Tuesday, December 30, 2014

"We don't understand your jokes!"

Or Feeling Hurt by Being Expatriate Parents

It's very hard to be an expatriate person and even harder to have an expatriate, bi(or multi)-lingual family. Last night, that reality hit us full in the face when K & I were being goofy in our hotel and our youngest son (10) blurted out the very honest, but almost cruel:

"We don't understand your jokes!"


Of course there's a bit of a generation gap problem here and cultural differences related to age, but I know that especially in the case of the younger son, there is also a linguistic gap -- his Portuguese is not as good as that of his brother's.

I wish they could be more fluent, understand all the jokes, all the words, but I know that will always be an unattainable dream. OK, not radically so (because we expect that our sons will spend at least one year in Brazil going to school), but still... I think we experience more than the usual parent/child gap because of our choice to come live in another country. :-(

I feel that's not fair! :-(

Of course we laughed and laughed about it, and there's also the case that this particular son resisted much more being labeled as "Brazilian" and he has internalized English much more -- he was younger when he learned it. He's still a bit ambivalent about his double nationality and his identity as Brazilian and/or American. Sigh...

We just need to learn to deal with these things as they come along and handle them as best as we can!

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