Friday, 19 July 2013

From the Black Sea

Since childhood I have felt of "two worlds".  Canadian born, with Canadian born grandparents, I nonetheless consider myself not only of Ukrainian heritage, but Ukrainian.  I know that seems  ridiculous, but like many western Canadians of Ukrainian heritage the idea of becoming "only" Canadian, really offends my sense of ancestry, heritage and quite frankly, family.

Economic opportunity and a life of possibilities drew me great grandparents to Canada.  Though not necessarily impoverished at home, they worried incessantly about their children's children and how life would unfold for them.  So they assertively and adventurously set out for a life of delayed personal gratification, temporary self sacrifice and cultural impoverishment for the comforts of home, un order to secure better economic opportunities for their progeny.  They endured a life of communal melancholy for their ancestral home -ways, while simultaneously endlessly optimistic and high spirited for the limitless opportunities Canada offered them.  Their material gains nonetheless left space for a recognition that their children would be impoverished without the language, traditions and cultural artifacts of a thousands year old homeland.  I was fortunate to have had an enriched experience with all the trappings of an arts filled Ukrainian-Canadian lifestyle.

I have led the life of an "in-between-er", "bi-or-multi-cultural" through and through.  Over a century Canadian, I have a romanticized vision of the ancestral home life, and often long for things I have never known personally but vicariously.  

So I am on a voyage to the Black Sea to explore this interesting place I find in my head, the place where I am a native-foreigner, not a native born in Ukraine Ukrainian, yet not necessarily a foreigner because the language and culture is familiar.  Interesting melancholia/euphoria of a native/foreigner.  More to come.   

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