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  • I felt uncomfortable at Bastille days dressed up in my assigned costume. My class at my French immersion school would come every year wearing bows, bonnets and berets. We'd get in a circle and dance to provincial music.

    I felt uncomfortable. My parents and grandparents and godparents and adult neighbors had drilled it into me by this time.

    "Anja, what are you?" They'd ask.

    I would tell them that I am "a quarter Italian (the most important one in my mind), a quarter German, a quarter Polish, three-sixteenths Danish and one sixteenth Norwegian!!!"

    But I wasn't French. Who was I kidding? Going to a French festival like that all dressed up French. What if a real French person saw me? What would they say? What would they think? Would they try and speak their native language to me? I couldn't speak back.
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