Today I’m participating in the WordPress weekly photo challenge and this week’s theme is culture. Having been born and raised in France and now living in the US, I can truly say our home is bilingual and bicultural.
Son #1: “Mama, you don’t know Paul Bunyan because you’re not an American!”
That’s what my six-year old told me this week when he mentioned Paul Bunyan and the first thing that came out of my mouth was, Who? With that statement, my son had a simple explanation for my ignorance. Technically, I am an American by now, but there are still lots of facts I don’t know about America. Like Paul Bunyan. Thank you, Google and Wikipedia for enlightening me!
I can tell you everything you’ve heard about “culture clash” is true. The first time you’re immersed in a different culture, everything amazes you. Then you start comparing and pointing out things you don’t like in the new, unknown culture. Once you’ve taken the time to learn more about the culture, you can be more objective and point out things you like and don’t like in both cultures.
Here are a few examples. French people can be grouchy, rude, and very loud. I once heard someone say, a French is like an Italian in a bad mood. That about sums it up. Now, I’ll never understand Americans’ obsession with guns and anything “big”: big cars, big homes, big boobs, big food plates, big bellies, you name it. All of these sound like stereotypes, but you soon learn that many (but not all) stereotypes happen to be based on reality. Stereotypes are just exaggerated versions of these facts. Funny how things work.
I want to think our home is a sanctuary where both cultures can live in harmony and it shows in every room. The place where it probably shows the most is in the kitchen. One of our most favorite breakfast food is croissants and pains au chocolat.
But I also like to make pancakes, in this case, chocolate chip pancakes. Doesn’t everything taste better with chocolate?
Sometimes I like making quiche for a meal, here with asparagus and broccoli.
But brownies are to be one of my favorite desserts.
Reading is very important at my house and we read in both French and English. Our bookcases reflect both cultures. Here are a few of my books in French. I have many more in English.
The kids also have tons of books in French, which tend to mix with the books in English on the bookcase without any problem or tension.
Finally the way we decorate our house is also very bicultural. I like to see French artists like Monet and Renoir on my wall.
As for the kids, they definitely show a taste for Americana. You can’t be more American than Batman and Star Wars toys!
How much culture is reflected at your house? If you live in an all American house (or English, or whenever you come from), do you have cultural items that represent where everyone comes from?