Wow, this thread is interesting!
The first thought that came to my head was regarding how my children play and how I played as a child. Very often when Welsh children play make believe, they will do so through the medium of English - cue the common complaint that when you walk on the to the playground of a Welsh medium school, all the kids are playing in English. I see it as a form of escapism and role playing, almost like putting on a costume. They think it's fun and experimental and it allows them to become different people for the time that they're playing in that language.
I've confidently spoken both Welsh and English from a very early age. I came from quite a traditional Welsh speaking family with some English speaking branches and had a father who would throw the dictionary at me at the dinner table if I dared to use and English word instead of a Welsh one. I also had English speaking friends at school.
Though I loved the literature, poetry and music, I kind of took Welsh for granted, but was fascinated by English and would love to speak English with my English friends, in order to practice and extend my vocabulary. The language fascinated me and I chose to do English A Level.
But I was bullied badly in secondary school, was generally unhappy for the time I was there and felt I didn't fit in. I was also criticised and belittled by Welsh speaking friends for speaking English to English pupils - they felt I was betraying my own culture and language.
Wales wasn't my friend any longer and part of me felt that I wasn't supposed to be a shy, quiet, frightened Welsh girl, that there was something more to me than this. So when the opportunity came to flee to college, I went from Pwllheli to Chichester!
That was the start of a new me. I spoke English all the time and grabbed the chance to reinvent myself. I went from shy to extrovert. I became brave and daring. Then when I was done with Chichester I moved to London, lived life to the brim there for 4 years, spending a little time in Boston Mass now and again.
But it fizzled out and I got bored of being a young, free and single English girl in London - just like all the millions of others. It no longer felt exciting and certainly didn't feel different any more. In fact I longed to feel different and unique again.
I moved back to Wales when I was 27 and went to Bangor Uni to do a teaching degree through the medium of Welsh, although I (frighteningly) hadn't written or spoken much Welsh for a long time! But chose English as my main subject, because I still enjoyed the language and felt that I had the ability to teach it to Welsh children in an interesting and stimulating way, because of the experiences I'd had.
I slowly became Welsh again and fell in love with my culture and language. But I became a different Welsh person to the one I used to be. I had life experiences and travel under my belt and a new found energy. I was certainly more confident.
By now I feel I have a greater appreciation of both languages and cultures. When I see my old London friends, the old English me comes out and remember what it feels like to be her. But my roots are now firm. What you see is what you get with me, now. I'm passionate about my language and culture and feel completely happy with who I am and where I am.
Cat (as I used to be called when I lived in London) is still inside me somewhere and will sometimes come out when I'm feeling frivolous (or a little tipsy), but Catrin Lliar is who I really am.