Feelings of loss for the culture you were raised in? - Mothering Forums
Multicultural Families > Feelings of loss for the culture you were raised in?
Swan3's Avatar Swan3 06:42 AM 01-11-2009
I just had a big realization. I turned on the tv and there was a Latin band playing, I remembered that this is what I grew up listening to, that I knew how to move instinctively, that I still understand this beautiful language (Spanish) and even still speak it with my parents...but I feel like I've lost something, and it makes me so sad. I was born here in Canada, but my parents really drilled the importance of staying strong with Spanish and with our family's customs, foods, music etc...

DH is a wonderful Canadian guy who I've loved for 12 years...we have a two year old little girl and although our goal at first was to have her be bilingual, I've totally dropped the ball. I've been obsessed with her health issues, gone through PPD and discovered that I just have plain depression, now expecting number two and feel sad thinking that I'm not sharing the foods, language, music that I was raised with with my kids. I've tried putting on some of the music for DD but she's just not really into it. She loves Latin American food and she knows that her "abuelita" (grandma) speaks Spanish and says a few words...but I wonder if it's too late now.

I'm not even sure why I'm writing this, guess I'd love to hear if anyone's gone through something similar and if you were able to get back out of it. I feel like my world runs completely in English now and I feel a bit nostalgic for when I actually THOUGHT in Spanish...ate refried beans every day and rattled on and on in Spanish.

I'd love to hear other thoughts, stories...just wanted to get this out!

jee'smom's Avatar jee'smom 10:46 AM 01-11-2009
ah... hugs mama. i can tell you that with absolute certainty, it is not too late! what can you remember from when you were 1-2 yo? nothing. your dc will never remember it being english only... start today. today. get up, turn on some latin music, and make your favorite latin dish. it doesn't mattter if your dd is not "into" latin music, it matters that it's playing in the background. speak spanish to her. it doesn't matter that she dosn't understand what your'e saying... she will... TRUST ME!! kids are like sponges... they absorb everything! you don't even have to worry about trying to "teach" her spanish. just speak it. everything you do, narrate, whatever. just speak, like you would in english. she'll jsut come to learn it, and it willl be no different than if you were speaking in english. same with #2. from the moment they're born, speak spanish to them, and jsut like english, they'll pick it up. start slow at first, if you want to, but just do it. it seems that you'll regret it if you don't. good luck!
Liquesce's Avatar Liquesce 01:27 AM 01-12-2009

Just lurking .. it just dawned on me a couple of days ago that there is pretty much zero chance of me passing on to my kids any sense of membership in the community of my own upbringing, so I don't have a lot to contribute but would love to read a bit about others ...
Swan3's Avatar Swan3 04:54 AM 01-13-2009
Originally Posted by jee'smom View Post
today. get up, turn on some latin music, and make your favorite latin dish. it doesn't mattter if your dd is not "into" latin music, it matters that it's playing in the background. speak spanish to her. it doesn't matter that she dosn't understand what your'e saying... she will... TRUST ME!!
Thank you for the words of encouragement, I turned on some tunes today, and am slowly re-introducing Spanish...
jee'smom's Avatar jee'smom 05:03 AM 01-13-2009

hugs mama! good luck!
Arduinna's Avatar Arduinna 07:22 AM 01-13-2009
ITA start today. DH was born and raised in the US and his first language was English but he became fluent in Spanish from a combo of his parents using the language to try and talk to each other without him understanding and from his cousins that didn't speak English when they moved to the States from Mexico. I think he was about 5 at the time and he is still fluent today.
Shianne's Avatar Shianne 04:13 PM 01-15-2009
I usually lurk in here, but just wanted to say...
My mother stopped speaking Japanese because she thought the only way she could learn English was to speak English only. So my brother and I were never taught Japanese with the exception of a few words.
I started learning Japanese a few years ago and it is hard because my mind is constantly having to translate.
I wish she would have started us early then it would come naturally.
So now I try to teach my children. They grew up knowing the Japanese culture, but it was kind of hit and miss with us too. They do appreciate the culture and the language. My 19 year old knows more Japanese than I do.
It isn't too late to start. She is not to old to learn. She is at the age where she will soak it up.
Can you speak only Spanish to her and let your dh speak only English to her?
Daffodil103's Avatar Daffodil103 12:42 AM 02-04-2009
I don't have a multicultural family but can so relate to missing my culture. I was born and raised in Southern Africa. I've been in Canada for 7 years. Even though we lead a relatively OK middle class lifestyle, I yearn for my own country. I miss the language. I miss the wicked sense of humor. Most of our humor is very, very subtle. Lots of deadpan. When I first moved here people took my words at face value. So I was constantly saying "I'm just kidding". Now I've just learnt to use plainer language which I find boring. I miss being bilingual & picking just the right phrase to convey a particular sentiment. I found too there was more diversity in my life. I had family and friends in all kinds of "social circles" from the ghetto, rural area, upscale city neighborhoods and everything in between. I had "access" to almost any social group. I could choose to participate, observe or just soak it all up. I miss that. (Now I understand why people protest funding cuts to cultural programs.)

I regret not making an effort to teach DD#2 my language. I was too lazy. She's 7 but show the most interest about our country. She loves the music! When we went home in '07 she genuinely didn't want to come back. Hopefully we can go back this summer.

Thanks for letting me vent. I needed that. Especially in the Canadian winter. : (Canada does have it's positives but right now I miss my home)
elizaveta's Avatar elizaveta 07:22 AM 02-06-2009
It's not too late! Now how about the good ol' saying:

Better late than never!

Seriously though, at her age she can soak it up easily. My husband and I really slipped on Russian with our daughter and started trying to push it recently, it's so surprising how quickly she picks it up and she's three. It might help especially if you could find make play dates with other Spanish-speaking families as well, especially if their child/children speak Spanish, it's an incentive for her to learn without you feeling pushy about it, which you probably will feel like eventually, especially if she is talking quite a bit in English already.