Tuesday, December 9, 2014

CBC (not the tv network)

Hello! I can't believe it's December. Time has been moving so quickly. Remember when you were a kid, summer vacation felt like it lasted forever? Now it feels like the year 1995 was just yesterday. I can't believe I've been at home for almost two and a half months. My days at home pass by so much quicker than at work, which is hard to believe since the days generally consist of dropping off/picking up C, prepping food, watching Sesame Street (I should do a post on this alone, Cookie Monster kills me), cleaning house and attempting to discipline A.

Today I want to talk about generations and culture. I've always been confused about how a generation is defined. Is the first generation defined as the ones that immigrated to Canada, or the ones that were born here? In any case, I'm the first generation born in Canada, my parents are originally from Hong Kong. This makes me a CBC, Canadian born Chinese.

I speak enough Cantonese to get by with my parents and relatives. I did the Saturday morning Chinese school for a year or two, which I hated, mostly because my parents started me too late and I was taking class with infants. I have two terms of intro Mandarin under my belt, which is the official dialect of China. My husband S is also Chinese, he was born in Asia and came to Canada when he was around four years old, and is fluent in Cantonese. With each other, we speak predominantly English, with the odd word in Cantonese thrown in.

When I had my babies, I tried to speak as much Cantonese with them as I could. To me, speaking Cantonese is what parent-children do, and I also wanted to instill as much of Cantonese sounds them as I could. It helped that my mom took care of my kids once my mat leaves were over, her English isn't very good so she would converse all in Cantonese with them. When C was two, she spoke mostly Cantonese; A too, though I think she spoke more English than C, since she is the second child and C speaks pretty much all English now. And as the girls get older, I tend to speak more and more English with them, partly because my own vocabulary is limited.

I want my kids to be able to speak Cantonese--but I've realized that this is kind of an unfair expectation. We hardly speak at home, so how can I expect them both to speak? Sure, they can speak with the grandparents, but we don't see them every day. So I've decided to take this with a grain of salt and hope for the best. Say what you will about C, her comprehension of Cantonese is still really good, she is always listening to adult conversation with one ear, and will often add her two cents, even if it is in English.

So those are my thoughts of the day! :) Until next time.

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