Let’s turn back the clock...
My husband and I moved to Sydney in 2006, when we just had two children. So these happy little munchkins feel Australian through and through. And quite rightfully so.
Unfortunately the civil war in Syria put a big full stop on trips back to Baba's side of the family. Keeping up the connection to their Arab identity has been hard. Learning Arabic in primary school is great, but we've never managed to do a good job of speaking Arabic at home to reinforce that. We eat some staple Syrian food, learnt from my sisters-in-law in my husband’s family home. But tbh I'm just not the type to spend hours rolling vine leaves on the regular.
Having grown up with a bit of a split identity myself, never quite sure if I was Australian (like my dad and my passport) or English (like my mum and my hometown), I became increasingly sorry that my children's Syrian side was getting buried. And for our youngest three children, only something they heard talked about. They had never known it for themselves.
I want my children to feel proud of the Arab side of their heritage. To identify as Syrian as well as Australian (and English!). And I want the same for other children like them, growing up with a vague idea of another homeland, language and culture that adults in their lives represent.
And so, once our youngest human child was two and a bit, Haluna Happy Names was born.