Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Living in a Dual-Cultural World

We fly two flags at our home. Not literally, we don't actually have a flag outside our front door, but in essence, we fly two flags.

My heart bleeds red, white, and blue.  But it also bleeds green and yellow, and yes, a deeper shade of blue.

Although you just see little glimpses of this here and there, mostly in regards to food, you would probably never really know this by reading my blog.  I write mostly about food, and we eat mostly American food because, well, I do the cooking. And he does the eating -- of whatever it is I put in front of him.

But if you were to see us live our lives in the day to day, things would appear a bit more multi-cultural.

Conversations are about futebol and football, personal independence and strong family ties, of living the 'American Dream' while enjoying life like a Brazilian...

Passports are filled with visas both ways, and travel plans are made around the need to spend time in Brazil with family.

Things that just make sense to me don't also make sense to him (you really should wear more than flip flops outside in December!) and vice versa (showers are for night time, always).

"I love you" is pronounced chee-ah-moo (Te amo) and we go through a nightly liturgy of sweet dreams and boa noite's, back and forth, each of needing to speak the language of our heart for it to really count.

The truth is, we are not an American family.  Nor are we a Brazilian one.  We are mixed.  And that is wonderful.

Before we got married, people told us two things: (1) Marriage is hard, and (2) marrying someone from another culture, especially one who moved to the states only when we got married, is even harder.

We listened to them, and we took their words to heart.  But then we sat down, talked it over, and walked up to that alter knowing that the odds were not against us, because we knew something they didn't know: We did not have to choose a culture, we could create our own.  It didn't have to be hard; it could be whatever we decided to make it be.

So that is what we set out to do.  Take the good from both, throw out (as much as possible) the bad.  We all know by now (or should!) that there is no perfect culture, no perfect country, but there are great cultures, great ideas, and when you take that greatness from both and mix them together, you really do live that cliche': You get the best of both worlds.  Beans and rice with mashed potatoes.  And it tastes so good...


  1. Yes yes and yes!! Lovely post :)
    We knew when we got married that there would be some decisions that would be harder to make than other couples who share the same culture, but that doesn´t mean it´s not worth it!
    It´s only as hard as you make it :) And I would not change it for anything!

    1. 'It's only as hard as you make it..."


      Which would be why for us marriage is not hard! Everyone said it would be so difficult, but why would I want that? So we make it not hard. :)

  2. Completely agree - although sometimes this can be bittersweet as you don't fully feel like you fit in on either side... or maybe that just comes with time.
    Either way, YES this is our life as well. :)
    Wouldn't want it any other way!

    1. Yes, that is another part of it that I didn't think about. But very true. Maybe when I do Part II I will talk about that... because it is a reality sometimes.
      However, like you said, I wouldn't want it any other way!

  3. OMG Tiffany! Such a wonderful, heart warming story you have!
    I'm glad you both make it work,, it mustn't have been easy to begin with it.
    I'm happy for you guys, to have such a full life.
    I wish you all the best! Que sejam muito felizes!

  4. What a lovely post! :) You two are simply too adorable.

  5. beautifully written Tiffany. I can tell that your love for each other is stronger than your pasts, your separate cultures. I love how you say you've created your own.


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