In the words of the tv programme, The Spice Girls, and no doubt countless teachers and parents across the ages; Who do you think you are? Nationality-wise, that is?
I know who I think I am. English / British, plain and simple. No mystery there. My parents are English, their parents were, and their parents before them. You can't get much more straightforward - nationality-wise - than our family tree. And yet, delve a little deeper, and it turns out that of my grandparents' family names, only one - the one that I had thought was Scottish - is English. Of the other three, one is Irish, a second is French, and a third is south European. And when my mother researched her family it seems there's some Romany blood in there too. Not quite so straightforward, after all.
And my British passport holding sons? Well, if you throw in the fact that their father is Dutch but with Indonesian, Chinese and Russian blood, and a family name that originates in Germany, things start to get really interesting.
What's my point?
It was Refugee Week last week. It's a little after the fact, I know, but this morning I recieved an e-mail from the pr company handling the publicity for it telling me about the Simple Acts campaign to highlight the enormous contribution that refugees have made to the UK.
'The campaign is called Simple Acts, and is part of Refugee Week 2009 (15th-21st June) which is a countrywide programme of events including concerts, film screenings and exhibitions...
'This year the celebrations take on a new twist as people are invited not to raise funds, or make huge gestures, but to choose from 20 Simple Acts such as cooking a dish from a foreign country or reading a book written by /related to refugees, which brings them closer to refugees. Every Simple Act will be contributed to on an online total at Refugee Week.org.uk so people can see what a big impact they are making collectively.'
Click here for more information about the Simple Acts campaign. Everyone from Oxfam to Amnesty was involved, it seems, and even Paddington Bear (Peru's most famous bear refugee) got involved with a new story and a Simple Act of his own.
What did I do? Well, you probably worked out from the opening to this post that I took the option of finding out just how 'English' I am. Which is, as it turns out, not really what I am at all.
It's so easy to look at those who arrive in your country as 'other'. But do a bit of digging and you'll find that your family were probably 'other' at some point, too.