As a bilingual parent, what is your biggest challenge? Your biggest fear?
My biggest fear is that my children will grow up not knowing or understanding what my home country is like… It’s culture, it’s food, it’s music, and it’s people. I was born and raise in Chile, a wonderful country located at the end of the world (South America) and, even though I know that my children are dual citizens, I cannot help but wonder: will they ever consider Chile to be as important as the United States is to them? Will they ever see it the way I see it? Will they ever feel the way I feel about it? After all, the feeling I get when the LanChile airplane lands in the Santiago airport is unexplainable!
Therefore, one of the biggest challenges I face as a mother raising my children in this beautiful country is integrating my home country ‘s culture, language, and overall heritage into my children’s everyday lives.
Skype, Facebook, and Google Hangout have allowed us to stay connected with my friends and family. We are now just a click away! Literally. I also own a smart phone, which makes everything even easier, faster, and better.
Confession: I have to admit that WhatsApp, Messenger, and Skype are apps that we use on a daily basis! Although, I have noticed that by staying connected with my chilean-love ones, my children are starting to build a meaningful virtual relationship with everyone in Chile. This is wonderful.
This is Chile, emol, and Conociendo Chile on are some of the Facebook pages -related to Chile- that I follow. Viewing their daily posts are a welcome reminder of the beautiful place where I grew up and where I spent all my formative years. I make a conscious effort to share some of these images and articles with my children.
Finally, exposing my children to important Chilean holidays and celebrations is critical.
For independence day, we decorated the entire house, baked a cake -my first cake ever!-decorated it with the Chilean flag, and we made posters that said “¡Viva Chile!” We drew our national flower, el copihue, and listen to cuecas while we celebrated this date.
Proud mami moment:
Home video of my son Alex (3) singing part of a song I used to sing -as a little girl- in my native country. “Vamos llegando” means ‘we are arriving’ and, as we were pulling into our home, he started to sing this song. Love it! Note: He says ‘Estamos llegando ‘instead of ‘vamos llegando.’
What do you do to keep your culture and heritage alive?