Why Don't Americans Watch Foreign-Language Films?

Why Don’t Americans Watch Foreign-Language Films?

I am fortunate enough to live with my mother-in-law.

Maybe not everyone would feel that way but I do especially since she is from another country. Ukraine.

Since it’s winter and cold outside in my state and not always the most amount of things to do in the cold weather, we end up watching a good amount of movies. It has become one of my favorite winter traditions. But the more movies you watch the fewer ideas you have of what to watch next.

This has been our dilemma.

Recently we have been watching movies with seen before and sometimes my mother-in-law I will ask me if I have seen a certain movie which she says is fantastic. The first question I always end up asking her is, is it an American movie.

Because if it’s not I already know I haven’t seen it.

Maybe I am just ignorant. Maybe I just don’t love movies as much as I thought I did but I think it is more of a cultural aspect. Most Americans just don’t watch so many other form films like other countries seem to.

But what I am curious about is, why is this so and would it be beneficial not only for adults to watch foreign movies but kids as well?

Why the Disinterest?

The U.S. box office for the top five foreign-language films has declined by 61% in the last seven years.

But why is this?

I remember this episode of friends where Joey has to go watch a movie with one of the other friends, Ross probably. He was happy and excited to watch the movie until it started.

Once the words started scrolling on the bottom of the screen. It was a foreign film. He was, of course, hilarious and the sea and we all had a good laugh about it. But for many, this may be the problem that is truly wrong with watching foreign films.

Because people don’t want to go to a movie to read, at least that is one argument. Personally I don’t mind reading the translations, and actually, think it is a really neat idea to always have closed captioning for all, but I admit I can be a fast reader.

And not everyone is.

And then there is dubbing. When I think of movies that are dub from another language and English I think Chinese films that are quite cheesy perhaps in their mouth’s move at that separate time than the words they speak. Even just thinking of this makes me not want to watch a movie like that, though many love that niche.

But since I lived in Ukraine for four years I watched many Americans movies that were dumped into Ukrainian. I was surprised. As long as the actors are good and the movie has a nice translation you don’t have that separation from lips moving and speaking. You can’t hear they American voice then underneath it as well. And it’s actually quite enjoyable.

Who knew?

But these two reasons are why Americans don’t like to watch foreign films.

 

Foreign-Language Films and Children

Because my son was born in Ukraine we were able to bring back with us some DVDs. Some cartoons in hopes that he would learn the Ukrainian language. And it really has helped. But it has done more than help with this speaking skills, it has shown him culture as well.

Have you seen the cartoon called Masha on Netflix?

It’s about a little girl who lives with a bear. Is cute and my kids love it but the thing that makes me most interested in it, kind of fun for me to sit and watch with the kids is that the first time I saw it was in Ukraine, in the Ukrainian language.

It is a foreign-language cartoon.

And the kids love it. And I love how I can see bits and pieces of the Ukrainian cultural mixed into the cartoon story. The way she sometimes wears a handkerchief around her face, the certain phrases that are used only by Ukrainians but somehow work for Americans as well, and the types of foods that she may cook or eat was Bear. All these little things added and end up showing the way Ukrainians thank, eat, and the stories they tell. In other words, culture.

Watching foreign-language films can help kids learn about other cultures in fun and natural way, just as they would learn ABC’s from Wallykazam.

[bctt tweet=”Watching foreign-language films can help kids learn about other cultures in fun and natural way, just as they would learn ABC’s from Wallykazam. ” username=”contactrwc”]

And they don’t seem to mind the translation at all.

But here’s the thing, if adults and watched more foreign films well, we too could learn about other cultures. A way to experience culture without ever having to leave your home or city.

But It’s Not Your Fault

“Foreign films simply don’t play with American audiences.” —Foreign Policy

Why would we watch a film we know nothing about when we have so many amazing movies and trailers that already fill our commercials and lives.

Who’s your favorite actor or actress?

Do you sometimes go watch a movie just because they’re in it? I know why sometimes too. And most the time for foreign films we don’t know the cast. Another downfall for foreign films. Many people watch movies that have a feeling of familiarity. You naturally want to watch a movie we know something about.

We don’t get enough of the marketing to make us that interested. This combined with the other problems mixes not watch them even though we know we probably should.

So what can we do?

It starts with us. And we can start with our children we can start with their children. Not only are foreign beneficial for children but we as parents as we watch and make sure that they are safe for children might start enjoying them, too.

 

[bctt tweet=”Not only are foreign beneficial for children but we as parents as we watch and make sure that they are safe for children might start enjoying them, too.” username=”contactrwc”]

That’s one of the tricks of movies. It’s like a spiral. You watch the movie and the trailers that can become before it and you get excited for the next movie and on and on.

So go ahead take the timeout. Relax and enjoy some time spent with your kids learning about cultural an a fun and easy way.

And Watch a foreign-language movie. 

Broaden Your Parenting Horizons


Working with Foreigners: Before and after Trump

Working with Foreigners: Before and after Trump

Photo by Persnickety Prints on Unsplash

It was 2006.

The most popular pone was the “Razor,” a flip phone that was so thin and cool that all my friends had it.

Except me.

Mine was more practical, good for accident-prone hands, especially for life in the badlands. My new home for the summer. I was excited about the spectacular views, the nightly outdoor musical that I’d get to see for free and even for the job. I would get to serve delightful food to the traveling North Dakota public and yes, earn some money. But there was one thing I was excited most of all for.

Meeting people from all over the world who worked in this little tourist town near a national park.

Before

I wasn’t the only one to think it was neat to have foreigners from over 20 countries legally working for the foundation. My friend did, even hoping that I would find a summer romance with an exotic man. I laughed thinking that could never happen.

But I did. (And he’s my husband now!)

The customers I served ribeye and bison tenderloins to would ask me what country I was from and, many times, they were disappointed about my homegrown American roots.

I wasn’t as fun as someone from Ukraine for example.

My manager was from India, other co-workers from the Philippines, Indonesia, Egypt, Russia, Bulgaria and so many more, equally to around over 20 different countries working in a town that only had about 100 residents out of season.

This group of people reminded me of how the America we know began, a melting pot of cultures in a cowboy country.

[bctt tweet=”This group of people reminded me of how the America we know began, a melting pot of cultures in a cowboy country.” username=”contactrwc”]

After

I’ve made this little city my home. We still have foreigners from many different countries. The musical is as good as ever, maybe better. It’s beautiful here, much the same as it was.

Except for a few things.

First

My town wouldn’t be what it is today without the amazing people who came from other countries to work for us. They exceed their expectations and ours every year. But this year was especially hard to get back many of our foreign employees. Many of which, who had been here for a couple years or more, couldn’t return this summer.

Why?

You know, I’m not sure. Was it because of our political atmosphere towards other countries and letting them into our borders? I know and I don’t want to blame anyone, though it wasn’t as comparably difficult back when the Razor flip-phone was available.

It was devastating to have so many friends not return.

My town is seasonal. This means we open and closes all the shops, restaurants, musical and more each and every summer. We need a large number of workers but only for a short amount of time. Many Americans don’t seem to want these kinds of jobs.

And we didn’t have enough workers this summer. At least not right away and had to make sacrifices like open certain things late or making changes, some unpopular.

Sure it’s part of the business, but it wasn’t always this way.

Second

Another thing has changed, and it’s a bit more personal.

Though we advertise to foreigners to come and work, want and need their hard hard working hands, not everyone sees this. The change is how the traveling public, from all over the United States, now feel towards the foreigners working around me.

People are still kind and interested in where everyone is from and what its like in their home country; no one seems to be rude, but now customers like it when they learn that I am a native North Dakotan, an American. They no longer accidentally groan in disappointment over the ‘boring’ American girl but tell me how good it is to see an American worker.

But they don’t know.

They can’t imagine the struggle our company had for workers and how amazing so many of our foreign workers are. My city wouldn’t be what it is without the fantastic people who come from all over the world. They exceed our expectations and their own.

Sure internationals come to make money.

But they work hard for it, make friends, visit other states and spend their hard-earned money on tourist things — which is good for our economy — and then go back home, help out their family or simply use more of this money at home — good for that country’s economy as well.

It’s a beautiful circle.

So why is this happening? The change of perspective towards foreigners? Could it be our president and the way he feels about?

Definitely.

But I don’t want to blame this change of heart on one person. As my husband says, the president is a reflection of the people, their views. We chose this, or at least most of us and President Trump voiced our thoughts and put them into action, and now we are less afraid to admit and speak it aloud.

I do hope we’ll remember is our roots. Unless you’re a native American you too are foreign. How neat? Like the history books say, We’re a melting pot. And I hope we see the joy in learning about other cultures, our past cultures and working with others from around the world.

And just maybe this is how we can make America great again, though I think I’ll keep my smartphone.

[bctt tweet=”And I hope we see the joy in learning about other cultures, our past cultures and working with others from around the world.” username=”contactrwc”]

  Jewel Eliese is a fiction writer, developmental editor, co-creator of the Medium publication Writer Mom and founder of writeawaymommy.com. Jewel runs on lukewarm coffee and baby kisses. She believes every mom can write well. Get the free checklist to find time to write with kids around here writeawaymommy.com/checklist/

What it’s like to Living in a Tiny Tourist Town Raising Kids

What it’s like to Living in a Tiny Tourist Town Raising Kids

You’ve made it. You’re finally here.

The streets are filled with other tourists like you, slightly lost even though it’s a small town. You wander around admiring the jagged badlands peeking from behind the western style buildings.

Everything is quaint.

Kids laugh and swing in a nearby playground, and the smell of burgers and pizza floats your way. Flowers are planted in pots and wells around town and lining sidewalks. You follow a trail of perennials up to what you assume is one of the many gift shops.

But it’s not.

A sign hanging by the door states that this little house is a private residence, and you can’t help but wonder.

What would it be like to live in a tiny tourist town all year round?

Summer

‘Cause a little bit of summer is what the whole year is all about.

–John Mayer

During the rushing summer season, I work in the historic Rough Rider’s Hotel as a server in Theodore’s Dining Room. I love it. There are so many people from all over the world, and not just my coworkers, but customers.

And the number one question I hear when a table sees my nametag that declares Medora as my home is, “What’s it like to live in a tiny tourist town?”

In the summer it’s hot and busy. It’s a rush of smiling faces, meeting new friends, and serving the traveling public. When not working, my kids and I pretend to be a tourist, taking in the musical, ice-cream, shops, and toys. It’s great to get pictures of their smiles as they play mini golf or splash in a pool.

The only downside is my kiddos and I barely see my husband. This is the season of work, and he likes to half-joke in June that he’ll see us, his waiting family, on his next day off.

Which will be in September.

Fall

[bctt tweet=”Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall. –F. Scott Fitzgerald” username=”contactrwc”]

August passes by in a blur you can barely remember. Many of the workers are only half-present as each can almost feel themselves back in their respective homes.

Happy, but exhausted we enter the Fall season.

The streets, which only a couple of weeks ago were filled with life, are quiet. Like a scene from an old cowboy film, you almost expect to see a tumbleweed rolling across the deserted roads. Then the monsters come out as children from the Medora school go trick-or-treating to the well-decorated houses. The kids skip to a brick-made elementary school so quaint it even comes with a clock-tower.

Life as a postcard.

Fall also means a time for the workers to get any vacation time in they can. After the busy summer, many full-time employees feel the need to ‘escape’ from this little town for a time. To see something more than the awe-inspiring badlands or the nearest Walmart.

Change is necessary.

Winter

Snow falling soundlessly in the middle of the night will always fill my soul with sweet clarity.

–Novala Takemoto

There is a joke told by Jeff Foxworthy that goes something like this:

The four seasons of North Dakota are, winter, winter, still winter…and road construction.

It can feel as though winter in Medora never ends. Deep in the season, the days are mostly night as the sun falls behind the buttes around 4 pm. The temperatures with the windshield can reach up to -50 degrees and the snow so deep at times that my children cannot trudge through it un-shoveled. Sometimes, you wish to drive east or west on I-94 to see a new set of snow, only to find the highway closed. You begin to wonder precisely why you live in this tiny town.

It can be difficult; it can wear on your emotions.

Luckily, it’s stunning.

The snow falls in white cotton chunks that make the city look like a shaken snow globe. Christmas lights line the Rough Rider Hotel and shops while music from the hotel echoes down the snow-covered street. Tourists walk around for Cowboy Christmas carrying their hot chocolates as a horse and carriage trots by.

Idyllic.

Beautiful.

Spring

[bctt tweet=”Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end. –Seneca” username=”contactrwc”]

After a harsh, chilled winter, the citizens come out in Spring like animals from hibernation. Slowly you see people strolling the sidewalks once more, or bump into your neighbor at the gas station. We always end up remarking that, though we planned to get together during the winter season, we haven’t seen each other since last summer.

The time truly flies.

And it never soars faster than in a Medora spring. There is the terrifying wait to hear if each department will get its seasonal employees, foreign or American. There is the race and worry to get each store and restaurant cleaned, stocked and ready to open for the season. Spring is a moment of pulling your hair out with worry and stress, yet each of us here learns something about ourselves and co-workers that we never knew before.

We grow and mature like the young plants and buds around us.

But it is a joy to watch the new faces arrive, from near and far. To see old friends from past seasons and meet future friends. To see this unique city come alive once more. To see my kids play with others once more, to swim, laugh and play.

When you live in a tourist town, you may sometimes hear a visitor standing outside your door, chatting with friends or family. They may peek in your window or even sit on your front steps, thinking your home is another shop.

It can feel like you are an animal in a zoo.

But, it is lovely, emotional, and quaint, just like one of the Marquise’s paintings.

Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all. –Stanley Horowitz

living in tourist town

What Giving Birth Abroad Taught Me About Hospital Visitors

What Giving Birth Abroad Taught Me About Hospital Visitors

Do you remember that moment?

That one terrifying moment when you don’t hear a cry, when you don’t know if you new baby is breathing or not. Then the new baby shrieks the first of many. You tear up as they lay the naked child, still wet and goopy, on your skin.

One of the best moments in life.

Reality slowly sets in. You’re still in a daze, but you can feel the effect of giving birth on, you know, down there. You are crushed, maybe torn, and exhausted.

Do you stink? Maybe.

Is your hair such a mess that is a nest fit for birds. Probably.

And this is the time that family and friends come rushing in, cameras at the ready.

Say cheese!

European Birth

I gave birth to my son, my first born in Ukraine.

New mothers and fathers know as much as they can from the internet, babysitting, siblings, but until you have your own sweet baby, parents know about as much as their newborn.

Nothing.

It is a learning experience, and the best one. But I have the advantage and disadvantage of adding culture to the mix. Not only did I not know on an experienced level what to expect with birth and parenting, but I didn’t know the language or what to expect from the Ukrainian’s around me. Even after having lived there for three years already. It was always new.

A Few Ways

For example, each culture has different superstitions. There was a nurse/janitor/receptionist who I’d never seen before. Even that day. Mind you, I was walking around because I was in labor. In pain. And this middle-aged woman walked past me and yanked out my ponytail.

If you’ve ever had long hair, you know this hurts.

This was too much for even Ukrainians to do. It wasn’t okay. But she had her reasons for pulling that ponytail out. She thought she was helping me because Ukrainian’s, at least from what I experienced, believe that you should have nothing wrapped around or on you while you’re in labor, lest the baby get the cord around its neck.

Unexpected

Another thing I didn’t expect but didn’t think much of at the time was after my son was born. We went to our private room and were alone. No one hospital visitors. There weren’t allowed for safety and sanitary reasons. Maybe it should have been sad not to see family after the miracle of birth.

But it was amazing.

[bctt tweet=”We went to our private room and were alone. No one hospital visitors. There weren’t allowed for safety and sanitary reasons. Maybe it should have been sad not to see family after the miracle of birth. But it was amazing.” username=”contactrwc”]

My husband and I stared at our perfect son in awe, the way his nose was button shaped and kissable. How his eyes were almond shaped and the subtle rose-pink birthmark on his nose. That first diaper change. We got to know our son together. And alone.

And I slept.

When my Ukrainian family met my kiddo for the first time, I was ready. I had showered, my make-up was on as best as I could, and I had decent clothes on. No, I didn’t look like the lovely Duchess of Cambridge, but holding my son and showing him off for the first time when we were ready, made me feel like royalty.

American

And then came baby number two.

We had moved back to the US and decided we wanted our son to have a sibling. I had baby fever. At one point I took out my son’s old newborn nighty and showed my husband how tiny it was. How cute.

We were ready.

Yet, everything was different than before.

I was an experienced mom. I had been pregnant before, but I had to re-learn my own culture and the way American’s handle pregnancy’s. I had to wait until almost 12 weeks before I could see my doctor this time and there seemed to be more tests. Still, I loved how I could talk to my doctor and how modern, clean and, homey, the hospital felt.

I was happy to have my daughter back home in the US.

But there was one thing I wanted to keep the same as in Ukraine. I didn’t want visitors in the hospital afterward.

[bctt tweet=”I was happy to have my daughter back home in the US. But there was one thing I wanted to keep the same as in Ukraine. I didn’t want visitors in the hospital afterward.” username=”contactrwc”]

It may not have been a big deal if I hadn’t seen and felt first-hand how precious that first day or two with your child and spouse is. It may not be right for everyone, but it was right for us.

Though, it didn’t go over well with all of my family, understandably. Though, once we had many conversations and explanations, my family realized this is the way it would be. My husband’s Ukrainian family, of course, was used to it.

And I’m glad we chose it this way.

We got to know our newborn daughter, the way her eyes squished, how many birthmarks she had (three) and to peek under her grandmother-knit hat to see her full head of dark hair. It was our time.

Our golden days.

Yes, I did miss my mother, brother and best friend. I had the strong, fantastic pride a mother feels for her child and couldn’t wait to show her off to them. But I was tired. I was gross. And my body felt terrible. When each person I love saw her, we were all comfortable. Relaxed. Each person was able to spend one on one time with the baby and me.

I felt better and hope they did as well.

It’s Your Choice

You may be different than me. You may be that mom that looks and feels like royalty after giving birth and are ready for the cameras.

But maybe not.

Maybe you’re thinking it might be nice not to have the hospital doors swinging open with nurses and an audience of well-meaning, excited family and friends.

This is a time you will never get back with your baby and spouse. If you choose to have it be just for you three, then that’s okay.

Smile and say cheese for your ready-to-share selfies.

Giving birth in Ukrain and America gave me this unique insight into hospital visitors.

  Jewel Eliese is a fiction writer, developmental editor, co-creator of the Medium publication Writer Mom and founder of writeawaymommy.com. Jewel runs on lukewarm coffee and baby kisses. She believes every mom can write well. Get the free checklist to find time to write with kids around here writeawaymommy.com/checklist/
5 Simple Reasons Parents Today are Filled with Anxiety

5 Simple Reasons Parents Today are Filled with Anxiety

A penny isn’t scary, is it?

Yet, the idea of the small, coppery coin on the floor or in the cushion of the car-seat terrifies me. Sure, my daughter is advanced and has been taught not to put small objects in her mouth, but she is two and you never know. What if she puts in the penny in her mouth and it falls down her throat blocking the air from escaping? What if she chokes and I can’t get it out or get her help in time?

Terrifying. 

The world becomes a new and dangerous place once you have children. Many things come into a new light when you are raising humans and many things now cause stress and anxiety, as well. 

[bctt tweet=”The world becomes a new and dangerous place once you have children.” username=”contactrwc”]

  1. Articles

You sit down on the computer to write, read, or simply laugh at a cat video that pops up on your Facebook news-feed and find a headline shared by a friend. It warns you about something that can harm your child mentally or physically. You love your children and fear for their safety, so of course, you click on the bait

And then become more worried and filled with anxiety. 

I’ve read articles and become worried about things like SID’s or dry drowning. Some of the fear is due to expert medical advice that should be followed but also due to the fact that our fear makes us good marketing targets. 

While we can’t always control the articles that pop up, we can control we write. As bloggers and writing mothers we can do our best not to play on fear with what we write but ease it. To help. 

  1. Comparisons

Social Media can be dangerous, not only for kids but parents as well. But not necessarily in the way you think. It is difficult not to compare yourself with others on Pinterest, Twitter or Facebook. It is only natural for humans to make comparisons and imagine, as the saying goes, that the grass is greener on the other side. Comparisons cause stress. 

And as parents, we compare even more. It is easy to look at a new mother, see the beautiful baby and think how you should have the type of crib she had. How much safer and elegant it is. Or how the new mom as already lost the baby fat. This goes for dads as well, but perhaps in different ways. 

And these comparisons fuel anxiety and stressful need to be someone we are not. To reduce your anxiety levels, we need to put away not only phones but electronics for a certain amount of time. Get outside and go for a relaxing walk alone or with the children. You will find you tension easing and your kids enjoying themselves as well.

[bctt tweet=”Comparisons fuel anxiety and stressful need to be someone we are not” username=”contactrwc”]

  1. Trolls

I love to read healthy, informative articles from magazines like Raising World Children. To get a better idea of what other people think of the topic I enjoy reading comments as well.

But then you have the trolls; people whose comments are simply out there to ruffle feathers and cause anxiety. They may say things about how terrible it is for a mom to kiss her child on the lips (said in a much harsher fashion than I’m willing to type) or simply put down a mother or father for the way they chose to feed their baby.

There are times when I do not read the comments simply to avoid the stress it may cause. Or you can limit the amount of comments you read in a day. Give yourself discipline and rest from wicked words. 

  1. The News

The news is filled with stories that are hard to watch before you become a parent, but are even harder after. Since becoming a mother, I can’t hear or read about tragedies involving a child, which the news definitely has many stories of.
Like the shootings in Florida. This has made every parent worried about the future of our children. My son is only six years old, a sweet little kindergartner full of excitement for what his life will bring and yet, even though we live in a minuscule town, I can’t help but wonder if he is safe as I watch him walk into the playground, T-Rex backpack bouncing. Will he be safe in five years? Will his friend bring a gun to school? Will he play with someone else’s? Whether or not you believe in gun control, these ideas, the news we hear cause parents a stomach full of worry.
To avoid some stress, you can limit the amount of news you consume in a day, or watch only at certain times. Or turn on music and dance with your children, like we did tonight. Watch their face light up at the goofy moves you all make. Their laughter will improve everyone’s mood, reduce stress and you’ll increase adrenaline with you improvised exercise.

 

  1. Overwhelmed

They say it takes a village to raise a child yet in the US we value our independence highly. Which, for a parent, can mean that we are not only expected to raise our children as parents alone but are determined to. This makes parenting overwhelming. We become stressed, stretched and anxiety-ridden.

There are times when we need to let go. It’s okay to ask for help, hire a babysitter or family member for a few hours and have a night out to relax. And delegate. Yes, you are able to do it all but your children are missing out on you, the most important person in their lives. Share the responsibilities so you can play superhero with the kids instead of being supermom. 

[bctt tweet=”Share the responsibilities so you can play superhero with the kids instead of being supermom. ” username=”contactrwc”]

5 Simple Reasons Parents Today Are Filled With Anxiety

Parenting is a terrifying job.

If you let it, the anxiety that can come along with raising children can turn you into a helicopter parent, or take out the simple joys of watching your children grow.

Yes, make sure things are safe. Watch out for small objects and follow safety rules but don’t let the worrying about a penny take over your parenting. Limit your own screen time, get outside, delegate, get help if needed or have a spontaneous dance party and you will find your anxiety start to lessen. 

Plus, you will be a beautiful example for your children as you improve. They will improve as well. 

And that alone is a stress reliever. What is your stress reliever? 

 Jewel Elise Raising World Children - Where Cultures Meet Parenting Jewel Eliese is a fiction writer, developmental editor, co-creator of the Medium publication Writer Mom and founder of writeawaymommy.com. Jewel runs on lukewarm coffee and baby kisses. She believes every mom can write well. Get the free checklist to find time to write with kids around here writeawaymommy.com/checklist/

 

What it Feels Like to Become Bilingual

What it Feels Like to Become Bilingual

Has this ever happened to you?

You’re walking around the airport, bag rolling behind you on the shining linoleum. There is a constant hum buzzing. It’s the sound of people chatting away, making small talk or simply trying to race to their next flight to some unknown part of the world. 

Exhausted and maybe a bit anxious you find your gate and finally sit down, only to have noisy kids beside you. But then something neat happens. They speak. And it’s not English. The foreign words fly out of their lips like bees to honey.

And your heart sinks. 

You have had a lifetime dream of learning a foreign tongue but you’re afraid will never be able to speak another language like those children do with ease. 

And you wonder … 

[bctt tweet=”What does it really feel like to speak two languages?” username=”contactrwc”]

How Difficult Is It To Be Bilingual ? What It Feels Like To Be Bilingual ? how is it like to talk more than one language ? Parenting Tips | Family | Life lessons

Exhausted

I remember how that felt to see kids speaking the language I dreamed of learning. It was so easy for them yet seemed impossible for me. I thought I would ever be able to speak Ukrainian with my husband and his family. 

Yet, I consistently went to my Ukrainian language lessons shoving massive amounts of vocabulary into my brain. Living in Ukraine helped me learn the language but the combination of memorizing words and continually hearing words I didn’t understand left me feeling worn out and simply exhausted.

Childish

We lived with my sister-in-law and her family. She had a toddler at the time and it was neat to be able to look at his baby books and understand the counting or animals that were shown. The lessons were paying off.

And yet, I felt like the child. Not because of the books but because of the way I spoke the new words. My tongue could not wrap itself around the shch’s or rolled r’s. Plus, without the full ability to speak, I needed someone to be with me in public to translate. Childish. 

Magical

Then came the best part. There are moments when the words you learn pop up in conversations around you and eventually an entire sentence will have words you’ve learned. And you understand what the person speaking said. 

It feels like magic. 

Understanding those words strung together for the first time is like you just broke the spell on a hard to crack curse. You have finally gained some control.

At least, until the person continues speaking and you have no idea what they said. Again. 

[bctt tweet=”Becoming bilingual feels like magic” username=”contactrwc”]

Shy

This stage lasted a while for me, in part due to living in a country where the younger generation is eager and excited to learn English and practice it any way they can. Like on me. 

So, during my four-year stay in Ukraine, I spent most of that time speaking English. Even teaching it at one point. I could understand the language well, but the words still stuck in my throat. 

Plus, people laughed when I tried speaking Ukrainian. There were not many foreigners in the city where I lived which meant I sounded funny. It made me more shy. 

Powerful

It wasn’t until my husband and I moved back the United States that I lost my shy nature and finally started speaking Ukrainian fluently. I was no longer too shy to speak to my husband and I wanted to teach my little boy Ukrainian as well. No one knew if my grammar was correct or not, so I spoke until the words came out naturally. 

And it felt powerful.

I could speak the language. My husband and son could understand me and when my mother-in-law visited the United States, we had one on one conversations for the first time.

I had finally become bilingual. 

The next time I was in the airport with my husband and son to visit Ukraine, I understood the words rapidly flying out of the small children’s mouth at the gate. Amazing. I realized the seemingly impossible is possible. It simply comes with a lot of emotions. 

But don’t be afraid of the feelings that accompany the ride to becoming bilingual, the good and the bad. Hold on the magic, the shyness, childish feelings, exhaustion and then the power. Those emotions make life worth living and learning a language memorable. 

Just don’t live in this emotion: fear. 

Go ahead, learn for yourself with it feels like to become bilingual.

Jewel Elise Raising World Children - Where Cultures Meet ParentingJewel Eliese is a fiction writer, developmental editor, co-creator of the Medium publication Writer Mom and founder of writeawaymommy.com. Jewel runs on lukewarm coffee and baby kisses. She believes every mom can write well. Get the free checklist to find time to write with kids around here writeawaymommy.com/checklist/

 

What it Feels Like to Have Bilingual kids

What it Feels Like to Have Bilingual kids

There was no question we were going to do it.

My husband had to teach his kids native tongue. It’s a part of him and he needed to pass it on. I dreamed of hearing my kids say English words in cute ways like pweaze. So, we’ve been teaching our kids two languages from day one.

And it’s working.

My six-year-old son can be a miniature translator now and my two-year-old uses both languages in one sentence. Amazing. Adorable.

But sometimes it can be challenging.

Around Friends

I finally had some mom time with a friend over the Thanksgiving holiday. It was wonderful. We ate lots of homemade food, drank, played board games and watched our toddlers play with each other. It was everything I hoped for.

But I realized something interesting while I watched the toddlers play and talk. My friend’s son would speak, and I was amazed at the words he used. He sounded so adult.

The child is intelligent and not just because I’m a biased Godmother.  His mother spends so much quality time with him, reading every night. She is a wonderful teacher.

But it made me question whether my daughter’s speech was delayed. But I realized I am simply not used to hearing a child talk who only speaks one language

Which made me wonder how other people view my children’s’ speech.

Interactions

People don’t always understand my daughter and it was the same with my son. I adore and am used to the way her sentences mix Ukrainian and English together, but it is difficult for my English-speaking family. It must sound like gibberish.

Talking to a two-year-old is hard enough with only one language’s worth of vocabulary.

And then there are the people my kids’ meet for the first time who simply think my daughter must be delayed in speech, just like I did for a moment. People now say my son speaks so well as if he didn’t before. What they don’t think about is that maybe the just didn’t use to understand him.

And all this can give parents mixed feelings.

What it feels like raising bilingual kids | how to Raise bilingual kids | tips to raising kids with two languages - bilingual | parenting | family goals

Feelings

I know we’re not supposed to care what people think, but it’s different when it comes to our kids. We know they are the most fantastic creatures the world has seen, and we want others to know it too.

And when they’re bilingual sometimes their brilliance doesn’t immediately shine.

Then with family, you may feel upset when you see your child cannot effectively communicate with grandma or their uncle. You see both party’s frustration and it can result in you giving up on teaching one of the languages.

But don’t stop. It gets easier.

My six-year-old son now speaks with a slight American accent to his father and me in Ukrainian or English. At separate sentences. He’s fluent.  Finally.

And watching my husband’s eyes light up brings tears to my eyes. That alone was worth it.

So, don’t stop. Keep teaching your child two languages.

Tips to Successful Bilingual Children

  1.    Stick to Your Language

If your child is having a difficult time learning one language over the other, pretend you only understand the language you want them to learn. Be stubborn. My mother-in-law only speaks Ukrainian. While she was here my son had no choice but to speak Ukrainian to her. So, he did. You can mimic the same.

  1.    Warn Others

If it bothers you when strangers don’t understand your child, let the person know right away that your child is speaking two languages at once. They may be amazed.

For family, you can be around to translate for your child. Let Grandma or Uncle know that the word your child just said was in the other language. With your child try to teach your family member some words. Make it fun.

  1.    Read

Read books in both languages. If you are not bilingual, take turns reading. Story structure helps embed the words into your child mind. It improves their vocabulary and it is fun for the child and you.

  1.    Benefits

If you’re unsure if what you are doing is right for your family, learn the benefits. (Read here https://bilingualkidsrock.com/why-raise-bilingual/  ) A few things a child will gain is better grammar in their first language, better at music, a greater understanding of culture, and will have an easier time learning other languages.

  1.    Don’t Give Up

There may be a point when your child decides to ignore a language and only speak one. It happened for a while with my son. It hurts, especially the parent whose language is being ignored. But it does get better over time. It’s just a bump in the road that you need to learn to go around and much like marriage you must stay with it, for better or worse.

It can be challenging raising a bilingual child. Your feelings can go all over the place, but in the end, it is worth it for you and your child. Your child will benefit from your efforts for the rest of their lives.

And what feels better than that?

Jewel Eliese is a fiction writer, developmental editor, co-creator of the Medium publication Writer Mom and founder of writeawaymommy.com. Jewel runs on lukewarm coffee and baby kisses. She believes every mom can write well. Get the free checklist to find time to write with kids around here writeawaymommy.com/checklist/
Raising World Children Marriage With A Foreigner

Don’t Marry a Foreigner Till You Know This

 

I never thought I would marry a foreigner but there I was. I sat on the pull-out bed in the dark. Alone. In a foreign country. Where did my boyfriend go?

I thought when someone said they loved you it should be the happiest moment. Thankfully he came back, the light shining bright to my unaccustomed eyes. A small red box was in his hands.

And got down on one knee. My heart jumped to my throat. “Will you marry me?” he asked, accent thick.

In shock and smiling, I said, “Yes.” But before you can marry your international delight, there’s something you should know.

What It Means To Marry A Foreigner

A dream Life. But…

We all want live happily ever after, right? Sure, our dreams are different. I want to be a writer. You may want to be an engineer, or travel the world. Or some just want to find their tall, dark and handsome prince.

Without expecting to I found my mine, and it has been the greatest ten years of my life. But it wasn’t always easy.

Advantages to Marrying A Foreigner

Today’s world seems to be against the foreign man. Some are afraid to let him in.  And marriage is already difficult without adding a different culture.

But, there are advantages.

  • Explore new food.
  • Learn a new language.
  • Meet fascinating people.
  • More opportunities for travel
  • See amazing cities and nature.
  • Learn about the country your loved one is from.
  • Meeting your future spouse’s family introduces you to a new way of life.
  • And the best part is your future kids would benefit from learning from combined cultures. 

It’s a win-win situation, in theory ! However, you should know something.

You will be wrong. Often !

The Reality When You Marry a Foreigner

Marriage is difficult, that’s no surprise. Part of the difficulty is learning to accept differences, and marrying someone from another country comes packaged with changes.

They have a unique belief system and may not be afraid to point how they believe your culture is wrong. And it’s not just your spouse.

Your in-laws may be worried if you don’t take your kid outside with a red bracelet or necklace to protect your baby from a stranger giving an ‘evil eye’. Or you all may not agree on what is best to feed your child.

And while fighting for your beliefs is fantastic and needed, sometimes the best action is acceptance. Being wrong. It’s part of maturity. And an important lesson for children. How do you find that balance of the advantages and disadvantages ?

Raising World Children Marry a Foreigner

Photo by Anne Edgar on Unsplash

Ways to Deal With Cultural Differences

Compromise

Every relationship needs compromise. A little give and take. It may take time to discover which compromise works and is an evolving process, but it is a great feeling once you do.

You may have to not give your child peanut butter that your child loves if you spouse is against it for personal health beliefs. It may be difficult, but they will do the same for you next time you are against something.

Be Willing To Learn

Study language, and cultures, especially your future spouse’s.

There is an app called Duolingo where you can learn over five languages at an easy but fast pace. If you can’t travel you can video chat and give his loved ones a tour of your home and life.

Travel Together

If possible, after you marry a foreigner, visit other countries. Studying is well but there is something special about seeing and smelling new sights for the first time yourself. Plus, there is no better way to get to know your spouse than through his family. Who doesn’t love embarrassing baby pictures of their spouse?

It may take a while, but saving up for this important trip is worth it. Be sure to take a couple weeks off to see the sights and get used to the time change.

Take Time to Breathe

Learning about cultures can be stressful. Meeting family members can be terrifying. And being wrong or being accused of being incorrect is difficult. Sometimes you need to take deep breaths to calm your body and mind.

Go somewhere alone and take deep breaths. Or even out of the house, and listen to the silence. Or do a hobby you love. Just take a moment to get away and be you.

Acceptance is KEY

We can believe we are right so strongly that we will fight to the ends of the earth. Then find out we were wrong. This is the time to step back and admit our mistake. It may seem obvious but once you’re in that situation, it is very hard.

But in marriage it is vital.

Sometimes you may have to lose an argument. Yet, accepting that your partner or their family is right, or thinks they’re right, will save you many headaches and heartaches.

Every country is unique, incredible and right. Including you and yours. Marrying a foreigner can be the best choice you ever make.

Follow Your Heart. Accepting how people from other cultures, including your partner, have different views than you is a great start to a happy marriage. So, if your heart is filled with love, take that chance. Let them get down on one knee and as the question you’ve been waiting for.

Say yes!

Marry your foreigner. Just understand they will be wrong. And so will you. But it’s worth every moment!

Things To Know Before Your Marry a Foreigner | Marriage | Inter racial | Multiracial | Life | Marry

Jewel Elise Raising World ChildrenJewel is a fiction writer, wife to a serious comedian and a mother to two lovely munchkins. You can find her at http://writeawaymommy.com Every mother can write!