My mother is the first French person in my family. She was born in France, studied in France, works in France. She pays money each month for retirement funds and social security and public policies.
My father is British.
My sister and I have "double nationality", but I think she as well as I would admit that we don't feel British at all, in the usual meaning of the word. We must have spent less than a month there if you add up our short visits. We never talk to our British relatives. Although I believe J would gladly live in America for the rest of her life, she is French.
So am I.
But not entirely. We speak English at home, albeit with a French accent in my case. We don't follow French traditions to the letter. My grandmother, who was half-American, half-Spanish, used to tell me she felt "European". My grandfather was half-Egyptian, half-Belgian, and died in London. Tricky thing, identity.
In France we are approaching our presidential elections, and never have battles about Islam and society, Immigration and jobs raged more violently. I know that I have preferential treatment compared with other second generation French people. I look European. My French is good. That helps to "integrate".
I am dreading the heightened racism, the insults, the dirty politics that await us here in France. Maybe because my father is an immigrant, and my mother the daughter of immigrants.
LA ROBE LONGUE BRODÉE
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