25 August 2009

Generation Gap

I'm turning 34 this year. According to the Australian female life expectancy I have about 50 more years to go. I wonder what those 50 years have in store for me. I hope it's as exciting as what I've had so far!

I've just realised two things.

The first one is this. When my grandmother turned 34 in 1957, she would have been pregnant with her sixth child. What an incredible feat. Right now, I can hardly imagine myself having one child, let alone six of them! As it turned out, my grandmother had seven children.

My mum (5 years) and uncle (3) - Cambodia, 1954

The second thing I've realised is that when my father was 34, meaning I would have been about a year old, I believe he served a six months jail sentence in Dakar (Senegal). Judging from the appalling conditions in those African cells, this means he was in hell for 6 months. I understand also, that the reason I was sent to France as a baby was that my mum could not cope during this demanding period and my grandmother had to take care of me (for about two years) instead. It was a very difficult time for my parents. They never talk about it. I've been probing them with questions and there is an evasiveness which you can probably imagine. Personally, I think it's a remarkable story and that it deserves a blog post at some stage.

With my pending 34th year, I can not unfortunately claim to have had the experiences that my close relatives had. A Dakar prison cell is worlds away from my stable, secure existence. And my carefree lifestyle is miles apart from the responsibility that my grandmother inherited when she was so much younger than me.

This generation gap has me feeling a tad superficial.

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