How did you learn the other culture?

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-06-2010
How did you learn the other culture?
8
Wed, 11-17-2010 - 10:47am
A few weeks ago the topic was teaching a child the other culture, but how did you yourself learn about the other culture? In which ways did you learn about your spouse's/SO's culture? Did you learn the language? Have you read books by writers from that country or culture? Watched movies? Have you been to visit or live in your spouse's/SO's country of origin? Do you socialize with people from that culture?
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-06-2002
Thu, 11-18-2010 - 12:50pm

I learnt most of the culture directly

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iVillage Member
Registered: 10-06-2010
Wed, 11-24-2010 - 9:45pm

I am sorry that I am only getting back to you right now, Moss. It seems that my private internet time isn't what it used to be!

When I was with my South American ex, I picked up Spanish through listening to him and his groups of friends. I never took any formal lessons, but I did have some text books and a Bescherells for Spanish. As I was a French speaker and I'd listened to Spanish languague tapes when I was a child, it was relatively easy to pick up. In fact, I picked it up very quickly and so more or less got the gist of what people were saying about me. It was very useful to know which women didn't like me and were saying nasty things about me, and there were a few ;-) Our common language was French, and he spoke it well as he did have a knack for languages. At the end of our relationship, I could understand about 75% of what people were saying, but I never spoke Spanish.

Culturally, I learned a lot from him and his friends. They were also very active politically and there was a Maison de l'Amerique Latine where everybody would meet. We also socialized with many on a private basis not only through activities at the MAL. I learned a lot of the culture of his country but because we met other South Americans, about the cultures of other countries as well. Ex and his friends also introduced me to the different foods, and after a while since ex thought that cooking should be the woman's responsibility (except if it's a showy dish that one would only make if guests were coming) I began cooking some dishes until I put my foot down about cooking all the time. But there were a few things that I did serve when guests came round, as well as dishes from my own country.

I never did go to his country. It just wasn't possible at the time. I'd love to go to South America one day, and stay there for a few months.One thing I do regret is that I never met his parents. His parents were already pretty elderly. His mother and I exchanged letters once a year, in Spanish. They were very nice people.

With the German ex it was different. We were both third culture kids and we both spoke a few same languages. Because we were living here, there was no need to learn German although I would have had the relationship continued and if there had been kids. It was very nice to be with someone who gets me without my having to explain a lot. I mean, I still had to explain a whole lot about myself, but not the third culture experience or that part of myself. Our circle of friends here was pretty much international. Being with his family was like being with my family, more or less.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-23-2010
Tue, 12-07-2010 - 5:01pm

Well, very broadly, my baby's culture on his paternal side is Latino, more specifically Puerto Rican. I am not deeply immersed in the Puerto Rican culture, even as it exists in the US, especially where I live now (northern Vermont), where there are few Puerto Ricans. I've been reading a bit about the country and its ethnic mix. Latino or Hispanic is such a broad term for people from various countries that are often a mix of native American, Spanish, and African American. It seems my baby probably has all three in his blood, and he got more of his looks more from his paternal side (and is beautiful!) than from my side. I'm trying to learn what I can about the history of Puerto Rico without being immersed in the culture. Maybe some day we'll take a trip there. I'm also asking for some baby books in Spanish for Christmas. I am by no means fluent (I have a sister who is, though, along with her whole family), but my baby and I can learn together for now and if he's interested in Spanish lessons later I'd probably encourage that and may even take them myself. Speaking of Christmas (which I celebrate more as a seasonal than a religious holiday), wanted to share a holiday pic I recently took of my cutie.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 12-31-2002
Wed, 12-08-2010 - 5:32am

Hi Karen and welcome back.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-06-2002
Wed, 12-08-2010 - 8:50am
Awwww! He's so cute
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iVillage Member
Registered: 01-23-2010
Thu, 12-09-2010 - 10:58am
My family is coming to us, so we'll be sticking close to home. I recently lost my mom, so it's going to feel different this year in both a good and bad way (with my baby boy but without my mom). Happy holidays!
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iVillage Member
Registered: 12-31-2002
Fri, 12-10-2010 - 6:36am

That's nice that family is coming to your end.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-06-2010
Fri, 12-10-2010 - 10:04am
Oh, he's grown a lot! What a happy baby!

I am very sorry for your loss, Karen. The first holidays and milestones are difficult. It's good that your family are spending the holidays with you and Mateo.

(((hugs)))