The Heart of a Missionary-

Bicultural… who?

Posted in Insights,life in the field,struggles by misspicture on July 23, 2011

Biculturalism. The word that’s been on my mind all day today. This term is often used to talk about someone with the ability to interact with two cultures.

I thought this only applied to people from one race who live in a country that does not share their cultural values.

and though this is true i have learned that there’s more to biculturalism than that. Biculturalism is not only experienced by immigrants. I think i have experienced it to some extent.

I consider myself bicultural.

When i was in the desert i had the joy and privilege to spend 80% of my time with 6 north-americans. I experienced what it was like to be a minority, to not speak your heart language to the point where you got more conformable speaking the language of the ‘majority’, to be torn between two cultures, to be culturally confused, and to be so sensitive to the predominant culture that i forgot mine.

Yes, this can happen.
Yes, I thought it was impossible too.
But it happened. In less than a year.
It happened to me.

Being a minority put me in a spot where I was more vulnerable and often felt ashamed of my own culture. My culture. My Language. and my accent. Definitely my accent.

I still do sometimes.
who am i kidding?
I hate my accent.

And it wasn’t because of anything the predominant culture did. They were just being themselves. I just didn’t fit in at first- and that created frustration and bitterness towards my own culture. So, i tried really hard to fit in, so hard i forgot what it was like to be Venezuelan.

and i think more than forget, I just avoided thinking about what being a Venezuelan looked like.

Now, I dont fit in with North Americans.
but i dont fit in with Venezuelans either.

Bienvenido, to my life!

Spanglish is the new cool.
[lets be honest, Spanglish has always been cool]

I can be on time, speak english and be task oriented, in a way that not many Venezuelans can.
And I can be friendly, family oriented, warm, and dance salsa in a way that not many North Americans can.

Im in between.
Its the best of both worlds.
But its hard. Im always different. No matter where i go.

I’ll get to live with 7 north americans again next year. And i hope i can live in the middle. I’ll try to live in the middle. Taking the best of the North American culture and the best of my South American culture. and speak spanglish more often.

Bicultural…. ME!



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