Living as a stranger in a foreign land is a confusing enough position to be in. I mean, no matter what you do, how you live, or how much time you spend in a place, the fact is and always will be that you are from somewhere else. It is your label, how you are recognized, judged by and sometimes why you are discriminated against.
All of this seems quite simplistic, however, when you become a foreigner parent to some local kids.
It's an odd thing anyway, parenting is. I mean, you never really have any idea what you are doing, you just mainly do what you parents did, or try to at least, with your own differences here and there for flair and a little originality. So how do you raise kids in a culture not your own in a way that won't make them stand out? So in our everyday life it's a consideration - are we really mexican enough? Are my kids going to turn out too 'americanized'? Will they end up not fitting in their own culture, or in mine, but end up in a weird middle ground somewhere?
Of course that being said, that "weird middle ground" is basically the definition of Canadian culture, and really is it so bad to grow up in a multicultural setting? When I first moved to Mexico I thought it was my responsibility to become as Mexican, and non-Canadian, as I possibly could so as not to offend. I quickly realized that this was not only not at all expected and insane, but impossible. I already am what I am, neither could I, nor would I want to change that.
So how does a Canadian who grew up in a Dutch-Canadian community raise kids in Mexico?
I bring this up for two reasons. First, because it came up the other day while i was spending time with some of my wonderful Canadian friends who came down to visit. The question was, do you think you guys are mexican enough?
Now it may seem like a funny thing to ask, but it is something that I actually think about quite a bit. But what does it even mean? Whether or not we are eating enough beans and rice? If we can handle our hot sauce? Do we break piñatas at birthday parties? Or are there things more important than cliches that we are missing out on because of my cultural cluelessness? English is the main language in our household, however I can really only see a benefit to both kids as it is very desirable to be bilingual here, and both speak Spanish at school.
Now I am going to digress here for a moment, to bring up another point - are we really supposed to be 'fitting in' here on earth anyway? Sure my kids are growing up differently than other kids, but what kids aren't? and isn't that the idea? I want my kids to know who they are, and Whose they are in Christ. There are so many people in this world, most of them Christians, who have no idea of who they are, and what it means to be a child of Christ! Everything else, cultural, social, economical, is completely irrelevant if this main point is not understood. In the world the important thing is that they grow up seeing the differences in themselves and others, and appreciating those differences the way God does. Loving God and loving our neighbours is our mandate in life, whether or not we are eating the same kind of foods or speaking the same language.
So going back to the original question my answer would undoubtably was, yes I absolutely think we are Mexican enough. Why? Because we are here! We are part of a mexican community, my kids are in mexican schools, they have mexican friends, eat mexican food and celebrate mexican holidays. I mean, really the only thing that isn't mexican about these kids is their mom! (no worries though, I'm getting there; I've got the mexican driving down no problem) However if you are looking for other proof, I got it today, which also happens to be the second reason I bring this up.
The past few days have been kind of cold and really windy; spring is actually quite similar here to spring in southern alberta. So I decided it would be a great day to make one of the kids' favorites - Shepherd's Pie. Now, i realize this is nowhere near Meixcan food, to me it kind of defines good hearty canadian prairie fare, but hey old habits die hard, and whats wrong with having some international cuisine sometimes anyway? So I set down steaming plates of good ol' meat and potatoes, and what was the first thing out of their mouths?
"Where's the salsa verde?"
What could I do? I let them add it, but it felt sacrilegious. I mean, who has ever heard of spicy shepherd's pie?
Then again, no one needs to wonder where these kids come from.
Honors to the Flag
All ready for school
Cheering on the Canadians for Olympic Hockey Gold