When I was working on my doctoral research, I had to go to the library to read journal articles and borrow books. I used a slow, dial-up internet connection to search the library database. Blogs had yet to be invented. Personal websites were rare.
These days, I spend hours searching the internet (on my high speed service) and can easily download articles and book chapters, hop from blog to blog. I have found some very interesting research on bilingualism from the past decade. There are also multiple blogs on the benefits of bilingualism, where before there was only a newsletter.
When I was working on my doctoral research, I wrote from a deeply personal standpoint, within the confines of academic discourse.
These days, I struggle to write about my personal experiences. I am more comfortable when I am distant from my subject matter. Writing about advances in research would be an easy way out for me.
But, I will resist.
As I write this blog, I am undergoing a process of reconnecting to myself as a person with experiences worthy of sharing. I am reconnecting to my creativity and my voice. It is at once exciting and overwhelming. I know that if I persevere, I will be transformed.
I ask myself again, who am I as a bilingual person? What does it mean to me now?
It’s complicated. 😃
When I was working on my doctoral research, I wrote about the difficulties of becoming fluent in a new language and adapting to a new culture, of becoming and being bilingual/bicultural. Reflecting on my past opened old wounds and brought healing, a sense of peace. The process gave me confidence to be in the world in my two languages and be myself.
These days, I continue at times to struggle, when I find myself in situations where one of my cultures is at odds with the acceptable. I am older and have a thicker skin, but it still bothers me, and I become frustrated at attempts to silence me. This blog is a sounding of my voice, a resistance to those who have tried to silence me.
In a multicultural society, such as our own, we need to embrace our diversity and practice a true acceptance of difference, beyond mere tolerance and condemning hate crimes. It is not (only) in celebrating ethnic festivals and eating food from around the world that we become truly multicultural. It is in our everyday interactions and embracing “the other” as a part of who we are.