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Immigrant parents realising their native country has moved on


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#1 Autumn Tones

Posted 27 December 2019 - 07:03 PM

Did anyone grow up with conservative immigrant parents who staunchly held onto old fashioned beliefs and somewhat outdated values, only to return to their native country years later to find that the country they left behind had progressed and moved on?

For example growing up my parents always made disparaging remarks about girls wearing shorts or dresses, playing sport or going out.
They would comment "girls back home would never behave like that!"
They returned to their country of origin nearly two decade later, and much to their shock, the conservative girls they had envisioned were now running around in short dresses, living with partners without being married, playing soccer and hanging out during ungodly hours.

Has anyone had similar experiences?

#2 Ivy Ivy

Posted 27 December 2019 - 07:11 PM

This is a known pattern of social geography.  As you intimated, it's because they associate the old country with old values, because that's how things actually were decades ago.

#3 Mollyksy

Posted 27 December 2019 - 07:13 PM

Oh yes. My own dad was a refugee fleeing civil war and brought up in a communist country orphanage (yep, fed, clothed and educated; not locked up) then came to Australia as a young man. Apparently he maintained how much better it was until he took an extended trip home in the mid 80s. He was a self made man here, with a small business. Back there, he noticed a huge difference and realised how much better Australia was. And no more comparison talk!

#4 born.a.girl

Posted 27 December 2019 - 07:25 PM

My best friend until we moved after year 8 was from an Italian immigrant family.  This was the fifties, early sixties and their family life was staggeringly different from mine. The wine making for a start - first I knew wine came from grapes.

She had to go to parent teacher interviews with her parents, and look after her younger twin brothers every night after school.  Her parents just treated that as normal, whereas most of the rest of us had Mum at home with her Mixmaster.

I didn't catch up with her much as an adult, but when I did I discovered that she really suffered from being so out of kilter with the rest of us - very few immigrants in our area at the time.  She felt she didn't really have a childhood.

#5 ImperatorFuriosa

Posted 27 December 2019 - 07:31 PM

My dad came here in the 50's at a young age to be brought up by very conventional stuffy parents who belittled everything about Australia, how where they had come from was better and projected it on to their kids.

My dad grew up with the same criticisms and opinions. He travelled to Europe when he a young man with all this from his parents lobbed on to his shoulders and had a big wake up call. It turned out Australia wasn't the big, bad monster his parents had made it out to be.

Apparently during that 5 year long *trip* he became disillusioned and something happened to him mentally. He arrives back in Australia a changed man and from there his decline gradually led him to become a horrible person to the point he is now 70 years old and NO ONE in his family gives a sh*t about him because of how he is.

Edited by ImperatorFuriosa, 27 December 2019 - 07:46 PM.


#6 Cimbom

Posted 27 December 2019 - 07:41 PM

Definitely. It’s got to be pretty common among wog migrants for sure

#7 ImperatorFuriosa

Posted 27 December 2019 - 07:45 PM

View PostCimbom, on 27 December 2019 - 07:41 PM, said:

Definitely. It’s got to be pretty common among wog migrants for sure

Wow, you typed actually typed "wog" in a sentence and posted it.

#8 Autumn Tones

Posted 27 December 2019 - 07:46 PM

View PostImperatorFuriosa, on 27 December 2019 - 07:31 PM, said:

My dad came here in the 50's at a young age to be brought up by very conventional stuffy parents who belittled everything about Australia, how where they had come from was better and projected it on to their kids.

My dad grew up with the same criticisms and opinions. He travelled to Europe when he a young man with all this from his parents lobbed on to his shoulders and had a big wake up call. It turned out Australia wasn't the big, bad monster his parents had made it out to be.

Apparently during that 5 year long *trip* he became disillusioned and something happened to him mentally. He arrives back in Australia a changed man and from there his decline gradually led him to become a horrible person to the point he is now 70 years old and NO ONE in his family gives a sh*t about him because of how he is.

I honestly don't know why my grandparents didn't go back to Europe if Australia was so horrible. It's not as if they were broke etc. I think their absolutes impacted on all their children except the youngest who is the only sibling of my dad I can communicate with.

My Grandma travelled back to Europe in the 90s for the first time in a long time and came back changed as well. She had a changed tune about her home and Australia.

I would really like to know what happened to my dad and her back in Europe.


I wonder if this mentality existed because they experienced so much racism, discrimination and unfamiliarity in their new country so they tried to cling onto what they knew back home to protect themselves, only to end up having an identity crisis. And they knew returning back home wasn't that simple..

#9 Oriental lily

Posted 27 December 2019 - 07:48 PM

I think many people, not just immigrants associate their ‘origins’ ( town, decade ect) through rose tinted glasses because the youthful years tend to be the best years .

So cling to that ideal of what a good life is .

So when the reality once revisited hits them in the face it’s a shock .

My parents are immigrants and visited ‘home’ in their late 40s after being gone for 25 years. It was a shock to the system . Not that it was not conservative ( it was never particularly conservative ) just how much the place had changed . The image of ‘home’ no longer existed .

Considering Australia is still considered one of the best countries in the world to live often the home country compares rather negatively .

My parents came home embracing Australia more completely . This was deffinetly now ‘home’

#10 Cimbom

Posted 27 December 2019 - 07:48 PM

View PostImperatorFuriosa, on 27 December 2019 - 07:45 PM, said:



Wow, you typed actually typed "wog" in a sentence and posted it.

It’s fine. I’m one myself lol

#11 ImperatorFuriosa

Posted 27 December 2019 - 07:50 PM

View PostAutumn Tones, on 27 December 2019 - 07:46 PM, said:

I wonder if this mentality existed because they experienced so much racism, discrimination and unfamiliarity in their new country so they tried to cling onto what they knew back home to protect themselves, only to end up having an identity crisis. And they knew returning back home wasn't that simple..

Sorry I decided to edit and cut back on my reply.** lol

Yeah, I think so. I have tried for years to find out information regarding what went on before I was born. My grandma would shut down whenever I tried to talk about it with her when I was a teen in to adulthood. Then when she was finally starting to open up she gradually succumbed to dementia and well that door was closed. She spent the rest of her years thinking I was eternally 16 and I should do my best at school. lol

#12 kimasa

Posted 27 December 2019 - 07:57 PM

Malta regularly ranks high in safest countries for LGBT individuals studies which makes me pretty damn happy.

As a kid I always had this picture in my head of it as a place where all women covered their heads (google ghonnella for what I consider to be the most impractical religious head covering, it's like someone went "Okay, we want women to cover themselves, but what if we made it as wide as a doorway?") and everyone is super Catholic and modest, due to Nanna and Nannu's stories.
Then I grew up and realised it's a Mediterranean island with a lot of people in tiny swimwear and one of the safest countries in the world for LGBT travel.

#13 halcyondays

Posted 27 December 2019 - 08:00 PM

My parents were the same- but the country and the national consciousness has changed immensely, and I think generally for the better. But they are “stuck” neither feeling at home here nor in their country of origin.
They migrated as brown skinned people just after the white Australia policy was lifted. It wasn’t easy and the only sense of security and comfort they could get was from the idea of “home” - even though they were living below the poverty line there.

#14 seayork2002

Posted 27 December 2019 - 08:03 PM

My immigrant grandparents (dad's side, mum's is basically Aussie) my dad and his parents were/are totally 'modern forward thinkers'

Their relatives not so much, no deep  seated ethnic Mediterranean 'racist' thing they just think they know better

My granddad drilled into me to ignore it and be my own person - he was cool!

#15 Ozquoll

Posted 27 December 2019 - 08:17 PM

View Postkimasa, on 27 December 2019 - 07:57 PM, said:

As a kid I always had this picture in my head of it as a place where all women covered their heads (google ghonnella for what I consider to be the most impractical religious head covering, it's like someone went "Okay, we want women to cover themselves, but what if we made it as wide as a doorway?") and everyone is super Catholic and modest, due to Nanna and Nannu's stories.
I had to google that one! Gotta admit, doorway issues aside, I like it 😀. Sun protection AND cool breezes, noice 👍. And seriously, the demure look on the face of this "Maltese Lady" as she shows off a daring sliver of white petticoat is priceless 😅

https://theculturetr...onal-headdress/

#16 -Emissary-

Posted 27 December 2019 - 08:18 PM

Some of my extended family members are still pretty conservative even though societies have moved on. They expect girls to remain virgin until marriage, live at home, help out with domestic chores, always treat parents and parents in law with filial piety.

I became a single mother at 19 ha!

I would have been considered a real disappointment if I was raised in my home country and would probably have been ostracised by my family. But because I was raised in Australia they accept my behaviour is probably normal ;). My cousins who live over there isn’t given the same leeway but no one is a real rebel like I am.

Not that I would have given two hoots about what they thought of me.

#17 LadyGreyTea

Posted 27 December 2019 - 08:20 PM

My parents came from Vietnam in the 80s and were quite progressive and open minded in comparison to other Vietnamese immigrants.
Growing up I pretty much wore whatever the heck I pleased, but when I travelled with them back to Vietnam for the first time in nearly 30 years, they told me to dress more modestly, in long sleeved tops and pants, as to avoid judgement from relatives and grandparents.

Lo and behold, my cousins were all in very trendy & short sleeved western attire and grandparents called my parents idiots for making me boil to death in such impractical clothing for the Vietnamese climate.

Mum was astonished that some Vietnamese women were dressed 'sexier' than the ones who migrated overseas.

Edited by LadyGreyTea, 27 December 2019 - 09:31 PM.


#18 #YKG

Posted 27 December 2019 - 08:30 PM

My Gran grew up in Germany, she somehow got out in 1959 with my great grandmother. They came to Australia, my great grandmother died when I was 6/7, I don’t remember her talking about it but remember her shutting down conversation about family left behind. My Gran died when I was 25, she hated Germany with a passion to the point I went when I was 19/20 and she refused to talk to me or be in the same room as me for nearly a year.

I think when people immigrate to another country they either hold on tight to the identity they grew up with or reject it. I think it depends on events of the time.

On the flip side I have friends (in early 30’s) who have their weird old view about their parents country of birth, they themselves have never been there but somehow have this idealistic view when the reality is very different and not what their parents or family remember.

#19 IamtheMumma

Posted 27 December 2019 - 08:56 PM

View PostOzquoll, on 27 December 2019 - 08:17 PM, said:

I had to google that one! Gotta admit, doorway issues aside, I like it . Sun protection AND cool breezes, noice . And seriously, the demure look on the face of this "Maltese Lady" as she shows off a daring sliver of white petticoat is priceless

https://theculturetr...onal-headdress/

I had to google too. My response is the same. I think they look great. But I'd probably go up in flames if I tried one on being the heathen that I am.

#20 ipsee

Posted 27 December 2019 - 08:57 PM

I have a friend who was shocked by the relaxed attitude of Australian school kids, saying in her country kids sat in neat rows, didn't speak unless the teacher spoke, were quiet at all times etc. she was really worried that kids here learned nothing, due to lack of discipline.

Then she took her child back to her country and put them in school for a year - she found that things had changed a lot in the 35 years since she was at school. It was much more relaxed - maybe not as relaxed as here, but nothing like she remembered.

And I realised schools have changed a fair bit since I was at school too. A lot of the change is just the march of time, not cultural issues.

#21 kadoodle

Posted 27 December 2019 - 09:05 PM

I’m taking my dad to Italy in the new year. It’s going to be interesting to see how his father’s stories stack up against the reality of modern Rome.

My parents are both tetchy that I only speak English, and have only ever made token efforts to speak Welsh, Gaelic or Italian (their ancestral languages).

#22 Cerridwen

Posted 27 December 2019 - 09:08 PM

Oh yes.  My father and I basically butted heads and constantly argued from around my 10th birthday in the early 70's. Probably even before that but that is when it became serious. According to him it was the bad influence of my Australian friends that made me so disrespectful.

I hated being the daughter of a strict Southern Italian father who constantly reminded me that I would never have behaved the way I did, if I had been brought up in Italy. Apparently there would be no boyfriends, discos, the wearing of jeans and or any item of clothing that would be seen as "too revealing."  I used to do all that and more, much of it behind his back. When I turned 18, I moved in with my boyfriend and he came over and stole my knives and other cooking utensils and said I could have them back when I came back home. Actually he said that and a whole lot more that isn't going to be repeated here.

A few months later he went back to Italy for the first time since coming to Australia as a teenager. On his return he had photos of my female cousins smoking, wearing shorts and with boyfriends. When I mentioned it he laughed and said that Italy wasn't still in the dark ages, as if I had been the one who thought it was. He has been back many times since and loves to go "home" for a visit and to spend time with his remaining siblings that never came to Australia but would never go back to live. Australia is his home now and as an old man he is fully aware of how much better his life has been as a result.

#23 niban

Posted 27 December 2019 - 09:09 PM

My mother migrated from Europe when she married my father (I was born 2 days and 9 months after the marriage) and found it very hard being on the other side of the world. We grew up being told her homeland was the land of milk and honey and with constant comparisons (very socially conservative, my whole life I was told that basically I should marry and have kids and not work, a lot of rebellion on my part and our relationship was never great largely cos of that gulf).   My parents separated when I was 12 and she made multiple attempts and travels back there, but the country had moved on.  It was really sad - she ended up never belonging anywhere :(

#24 Sancti-claws

Posted 27 December 2019 - 09:11 PM

lol I know its not the same, but many years ago when we were on holiday in Tasmania, mum said "oh, this is just like home."

It was NOTHING like Central Queensland - but despite being fourth generation Australian, her family had passed down the love for the "home country".

#25 Freddie'sMum

Posted 27 December 2019 - 09:17 PM

It's interesting because we have lived here for nearly 20 years and I do not feel Australian in the least.

Yet, when we go back to NZ it has changed so much, it doesn't feel like home anymore.  So I feel like I live in no man's land- caught between two similar yet very different countries.




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