot on each side of the border between two sides. As the world gets smaller and travel more common, there are more and more of such people. Most immigrants feel this way and always have. In the US, we have this myth that all our immigrant ancestors were longing to be Americans and happy to give up their Old Country identity, but that's not at all the case. Most immigrants plan to return to their origins after making some money in the new country, and they stayed only because they discover it's more affordable to bring their families here than to return.
That's why many immigrant groups in America, certainly in big cities, always tended to settle together too, in own neighborhoods and such. Look at New York. Little Italy; Chinatown; Hell's Kitchen, a traditionally Irish area; Brighton Beach, where most Russian speakers from ex-USSR congregate; various Puerto Rican and other Latino neighborhoods, etc. It is what it is...
 
Aug 2018
3,205
5,175
Vancouver
#7
There's actually a lot of writing about people who are members of two or more cultures and don't feel absolutely connected to either one. Gloria Anzaldua calls such people "border crossers," with one foot on each side of the border between two sides. As the world gets smaller and travel more common, there are more and more of such people. Most immigrants feel this way and always have. In the US, we have this myth that all our immigrant ancestors were longing to be Americans and happy to give up their Old Country identity, but that's not at all the case. Most immigrants plan to return to their origins after making some money in the new country, and they stayed only because they discover it's more affordable to bring their families here than to return.
Yeah - this is why the Jewish, Italian and WASP characters on Friends could never seem to get along.
 
May 2012
68,735
13,707
By the wall
#8
And yet it's all about attitude. Why not recognize yourself as a part of two different groups? The problem isn't internal--it's the way people who are fully immersed in each of those two cultures treat you that's the problem.
Obviously a person can get too extreme in an area where it becomes unhealthy.

On the other side of that coin however is the lack of belief in the society you are part of.

That can lead to dreadful things.