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Mums raising kids in a country different from where you grew up? - Page 2

post #21 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by bajamergrrl View Post
I'm from the Caribbean but have lived in the US for 13 years. My DH is American born and raised. I haven't been able to visit home in four years and it might be a few more years before I get to visit again. I've been thinking about how I will expose my DS to my country's culture as he grows up. I don't have any relatives in the city where I live right now and to be perfectly honest, my life is very American, culturally, right now.
same here and DH is from trini. We are thinking in a few years to move to my island.
post #22 of 73
I was born and raised in the US, but I'm first generation American. I know live in the country where my parents came from, the Czech Republic. DH is Czech. Since I'm bicultural and bilingual Czech/American, it doesn't feel like I'm living in a foreign country, I like it here. But my DS has a different life growing up here than he would in the States.

He's 4 and will start pre-school soon. If we stay here he will most likely go to a Czech school. That is an experience I never had and it will certainly be interesting for me. I'm looking forward to it and dreading it at the same time.

What I miss most are newspapers, record stores, clubs, and a general sense of civil liberties. Here it's so bureaucratic, restrictive compared to the US:

We go back the US on average every 2 years, we'll probably go sometime next year.
post #23 of 73
Me too. My dh and I were both born & raised in Montreal, Canada, and we are now living in the U.S. There are pluses and minuses to both places, to say the least. I do miss "home" sometimes... NAK
post #24 of 73
I'm Euro-American and I live in Hong Kong w/ my Hong Kong Chinese husband. I've been living here almost 17 years (came for a job & met DH here).

I love it here - love my job, love the place, love my colleagues. I feel like I "fit in" about as much as a so-so Cantonese speaking westerner can fit in. There's lots of other foreigners here too.

My kids are 13 and 11 and after having tried the local Cantonese medium schools early on, we switched them to English medium schools. I feel rooted here and I think the kids do too. After all, some of their friends and classmates are neighbors that they've known since they were toddlers.

I go back to the USA about once a year and bring the kids. Yes, their lives are very different in some ways than mine at the same age - but not a whole lot. I too grew up in a city and lived in a fairly small space and was able to take buses to places by the time I was eleven or twelve.

In some ways HK is quite different from where I grew up, but then where I grew up is also a lot different now than it was in the 1970s. And HK is VERY different now than it was in the 1970s, so in some ways our kids are having very different childhoods from us both.
post #25 of 73
I was born and raised in Dominican Republic and I now live in a suburban town in PA. All my family and friends are back there and I miss everyone so much. I sometimes feel sad that my daughter wont be able to experience the island living, but I dont think I ever want to move back. What makes me the most sad is that I come from a very loving, close family and DP's family isnt like that and they're the ones that are here and I just wish my family was closer so she could have more love in her life.

Also is very important to me that she learns Spanish, but it seems so hard when Im the only one that speaks it! I mean she's just 16 weeks, but I eventually want her to learn it.
post #26 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tapioca View Post
yes, me. I'm supah glad you started this thread because these are things that are regularly on my mind. DH is Canadian, I am a Kiwi (New Zealander) and we live in Canada, which I *mostly* like. However, I find there are a lot of cultural differences. I am often homesick for my culture, though I include British culture in that because NZ is heavily UK-influenced and my mother is English. There are certain things - a sense of humour being one - that haven't translated so well to Canada. Even though we supposedly speak the same language it's not the same language. Even now people misunderstand me sometimes. I miss people just 'getting' me, y'know? I find the education system very different here to NZ.

I want us to spend a year in NZ (or the UK) so kid will get to know that side of her background. I have mixed feelings about the schooling system here too. There are things about the NZ system, in particular in high school, that I'd prefer. Like, uniforms, for instance. I'm frankly a bit scared about high school here because it's sooooo different to what I grew up with and not all of the difference I"m okay with
Sorta your opposite - Canadians in Australia...which I know is very different to NZ too. We've loved our time here. The kids adjusted well to the different school systems, which is great since they don't qualify for any special ed. gifted programs since they are not citizens (even though we pay taxes and $4500 per year per child for the "public" school - but that's another rant). They didn't balk at wearing uniforms. I like the brainless ease of knowing what they will wear every morning, but I'm less happy when the laundry doesn't get done and ds tries to fish a school shirt out of the dirty pile.

What I can't get used to is the heavy emphasis on government standardized testing and ranking - on the students and the schools. It seems so unhealthy - all that pressure on the kids. It makes me long for the Ontario school system - and sad when I see Ontario moving to more external, standardized testing.

I kind of like being a stranger in town. I feel free to try new things, stuff I may not have done before. We've met lots of other Canadians here, as well as ex-pats from other places, and the Aussies all travel so much they are very understanding. It's been a great move.

There are things I've missed - snow and skating and decent hockey and Pacific Salmon come to mind.

Loved hokey-pokey ice cream and chocolate fish when we visited NZ!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tapioca View Post
I wish I could find some more antipodean mums to hang out with. Either they're not around or they're shy, but I have yet to meet a fellow Kiwi in the same situation and place as me.
Have you tried Whistler? Lots of Kiwis and Aussies hanging out there - probably not too many moms though.
post #27 of 73
I'm scottish married to an Algerian (who hasn't been back for 22 years except for about 2 weeks at a time) and we live in France, it's taken a long time for me to accept things here, the thought that I may never return to scotland to live breaks my heart, my kids love it there too, life is different, freer, but then I have french and expat friends here too whom I would miss if we did return to scotland, dh loves it here and I know is happy to be here for ever and ever, me I'd go back to scotland in a shot.

'my heart's in the highlands my heart is not here,
my heart's in the highlands chasing the deer,
chasing the wild deer and following the roe,
my heart's in the highlands wherever I go.'

That really says it all for me
post #28 of 73
Hi! So glad I found this thread. I am just embarking on this journey now, having moved to Brazil a month and a half ago (hi Tamara!).
Right now I am still in the honeymoon phase, I think--everything is new, and even when it's frustrating (bureaucracy, language and cultural issues, etc.), it feels exciting.
I think a lot about what it means to raise my kids in a place that is so different from where I grew up, and away from my family, which whom I'm close.
My husband is Brazilian and American, and we'll be here for at least two years, quite possibly longer.
So far, at least, I think the benefits they'll reap from being bicultural and bilingual outweigh the struggles.
Thanks for sharing all of your varied experiences.
post #29 of 73
You know, I completely agree that having bi/tri lingual children is a wonderful thing and the opportunity of experiencing different cultures, but it's the more personal problem of homesickness that I struggle with - it's so strong, its a longing I have and although I have accepted and am trying to make the best of where I am - thanks to a wonderful book called, Shelter for the Spirit by Victoria Moran, I wish I had found the book earlier, I still struggle with the everyday stuff, such as being surrounded by buildings and streets and the lighting rather than the open-ness, green-ness, mountains, the sea, it's actually important to me to see the countryside and be able to just sit and 'ahhhhhh' at the view, even if it is here in France or Algeria or Scotland, does any of that make sense?
post #30 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by ewe+lamb View Post
You know, I completely agree that having bi/tri lingual children is a wonderful thing and the opportunity of experiencing different cultures, but it's the more personal problem of homesickness that I struggle with - it's so strong, its a longing I have and although I have accepted and am trying to make the best of where I am - thanks to a wonderful book called, Shelter for the Spirit by Victoria Moran, I wish I had found the book earlier, I still struggle with the everyday stuff, such as being surrounded by buildings and streets and the lighting rather than the open-ness, green-ness, mountains, the sea, it's actually important to me to see the countryside and be able to just sit and 'ahhhhhh' at the view, even if it is here in France or Algeria or Scotland, does any of that make sense?
Yes.

I don't even think I can explain my homesickness at times because it's not logical, it just IS. I miss New Zealandness - certain plants and smells and accents and even types of faces, at times it can be quite intense.

I also get what EMS said about the honeymoon phase...def. been there too, and can recognise it in other expats

It's interesting because we've just come back home to BC from being in the Yukon for 2 months. Well, what a difference time elsewhere makes to your perspective. I was SO happy to be back home in Van. And I realised that I do have some real friends here, people that actually MISSED me when I was away. I love so much about Vancouver, really, it would be v. hard for me to live in NZ again, I suspect. I do really like the school system here in the elementary years - DD is in a great small fine arts elmentary that's public, a few minutes walk from our house- schools are great in nz too, but specialized ones like ours don't exist there yet, so I"m glad to be in BC for her sakes.

MS Apricot, I spent some time in Australia. Glad you're enjoying it. I know what you mean about standardized testing. I keep in touch with Oz news and seems like everyone's obsessed with school rankings and tafe scores, it's sad. I'd kill for their uniforms though
post #31 of 73
Hi, EMS! Welcome to Brasil!

I don't think I had a honeymoon phase, and I want to go back home! I miss my car (driving in Sao Paulo is CRAZY), my job, my money, my language, my friends, being able to buy things (cloth diapers? fabrics to MAKE cloth diapers? unscented detergents??)... Sigh. Plus, am pregnant and cranky.
post #32 of 73
Tamara, from what I know about Sao Paulo I think I would have a really hard time there, too. I've never been, but that's where my husband's family is from. Can't help with the pollution, crime, traffic..but at least here in Salvador, a lot of locals use cloth diapers. My nanny says you can buy them in the drugstore. Don't know about the quality or price, though. We got some as a hand-me-down from another American family.
post #33 of 73
I've been in France 13 years, in this region for 10. I also lived in the U.K., Hong Kong and a year in N.Y. I haven't lived in the States in 20 years, California 19.

It's strange how homesickness sometimes grabs and strangles me for awhile, then releases its grip. I can't honestly say that it's better or worse than earlier. If anything, worse.

But that doesn't mean that I don't like it here or that I necessarily want to go back. I could divvy everything up, what I prefer in California and what I prefer in France in neat piles if I wanted to but it's a waste of time.

I actually moved to Paris for work and then met my dh so I was already in the country and spoke the language. You'd think that would make it easier lol!

I've observed a lot of expat families. There are two items which are negotiable. First of all, if YOU are the one living in HIS (or in some cases, his choice of) country, you should be able to call some of the shots. I was much happier when we got out of the nice apartment we had and moved into an actual house with a garden. If you're adjusting language and culture, adjusting living conditions as well might be more than you can really handle. Of course there are budget and practical constraints (not in our case as it was a well-located apt. and a not-so-well located house lol!) but keep this in mind as it can really help your sanity. The poster who talked about missing green spaces really made me think of this.

The other consideration is schooling. I know, in many cases, you don't have much choice but you might want to favor some sort of bilingual or international option. Not only is this good for your children's development but you will meet families with whom you have more in common. We did not do this for a variety of reasons. My kids go to an inter-city school, outside our area to attend a special program. Most of the other students are lower income brackets and there are many immigrants. I actually like the fact the school is so varied but I rarely pow-wow with the other moms (some of whom I don't share a common language with). I have my own friends here in town, both French and N. American and I don't need to see them at school every day. But if you're new in the country, or even if you're not, you may find the whole experience less jarring. Just the fact that the teachers are used to foreign parents could help. I found the whole school-culture a real shock and I had been in the country already 6 years!

I think the real secret is to pin point the sink holes and to speak up before problems get out of hand. For example, the whole customer service deal here in France is dire. You have to get nasty to get anything done, the refund that is wholly justified or just to get an appointment. I've just made my peace that I will never adjust to the whole customer culture here. That actually makes it easier and then I can just get on with things, knowing this is a weak point to living here. End of story.

hth!
post #34 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eclipsepearl View Post
the whole customer service deal here in France is dire. You have to get nasty to get anything done, the refund that is wholly justified or just to get an appointment. I've just made my peace that I will never adjust to the whole customer culture here. That actually makes it easier and then I can just get on with things, knowing this is a weak point to living here. End of story.

hth!
just an aside . .. .i've had to make my peace with that in Holland, as well. i used to beat my head against the wall about it. now I know how to fight for what i really need/want, and how to let a lot of minor stuff go. It's taken me about 9 years .....
post #35 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eclipsepearl View Post
I think the real secret is to pin point the sink holes and to speak up before problems get out of hand. For example, the whole customer service deal here in France is dire. You have to get nasty to get anything done, the refund that is wholly justified or just to get an appointment. I've just made my peace that I will never adjust to the whole customer culture here. That actually makes it easier and then I can just get on with things, knowing this is a weak point to living here. End of story.

hth!
Ha, I feel that way about Canadian bureaucracy. I used to spend a lot of time saying "In NZ...xyz " now I just try and accept it even though it seems inefficient pointless make-things-harder-for-everyone paper pushing a lot of the time...

clearly still haven't accepted it...

Hmm, like the idea I just need to accept I will never get it...
post #36 of 73
I am a "transplant" and currently also an "expat". I'm originally from Canada. My DH is French and our base is in Paris but we are currently living in Madagascar.

I don't miss Canada at all (haven't since I stepped foot out of the country 11 years ago - first to the States and then to Europe). But I really really miss France and Europe. I'm not sure how I am going to stand living in this dirty polluted, poverty-stricken city for the next 4 to 5 years but I am trying to be positive about it. Honest.
post #37 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eclipsepearl View Post

I think the real secret is to pin point the sink holes and to speak up before problems get out of hand. For example, the whole customer service deal here in France is dire. You have to get nasty to get anything done, the refund that is wholly justified or just to get an appointment. I've just made my peace that I will never adjust to the whole customer culture here. That actually makes it easier and then I can just get on with things, knowing this is a weak point to living here. End of story.

hth!
How funny -- this must be a general European thing. I've blamed the lack of a customer service culture here in Slovenia on its having been communist not so long ago, but it's true that I experience similar issues in neighboring countries as well. I'm always surprised and gratified all over again by the pleasant shopping experience in the US, where most employees genuinely do seem to want to help.

On the flip side, though, one thing I don't miss at all about the US is the awful reality of doing business by phone, whether it is being harassed by computerized telemarketing or having to go through 37 automated steps and be on hold for hours before getting a real, live person. Here I do have the occasional experience of having a phone number just ring and ring during office hours :, but almost always a phone call gets to a live person that actually can help. And we don't have any cold-calling at all! (Fingers crossed that it stays that way...)
post #38 of 73
I am American livingin France with my Italian DH. WE just moved here recently, before we were living in the US. Right now we are both learning the system for how to register kids etc. OUr children are still young, 2.5 and 1 week, but we had to find dd1 a nursery school and that took time. My French isn't good, I can understand it okay but I can't get out what I want to say, which means I rely on DH to do alot of the phone calls and important stuff. I plan on taking more French courses but it will have to wait since we have a newborn. Its mostly lonely for me because of the language barrier, although I have met some other moms through DH's job that speak english and/or italian and that helps. I think about how my kids won't know what I am talking about if I refer to American stuff when they are older. Its weird. But I also think that they will have wonderful benefits from growing up with two diferent cultures/languages at home and another one where we live.
post #39 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bellabaz View Post
I am American livingin France with my Italian DH. WE just moved here recently, before we were living in the US. Right now we are both learning the system for how to register kids etc. OUr children are still young, 2.5 and 1 week, but we had to find dd1 a nursery school and that took time. My French isn't good, I can understand it okay but I can't get out what I want to say, which means I rely on DH to do alot of the phone calls and important stuff. I plan on taking more French courses but it will have to wait since we have a newborn. Its mostly lonely for me because of the language barrier, although I have met some other moms through DH's job that speak english and/or italian and that helps. I think about how my kids won't know what I am talking about if I refer to American stuff when they are older. Its weird. But I also think that they will have wonderful benefits from growing up with two diferent cultures/languages at home and another one where we live.
Hey Bellabaz, be sure to join MESSAGE if you haven't already. It really is a font of resources, information and other moms who speak English. And their internet forum is great.
post #40 of 73
Bellabaz - if there is anything I can help you with, please do not hesitate to contact me, there is also www.lllfrance.org which may be of interest - especially as you have a 1 week old, there are almost 200 groups here in france so hopefully you'll manage to find something near you. if you are in Paris there is a meeting in the 15th on the 22nd (next Tuesday) 2-4pm (you'll find it listed on the website) you are more than welcome to come and join in the topic of Advantages of Breastfeeding.
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