I can really identify with much of what you say in this post, Maha. My parents emigrated to Australia and they are from Russian/German cultures. My first language was Russian for a short while and then I was bilingual once I started preschool. I immersed my own sons in Russian – speaking Russian, translating books from English to Russian when I read to them, showing them Russian children’s films. Of course once they got to school English was their dominant and almost only language, and it was our fault as parents too because we spoke mainly English with each other, my husband and I. I love being able to speak another language when you don’t want others to understand you although you have to be careful! I love mixing languages, even adding prefixes and suffixes from Russian to English words, and listening to how Russian communities in Australia adapt English words to the Russian language. Kids do it easily, I think it’s because their use of language is elastic and they play to learn anyway.
Growing up I was also like other ‘real’ Australians who decorated streets with pictures of snow for Christmas. We don’t have snow and of course we are in full Summer at Christmas. I’ve watched the changes to the Christian predominance which slowly became less dominant as we became more aware of the multicultural (don’t even know if I can use that word now) communities we have. Of course now we are seeing a realisation that we are not a Christian country any more but we still hold on to Christian practices. There is a push to do away with the Lord’s Prayer in parliament http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-01-17/dickson-parliament-prayer/5203930 and really I think many people are saying we need a separation of state and religion because we can’t say we are predominantly one faith or non-faith or another.
People hold on to things, customs, for different reasons even when they no longer make sense. A wintry Christmas, puffy white dresses for weddings – mixing cultures without really thinking about what is happening or even caring. I find it fascinating.