Transplanted Mamas, can we have a show of hands? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 112 Old 03-04-2008, 07:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Unlike an "expat" mom, who is in a foreign country for a defined time, a transplanted mom has moved to another country for good and adopted it as her home. Any others out there? I am Canadian and DH is French. Our base is in Paris and that is where we will live long term. Our DD is in the French school system. We are, for the time being, expats in Italy.

Do you have your DH's nationality yet (assuming you are hooked up with a local)?

Our your children bicultural or just the local culture?

I think it is much harder for us to teach our children our language then it is for expat moms! My DD's English is great (so far - she is 3.5) but I had to make a huge effort to get it that way.

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#2 of 112 Old 03-04-2008, 09:22 AM
 
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subbing to the thread since I'm married to a wonderful French man and we had our daughter in Argentina but have a bit of the reverse now that we're back in the U.S. (ie. we're raising our dd trilingually but in English culture) but eventually will be abroad again.

p.s. I'd be happy to put your blog links in my blog

Laura mama to Caitlyn 12/26/06 and Frenchie dh non vaccing unschooling multilingual family
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#3 of 112 Old 03-04-2008, 09:32 AM
 
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I'm American married to a Dutchman, living in Holland for the last 8 years, with a 5 year old bilingual son. We are going to be in the US in Spring 2009, though, for at least six months, but could end up staying indefinitely.

I don't really feel part of the "expat" groups here because I'm married to a local but also because my son goes to the local school (i.e. not international schools), and we're here semi-permenantly. Also, we don't get fabulous subsidies for housing, etc.! But I'm only partially part of the regular Dutch parent circles. that has gotten better since DS started school, though. I've also made a bunch of friends who are also married to Dutchies and are here semi-permenantly, which helps.

so glad this forum got started.
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#4 of 112 Old 03-04-2008, 09:41 AM
 
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Also an American married to a Dutchman. We lived in the US until 2002 and then moved to NL, coming up on six years here in April. Our kids (9 and 7) understand English very well and will speak it if necessary, but Dutch is clearly their native language. Which surprises me for the older one, as he was 3 when we moved and already spoke quite a bit of English.

I feel pretty settled in here and aside from a few minor annoyances (dog poop, small cultural differences re: politeness) never have had any trouble adjusting. It helps that I already spoke Dutch fluently when we moved. Sure, everyone here speaks English, but that still leaves you out in the cold at the schoolyard and such, where the other moms of course speak Dutch among themselves. So I think knowing the language gave me a big leg up in getting settled in. And is probably also why I've never sought out other Americans to befriend.

We have no plans to ever return to the US to live. I'm eventually going to apply for Dutch citizenship, not sure what I'll do with my American citizenship then. I don't see the need for both, and so far there's been no real advantage to being Dutch, so I'll just hang on to the American passport for now.

It's kind of strange having your children grow up a different nationality. There are aspects of my childhood and background they'll just never understand.
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#5 of 112 Old 03-04-2008, 06:32 PM
 
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Hi everyone!

Never heard of this term but I fit in for sure. Married to a local here in Italy with 2 dd's (5yr and 8 mo).

I've been here for almost 10 years and feel well integrated - my closest friends / circles are Italians - but
I have had some tough times in the past. I've encountered some outrageous prejudice/racism having half
Asian origins and being outside of my homeland country it is more difficult to deal with. At the same time,
I've met some really awesome people. I have to say that I really love Italians for how social they are... I
love having a nice sense of community.

My older dd is bilingual and bicultural, but it has taken a lot of work. we try to return to the USA as often as possible and funds permitting.
I haven't applied for nationality yet... it could make it easier finding a job.

Dariasmom - I understand not completely fitting in under the "expat" category as we don't receive any perks of the expat life. BUT having said this I feel pretty lucky having healthcare without having to pay for it .

Looking forward to hearing about yo uall

Peggy
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#6 of 112 Old 03-05-2008, 06:51 AM
 
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Dariasmom - I understand not completely fitting in under the "expat" category as we don't receive any perks of the expat life. BUT having said this I feel pretty lucky having healthcare without having to pay for it .
Absolutely, and that's one hesitation we have about moving back to the US.

We pay about 180 euros a month for healthcare for DH and me and DS is free until he is 18. We actually have an "upgraded" policy for some extras, but the basic policy is much cheaper (and, essentially, free if you're poor). We never worry about this or that being covered. When I compare that to how my friends and family in the States live, even those with insurance, and how much they have to pay, I realize how lucky we are.
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#7 of 112 Old 03-05-2008, 09:37 AM
 
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I guess that is us too. I am American married to a Norwegian and living permanently in Norway. We have been here just under a year though, so we are still in the adjustment phase I suppose.

At this point our 3 yo dd is bilingual (mama not so much, but I am working on it!). I have not yet attained Norwegian citizenship, and I don't know if I will, it takes several years and I would have to give up my US, as Norway does not allow dual for adults. I can decide that later. I have all the same benefits as a citizen with a permanent residence status, except I cannot vote at the state level, but I can at the local level.

I think my dd is bicultural so far, but that may change I suppose, the longer we are here. She may become more Norwegian than American in the future as she grows up here.

I have a question for any of you...Have you felt like you were giving up some of your identity for your new country? This is something I have experienced and it came completely out of the blue, I never expected feelings like that! I found myself feeling a little resentful at times. I don't know, maybe it's just my MIL forcing Norwegian-ness down my throat! I guess it's part of the process... Other than that, our transition has been pretty smooth. I do love my new adopted country and I am sure I will feel better as time passes.

Nice to meet you all!

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#8 of 112 Old 03-05-2008, 10:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by peggyitaly View Post

Never heard of this term but I fit in for sure. Married to a local here in Italy with 2 dd's (5yr and 8 mo).
That's because I just made it up. I can't think of a better name for us. "Transplanted" means to move from one soil to another. Isn't that us?

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It's kind of strange having your children grow up a different nationality. There are aspects of my childhood and background they'll just never understand.
It's true. It occurred to me the other day that DD had never tasted peanut butter before, the stuff I gew up on.

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#9 of 112 Old 03-05-2008, 01:59 PM
 
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Hello RomanGoddress

I was born and raised in France and also lived in Italy for years, but wound up here in the US for good over 20 years ago. I did eventually get naturalized. I'm raising DS bilingual although I understand it will be compartmentalized... oh well.

Where in Italy?
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#10 of 112 Old 03-05-2008, 03:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello RomanGoddress

I was born and raised in France and also lived in Italy for years, but wound up here in the US for good over 20 years ago. I did eventually get naturalized. I'm raising DS bilingual although I understand it will be compartmentalized... oh well.

Where in Italy?
In Rome, where else?

Are you close to a French lycée? If so, you could always put your DS in the French education system and then he will be 100 percent bilingual. Alternatively, if you are into homeschooling, you could homeschool following the CNED curriculum. That way, he will also know how to read and write in French.

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#11 of 112 Old 03-05-2008, 04:03 PM
 
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At this point our 3 yo dd is bilingual (mama not so much, but I am working on it!). I have not yet attained Norwegian citizenship, and I don't know if I will, it takes several years and I would have to give up my US, as Norway does not allow dual for adults.
Same rules here - DS and DD have dual, I have only USA and would have to give it up to become a Danish citizen, which I will not do. However, I am definetly permanent and have no interest in going back to the USA for any time at all except vacations and to visit family.

Re: giving up your identity. Not to much. I know other Americans /Brits /Canadians.... that came because they were married to a Dane, and that was harder for them and they felt they were losing some things. So I think the feeling is normal. However, I came for work, no DH, on a one year contract. And I loved absorbing the Danish culture, and then I freely chose to continue for another year and then another, and only then did I get the DH, the house, DS and DD. I think that self-choice and fredom makes a difference.
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#12 of 112 Old 03-05-2008, 04:44 PM
 
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RomanGoddess,

thanks for the CNED link. I'm not sure whether or not I will homeschool. I have time to make the decision, DS is less than 5 mo.

The nearest French school is too far for commuting, not to mention traffic around here. It would take 2 hours one way! guh.

I only visited Rome I was in Padova near Venice, same region. Love that area and Tuscany.

jeannineb,

About identity I think it's like everything else, it's what one makes of it. It's like figuring out where home is; it's where I choose to live. Mind you I didn't come to this way of thinking overnight; it took 10 years of being here. It was a decision: be miserable wanting what I had chosen to leave behind, nobody forced me to move, or just be happy where I am and with my heritage. Until I had DS, I never felt the need to associate with others from France or Italy. I just wanted to integrate and I feel I have.
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#13 of 112 Old 03-05-2008, 04:59 PM
 
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I didn't realise that 'expat' meant in another country for a determined period of time, I just thought it meant anyone who left their country for a new one. Is that incorrect?

At any rate, I am a 'transplant' in that I am married to an Englishman and will be in the UK indefinitely. We might move to another country some day but have no plans to at the moment. We don't have any language issues since we both speak English, though the slang and cultural differences are enough to keep things interesting!

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#14 of 112 Old 03-05-2008, 05:08 PM
 
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Thanks for the responses about identity. I am not hating life here by any means, and I do want to integrate and speak better Norwegian, but well, I guess I just didn't realize it would be so hard ! And moving here was my idea! Really, our life here is great and we are definitely not moving back, our home is here now.

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#15 of 112 Old 03-05-2008, 05:56 PM
 
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Hi -

This is me, too. I'm from the US, married to my Japanese dh and living in Japan. We are putting down roots here, having bought a house, rented farmland and built a bakery that we are now running, so it is hard to imagine ever leaving, but then you never know....

We are waiting to adopt a toddler (soon, hopefullly!) and as we prepare our home, a lot of the differences strike me, and i find I miss the thought of some very specific things from childhood. For instance, we don't even have a tv, but I find myself sad that we wont have pbs playing in the background as I do my morning work or what have you. Odd, eh?

Speaking to the point oif identity - we have been here ofr just three years now, and the identity idea has been surprising to me, as I have slowly taken on the role, in my mind, of that crazy foreign lady at the end of the road. I am sure this is what the neighbors think of me! It is freeing, in a way, though to embrace the idea that no one quite knows what to expect of you. Or soi I feel today. Talk to me tomorrow and I may be wanting to throw stuff at my MIL for her insistence that I shoudl morph in to the perfect Japanese housewife!

Sara

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#16 of 112 Old 03-05-2008, 06:12 PM
 
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You cracked me up... anytime I do something goofy/odd, I tell my friends "I'm French, what do you expect?" It usually diffuses things and we all laugh.

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Speaking to the point oif identity - we have been here ofr just three years now, and the identity idea has been surprising to me, as I have slowly taken on the role, in my mind, of that crazy foreign lady at the end of the road. I am sure this is what the neighbors think of me! It is freeing, in a way, though to embrace the idea that no one quite knows what to expect of you. Or soi I feel today. Talk to me tomorrow and I may be wanting to throw stuff at my MIL for her insistence that I shoudl morph in to the perfect Japanese housewife!

Sara
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#17 of 112 Old 03-05-2008, 06:15 PM
 
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sapphos,

I see you miss Miami... who wouldn't trying to go to FL for a vacation right now; we're freezing our behinds here in Chicagoland.



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#18 of 112 Old 03-06-2008, 07:27 AM
 
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Semantics discussion (feel free to skip if you don't care ):
I have never heard of expat meaning temporary. Most of the people in my expat meetup are permanent or at least here for an undetermined period of time. Personally, I prefer the term immigrant to transplant. To me transplant seems to imply I'm never really going to fit in, or that I don't really belong here.

Moving on…
I'm an American married to a Dane. It is unlikely I will take Danish citizenship, as under current law I would have to give up my US citizenship. The state of things here (or in the US for that matter :P) could change by the time I'd be eligible to apply, so I guess we'll see.

I'm pregnant with our first, and we're definitely planning on raising multicultural children. I want them to appreciate both languages, cultures, histories, etc. My cousin is an American married to a Mexican, and they didn't even teach their children Spanish! That kind of thing just pains me.

I haven't felt like I've given up any of my identity. I have had to give up a bit of my independence, though, since my Danish isn't that good, and we seem to live in some magic pocket of the greater Copenhagen area where no one knows English. "Everyone speaks English" my eye! I either have to take DH with me, or try to use hand signals to do things like explain the haircut I want. Other than that, and the fact that non-British/American movie rentals don't often have English subtitles, life here is pretty good. At least movies here aren't dubbed!
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#19 of 112 Old 03-06-2008, 07:31 AM
 
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You cracked me up... anytime I do something goofy/odd, I tell my friends "I'm French, what do you expect?" It usually diffuses things and we all laugh.
I've always wanted to use the excuse "well, that's how my people do it" when I confuse someone, but unfortunately people here know way too much about American culture!
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#20 of 112 Old 03-06-2008, 04:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Semantics discussion (feel free to skip if you don't care ):
I have never heard of expat meaning temporary. Most of the people in my expat meetup are permanent or at least here for an undetermined period of time. Personally, I prefer the term immigrant to transplant. To me transplant seems to imply I'm never really going to fit in, or that I don't really belong here.
Hmm, I suppose expatriates could be people who have moved to another country permanently. I think the difference though, is that expatriates have generally been transferred to that country for purposes of work. I would not call someone who full out immigrated to a country because of marriage, for example, an expatriate. I would say that person was an immigrant to that country.

The reason that I did not use the term "immigrant" moms here is that people Americans (which, I believe, constitute the majority of users on this MDC) look upon this term as immigrants to the USA, whereas I am referring to moms who have immigrated away from the USA to another foreign land (perhaps emigrant would be the correct term, but emigrant puts emphasis on the leaving part and I want to emphasize the placing roots somewhere else aspect, if you know what I mean...)

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#21 of 112 Old 03-06-2008, 04:32 PM
 
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I think the difference though, is that expatriates have generally been transferred to that country for purposes of work.
That's another distinction I've never heard of. *shrug*

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The reason that I did not use the term "immigrant" moms here is that people Americans (which, I believe, constitute the majority of users on this MDC) look upon this term as immigrants to the USA, whereas I am referring to moms who have immigrated away from the USA to another foreign land
Fair point, although I would think that immigrants to the USA would be welcome here too, as well as people who have no connection to the USA at all but still left their native country. In the context of the multicultural forum, I would take immigrant to refer to me unless stated otherwise.
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#22 of 112 Old 03-06-2008, 05:14 PM
 
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I think that would make it even funnier if you claimed it cultural )

Frankly, it's not so much about what they know but about what they think they know, i.e. usually stereotypical stuff. It goes for everyone transplanted.

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I've always wanted to use the excuse "well, that's how my people do it" when I confuse someone, but unfortunately people here know way too much about American culture!
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#23 of 112 Old 03-06-2008, 05:18 PM
 
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Immigrant has almost become a dirty word thanks to politicians. I consider myself an expatriate; I did not come here to work but to study and stayed. The beauty of any spoken language is that it's dynamic; the technicality line eventually moves further back.

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Hmm, I suppose expatriates could be people who have moved to another country permanently. I think the difference though, is that expatriates have generally been transferred to that country for purposes of work. I would not call someone who full out immigrated to a country because of marriage, for example, an expatriate. I would say that person was an immigrant to that country.

The reason that I did not use the term "immigrant" moms here is that people Americans (which, I believe, constitute the majority of users on this MDC) look upon this term as immigrants to the USA, whereas I am referring to moms who have immigrated away from the USA to another foreign land (perhaps emigrant would be the correct term, but emigrant puts emphasis on the leaving part and I want to emphasize the placing roots somewhere else aspect, if you know what I mean...)
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#24 of 112 Old 03-06-2008, 05:28 PM
 
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Learning a foreign language is not easy. I had German and English in school and was getting by when I visited the countries with those native languages. However, when I moved to Germany, I hung out with English speaking people all the time and my German never got much better. When I moved to Italy, I had nobody to speak French with except at home which really doesn't count if you knew my family and was forced to learn the language or be quiet, ack!!! In 6 months, I was proficient enough to pass a K-12 test or equivalent. So when I moved to the US, I did not seek people who spoke any of my languages and again it took 6 months to get up to a k-12 level. Watching lotsa tv helped too LOL For once it proved useful.

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[...] I do want to integrate and speak better Norwegian, but well, I guess I just didn't realize it would be so hard ! And moving here was my idea! [...]
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#25 of 112 Old 03-06-2008, 08:04 PM
 
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For me, the idea of an expat being sent somewhere on a posting and getting a ton of extra financial benefits thrown in is kind of old school. We're expats, we move a fair bit, we choose where/when we want to go, and we don't get stuff like school fees/trips home/whatever else. Most expats I know are in the same situation as we are. I agree on the impermanence.
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#26 of 112 Old 03-06-2008, 08:11 PM
 
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Watching lotsa tv helped too LOL For once it proved useful.
Hahaha - I used to watch the Danish weather station to learn the language. I don't watch much tv, but I agree, that is a good use for it.

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RomanGoddess,
About identity I think it's like everything else, it's what one makes of it. It's like figuring out where home is; it's where I choose to live.
ITA. It's about appreciating all the things you have.

I found I used to be able to use my americanism as an excuse. Sorry, I didn't know the rules.... when in fact I did. Now that my Danish is pretty good, people know that I know better and I can't play dumb anymore; even if I am speaking english. That's a small price to pay to integrate into a society!

Anyone loosing their native tongue? My english is still a lot better than your average dane, but sometimes I think in Danish and then if I speak in english, it is translated wrong. Or I forget words I haven't used in a long time. Right now I can not tell you what watercress is. I've got a recipe that calls for it, and my mind tells me it is a type of salad that swans eat.
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#27 of 112 Old 03-07-2008, 04:21 AM
 
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I have this problem where I end up talking like whoever I'm around, so for example, when I'm around my in-laws, I start saying things like "we should home" in a Danish accent. It's not intentional, and I don't always realize I'm doing it. :/

There are definitely some things I think of in Danish first, or in the case of some words (like types of fish) I have no idea what they are in English. In the US, I never went to a fishmonger!
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#28 of 112 Old 03-07-2008, 05:47 AM
 
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Anyone loosing their native tongue? My english is still a lot better than your average dane, but sometimes I think in Danish and then if I speak in english, it is translated wrong. Or I forget words I haven't used in a long time. Right now I can not tell you what watercress is. I've got a recipe that calls for it, and my mind tells me it is a type of salad that swans eat.
Absolutely. A speak a lot of English (also with DS and with friends and such), but Dutchisms keep creeping in. My sister point out a few the other day when I was on the phone with her! Kind of funny, but kind of embarrassing. I think it's that, even when I'm speaking English, the vast majority of the time it's with non-native speakers, so I've gotten very used to adjusting my English to them, and have picked up all sorts of weird Dutch phrases which I then add to my English because Dutch people do!

Like the PP, I eat a lot more fish here than I ever did in the US, so all my fish is in Dutch, as are a lot of pregnancy, labor, and delivery words, and childhood sickness kind of words, since my son was born here in Holland. Very funny . . ..

The other thing is that my English has become very British, despite being American. Not my accent, but my word choice. I've begun saying "holiday" instead of "vacation" and "that's a pity" instead of "that's a shame" and so on. Most of the books and magazines I read are from England, a lot of my friends are British or learned British English, and I watch the BBC a lot.
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#29 of 112 Old 03-07-2008, 03:23 PM
 
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Originally Posted by AllisonR View Post
Anyone loosing their native tongue? My english is still a lot better than your average dane, but sometimes I think in Danish and then if I speak in english, it is translated wrong. Or I forget words I haven't used in a long time. Right now I can not tell you what watercress is. I've got a recipe that calls for it, and my mind tells me it is a type of salad that swans eat.
yep, I throw English words in my French sentences or even anglicize some. Usually right after I do that I realize it. oh well
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#30 of 112 Old 03-08-2008, 05:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I write a lot so I maintain my native language that way. On the other hand, I am finding that my writing work coupled with my need to speak to my daughter in English and my DH in French is preventing me from learning the local language (Italian) fluently!

Roman Goddess, mom to J (August 2004) and J (April 2009).    h20homebirth.gif signcirc1.gif
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