DREAMS AND REALITY
People of mixed nationality
P = Presenter
A = Amelia de Melo
L = Lionel Varley
This week in The London Programme � People of mixed nationality.
P In the streets of London there are people from all parts of the world. They live side by side. Sometimes they marry and have children. Many Londoners have parents of different nationality. Is this good or bad, easy or difficult for these childen?
Today two people of mixed nationality tell us their stories.
First. Am�lia de Melo, a textile designer.
A My father is half Malaysian, half Portuguese. My mother is Polish… erm… her family came to England when she was five, just before the war. She met my father when they were both student in London. When I was a young child… er… I grew up in both London and Malaysia, and we always spoke English at home. It`s my first language…er…but my mother taught me Polish, so sometimes I spoke Polish with her. And we often had Polish food, and I learnt Polish dancing � my aunts in Poland sent me wonderful, colourful costumes to dance in. I loved them. But I love Malaysian things too. Have you ever tried Malaysian food? It`s delicious. I often cook it for myself.
I often think… I think that if I had just one nationality, life would be quite boring. I like the mix of cultures. I only ever had one problem that I can remember. It was when I was sent to boarding school. I was twelve and… er… some girls joked about the shape of my eyes. I cried and cried. I hated my eyes! But now… now I like my eyes very much. I like to look a bit different! Last year I got married � to an Englishman. We live to London but we often visit my parents in Malaysian. I`ve never been to Poland, but we might go this summer. I`d love to meet my Polish relatives.
P And now we meet Lionel Varley, who`s an architect.
L My mother`s French and my father`s from Dominica in the West Indies. They met and married in London, but then they moved to Bristol… er… my father was a dentist there. They… er… that is my parents � always spoke both English and French at home together, so my brother and I are bilingual. It`s really useful to have two languages. We (that`s me and my brother) used to spend every school holiday with our French grandmother in France. I love French food. We used to eat mainly French food at home in Bristol too…. er… I think we didn`t eat West Indian food because where we live there were no other West Indians and you couldn`t buy that type of food.
I can remember one problem � a sad time for me. It was when I first started school. I was five and everyone in the school was white, except for one Chinese boy and me, and the others called us names. I was too young to understand why, but then I made some friends, and they forgot about my colour.
My father used to talk a lot about Dominica and the West Indies. His stories were full of flowers and sunshine. So when I was sixteen. I went there. It was interesting, very interesting… er… but I didn`t feel at home, so I came back to England and studied architecture. If I lived there (in Dominica) I don`t think I would have the same opportunities. Next year I`m going to move to New York. It`s even more cosmopolitan than London. I know that I`ll feel very comfortable there, and my wife will too. She`s Italian-Russian.
P Thank you, Lionel and thank you, Amelia.
Thank you for telling us your stories.
A I hear you`re going to get married soon. Congratulations!
B That`s right, next July 21st. Can you come to the wedding?
A Oh, what a pity! That`s when we`re away on holiday.
B Never mind, we`ll send you some wedding cake.
A That`s very kind.
A Good heavens! Look at the time! Hurry up, or we`ll miss the train.
B Just a minute, I can`t find my umbrella. Do you know where it is?
A I`ve no idea. But you won`t need it. It`s a lovely day.
B OK. I hope you`re right. Let`s go.
A Good luck in your exam!
B Same to you. I hope we both pass.
A Did you study all last night?
B No, of course not. I watched TV and went to bed early. What about you?
A I did the same. See you later, after the exam.
B All right. Let`s go for a drink.
A I passed.
B Well done! I failed.
A Oh! Bad luck! What went wrong?
B I`m always very nervous in exams, and this time I was very nervous indeed.
A Oh, I see. Well, all I can say is better luck next time?