A few days ago, my friend and I were talking about origins. Where we are from, races, what determines your origins, your sense of belonging. I don’t remember how we got to it, but talking about the details made me realize what a mix I am. It’s complicated.
Essentially, when I am asked where I’m from, I say Haiti. Because its true. Because I lived most of my life there. Because my mother and my family on her side is Haitian. Because I speak, read and write creole better than my French (no lie.) Because I understand the customs, the traditions, the pace. Because it’s my homeland. But of course, answering “from Haiti” when asked where I’m from, the automatic response: “huh? But how?”
Ok so I’m white. Blue eyes, blond hair. Only people who understand Caribbean sociology and history, and even cultural morphology (is that even a term?) say they see it. Because if you really look closely, you might see the Caribbean in me. But yes, I don’t stand out as Haitian, and my name certainly isn’t helping. You couldn’t get more European than that. Maybe I should get into details now.
My mother is mulatto. We can go all the way back to my great-great grandfather, so my grandfathers grandfather. He was from the Netherlands. Established in the Dominican Republic, married a local lady, Spanish of origins. Their son moved across the border and married a Haitian-Dominican lady and had a couple of kids, one of which, my grandpapa. When I look at photographs of him as a young man, I’d say he’s a mix between an Italian mobster and an aboriginal prince. He married my grandmother. She, a lady from the south of Haiti, had fair skin and light-colored eyes. I don’t know much about her background, but I do know in the part of the country she is from, people are pale with piercing blue eyes. Yes, real Haitians. My mother went to visit far far away members of her family from there a few years back, and they look the same, living out in the country. So you see, the Haitian in me is generations deep, and the whiteness too. Should we switch to my dad’s side?
My dad is from England. I don’t know as much about his side of the family, but once in a while he pulls out some awesome facts that always make things more interesting. From what I know (or think I know), my grandmother is Romanian. Period. When I look at photos of her in the 80s, you could tell she was from eastern europe. I can’t explain what it means but, you know what I’m talking about. My grandfather, on the other hand, is supposed to be english. But a few years ago, my father revealed the coolest fact about him. He is really a gypsy who took on the british name to join the army. (I hope I didn’t just dream this info. It’s very me to do that.) Looking at photographs of him, if you add a turban and a robe, he would fit the profile American customs like to “randomly” search at airports. I really am not sure about where he is really from. So my dad is dark-skinned with jet black hair and dark brown eyes. So the british in me, ain’t deeper than the accent that arises when I spend a few days at my other home across the pond. So I guess I’m more European than anything, when it comes to DNA and races and stuff.
Now a sense of belonging? That’s a whole other story. Like way different.
That’s mom and dad and me, picking my nose (I still do.)
***Update from dad : Mostly correct Ko but my dad’s mum was English Romany Gypsy my mums dad was an Irish Traveller, which makes them both kinda Gypsy origins. My Mum had blue eyes too, so does my younger sister. Wish my wiskers were still as black as in that pic lolxx