sometimes a blessing and sometimes a curse

30 Oct

I am half German, half Greek. That is what defines me. That is what makes me who I am. Although I have lived my whole life in Greece I don’t consider myself more Greek as I was raised and influenced by my German stay at home mom.

One would think that having the privilege of being raised in such diverse cultural backgrounds is great. Don’t get me wrong. I do appreciate both cultures but sometimes I find it extremely difficult to really feel connected to one or the other. The truth is I don’t really feel at home neither here nor in Germany. I feel like a stranger in both. I am ‘allowed’ to observe but I don’t really have a say in it because I am not really Greek, nor am I a 100 % German.

Living in Greece as a half German at the moment is more challenging than one would think. There is this tension, disappointment and resentment between those two nations that can not be easily overlooked. I even started getting ‘the look’ whenever I speak to my kids in German. N. suggested I should maybe cease doing that in public spaces. I thought about it. I decided against it. Apart from the difficulties that might arise at one point or another I believe that by raising our children to be bilingual we give them a gift for life. They will (hopefully) become open-minded and accepting of other cultures. They will have the advantage of seeing the good in both cultures. If they manage to find a balance between both I will know that I have done at least one thing right.




6 Responses to “sometimes a blessing and sometimes a curse”

  1. Ice Beautiful October 30, 2012 at 1:44 pm #

    Great thoughts! I am Lithuanian and my husband is Icelandic so our daughter is exposed to both Icelandic and Lithuanian cultures and languages. Since I am involved a lot with Lithuanian community in Iceland as well as Lithuanian Sunday school my daughter gets the best of her Lithuanian roots. I am just worried about the time when she will get to school: kids especially teenagers are cruel. I am not going to stop speaking and spreading Lithuanian to my daughter because of that.

    • wonderlandbytatu October 30, 2012 at 2:55 pm #

      and you shouldn’t! I was teased when I was in primary school due to my german roots. It is tough, but kids get teased for all kinds of reasons. You should definitely cultivate the Lithuanian part of her. Kids should know where they are coming from and learn to equally love and respect both cultures. Thumbs up!

  2. expatsincebirth November 2, 2012 at 1:39 am #

    I can relate to the feeling you’re describing. I had a similar experience in Italy. I’m german, but grew up in Italy and never really felt being part of either one or the other culture. I think we’re somehow TCK, with two “main” cultures. Children need to know where they’re coming from, that’s true. But they will not necessarily relate to their cultures in the same way as a child that grows up in one culture. As for the fact that being german in Greece at the moment can be challenging: I can imagine how you feel. Do you sometimes feel threatened while speaking german to your children?

    • wonderlandbytatu November 2, 2012 at 10:08 am #

      Welcome Ute and thank you for taking the time to read and comment. I would not say that I feel threatened as such, but I do sometimes get the look of disapproval, anger or even resentment if you know what I mean.

      • expatsincebirth November 2, 2012 at 2:28 pm #

        Yes, I know. Are your children feeling this too? I remember that when I was kid I felt treated “differently” when talking german and often decided not to talk german in public – even not with my mom – in order not to feel different.

      • wonderlandbytatu November 2, 2012 at 3:29 pm #

        not yet really, they are too young to realise that. Yiannis is 5 and Iliana is almost 3. On another note, whenever I am angry I speak Greek to my kids 😉

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