It is my birthday week, so today I want to share some thoughts and experiences from my small multicultural world. I don’t really like talking about me, but I hope that putting myself out of my comfort zone will help others who are struggling through culture shock and self acceptance.
I live in a culture that’s very competitive and fast paced. We also like to give labels to people, and put them in boxes, instead of accepting that everybody is different in their own way.
There are so many things that society expects us to do, and when to do it: When to get married,… buy a house,… have kids,… get a promotion,… travel…etc.
So when my birthday is here it makes me reflect on my years, and I get nervous because of where I am in in my life at this moment. In this year. At this age.
But I’m trying to be more aware of my feelings, and to be ok with the order and pace that things are happening for me. Everything has a reason!
Did you ever feel like you are not where you should be or want to be in your life?
Many of us in a multicultural relationship have to start our life over. Moving to their partner’s country or finding a new home together.
I did it 4 times in my life! First at age 10, moving from Serbia to Hungary, then to Italy, when I was 25. Soon after I followed my husband to the US, and our latest move was to Arizona.
But I kinda had these excuses all the time: ‘it didn’t happen because I had babies’, or ‘it didn’t happen because I had to move to a place where I don’t know anybody’, or ‘it didn’t happen because my marriage was in a really bad place’…blah, blah. We need to be ok with ourselves and the consequences of our decisions. We need to be ok with the way things are happening in our life and except that. Look for the benefits, instead of the negative things that are holding you back.
I’m sure that lot of people are jealous of us and admire our bravery that we were able to move somewhere, learn a new language, or that we want to live our whole life with somebody who has a different language and culture from us. That we want to live in a foreign country that’s completely strange for us.
Instead of feeling bad that there are certain things we couldn’t achieve in our life, we should be proud of our choices. Embrace and enjoy it!
I wish I wouldn’t have got married so fast, because we would have had more time to explore and to get to know each other, and slowly evolve and mature our relationship into a marriage.
I wish I wouldn’t have had kids so soon, because my husband and I could have had more time to spend together.
I wish I would have started my business earlier, but I didn’t believe in myself enough.
Getting married so soon forced us to grow up and mature our relationship faster, so we can get through those bumps faster. And gave me a security that I will live with this person forever.
I feel lucky that I had kids so soon, because now I have time to work on my passion. I feel lucky that I was able to stay home with both of my girls and raise them the way I wanted, share my culture and spend time with them. If I would have started my career before kids, I would have never been able to give them that time. That’s why I think that everything has a reason!
My husband and I had a lot of challenging conversations about spending tons of money on traveling to Europe to visit my family every year! Which held us back from buying a house or put our finances towards something else.
And I feel very very lucky that we were able to do that, because I know that there are lots of families who can’t afford to see each other for years! I’m very thankful for my husband’s willingness to sacrifice that for me. It was definitely a really big help when I was struggling with loneliness and culture shock. I’m thankful for my parents not getting upset with me, because they can’t see their grandkids growing up, or because I left everything behind to live in another country.
First we need to learn to be happy about the choices that we made! To accept our journey and all the unplanned events. We have to see the meaning and find the reason why everything is happening. Other people will have different journeys and that’s ok!
There will be days when you’re going to feel like it’s too much! Why didn’t I just stay in my country, so life wouldn’t be so complicated? Why did I have to make this so hard for my family? But believe me, it’s all worth it, and it is going to get better!
Sometimes we intentionally choose this lifestyle, sometimes we fall into it, or sometimes we are just born into it. I was born and raised in Yugoslavia, a country with many different nationalities, religions, and somewhat similar languages. I grew up surrounded by diversity, but I never thought that this would forever be part of my life.
I wouldn’t say that I was always proud of it! In Yugoslavia as a Hungarian family we were in the minority, and I remember my parents telling me to keep my culture quiet. Then living in Hungary I felt like a minority again, because I came from another country. In Italy I was always that foreign girl who will never be accepted. Then I moved to America and I had a lot of self consciousness from not being American. I wouldn’t even speak Hungarian with my baby in public, because I didn’t wanted people looking and judging me.
Now I wish I wouldn’t have given up on this so quickly, and that I would have been just proud of my culture and language!
But I’m getting older… I’m getting wiser… And I’m ok with who I am and where my family and I are in our life. (Let’s wrap this up and get back to why I started this rambling!)
I’m looking forward to my next year, the next life journeys and experiences with my family!
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