Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I am the Frog

In Between

Living between cultures affords many opportunities and challenges not always readily available to someone who lives in their own culture, like a fish in water.  Our family is sort of like the little pink frog that lives in our aquarium.  He can stay a phenomenally long time on the bottom, but if you watch him long enough, we will come up quickly for air.

Actually I guess I really am the only frog in this aquarium, at least while living in Mexico, because all the rest of my family were born chilangos, within the borders of Mexico City, and Spanish is undeniably their first language.  As in most families, I suppose, we have nick-names for each other that reflect our individual personalities and strengths.  David, our youngest, is The Mouth, and does not hesitate in expressing, often with quite a bit of volume, his particular opinion on a matter.  Cathy is The Nose, because invariably she will smell something before the rest of us.  It smells of gas, it smells of perfume.  It smells of smoke.  Daniel is The Ear.  Often Mayra and I will be discussing something, only to realize that we have a silent witness eavesdropping on our conversation.  Mayra is The Eye, because she truly sees everything everyone is doing or shouldn’t be doing, and I am , of course, The Brain. 

The kids break down culturally as well.  Daniel has an extremely positive view of the United States, due largely, possibly, because every time we go north, he gets spoiled rotten and almost always has an extremely enjoyable time.  We call Daniel White Bread.  Cathy speaks perfect, accent-less English, but also very much enjoys her Mexican life with her little friends.  We call her Bolillo, which is the name for the  typical, torta-sized roll of fresh bread that the numerous bakeries make here.  David struggles with English.  We often have to translate certain words for him.  The only extended amount of time he lived in the states was when he was 1 to 2 years old.  Not quite old enough for English to take hold.  He understands English (when he wants to).  We call him Tortilla.

(to be continued...)

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