Birds of a feather

So this year Tiss started going to a children's Latvian folklore ensemble.  It's funny, but in some ways I think it was easier to educate your child in Latvian traditions when living in Australia - because participation in a folk dance group, a choir, Latvian language school was a must, the thing everybody did on the weekends - and a great emphasis was put on this cultural education in the Latvian diaspora.

However, when you LIVE in Latvia, the country and culture are all around you, and not many people make the effort to especially join folk dance groups or choirs or the like.  You have to go out of your way and find these opportunities, this folklore community, and infiltrate.  I had got to the stage of having a 9 year old and and a 6 year old that had never danced a polka or worn a folk costume!  Shock horror!  So that's why Tiss started singing in a folklore ensemble this autumn.  So far so good, he is a bit of a butterfingers when learning the "kokle", a Latvian zither-like instrument, but happy to sing, hassling me to sing in the car and when we have a moment at home.

It didn't all click initially though, on the very first day he was feeling a bit out of his element when he realised that most of the kids already knew each other and were mates, and I was already recoiling from the "mum, I don't like it and don't want to go" conversation I could sense was coming, when in walked V.  We had met V before at a music festival this summer.  She is around 10 years old, and her mother is Latvian and her dad is Australian.  A dinkum Aussie from Adelaide, he works in international banking.  They've lived in Latvia for 10 years or so.  And suddenly, Tiss' eyes were shining, and he was giggling, and BLATHERING ON IN ENGLISH to this little dark-haired Aussie-Latvian princess, and having the time of his life.  Desperate to go to ensemble again next week.  Oh, the irony - I take the kid to a group to get the big Latvian experience, and he only really feels comfortable in the company of a bilingual misfit like himself.  It's not that he can't speak the language - he is fully fluent in both - but culturally, spiritually, attitudinally, whatever, he is still a little bit different. Oh well!  I don't really mind.  As long as he gets his dose of Latvian folklore as well :)

Tonight was their first performance, and I was totally surprised by my own swelling feelings of pride and nostalgia when I saw Tiss in his costume, and felt his excitement at having it on and performing on stage. I could totally be one of those pageant mothers, I've realized.  Good thing I haven't got a girl.

Birds of a feather - Tiss and his Aussie friend

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