With December being such a family-focused time of year, what with the holidays, I've been thinking a lot about family and traditions, and how much our world is becoming a bigger and bigger melting pot. While Ruby is Asian, she's a mix of two Asian cultures (I'm Thai, and Bob is Korean). She'll hear her grandparents speak in two different languages, she'll learn about two different ethnic traditions, and she'll become familiar with two different kinds of foods—all on top of the American culture we're raising her in and everything else we expose her to.
Since our friends are so multicultural, Ruby's friends are mostly children of mixed race or mixed ethnicity, too. It's funny to think that we rarely meet kids who are 100% of any one background these days. It's amazing and beautiful, and I feel like our generation is the first in which it's becoming more common and more accepted to see such a rainbow of faces. After I posted about Ruby's Dol, a reader recently asked if I would share what we do (or hope to do) in both our marriage and as parents to continue to incorporate our mix of cultures in her life. And, because I'm still figuring out a lot of this myself, I'm always up for being inspired by others. So, I also asked some friends how they mix in their various cultures into their own family. Here's what they, with some of my own thoughts as well…
Bob and I knew it wouldn't be easy to mix our cultures together because we both come from immigrant parents who have strong ties to their roots. It took Bob's parents a really long time to accept me as the non-Korean girl their son was dating.
In the end, they wanted Bob to be happy and accepted me into their family. We had three weddings: one Thai, one Korean, and then our bigger regular wedding. It was a lot of marrying to do, but well worth getting to celebrate in as many ways as possible.
Those who get to travel a lot know how inspiring a trip to another country can be, and how much you can learn and grow by seeing other cultures and watching the way who are part of them live their lives differently than your own. Just imagine how impactful a family trip can be when you're learning about your partner's cultures and where their family is rooted.
The idea of sharing culture through food is a common one that a lot of my friends spoke about. Since I base all of my vacations on where we'll eat, for me, nothing is better than getting to know someone through what they like to eat or what they grew up eating.
Justina and her husband, Jason, both come from English-speaking parents, but I love that they choose to instill a variety of languages and experiences in their little Ida even when they don't have to. Ruby calls water "agua" because she learns Spanish from our nanny, and she knows how to say "open your mouth" in Thai because she's learned it from me saying it to her during meal time. I used to worry that she'd get confused if she knew words in a bunch of different languages, but now I feel as though we should let her soak up whatever she hears and learn whatever comes naturally to her and to our family.
Marriage is a wonderful, yet constantly evolving, process. It's like a plant with ever-changing care instructions, and it needs to be nourished in every phase of its life. So bringing a mix of expectations, languages, foods, and whatever else is involved in having a mixed family, just adds one more thing to the pot. You don't choose who you fall in love with, but you do to nurture what you both bring to the table and be open about letting both sides create the framework for what you become as a couple and as a family.
What do you guys think? If you come from a mixed family, how were various cultures incorporate into how you were raised, or how do you integrate other cultures into your family?
P.S. Thanks so much to my friends pictured above for sharing their words, thoughts, and photos for this post.
P.P.S. Congrats to Anne M. from Red Bank, NJ for being our winner of the Daily Essentials Giveaway. For all readers Of a Kind is offering 20% off anything in their shop. Use code OFAKINDLOVESOHJOY through December 19th.
xo – heather
This is a beautiful post. I think it’s definitely helpful to read how others incorporate different cultures. I’m a melting pot of European countries, and my husband is half-Italian, half-Korean. So we will have the same questions when we have children. I certainly want them to appreciate all their heritage.
this post makes me so happy… i’m white and my boyfriend is vietnamese. i’m SO excited to see what our little “halfies” will look like one day 😉 although his parents wanted to see him find a nice vietnamese girl, they have grown to love me as much as i love them. it’s also fun to introduce my family to his families traditions… my mom is coming in from out of town to celebrate chinese new year with hung’s family!!
Great post. Thanks for the glimpses into your colorful, delicious, and diverse life!
love this post and completely agree! it reminds me of this: http://www.themixedrace-project.com/
i’m chinese and my husband is a mix of mexican, spanish, native american, german (and more, he doesn’t even know!), and we have an 8 month old baby girl. food is definitely a way we want to expose her to our (and other) cultures (i’m excited for the non-pureed stage). and i’m excited to celebrate chinese new year through her (new) eyes.
I love this. My husband is Korean. No baby yet, but how lovely to think ahead.
I love this post! My husband is 2nd generation Mexican-American and grew up in inner city Chicago, I am German/Dutch and grew up in Nebraska. It has been so fun to learn from one another and celebrate each other’s cultures & differences throughout the years. I am excited for us to one day have children and see how we will incorporate traditions from both sides into their upbringing.
wonderful post! I’m full Armenian and my husband is half Armenian and half Mexican so that makes our daughter a quarter Mexican. Though most of our practices and traditions are dominantly Armenian, because that’s how both my husband and I were brought up, we do try to teach her Spanish words and as she gets older we plan to introduce her to other cultural elements as well.
Oh my goodness this is SUCH a good post!! I come from first generation Mexican and Italian background. While my dad was working, my mom took the time while we were growing up to show us everything that was so great about her Mexican culture. She taught us Spanish, which to me was the most important element as we wee able to speak to our grandparents and also know a different language growing up which is always useful. My dad is Italian, and that culture soaked in as well, especially with his non-English speaking parents. Although we didn’t learn Italian when we were younger, my sisters and I have such appreciation for the culture.
I married an American and while I consider myself a Mexican/Italian, I am also American since I was born and raised here. My goal fo our kids, whenever that comes, is to integrate the 3 cultures into one and expose them to everything as much as my mother did to me. I mean, how cool is that?
Such a lovely post 🙂
So beautiful, yay for mixed families! I love our little mixed clan. 🙂
Hi Joy! I love this post. My parents are Chilean and Iranian. My husband is Ecuadorean and Cuban but we were both raised in Miami. We currently live with our infant son in Barcelona, Spain. Mixing cultures is an art form truly. A lot of our friends think we should just pick one culture and stick with it to not confuse our baby but we totally disagree. Our son, Roman, has a Spanish/Italian name to honor our grandparent’s heritage. But he also has a Persian name since I’m very close to my father and was raised very rooted in Persian culture. He is spoken to in Spanish and English (by me, my husband and my husband’s parents) and Persian by his grandfather (who he calls his “baba joon”). Since we live in Barcelona, most of our Spanish and Catalan friends speak to him in either Spanish or Catalan.
Some people think this is overwhelming or too difficult for babies but I think in the future, more and more babies will resemble our little Roman and be immersed and connected to several cultures.
Hugs to you and your little one!
I forgot to say….my hubby is Filipino and I am white…I love that his family is so warm, big, inclusive and that our girls constantly get exposure to the language, food and some traditions through Joel’s dad who lives with us for 5 months out of the year ( he makes a mean adobo) 🙂 It makes me happy to see all the other stories of mixed families.
Really lovely post and thoughts. I’m an American mutt (Eastern European on my mother’s side and British and Native American on my father’s side) and I’m Jewish. My husband is from Eastern Germany. We’re raising our daughter with Jewish and German traditions, Chanukah and German Xmas and our household is bilingual.
Experiencing traditions with her has made them have meaning again for me. It’s wonderful and special.
I love this. My husband and I have 2 children and come from two different cultures, I being Bangladeshi and my husband being Yemeni. I think the greatest thing that we have in teaching our children to absorb both of our cultures is our strength in our extended family. My in-laws speak to my children in Arabic while my family speaks to them in Bengali and since all of our family loves food we get a mix of both cuisines. My older child, now 3, can identify dishes from both cultures and can say phrases from both languages. It’s just second nature. The support from both sides of our family is so wonderful and how both my husband and I embrace eachother’s cultures–we definitely have done well in making two different cultures one so far. I have to say I’m so blessed and I love how my children are growing up in a diverse household. It’s a beautiful thing.
Great post! My little family is a blend of Mexico/Iceland. Our baby is being exposed to Spanish, Icelandic, a little English and maybe she’ll also pick up Danish. We love the mixing of cultures. Currently we are living in Iceland so it’s sometimes difficult or expensive to find some ingredients for my favorite Mexican recipes (hope one of the 13 Santas brings me chiles)so it’s a shame that I can’t cook these dishes often.
With a Chilean husband and me being Italian, our 11 month old is exposed to so many different foods, people, and three languages. I also worried that we weren’t being consistent with language but i feel like he’ll pick it up along the way and probably be better off for it. i think you’re right Joy, let them soak it up where they can get it. 🙂 thanks for the post, i needed it today.
– caroline @thecopperavocado
Thanks Tracy! And yes, I LOVE Jennas project. Its so beautiful!
Congrats on your little girl!
yay Melis! 😉
This is such a great post!
I’m half French, half Maltese and married to a Dane. The main language in our house in English right now but can’t wait to discover how, when we have children, our family will play and waltz with all the languages, cultures and traditions!
Love this post, it’s great to see all the different mixes that makes a family.
I’m Japanese Brazilian, husband is Irish and his Dad was English. Our children are Vietnamese.
Beautiful post Joy! I’m Malaysian Chinese and my husband is Australian and we moved back to Australia 2 years ago. On a daily basis, we speak English to our 7 month old son but I also speak Mandarin to him and we attend baby signing class as well so you can imagine his little world is pretty confusing at the moment. I wouldn’t change a thing and can’t wait to see how he incorporates all these into his life one day.
What a beautiful post! My parents are from Italy and Croatia and my husband is Filipino, so our 16-month old son hears multiple languages…and eats many types of foods!
I grew up speaking Croatian and learned Italian as an adult, so we are teaching our little one words from each of his languages. Each of his grandparents has their own special name (Lola, Nonno, etc.) I look forward to teaching him more about his cultures as he gets older. I think it’s such a wonderful thing to grow up in a family that is warm, loving and respects and celebrates their cultures. Thank you for posting this, Joy!
love this post! this is something that I’m so grateful for my son to experience living in Southern California. Growing up where I did, it was all white white white. and one korean family. in my entire school. While my husband and I have similar backgrounds and ethnicities, I love that Charlie is learning about all types of people, cultures, languages, beliefs, and traditions.
Such a beautiful post – you got me excited about our future chinese-korean babies! 🙂
Hi joy what a great post. We are living abroad in Thailand with our 19 month old son. Been here since he was 8 months. We initially worried about whether it would slow down his language acquisition but the opposite is true. He has a really large vocabulary for his age of both thai and english words. It is such a great experience for him and considering we are both white british parents its a great opportunity for him to learn about other cultures and languages. I think it is a great advantage for children to be born into multicultural families to have the opportunity to learn 2 languages and about two cultures.
Joy, your post is very inspiring and indeed gave me some insights in my future with my boyfriend. I am Chinese and my bf is white… and I always think umm… I should put my kids in Chinese school (which I absolutely hated it when I had to go to that when I was young). or I often think maybe I will speak chinese to my kids and he can speak english to them so they will be bilingual… And the wedding is sth I am very concern the most, as my parents (same as yours are immigrant parents), they are not very fluent in english, so that means the wedding will be bilingual as well. Am I thinking too much? it just seems so OVERWHELMING!
Hi Joy, such a wonderful post to share with all! I am Korean and my husband is white (w/italian, irish heritage). We have a 6 yr daughter and we find great joy in exposing her to both of our cultures. At around 4-5, she started picking up on some Korean. You will be amazed when Ruby is learning and speaking Korean, Thai and English! How well-rounded she’ll be!! It will be very fun. 🙂 Ruby is the perfect combination of you and Bob.
Thanks to you and your friends for sharing. My husband and I are both Americans. He 4th generation Mexican American and I am 1st generation Filipino. We were both military brats and grew up in different areas. My husband spent most of his early elementary years in Germany which he remembers vividly (especially the food and kinder beer)! We both speak and understand several languages. We both attribute our open minds and explorer mentality to our upbringing, We are raising our 11 month old daughter to speak English, Spanish, and Tagalog. And while we can’t move every four years…we are already planning to travel internationally at least every two years. We live in SF so we are lucky to be exposed to so many cultures right in our own neighborhood.
Keep sharing your family traditions!
What a wonderful post, and what wonderful friends you have!
This is such an interesting topic. My husband is born and raised in France and I am born and raised in America but we are both of Armenian origins from Istanbul. It is funny to see that even though our origins are the same the cultures we grew up in are very different and we really enjoy mixing all of our influences: American, French, Armenian and even Turkish. The more the merrier!
I love this post. Many of our friends are also part of mixed marriages. Many of them speak more than one language. The Mom will only speak to the child in one language (like Russian, Portuguese or Chinese or whatever) and that Dad will speak in English or another language. It will not confuse the kid!! I learned in grad school that the best time to learn languages is very early in life, the earlier, the better. Even if you only speak one language, you can always turn on some foreign language radio, tv or kid’s movie!!! 🙂
I had a prof with a step kid that was exposed to something like 4 languages as a baby and toddler and she figured it all out with no problems. The best time for kids to learn anything (music, sports, languages) is when they are super young!!!
I’m Asian, but I’m a product of 3 different asian cultures. My dad’s straits chinese, my mom is half javanese and half ceylonese. You’re right about letting children grow and pick up whatever language sounds right to them cos that’s what my parents did – I speak english, malay and mandarin; and I switch easily amongst the three. Not only that – I get to celebrate more than 1 cultural festival (fun!). I’m glad that my upbringing has led me to be sensitive, open and accepting of different cultures. Thank you for writing this beautiful piece! Counting my blessings and giving thanks,
Lovely! Jason is white and I am black though we both look really odd to most people individual anyway received many stares and rude comments at the beginning of our relationship 7 years ago but now it has gotten a great deal better. I think it is because in some respects kids have friends that are from all backgrounds and that is opening them up to multiracial /biracial relationships. I just love that love is able to thrive regardless of skin coloring.
I’ve even told my sister that she has to open up to her sons having friends that are not the same ethnicity as they are. The world is different and as long as those “friends” accept and love my nephews for the amazing people they are then their skin color doesn’t matter. She gets it it is just so different from how she grew up. For the most part Indy is still a very segregated area in both ethnic and class but it is changing it just takes time here.
i love that your daughter is exposed to so many different cultures. we could break so many barriers if more people did this.
This is one of my favorite posts from you ever, Joy! 🙂 I really enjoyed reading it.
thanks for your post Joy 🙂
just to add another element to mix mariage…. I’m swiss, christian and happily married to a palestinian, muslim and WE never had problem with that not like some peopole around us 🙂
Diversity is the future !
thanks for your beautiful blog which I love to visit.
Thanks for including me and my family in this heart-warming post. I think it’s so important that this dialog be out in the open and I applaud you for putting this stuff out there! Communication is everything–especially when it comes to cross-cultural respect and fostering healthy relationships among people of all cultures. It’s crazy to to think that when my parents were married in California in the 60’s ‘interracial’ marriages were not yet legal here. We’ve come a long way, baby! Now it’s up to us to help those who still don’t have the right to marry to achieve equal rights! big hugs, ~J
I am Southern American and my husband is Saudi so I love this post. I try to teach our son all about both cultures as well.
I am Indonesian and my husband is American. Our daughter speaks both language, Indonesian to me and English to her daddy. It’s amazing to see a bilingual 3 year old!
My husband has taken food to the next level since we met 🙂 He used to eat just plain boring American food (mac n cheese, cheesy pasta, pizza, bbq) but then I introduced him to spicy food and Asian food (Thai, Indonesian, Korean, Japanese, Indian, Vietnamese), he LOVED it and couldn’t stop searching for new Asian restaurant ever since!
The strange thing is that, last July we moved back to US (after living in Indonesia for a year) and all he’s been craving is Indonesian food!
Different cultures is amazing! Sure it’s harder but it’s worth the effort.
These posts are so encouraging! I’ve had a somewhat difficult experience. My mother is American (from the Midwest and without strong ties to her Swedish heritage) and my father is a Greek immigrant (he came over to the US when he was in his 30s). Americans love to point out my long, rambling last name and seem to think I have all the answers to Greek trivia. However, growing up, my exposure to Greek culture was limited to only a handful of Greek events a year, in which I felt like an outsider because I didn’t speak Greek and didn’t look Greek. Despite the fact I studied Classical Greek in undergrad and got involved in Greek cultural events as an adult, my father has made a point of telling me how disappointed he is because he thinks I don’t care about my culture. He has since moved back to Greece, uprooting my family. Since I was already an adult by that time, and working steadily in a career I love, I remained in the States. It’s hard having my family so far away, and I’m still reconciling what this means for me as an adult. I think mixed families are beautiful, but both parents have to be on the same page and even then they have to realize that the child’s experience is going to be different from their own.
This post touched me more than any other. Being that my fiance is Filipino and I’m black and white I find it fascinating to read similar multi-cultural plans. Our children will be whackapinos (name we’ve made up) and we can’t wait to fill their little hearts and minds up with their hodgepodge of cultures.
So interesting! My husband is vietnamese and I am portuguese, we live in the caribbean, where there is a strong american influence. I am curious to see how we work put the culture input once we have kids.
Joy this is such a great post! I’m newly married and will start a very multiethnic family with my husband in a few years. While our differences aren’t drastic, we do hope that our children won’t struggle as much with their identity and where they belong (as we did). I too am happy that we live in a world that is embracing mixed families and children more and more each day!
Lovely post! It’s always interesting to hear about different stories on how families are raising children with different cultural and ethnic backgrounds. I’m a mix of Japanese, Chinese, and Hawaiian and I never really thought about how my parents raised me because it felt so seamless at that time but my parents made sure my sister and I learned how to dance hula, we always went and participated for the Bon dances (or Bon Odori) during summer and we always celebrated Chinese New Year. And then there were the little things, like different mannerisms, phrases, the different food and the list can go on and on. But the biggest thing I’ve learned about being multiracial is the fact that each have a common thread which is learning to be respectful, to be kind and courteous, and to cherish family.
Thank you for this. I’m the multiracial mother of a multiracial child. While we live in the diverse Bay Area, our immediate community is fairly homogenous. It’s wonderful to see families that look like ours!
I love this so much, especially because I am Brazilian and my husband American. With our little 6 months old baby I speak in Portuguese with her at home and dad speaks in English. I don’t know what she understand at this point but I really hope she speaks both languages. I always wondered what people felt they were (as to more Brazilian or more American) when they were raised in another Country. I hope to take Zoe to my Country often so she can feel that she belongs there too.
Thank you for sharing this!
nice — you should also check out sweetfineday blog’s ‘mixed race project’ here: http://www.themixedrace-project.com/
My husband’s family is from Laos and my parents are from the Philippines and we had three separate weddings, a Lao Baci Ceremony, a Traditional Catholic Ceremony and a Civil ceremony. It’s good to know I’m not the only one that had three separate weddings! I truly enjoyed learning about my husband’s culture and traditions in preparing for our Lao ceremony. My husband teaches our son words/phrases in Lao and my son knows some basic sayings in my dialect as well-neither of us are fluent in our respective languages. The fusion of cultures is a wonderful thing b/c it allows our son to see how our differences make us special but also helps us realize we aren’t that different at all. I believe that the intermixing of ethnic backgrounds/races teaches our children to become more tolerant not to mention produces beautiful children. Thank you for this post!
What a great post this is! My husband is a mix of Chinese, Indian and Lebanese and I am a mix of Thai and Chinese. Mixed marriages and families are loads of fun and it teaches us to compromise and to learn more about each other.
I am thankful for this post and it’s encouraging to know that this is a global trend. We don’t have any kids yet but reading this post is very encouraging indeed! Thank you again, Joy!
my husband is white and i’m taiwanese. the hardest part for me is remembering to speak in taiwanese and chinese to my son, especially since i speak english 99% of the time with my husband and at work. i’m trying to encourage my siblings to speak more taiwanese when they visit so he gets continued exposure from more than just me.
Lovely post! Thanks for sharing. I’m Swedish and my husband Arabic (Palestinian) so all things related to multi-ethnic marriages and child-raising are interesting. We don’t have any children yet, but if and when we do, we agree that it’s important to teach the kids our respective languages/cultures. I actually studied learning-mechanisms at the university and most research agree that it’s good for kid’s development to be exposed and learn different languages, that will in fact make them more intelligent and able to learn in other fields too. (Bonus!)
I’m half Japanese and half white, and most of my childhood was spent in Japan. I went to an American school but I spent a majority of my free time with my extended family, and because of that I feel so lucky that now, in my late twenties, I still speak Japanese. I love all of my memories of the traditions and rich culture that I was surrounded by, and I think because of that it’s always made me really curious about other cultures too. Because I’m already mixed, my children someday will be mixed too, and I look forward to learning about cultures and traditions along with them and seeing how they respond and what the things are that stick. Great post!
I loved this post, so beautiful to see the lovely mix of people and children. This made me so happy. As always, thanks for sharing.
Such a nice post, Joy…it’s great to hear from others who have grown up in/are raising kids in multiple cultures.
I’m half Thai, quarter Irish, and quarter Czech…and always wished that my mom had taught us to speak Thai fluently, especially when I ended up living over there recently. In some ways it was easier for my husband to pick up the language because there wasn’t as much judgement when he made mistakes! 🙂
In general, though, I’m so thankful that I got to grow up (in Chicago) really getting to know each of the distinct cultures that went into making me. And the fact that I don’t quite fit in anywhere means that I know how to be mostly comfortable in lots of situations, which I’m ok with.
We have 3 kiddos and the funny thing that I didn’t anticipate is that they all turned out pretty fair, which confuses people a lot, and is commented on often even with friends. Mostly, strangers think I’m the (Latina) nanny. I think people understand how a fair parent can have darker kids, but the dark-parent-light-kids combo throws them for a loop. Genetics is pretty cool and I kind of feel like a walking biology lesson, haha.
I’m a Canadian married to a Belgian and we live in Italy. And we love that we’re surrounded and experiencing so many cultures.
Our children are growing up with 4 languages which they use on a daily basis (English, Dutch, French and Italian) and although I was nervous that it was too much at the beginning I’ve realised that kids can manage and actually thrive from a multi-lingual environment.
Blending cultures/traditions/language/food makes our lives so interesting and so much fun to live!
My father is Iranian and my mother is American. My husband is black with Creole and Native Ameriacan mixed in. Our son is a beautiful mix. Love me some mixed race babies!
our kids are brazilian / german and were born all around the world but we are now living in Germany because we wanted them to go the school here. we speak Portuguese and German at home. we travel a lot and both my husband and I speak fluently 5 languages. we are not very special about food but about traditions and languages. I think our kids are very easy going and open to accept other cultures and people.
couldn’t agree more that there are less and less families that are 100% anything. i think the jewish faith is one area where ppl tend to marry within their own tribe as well as persians( if you live in LA) and some koreans are that way (in LA as well)
i am russian, born in former soviet union, but came here when i was 6 and my husband is 3 generations american but 100% italian so we have kids that are 1/2 italian, 1/2 russian, and a 1/4 jewish. makes life more interesting !
Aww I loved this post! My mom is Bengali and my dad is Irish so I am a mixed baby (though I am in my late 20s, so when I was growing up there weren’t too many mixed kids). My boyfriend is Ghanian and we always talk about how our kids will grow up eating everything and how we want them to know about all of their heritages! We are both first-generation so we know how important it is to preserve your heritage, but living in the US has also taught us how fun it is to learn about other cultures. We sometimes get nervous though about other people not accepting our future kids…though our families are very open there are still people who are not 🙁
Joy, this post is wonderful and much appreciated. I come from a mixed background and growing up I didn’t know many other kids who were mixed-race or multicultural. I wish it was something I had talked about more when I was young, but it’s so exciting for me to see so many multicultural families now. Even the comments that this post has sparked have been so great for me to read! It’s great to know that my experience isn’t unusual or different in a weird way, but is in fact a really wonderful thing. I’m so happy for you and your husband and your beautiful multicultural family. Thank you so much for sharing! :]
i’ve been meaning to comment on this forever now.
my little one is now a 2nd generation mixed kid ! me being the first.
as others have stated here, it wasn’t so common when i was young, but now it seems so much more everyday. it’s wonderful.
growing up i remember mishmashes of everything – food, traditions, clothing, books, languages… sometimes i did feel like i didn’t belong since most of my friends had a singular cultural upbringing. but as i got older i completely cherished my hybridity. it is such an important factor is so much of what i do. i hope it’s made me more open and accepting and i hope my daughter will also embrace any parts of any of her cultural heritage that speak to her…
happy new year !!
Aww, this post makes me smile! I’m the product of a mixed marriage (Mom’s Chinese & Dad’s Japanese…a rare breed, I know!) & I couldn’t feel more blessed. I’ve grown up with the best of both cultures! To me, it’s what makes me so proud to be an Asian-American – this glorious mix of cultures united by one love.
I love this, I was raised in New Mexico by my american mother & kiwi father. I learnt a lot of New Zealand traditions growing up but we mostly lived with the New Mexico Indian & Texmex traditions & foods. When I first moved to NZ at 16 people didn’t really understand how I can have a native NZ name but not understand any of the NZ pop culture but I have learnt a lot since coming here and am a huge fan of my new rural lifestyle.
My partner is as Kiwi as you can get and know mostly all the traditional english & kiwi traditions in his life. We traveled around the states a few years ago together & he was amazed at how different our cultures & traditions are even though we both come from the Western world. We plan on having a lot of the Native American Indian traditions performed in our wedding later this year and introduce our NZ friends and family to things I grew up with.
We also plan on adding a little one (or 2 or 3) to our family within the next year and cant wait to teach them both of our cultures & traditions. I’m sure we will have a little confusion from some people when they here them spouting of Spanish, Maori & English but learning different language is pretty cool really. I must say these open trade agreements between nations certainly do make this easier as now I can order my favorite green chilles etc and make me new extended family traditional New Mexican foods, they love it too.
amazing post! i come from a spanish/malaysian/chinese/filippino mix, i always loved how my parents came from two different cultures because it’s always wonderful to go back to malaysia/philippines and experience it! i’m marrying a taiwanese boy in the summer, so if/when we have kids, they’ll be a melting pot of heaps of cultures!
I’m muslim malay… just falling in love wt white man… but it impossible together… he also mentioned that we are different people.. so.. just forgetting all future.. upset not success blike you!!!!
As a child, I was the opposite of Ruby… French parents, living in France, and you’d have to go up to my great-great-great-great-grandfather to find one of my ancestor not being born and raised here. So, as a child, I wished I was a little more special than your average blond girl with brown eyes who’d have the same heritage as everybody else… even though I wonder where the blue hair I wished I had were supposed to come from… the moon perhaps ?
I ended up marrying someone exactly like me in that respect: French parents who have left France twice in their entire lives. And I began to see a nagging problem. As a child, I was fortunate to follow my dad around the world. It wasn’t necessarily for long periods, but we gained a huge appreciation of other cultures, and both my sister still love to travel. Therefore, I have no problem to “borrow” traditions from other cultures, even if they aren’t my own, as long as I feel like I do it respectfully.
But I realize that when you’ve always lived in the same culture, without direct exposition to the rest of the world, you create a defense mecanism: “I was born in this culture, therefore it is the best”. I call it “the chair syndrom”: “because I have my butt on this chair, it is interesting”. But no culture is perfect in itself !
I find that cultures are things to love and cherish. I’m neither lucky nor unlucky to have only one by birth – that’s just the way I am. I’m your typical French woman who loves American energy and design, Japanese food and animation, wishes she could tour Asia, embarrasses herself by trying to speak ancient Greek in Greece (oops) and just can’t put Spanish in her head (why ?!). I really, really hope I can make my children understand that while home is fabulous, that shouldn’t prevent you from visiting other people’s homes. Maybe you could snatch a chair or a painting that will make your own even more fabulous.