Indifferent toward the Different

| December 29, 2015

One of my absolute favorite byproducts of my child living in Europe is that she is comfortable among different languages, nationalities, and environments. She is not fearful of different. Everyone is different, and different is not bad; different is just interesting.

Right now, she is watching an animated movie in French. When I was helping her select a channel, I paused, realized it was in French, and pushed the channel up button. “Hey!” she protested. She wanted to watch this particular movie, no matter the language.

I am most happy when she interacts, if only one or two words, in the language of the country in which she finds herself. Merci, gracias, sí, oui, non, parli inglese?–whatever the words may be, she tries.

Already instilled in her is the fact that the whole world doesn’t speak English; that she should not assume someone does and she should not get mad during misunderstandings.

Earlier today, we were in a toy store. My husband and I eventually walked out of the store to wait for her. Soon, she ran out, asked for her allowance, ran back in, and bought a toy–undaunted by the fact that she was in a foreign country. She didn’t pause to ask if we would go with her, and she did not hesitate about the potential language barrier. She just ran back into the store and bought what she wanted.

My child is becoming unfazed by linguistic and cultural barriers. She asks questions about people and her surroundings, but is nonjudgmental. She is curious. She is observant. She is comfortable.

And I’m thrilled.



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Category: Ex-pat Parenting, FAMILY, Family Travel, In Germany A Broad blog, Linguistics, Living in Germany

About the Author ()

Kari Martindale is a writer and ESL instructor. She’s visited all 50 states and 37 countries, including many of the big cities of Europe and a ton of Christmas Markets. She spends her days straddling the fence between a sense of adventure and a sense of dread. She is married to what is clearly a patient man and has a daughter who, frustratingly, is just like her. Her academic and professional backgrounds are in linguistics and foreign languages. When she's not teaching ESL, she's writing. When she's not writing, she's thinking about her next trip.

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