So I’ve just been on holiday, visiting my family…
Everyone knows that family can be hard work and everyone also knows that you can’t choose your family. But things begin to get a little complicated when you all have different nationalities. So in my household we have 3 Brits, 2 Ukrainians and a German. All under one roof in a lovely country called Germany. Sometimes things get a little too much and the cultures can clash, but there’s always a learning curve.
- Manners are very important. And not all cultures have the same set of standards. For me, it’s rude to lean across someone whilst they’re eating. But for my brother, it’s rude for him to interrupt me in order to pass the salt. Can you see where I’m going with this? It’s easy to miscommunicate when everyone has been brought up with different house rules. Being aware that there are differences always makes it that little bit easier.
- For me, shouting generally means I’m angry. But for my Stepmum, that’s just how she is. She’s not necessarily angry but just loud in general. She could be chatting away on the phone to a friend but to me, it sounds like they’re having an argument. Expression is something that can vary so much without you even realising it. Saying hello is a perfect example of this. Where shaking hands is the norm in the UK, kissing each other on the cheek is more acceptable in France.
- Patience is a very useful gift. And this household, it’s a necessity. Asking a simple question, like how is your day can become a very long and drawn-out process. I may not have mentioned that there is in fact a language barrier, and the only common language is German, albeit not always fluently. This means that finding the right word or explaining something is time consuming. Over the years, the barrier has become worn and communication has become easier but there was a point when conversation only happened with the help of a dictionary.
- Embracing the culture in the family house means that appreciation is part of everyday life. And it gives the opportunity to go out and explore the local hideouts. Although we know the tourist heavy places, we also know the local gems. The ones that are hidden away and reserved for the natives. It’s amazing being able to discover somewhere that most people have never heard of and really get the chance to enjoy it.
- Although Germany isn’t that far away and their culture is as civilised as the UK, it still amazes me how different life can be. There a little day to day things that set them apart from the standard British household. These can be little rules, or traditions, or ways of doing things and sometimes I think ‘that’s genius’. It makes me realise how different cultures can be even when they’re so similar.
I always think of my multicultural family as a blessing. It enables to widen my horizons and open my eyes to other countries and ways of life.
Do you live in a house of many cultures? Do you have experiences living abroad? Why not join the conversation and leave a comment below!