Let’s Start

I am starting this blog as my joyful, thoughtful daughter has just turned five. We gave her an Indian name but she also goes by Minette, an affectionate name for a young female cat in French. Her dad (aka Appa) was born and grew up in southern India. He moved to America in his twenties. I (aka Maman) was born in Paris and grew up in eastern France. I came to America in my thirties. Home is now Cleveland, Ohio. Minette speaks English, French, and Tamil every day of her life and she is now learning how to read and write in her three languages. Wonderful and exotic? Yes and no.

Our household is just one of the many iterations of a widespread phenomenon in the United States and across the world. We are a multicultural family. By this I mean a family whose members navigate their everyday life with more than one language, in reference to more than one culture.

Some multicultural families share a common language and culture at home and switch to a different set when they step outside. Think a Mexican couple and their young children living in Little Rock, Arkansas. In other multicultural families, parents come from different countries and have different mother tongues. They have to figure how to weave their heritages into their very own fabric. My family is an example of that.

Multicultural families come in many configurations, some of which I have yet to come across and I hope to discover through this blog. This blog is not only about our life as a multicultural family. I will of course talk about that but I also want to explore the lives and experiences of other multicultural families. I want to engage with people who are or grew up in multicultural families and, more generally, people who have thoughts and questions about multicultural families. That’s what blog comments are for, right? Here goes.

More about the people in the blog

5 Replies to “Let’s Start

  1. I grew up in a very monocultural family. The 5000-person city where I was born was 40% German-ish descent, 40% Swedish descent and 20% everything else. I am curious about this blog because both my parents (b. 1898 and 1912) grew up bilingual, which was common back then: you taught the children German (or Swedish or whatever) so they could talk with their grandparents and to keep the culture nurtured, and you taught the children English because you wanted them to excel at school. I now live in a vibrant multi-cultural city, Minneapolis. In the academic neighborhoods where I’ve spent the last 43 years, my neighbors have been Hispanic, Hmong, Vietnamese, Jordanian, Egyptian, Somali, Oromu and American Indian. I’m always interested in learning more about the balancing act and how different families handle that.

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