Balanced Melting Pot

Archive for the ‘Immigrant Families’ Category

Get out your measuring sticks!

In Cultural Expectations, Education, Immigrant Families, Immigrant Students, Parenting, Questions, Self Image, Traditions on November 29, 2009 at 11:59 pm

image Maybe I’m getting old, but lately I’ve been thinking a lot about where I am in my life – if that even makes sense.

So, here I am about to move for  the 4th time since becoming an adult and I’m trying to figure out if I consider myself to be successful. I know that this judgment is relative to a person’s culture and experiences and only I can really know the answer, but I can’t help but to think of what my family (and friends) may have expected from me. I wrote a while ago about cultural expectations for career choices and I think that’s where this all starts.

My mom always pushed us to go far in school. Very early on she made it clear that she expected my sister and I to at least finish college. Check, so +1

Then, I made the choice to get married and start a family soon after graduating college. –1

But, then I went back to school and obtained my masters’. +1

However, I am still trying to decide what I want to do for the rest of my life. –1

Even without my very expensive education 😉 , I would know that this complex equation adds up to 0. Let me also add that I know that my friends and family are extremely proud of me – it’s the successful part that make me wonder…

One thing I know for sure is that I am happy and I wouldn’t have things any other way. I just don’t want my type A personality to look back one day and wonder if I really made use of all my talents… 😥

How do you (or your culture) measure success?

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Life Abroad

In Culture, Ex-pat, Immigrant Families, Parenting, Questions on August 10, 2009 at 7:07 pm

Early on in college, I began harboring a passion for international development. My dream was to spend my career working in different developing countries and learn about their cultures. Upon completing my degree, I realized that I was glamorizing the ex-pat lifestyle and there was a lot of commitment needed to succeed in that field (I also got married and had a strange urge to settle down 😉 .

For years after that, I thought that my international bug had fizzled and I had become more realistic about my priorities. Well, lately I’ve started getting that itch again – and for some reason this seems like the right time.

Only now, my concern is how my children will grow up. Already, it is difficult trying keep a healthy amount of Haitian culture in their lives (hence, this blog :-)), and now I would have to juggle three or more cultures. I would like them to remain assimilated to the American culture while away, but I wouldn’t want them to stay completely shielded from the culture of the “host” country. You would think I go around looking for trouble!

Well, I am hopeful that I can achieve this balance. If you have any ideas/success stories on how to do it – please share. If not, I will know that I will be the Neil Armstrong of cultural harmony :-).

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Update on the Rat and the Tooth Fairy

In Culture, Immigrant Families, Parenting, Traditions on July 20, 2009 at 1:57 pm

Current Score:

Rat 0-4 Tooth Fairy

Yes, you read correctly. So far, the tooth fairy is leading the game by 4 points. About a year ago, I wrote about my daughter losing her first tooth and incorporating both the American and Haitian traditions for this developmental milestone. What I failed to consider back then, is that my daughter who is easily scared, would want nothing to do with the rat.

When she finally lost the first tooth, she immediately asked me to put it under her pillow so that tooth fairy could bring her money. I explained to her that she also needed to ask “The Rat” to send her an ugly tooth before going to bed, so that in return she would get a shiny, beautiful tooth. Well, at the thought of “The Rat” paying her a visit while she slept, she told me she had no interest in putting the tooth under her pillow. Since she lost the second and third very soon after, I decided to give her some time to become more comfortable with the idea.

Well, last week she lost another one. She became very excited and said “now the tooth fairy is going to bring me a penny.” I quickly reminded her “don’t forget ‘The Rat’.” Without blinking, she handed me her tooth and said that she did NOT want the rat to come. She also climbed on my bed in record time 🙂

So, as it appears, I am losing this one…

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