USA: My Favorite Relationship Dos and Don’ts

USA: My Favorite Relationship Dos and Don’ts

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I love post-prompts like this one, as they make me think about my everyday actions, especially the ones that come out of habits I created overtime, and no longer think about.  Let’s get right to it and I’ll say that even though some of my dos and don’ts apply to varying types of relationships, I am focusing on romantic relationships like the one I have the pleasure of having with the man who is my husband. These are only a few of my favorites: (more…)

ThinkSayBe

I am a mom amongst some other titles life has fortunately given me. I love photography & the reward of someone being really happy about a photo I took of her/him. I work, I study, I try to pay attention to life. I like writing. I don't understand many things...especially why humans treat each other & other living & inanimate things so vilely sometimes. I like to be an idealist, but when most fails, I do my best to not be a pessimist: Life itself is entirely too beautiful, amazing & inspiring to forget that it is!

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NETHERLANDS: The Perfect Fit

NETHERLANDS: The Perfect Fit

DSC_0265I’ve always had trouble knowing where to fit in. I have never known which box I was supposed to climb in or which label to stick on my forehead.

I was born in Surinam, but most of my life I have lived in the Netherlands.

My parents had a strong sense of culture and raised me accordingly.

We lived in a small town in the northern part of Holland that did not have many people of color.

Needless to say, things outside of my home were very different to things inside.

In my home there were loud voices and singing, dancing and vibrant music.

Outside of the home it felt like I needed to be ashamed of my mother’s loud voice,and I tried my best not to speak too loud.

Around my family I felt at home and liked my braids and dark skin.

Outside home, old ladies would sometimes come up to me and touch my ‘strange’ hair, and make me wish my skin wasn’t making it impossible to blend in or disappear.

There was lots of loud laughter in our home. My mother would read Anansi stories and we would laugh hysterically.

Outside of the home, I could not explain to people why any story that starts with: “Dear God, can you make everyone that laughs at someone else drop dead instantly…” is going to be a really funny one.

In Surinam culture it’s very important that children learn to respect their parents and older people. You never talk back, you never raise your voice and you always look down when you are spoken to by an adult.

At school the teacher would say: Look at me when I talk to you!

At home my parents would speak to each other and family members in Sranang tongo, their native tongue. They would speak to us in a mixture of Dutch and Surinamese, we spoke to them in Dutch. With my sisters I spoke in a mixture of Dutch and Surinamese. 

At school I spoke Dutch and there were so many things I could not talk about or explain because there was no word for it in Dutch. 

At birthdays, we had parties with lots of family and friends coming in from everywhere, staying for dinner and sleeping over. My mother would cook lots of food, aunts would help in the kitchen and the house was filled with all of these wonderful festive smells, and we would eat until we could eat no more.

When I was invited to a party of one of my friends, we sat in a quiet circle with mostly old family members having a polite conversation and we were given a piece of cheese with a little vlag stick (it’s a Dutch thing), everyone left before dinner and there was absolutely no music.

Growing up in these two cultures thought me how to adapt. I learned how to behave and what was expected of me in each situation. And because I was such a people pleaser, by the time I was in my teens, I could blend in anywhere and everywhere. and I knew what was expected of me. I also had lots of interest in different people.  

The people I called my friends were a variety of ages, colors, cultures and mixtures and I loved every one of them.

Still, I always felt different.

 Where did I fit in?

I’m an adult now. I married a man whose skin color is the exact opposite of mine (no matter how much sun he gets). My children are of mixed culture. Their skin color is a mixture of ours, their hair is mixed, curly but not as curly as mine, dark but not as dark as mine.

My husband sometimes plays his (terrible) Dutch songs and I sing and dance with my children to old Surinam children’s songs. When we celebrate there’s lots of family and lots of food but no music, because my husband says he can’t have a conversation with music in the background. I teach my children to respect their parents and older people, but I also teach them that it’s okay to speak up and look people in the eye.

I mostly speak Dutch, but when emotional I turn to my native tongue, although my kids hardly understand what it is that I’m talking about.

So where do I fit in?

I think here. With my own family a perfect mixture of black and white, Dutch and Surinam, east and west, I fit here.

Do you have a mixture of cultures in your family? How do you adapt?

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Mirjam of The Netherlands.

Photo credit to the author.

Mirjam

Mirjam was born in warm, sunny Surinam, but raised in the cold, rainy Netherlands. She´s the mom of three rambunctious beauties and has been married for over two decades to the love of her life. Every day she´s challenged by combining the best and worst of two cultures at home. She used to be an elementary school teacher but is now a stay at home Mom. In her free time she loves to pick up her photo camera. Mirjam has had a life long battle with depression and is not afraid to talk about it. She enjoys being a blogger, an amateur photographer, and loves being creative in many ways. But most of all she loves live and laughter, even though sometimes she is the joke herself. You can find Mirjam (sporadically) at her blog Apples and Roses where she blogs about her battle with depression and finding beauty in the simplest of things. You can also find Mirjam on Twitter and Instagram.

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SOUTH AFRICA: Is It Just Luck?

SOUTH AFRICA: Is It Just Luck?

I often get told how “lucky” I am to have such a great relationship with my 19 year old son and my 16 year old daughter. I usually smile and agree that I am, indeed, lucky to be blessed with such a great husband and kids.

Is it just luck, though? Gary Player (the golfer) famously said; “The more I practice, the luckier I get!” With that in mind, I decided to think about what my husband and I did which (I believe) made us “lucky”! Who knows, maybe some of these tips will improve your luck too!

1. Discipline: Before I conceived our first child, my husband and I talked a lot about our families of origin. We discussed how we were disciplined and how we felt growing up. I come from a broken home – a home which was fragmented even before my parents finally divorced – and I remember feeling very insecure because rules and punishments were very inconsistent. (more…)

Mamma Simona (South Africa)

Mamma Simona was born in Rome (Italy) but has lived in Cape Town (South Africa) since she was 8 years old. She studied French at school but says she’s forgotten most of it! She speaks Italian, English and Afrikaans. Even though Italian is the first language she learned, she considers English her "home" language as it's the language she's most comfortable in. She is happily married and the proud mother of 2 terrific teenagers! She also shares her home with 2 cats and 2 dogs ... all rescues. Mamma Simona has worked in such diverse fields as Childcare, Tourism, Library Services, Optometry, Sales and Admin! (With stints of SAHM in-between). She’s really looking forward to the day she can give up her current Admin job and devote herself entirely to blogging and (eventually) being a full-time grandmother!

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CANADA: Where’s The – Ummmm – Donut Shop?

About a year ago, my laptop died.  For a technogeek like me, this was nothing short of a disaster, and I became a general nuisance around my household.  I would hijack George’s computer, much to his disgust, or I would hover restlessly behind my betrothed’s left shoulder because I wanted him to get off his computer so I could update my Facebook status.  After a few days of this, Gerard got fed up (who can blame the poor man?) and went out to buy me a new laptop.  James, who had just turned four, accompanied him.

From what I’ve been told, the actual shopping part of the trip was uneventful. It was the trip home that got interesting.

It all started when James, from his booster seat in the back, announced that he wanted a donut.  Gerard told him to look out for a donut shop, and for the next few minutes they were bantering back and forth: (more…)

Kirsten Doyle (Canada)

Kirsten Doyle was born in South Africa. After completing university, she drifted for a while and finally washed up in Canada in 2000. She is Mom to two boys who have reached the stage of eating everything in sight (but still remaining skinny). Kirsten was a computer programmer for a while before migrating into I.T. project management. Eventually she tossed in the corporate life entirely in order to be a self-employed writer and editor. She is now living her best life writing about mental health and addictions, and posting videos to two YouTube channels. When Kirsten is not wrestling with her kids or writing up a storm, she can be seen on Toronto's streets putting many miles onto her running shoes. Every year, she runs a half-marathon to benefit children with autism, inspired by her older son who lives life on the autism spectrum. Final piece of information: Kirsten is lucky enough to be married to the funniest guy in the world. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Be sure to check out her YouTube channels at My Gen X Life and Word Salad With Coffee!

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