Spanish | Turkish
I identify myself as a Spanish and Turkish female living in the Netherlands. I was brought up with the Christian belief and spirituality. My sexual orientation is straight. My Mother was born and raised (until the age of 13) in Cordoba, Spain. After she moved to the Netherlands where my Grandfather worked as a migrant worker. My Father is from Izmir, Turkey. In his mid-20's he moved to Amsterdam. While he was working in a restaurant he met my Mom. At that time, they did not speak the same language, only the language of love.
From a young age, it was obvious I had Spanish and Turkish roots because of the frequent holidays and family visits to both countries. It was also easy for me to identify myself with other mixed-races because of my multicultural home country, The Netherlands. My parents are the perfect example of combining two (or actually three) cultures in one. They both love each other's traditional food, music, dance, way of living and so on. As these are both Mediterranean cultures there are a lot of similarities. But they also embrace and respect the differences.
In my life, I have experienced some challenges based on my mixed identity, like the feeling of never truly belonging anywhere. No matter where I go, I will always be a foreigner. Nowadays it does not bother me. In some occasions, I also felt like I had to defend myself against the prejudices, especially about my Turkish background. It is interesting to see the difference between being Western and not-Western, which is more difficult. For example: once I experienced being followed to my house while I was 6 years old, by a group of children who insulted me and my mother of being 'smelly' Turks.
Unconsciously I became friends with 'foreigners' too. I think it was easier because I never had to defend my race. Now my environment is mixed with all cultures and friends from all over the world. It is a blessing to be surrounded by people with different cultures, religions and sexual orientations. We learn so much from each other. So that also means I do not care what my partners race is. However, I do have to admit that until now I have always felt more attracted to someone with the same race.
The Spanish and Turkish culture have a huge influence on my daily life, this includes traditional dishes, music, movies/television programmes, fashion and so on. These cultures taught me to be family-oriented, and that is the most important to me. For example, every day I spend time with my lovely Abuela 'Grandmother'. No matter how busy I am, there is always time for family. In those countries dancing is from big importance. We can express ourselves through dancing and I cannot imagine a life without dance or music.
The Dutch culture has taught me what it is to have freedom of speech and the importance of it. Lately I am more aware of how lucky I am to have been born in the Netherlands. Being mixed-race makes it, in my opinion, easier to be more open-minded towards other cultures and religions. It also makes me less vulnerable for the manipulation of the media and politics. Because growing up with three cultures made me realise there are two sides to every story and there is not really one truth existing.
I am so proud of my mixed-race and would not change a thing about it. My heritage and my name carry’s the beautiful history of my strong ancestors. I feel a deep connection with them. Being mixed-race makes me see the beauty of every culture.