The British Library

Emma’s Story

I was born in the uk, as was my mother. My father is fully English, though my mother’s parents were born in Poland. My polish grandparents came over here after the war, and not long after my mother was born. When she started school she did not know or understand English, only Polish, therefore she found life as a small child difficult. This was the point where her parents decided to fully integrate into the British life and so they changed their last name to a local one and began only to speak in English. When my uncle was born it was the opposite story he did not know or understand Polish, as by this point my mother and grandparents had fully become welcoming citizens of the United Kingdom.

Now I’m 24 years old and beginning my adult life discovering who I am. I am now realising that I am missing a large chunk of my heritage as I cannot understand or contact my family back in Poland, though when I was small my grandma was always trying to teach me her language and recipes for traditional dishes, all that I took for granted. Now that I’m older I want to be proud of who I am and learn but I fear I may be a little late since my grandpa died.

-Emma, England

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