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Friday, October 14, 2011

"Cultural" differences....


1. Of or relating to the ideas, customs, and social behavior of a society.
2. Of or relating to the arts and to intellectual achievements.

You may not know this, but my husband is Costa Rican...

Well, he was born there & came here at 3 months old.  Technically, he's American (though a naturalized citizen), but he is bi-lingual & bi-cultural, which is very cool.

I guess I never paid much attention to that kind of stuff when I was younger, and no matter what our decent is - most of us here in America are American and our traditions are more native to our geographical areas and not as much to our heritage.

I'm of Dutch & German decent.  Growing up, my mother wasn't a fabulous even close to being a good cook (sorry, mom).  My grandfather, "Pop Pop", was Dutch.  He used to go to the Dutch bakery, which still exists:
To Boonstra's (home made ice cream shop owned by Dutchies), and also Dunkin' Donuts, to show his "Americanization", every Sunday and then come to see us.  When I went to visit Pop Pop, he taught me to cook "good Dutch food" & when I went to visit my mother's parents, my grandmother (a fantastic cook) taught me how to cook German foods.
But I digress....

My husband's heritage is Hispanic - Costa Rican all the way.  He learned to speak English in school & was only allowed to speak Spanish in the household.  They had traditional family values.

When I first met my husband's family, it was really very shocking to me.  It was New Years Eve & we stopped off at his parent's house to get something & he said he wanted me to meet his family.  Little did I know that they were ALL there!  Easily 25 people - aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, brothers, sisters, in-laws - OMG!  And then he left me alone - with all of them.  Talk about being a nervous wreck (baptism by fire, perhaps??)  Looking back now, it's kind of funny - because I love each and every one of them.
That was something I was definitely NOT used to & where our cultural differences come into play.

I had this dis-functional little existence.  Divorced family, which became a blended family once my mother remarried.  Step siblings, who always seemed to get more.  We never ate together, we never watched TV together, we never even sat around talking - we all just co-existed.  Sort of sad, really.

Back to my husband's family, the Spanish version of the Cleaver's.  Happily married parents, church going, kind wonderful people who loved each other & others.  Extended family gathering together just to see each other.  Dad is in charge (or thinks he is) & mom takes care of everyone.  She cooks for an army (and really good, I might add)  She loves everyone and is just happy just to have her family around.  I love that!

I know that there are plenty of families who have similar situations - but for me - cultural doesn't necessarily define heritage - but family traits & values.

I strive to give my own family unit the traditional family values that my husband grew up with;  the example of faith, love & togetherness.

Thank you for reading my blog!


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