'My children are as Mexican, as I am British.' This is a sentence I wrote down some time ago but, until now, have not elaborated upon.
I was the first person in my family to be born British. My maternal grandfather worked tirelessly to bring his family to England in the 1960s. My father moved to England in 1975 to marry my mum. Both looking for opportunities that life in India could not offer. I've been told that there was much celebration at my birth, not because I was born British, but because I was born 'me'. Aunties, uncles and grandparents caressed newborn cheeks. Indian sweets were enjoyed and telegrams of 'Congratulations!' were received.
At the age of two, I was issued with my very first, and very own, British passport. One of those weighty, feel-good-in-your-hand, old blue style ones. I first started travelling solo at the age of eighteen. I clearly remember the words found on the inside cover of my passport giving me a tremendous boost to my teenaged courage; "...allow the bearer to pass freely without let or hindrance...". It was my birthright to travel.
I first arrived in Mexico in 2003 just in time to ring in the New Year, and as I left in 2004, I had no inkling that I would be returning the following year to make Mexico my home. My family, having visited, understands why I have chosen to nurture our lives in this land. That does not mean I escape their semi-jokey comments about people from Mother India holding on to landing gear, for dear life, in hopes of finding their way to Europe.
Our children were born Mexican. They are the first on their mother's and their father's side to be born so. Their British parents met in Mexico, whilst looking for something Britain could not offer, lives in the sunshine. There was much celebration at their births. Smiles were seen over Skype, and facebook messages and "likes" were appreciated.
Yes, technically our children can be registered as British too. We haven't done so, due to the unexpected lack of time to do anything other than get through the day. We started off with twin boys! The thought of all the paperwork and translations required... We've embraced the "mañana" mentality on that one.
So they are Mexican. Their first language is English (spoken with a British accent), their use of diminutives in Spanish eclipses mine, they eat Indian food as regularly as they eat tacos, one boy has long hair due to his Sikh heritage and because many a surfer in Sayulita has long hair.
Classifying people due to their nationality is obsolete. In my mind, speaking of a "Mexican" person conjures up as much of an image as speaking of a "British" person.
At the ages of five and two, my three little ones are about to start making use of their Mexican passports. I hope that when they are older, they too will hold their passports with excitement, and with courage step forward to discover what delights the world may offer them. For in the end, given the opportunity and inspiration, we can all recognise ourselves as being world citizens.