I live since living in the United States for a few months, so of course, I call it my home.
As a Pakistani-American I live 95% of the time in the United States. The other 5% is my holiday period in Pakistan or Canada. Because I have parents who grew up in Pakistan, I have always felt responsible to represent my Pakistani roots together with my American lifestyle. There has been nothing close to smooth sailing. My brothers and sisters and I are part of the first generation to experience this in our family. Something that is the most difficult and that we are struggling with to this day is the Language barrier.
To begin with, you are always ashamed that you do not fit in.
My parents feel that they deserve to keep a part of their homeland alive through language. The people here, however, expect that they assimilate. As far as I am concerned, I speak at home with my parents in Urdu and often in public, but there are times when we have gotten weird looks. The weird looks do not bother my parents, because in their eyes they are rightful citizens. And you know, freedom of speech …
Sometimes the eyes come to me because I am a human being, and I feel insecure. After all, there are still things like racism.
Then of course there is the constant questioning:
"Which language do you speak at home "
" In what language do you dream? "
Since I am bilingual, I am often asked in which language I think or in which I dream by peers at work and at school.
If I really start thinking about this question, it is quite difficult to answer. I caught myself thinking and dreaming in both Urdu and English. I have noticed that my choice of language depends on my environment and situation.
There was a time this time that I was sitting on the phone with my husband while I was sitting in my workplace. Obviously our conversations consist of both languages. When I returned to my colleagues, I noticed that I spoke to them in Urdu without even realizing what I was doing.
Then of course you will be judged for your accent
Who thinks an Accent is the most sexy property of a British man or woman? Well, allow me to answer that, many of us do that. Although I may not have an accent, my parents do, and it breaks my heart to see how they struggle to explain what they want. People sniggering at them and laughing at them, because a South Asian accent may not be as attractive as a British or French accent.
WHO MAKES THESE RULES ?!
Need a translator.
There are many things that my parents still have trouble with, even though they have been living in the United States for more than twenty years. Or it is because they can not honestly find out if they just do not want to learn, I do not mind being a good daughter and helping. On behalf of my phone call something very smooth. I have stored their personal information in the memory, so if I am asked if they need a translator, I am pretty offended. Like, am not good enough to translate a language that I am 100% fluent in? I understand that I am a Pakistani-American. American aspect hai . But Pakistani aspect bhi toh hai.
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