I grew up in Surrey in the South of England in the 1970’s and 80’s. Whilst we were not an affluent family we had all we needed and most people who lived around us would have defined themselves as middle class and had good professional jobs and a tidy mortgage. I knew one boy of Chinese origin and everyone else at my school was white and British, there really was no diversity for the first fifteen years or so of my life.
Of course as I got older and moved away from home I met people from different backgrounds and of different race and colour but in the main my close friends remained white and British. I don’t believe this was a conscious decision but it was just the way it was, perhaps due to the university I went to or the type of jobs I did? It was probably only as I became a Christian and a parent in my early 30’s that I started to befriend and know more people who were culturally different to me.
I’ve enjoyed getting to know more about other cultures and peoples experiences over the last decade and charity trips to Belarus and Ethiopia have opened my eyes to so many different ways of living, working and communicating. Moving to Ashburnham Place a couple of years ago has heightened my experience further and now I get to live amongst people from about 20 different countries and of course every three months there is a new influx of friends to get to know.
When I was younger I didn’t realise what I was missing out on. I wouldn’t have it any other way now and I’ve played new games, tried new foods and been prayed for in a different mother tongue. For someone who always had trouble with learning a second language, I am now surrounded by people who fluently speak two, three or even six languages, it is a privilege indeed.
The other week I spotted this image on the Grammarly Facebook page and it made me smile, so I shared it and of course anyone who knows Ashburnham started to comment that it summed up life at Ash really well! What do you think?
Michelle is the wife to our Hospitality Director, she volunteers in bookings and runs our Facebook pages. She is the mother of three school aged children, writes a well-read Christian parenting and lifestyle blog called Mummy from the Heart and can’t believe how blessed she is to live and serve amongst an amazing community at Ashburnham Place. You can connect with her on twitter as @michelletwinmum if you fancy!