Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Beautiful written portrait of a grandmother - thoughts about grandparents - moving abroad

Lina Sergie Attar wrote this piece about her grandmother and family, published on the SyriaDeeply website.

It reminds me of the way my mother talks about her French grandmother's flat in Paris, 'grandmère's flat'. That's a typical mix of English and French, which is what we do in our family. I never saw it and there are no photos of it, as far as I know.

I will talk about my other grandparents' house at 10 Ovington Square in London. It is a building site still, I think the new people are building downwards. Every time I drive to London I weave my way around the square in my car to go past it one more time. The balcony is unchanged and the number 10 is still there above the door in this Google Street View! I have the right to be nosy as we all used to live there with my grandparents from 1969 to 1971. The house was only sold after 2008.

Moving country is a wierd thing. I hated living abroad because I knew I was such a foreigner and couldn't speak the language properly. No-one got me, I was just anonymous, apart from to my family to whom I was an English cousin who couldn't speak French fast and was reserved/private anyway. No wonder I joined a choir at the Embassy Church and made English friends. I decided I was still very much at university. I didn't want to suffer in order to get into a French social circle I'd never be properly be part of anyway.

When I tried to find myself in Scotland I merely got recognised instantly every time I made phone calls at work as my voice was the only English one in the insurance industry around Glasgow! They would say 'Ah, good morning Sarah' before I had even introduced myself.

I did love Paris and Scotland, just didn't like being so different.

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