A True Modern Family: Multicultural and Eccentrically Amazing

by Reception Chronicles

Change is something we must accept as a part of life.  We can choose to attempt to grasp on to past traditions and ideas or go with the flow and face the fact that it is natural.  I have known that my family is different for quite some time.  We love each other, face hard times together, fight with each other and lose touch at times but at the end of the day we are a family.

Growing up in Boston, I spent time with extended family but we mostly kept to ourselves.  My father and most of his family (four brothers and a sister) have been in Massachusetts their entire lives.  They have Irish and French origins but they are like any Caucasian family in America.  My mother is from Chile.  They met in Boston many years ago and her addition to the family was probably the extent of ethnicity that my fathers side of the family has experienced since Taco Bell opened its doors.

I have two sisters.  Kristen is a year older than me and Michelle is several years older.  Michelle is a half sister but to me that term is nonsense.  Putting a label such as half in regards to family is a ridiculous concept.  She is my sister.  If you look at my entire extended family as a whole, me and my sisters are the mutts.  Two are a mix of Irish and Chilean and one is a mix of Irish and Thai.  In our younger years, we all noticed that we stuck out.  Family photos would consist of a group of fair haired and blue eyed families and then us sticking out like sore thumbs.  The three kids with out of control wavy dark hair, uni brows, dark eyes and freckles.

At 18, me and my family were scattered around the world.  My parents stayed in California, I moved to the UK, Kristen lived in Chile and Michelle went out to Vegas.  As a young adult that got to experience this, I would recommend to any parent to have your child experience another part of the world for a few years.  Travel does truly broaden the mind.

Five years later, I am back living in California and have brought back an Irish souvenir and will soon be marrying this trinket.  It has been a long time since I thought about being an odd family until the Christmas Holiday.  It was not until we sat down for dinner that I realized how I have a crazy, amazing family.

We had relatives from the east coast for Christmas which consisted of my Caucasian grandmother, aunt, husband and two children at one end of the table.  Then my family…

My Irish father, my Chilean mother, my Irish-Chilean sister and her Chilean-Turkish boyfriend, my Irish-Thai sister and her Mexican husband with their Irish-Thai-Mexican daughter, my guy and then me.  It is quite the sight.

Now of course the negative. The downside of having such a unique mix of people is the ignorance you face such as speaking loudly and using hand signals to someone from another background.  Raising your voice and speaking at turtle speed does not make the person understand English.  They are foreign, not deaf.  Another one of my favorites is placing someone of a different race into a stereotype such as having middle eastern decent makes you an “Aay-Rab” as my grandmother so lovingly puts it or being Mexican makes you a border jumping gangster gardener or having someone telling you that you look like the Chiquita Banana lady.  Sadly as an adult and being part of a family of mixed races, you do face ignorance and racist comments.  It doesn’t bother me anymore because I realize that a person being racist only makes them look unintelligent and ignorant, not me.

What does bother me is I now have a niece.  Vivienne is just a year old and I know I am biased saying this but she is just the cutest baby in the world. She is a mix of Irish, Mexican and Thai.  She rarely cries, dances and makes me happy.  It doesn’t take much to make her happy.  As you can see in the picture above, a balloon has made her day.  While being so happy to be an aunt, it makes me so scared and so worried that she is going to grow up into a world that is so full of hate, discrimination and intolerance, even from people that are close to you.  There is only so much you can do to protect her from being kicked down.  From bullies in school to ignorant adults, she will need to face them all.  In a world that is constantly changing, it is hard for me to understand that as we become more different, we become more intolerant.

At a young age I was confused.  Now I am so proud to have such a multicultural family and wouldn’t change anything about them.  We often joke around and call ourselves the UN family but at the end of the day that does not matter.  We are a family that sticks together and loves each other.

Point of the story: If someone is different, treat them with respect.  The world is changing.  Deal with it.