Tuesday, February 14th, 2012
For an expat family (or for this expat family, anyway) putting down roots somewhere can be difficult. The possibility of moving on is always present. The culture and language are not our own, we don’t have much family nearby and the current world economic situation means that jobs are more likely to change than not.
So how do you settle down? Put down roots? Feel connected?
In our case, the beginning of an answer to that question lies in buying real estate. We’ve finally become homeowners (ok, apartment owners). Read more
At almost 19 months old, Ramzi is just starting to really get talking. Read more »
The hardest thing for me about our unique little family is our unique extended family situation. Read more »
Ok, so our trip to Lebanon happened back in April and since then I haven’t checked in to share what our trip was like. Read more »
We're packing. Making lists, buying gifts, digging through boxes to find the summer clothes, putting together what will eventually look like a miniature pharmacy (what can I say, my kids are sick all the time). We're checking passports, reserving the taxi; in short, it's time to go visit my in-laws.
For Americans, visits are usually short. Maybe we can thank Ben Franklin and his quip about fish and visitors smelling after three days. Read more »
In France, officials and pundits like to talk about how France is 20 years behind the United States. Sometimes this is portrayed as a positive (obesity rates, crime statistics), and sometimes as a negative (technology, business, customer service). As an American living in France for over ten years, I can see how it's both.
Those Americans who grew up before the 80s may remember certain freedoms we had as children: playing outside on summer evenings on the sidewalk with the other neighborhood kids, riding bikes around aimlessly, walking to swimming pools and friends' houses to play. Read more »
My husband and I are opposites. He has black hair—that rare, true, deep black—which is thick and wavy. I have straight, fine, reddish hair. His eyes are deep brown, mine are green. I am so fair that I can get sunburned just thinking about the sun; he sports a deep tan year round.
So perhaps it shouldn't be surprising that we each have a child who looks nothing like us. Read more »
One of my greatest fears as a new parent, right after Matthew's birth, was about putting him in school in France. While I hadn't done much research on the system, its results surrounded me: a culture where it's a bad idea to accept responsibility for one's mistakes, where apologizing is seen as a sign of weakness, where people talk down to one another in a way that sounds suspiciously like what you would hear a caregiver say to a naughty two-year-old. Read more »
One word, carrying so much baggage. Hope for the future; worries about its quality and quantity. And for families raising bilingual or multilingual children, the language question adds another dimension of difficulty, especially if you are lucky enough to live in a place where you have lots of options.
Matthew is four and a half. School starts at age three in France (although it isn't mandatory until age six). Read more »
They say the last holdout of cultural assimilation can be found in the refrigerator, or the kitchen cupboards. Food is such a primal thing—we are what we eat.
I was thinking about this yesterday, watching Matthew eat his snack: peanut butter and jelly on Lebanese bread. A French friend who was visiting laughed and made a comment about the marriage of two cultures. Read more »
Eight days before Halloween, on a misty Saturday afternoon, I had what the French call "un grand moment de solitude." I was in a nearly-deserted park, one designed on a truly grandiose scale. Matthew, age four, was standing next to me, dressed in a raincoat and boots, with a king's cape. A golden crown was on his head and a foam sword was tucked into his improvised kingly belt made out of a playsilk that had been languishing, unused, for years in his toy box. Read more »
It's only from a distance of months or years or decades that you can look back and see how one apparently small decision nudged the course of your life in a totally unexpected direction. I don't really know why I decided to take French my sophomore year in high school. I grew up on the Mexican border; it would have been much more practical to take Spanish. Read more »
Can my daughter still learn a language with a speech delay?
This trilingual family offers some truly awesome advice we all can benefit from.
There's more to it than you think
Celebrate Asian-American heritage month with our top book picks
Your new go-to soup recipe
7 tips to make sure you don't blow it
Why colorblind is all wrong and a guide to what's right
Our way of celebrating you!
Why I love the abaya
My yearly pilgrimage to my homeland where I no longer feel at home
Why you shouldn't judge a mom giving coffee to her infant
I couldn’t wait to see how my kids would do with their new Spanish when we got to Mexico.
Important tips for parents and kids of all colors
Foregoing meat in a land where no one does
What to do when your child doesn't love travel like you do.
This mom never knows how she'll find her kids in the morning
How he began to find his heritage
How they made it possible
See the magic and universality of play
Almost sinful, a crowd and kid pleasing cookie for any occasion.
Six years of OPOL parenting in hindsight
Why it's important to this mom that her daughter respect her home and roots in nature
What's super cool about community gardening with your kids
All you need is some eggs, dirt and seeds.
One answer to all the British stories Indian children grew up with.
A 12-day Baha'i celebration born in Baghdad
Even though Arabic is the language they were raised in, they prefer Spanish. Here's why.
Four super-simple musical projects from recycled materials for your kids
Does it get any better than that?
Make a commitment to do something new this year for our planet
People say kids are sponges when it comes to language. This mom disagrees.
Make learning the minority language fun with these games
A whole year of arguing in the making
Do you know what a molinillo is?
Great ideas for introverted and extroverted children
What I learned about keeping my cool from Kenyan moms
Here's the secret
Colleague drank your breast milk from the work fridge again? Tales of breastfeeding in Mongolia
She fought her Turkish in-laws on it--did she succeed?
Why it's critical all parents read books that reflect diversity
Who knew that becoming a mother merged our histories of loss and grief
Have you been guilty of any of these?
Fancy schools, international vacations, foreign language books, DVDs and tutors add up fast
Life after devastation
The freedom of growing up as the only Serbo-Croatian in Sudan
It’s easy to raise bilingual kids when you speak a second language, right? Wrong.
How the West sleeps is different from the rest
Why OPOL has been harder than we thought.
Money can't buy love. Or can it?
And why it made this mom worry
Has the West taken fear too far?
The secret revealed of why African babies don't melt down like Western ones.
In photos and figures
Language acquisition in three-and-a-half year old, bilingual twins.
Have you made any of these mistakes?
Everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask
Does Islam's reputation for severity and harshness apply to how Muslims raise children?
Cultural oasis or no man’s land?
All that's left to do is wait and wonder
Welcome to our newest blogger--a world traveling, homeschooling mom--to the InCultureParent family!
10 must-read tips on co-sleeping from Africa
Time outs due to whistling versus school's out due to poverty
Because every little global citizen needs a map
I belong to a faith with virtually no rituals.
Is it racist to not want to raise your kids in white America?
Raising children in the shadow of exile
Lessons in parenting from the Côte d'Azur
How one family celebrates the biggest Muslim holiday
Who said raising bilingual kids was easy?
Four pregnancies, four miscarriages and a bout of thyroid cancer later
What linguistic research has to say
Why you shouldn't judge a mom giving coffee to her infant
How my language use morphs to meet the situation