When EITB decided to open this blog for me, they did tell me that I could write as often or as infrequently as I wanted, but I am sure they didn’t mean for me to take like a three month break after my first two posts. To tell you the truth, I am just lazy. I do have things to say, but I have so little practice with writing them down that it really takes a lot of effort for me to sit down and just do it. But I guess today is different.
There is something I have struggled with for a long time, and more so since I moved to Boise. As you might know there is a huge Basque community here. I am from Bilbao, born and raised there, but my parents are not from the Basque Country. I am able to carry on a conversation in Basque, but my understanding skills are far better than my ability to speak the language. Many times over the years I have felt the need to explain to people why I don’t speak very good Basque even though I come from the Basque Country. It is partly my fault for not making more of an effort to learn it while I had the chance, and partly because I happened to live in an area of the Basque Country were people predominantly spoke Spanish. Since my kids started going to Ikastola in Boise I have had the opportunity to talk more in Basque with the teachers, the parents, and with my own kids, and I love it.
About four weeks ago, I submitted the application to become a member of Euzkaldunak, and just today I got an email from the secretary telling me that before she could go forward with the application she needed to verify my ethnicity. I was so nervous all day long thinking that they would deny me the chance to be a member because my parents are not Basque, and that even though I am, I feel, and do not know anything other than being Basque, they would deny my membership. It’s funny how I have often felt that people who were born here in the US, people who have never even been to the Basque Country have the right to feel “more” Basque than I do because their great-grandfather happened to be from Gernika, Azkoitia, or Lekeitio. I don’t know why I feel the need for other people to validate me as being Basque.
In the end, I stressed out for nothing. I came home to a second email from the Euzkaldunak secretary telling me that my membership would be processed by the end of the week, so I will be able to attend the monthly dinners from now on, my husband and kids in tow. I guess it all comes down to making sure that my kids are integrated from an early age into the Basque community, that they develop a pride in being Basque, that they form long-lasting connections with other Boise Basques. And how could have they done it if their own Basque mom was not able to get them in?
- Okey, call me a moron…
- En serio, es que no tengo abuela (blowing my own trumpet)