From Ceylon to London
Submitted by: Nadine Zandra on
I was only three months old when my parents climbed on board a plane in Ceylon bound for England. Apparently, I was as good as gold on the long flight. My 20 month old sister, however, cried so much that another passenger gave my mother a sleeping pill to give to the small child…which my mother naively administered to her! That was the sort of thing that happened in those days before health and safety.
Growing up in London, I remember having a great desire simply to fit in. With parents from a different culture, this was difficult: it seemed to me then, that we ate different food, that we dressed differently (my mother made many of clothes), even spoke differently despite only speaking English. I felt awkward and embarrassed.
Fortunately, on my journey through life, from the southeast to the Midlands, via a 5 year stop at university in Cardiff (no fees back then), I have realised that those ‘differences’ are part of my heritage, and more importantly, part of me. On top of that, with the benefit of age and hindsight, I can see that many of the people I recall from my childhood whom I considered to be English, were in fact from a diverse range of countries and cultures. We were all different, and that was enriching.