Cultural Article | The values and challenges of a bicultural relationship and family
*Published 01/29/2013 By Being Latino
The plan… NOT to get constrained or distracted by an infatuation with another. Simple, clear, and safe. The perfect plan to allow for a professional and successful career as a feminist, Latina writer living abroad, enjoying travel, and living a fulfilling cultural life. I envisioned myself surrounded by children, yet uncommitted. Whose children? Not my own, that’s for sure! That was my plan and I was sticking to it while working on my Master’s degree in College Station, Texas.
Furthermore, the plan was not complete without at least a contingency. Therefore, IF the right person should have happened to cross my path, he would have needed to pass the following three requisites.
- He would have to be of Latin descent, preferably Mexican. How else would we be compatible and truly understand each other?
- He would have to be an excellent dance partner. How else would we enjoy each other on a night out?
- He would have to love to read, preferably Spanish literature. How else would we hold literary discussions while enjoying dinner?
Again, simple, clear, and safe.
Enter… a fun-loving, carefree, and curiously interesting Texan fellow, blond and blue-eyed, exceedingly bright, and dancing to the beat of his own drum. “Why not?” I asked myself. “Relax, have some fun, this is not a commitment.” Throughout a summer I was intrigued by this fellow, his customs were different. His thoughts, unusual. His manners, uncommon. I was having fun and enjoyed his distinctive company.
Summer turned into autumn, then winter, and spring. By then one would surely think to end the friendship. We were from opposite sides of a border, we came from opposite sides of the social, political, and economic spectrums. Our native languages were different, our beliefs and goals did not support matching futures. Our childhoods had nothing in common. Yet, somehow we continued to enjoy each other’s company, and we continued to nourish each other’s emotional life. Something clicked and neither one of us knew what it was, nor cared to spend time to figure it out. Life went on and we did not question it.
Fast forward nearly 20 years. We are married, with five children, two cats, and survived two dogs. We are a bicultural family speeding along among an increasing number of American bicultural, biracial, and bilingual families. Are we clicking? At times. Are we having fun? Often. Are we still enjoying each other’s company? Well…, on most days. As with any other relationship or family compositions, relationships will succeed if its members are willing to cultivate the initial connection created. In my plan, the connection was not about similarities but about differences. It was the contrast that sparked the click.
- He is of European descent, a Caucasian Texan not at all compatible with the mestiza Mexicana that I am.
- He dances to the beat of his own drum, however off beat that might be, he continuously makes an effort.
- He is an avid reader of science, technology, and sci-fi. We have plenty of arguments, but never over the same book.
What makes the initial connection continue to click? My theory is, a shared, tenacious willingness to succeed. This is the one thing we have in common, our desire to succeed, as individuals, as partners, and as parents of bicultural children living in a diverse and global community.
For more information and support, see A Time to Heal.
By Being Latino Contributor, Teresa Carbajal Ravet. Teresa is a culturist Spanish linguist and bilingual writer dedicated to the advocacy and promotion of the multicultural experience at www.SententiaVera.com.