Sunday, April 27, 2008

Cultural Identity - Tough Decisions


We are not really rat tail people - we were a little surprised with Benjamin's rat tail (Is there a better name for it? modified mullet?). I have had visions of snipping it off. I think when it is time for a haircut we will have to tell it goodbye. This is where the question of culture comes in. In Guangzhou our guide was surprised that he came from an orphanage with this haircut - because this is special in China - it is considered a really cute haircut for little boys (also many will have shaved heads or sort of a mohawk). I feel bad cutting this off, it seems to be the one part of his culture he still has. We are taking away his language (this is very sad), his food, almost everything he has ever known. We will try to keep him in touch with his culture - but we have to face the fact - that we live in a very non-diverse area in the middle of the country. We will do everything we have to help him hold on to his culture - It still makes me sad - So, alas, we will eventually clip the hair - We will continue to celebrate the Autumn Moon Festival and Chinese New Year, and I will attempt to make asian recipes I find online, we try to speak a little (very little) Chinese. In a few months we will try to find someone to speak with him in Mandarin and we will continue to celebrate that we are a multi-racial family and that 2 of our kids are chinese-american. We are always open to suggestions about how to integrate Asian influence into our lives (no - I am not going to become Buddhist). I love that our family gets to enjoy multiple cultures - that is so much fun - I have learned so much about my children's homeland! Back to the rat tail - If Benjamin wants to keep it - I would let him - but I still hope he doesn't mind parting with it.

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