This post was inspired by J's post on sharing her food culture with her husband. I read her post and found it weird to read that some people seem almost ashamed of their culture. I'm not sure if it's the parents' fault for not having instilled better pride in their children or society's fault for celebrating certain cultures over others. Whatever the case, I will never understand how anyone could be ashamed of their culture, because to me one's culture is one's identity.
Nigerian me at London's Notting Hill Carnival in 2012
In my case, inasmuch as I love experiencing and being a part of other cultures, you simply could not have any sort of relationship with me without learning about Nigeria, the Yoruba people and even more specifically the Ondo culture! My cultural identity is part and parcel of who I am, and I proudly share the good, the bad and even the ugly with my entourage. I do this mainly through sharing the things I love the most i.e. food (as per the original FFO), and books.
For instance, I bought Things Fall Apart for the MIL in German and Americanah for Hanna my German friend/conversation exchange partner. And when we lived in Paris, my sis and I bought my French family friends about 4-5 books by both Chinua Achebe and Chimmamda Adichie. Just last week, my Mexican friend told me proudly on the phone that she'd bought Things Fall Apart and was reading and enjoying it too. Chinua Achebe is one of my very favourite writers, and it is of course natural for me to introduce my loved ones to his writing and through it, the Nigerian culture!
In terms of food, my main thing is fried rice which seems to have worked wonders on everyone for whom I've ever made it. My French family now loves fried rice and plantains to the point that my French mum said, as we walked past an African shop two weekends ago, "look another place we can buy plantain for dodo, let me note down the address." And few weeks before that, my Mexican and Italian friends suddenly sent me whatsapp pictures of them eating and enjoying food at a Nigerian restaurant I'd once told them about in Paris. In both cases, I was shocked...and at the same time proud of the good job I had done! When I went to Nigeria nko? I brought back a few bags of Kilishi from which I was planning to send some to my mum in England. The mistake I made was taking it to show them at work where it was quickly devoured, sotay I had nothing left to send to my mum lol. This in spite of the stereotype about the French being snotty about non-French food.
As for T, laisse tomber as the French say. He loves Naija food as much (if not more than) as he loves me haha! Pepper soup, dried fish and prawns, egusi, fried rice, spicy kilishi, ati be be lo, he loves it all. I'm pretty sure that our future home will be full of wonderful Nigerian food, as well as British, German and other countries' cuisines, inasmuch as we do not validate or denigrate any one culture over the others.
I recently spent time explaining the Nigerian elections to colleagues who saw my Facebook statuses and asked about it. And since my uncle is getting married, I am finally learning about this aspect of my culture and excited to talk about all the rites and different ceremonies to anyone that will listen. I've been explaining the Nigerian(Yoruba) traditional wedding process to Hanna and my MIL who is looking forward to seeing pictures. I even showed people at work pictures of my mum in her traditional outfit.
The thing is even though I think of myself as a child of two cultures, I celebrate and talk about Nigerian culture more because it is less known here than the British culture, although I often go on about that too. I don't force my culture down anyone's throat, or pretend that every thing about it perfect (no one culture is), but neither do I hide who I am. Instead, I surround myself with open-minded people who love me and everything about me including the craziness that is my Ondo-Yoruba-Nigeran-West African-British-English-Kentish self.
Do you have a bi-cultural relationship or friendships? How do you share your culture with others?