After many years of dreaming and planning, I found myself at the edge of attaining what I had wanted for so long: acceptance into the study abroad program at La Sorbonne in Paris, France. There were only a few spots and the competition was tough. I had passed the initial acceptance phase, and now found myself seated across from a less-than-friendly professor interviewing me in French. He asked, “What will you share about American culture with the French colleagues and families you meet?”
This was the hardest question. I had prepared academically and linguistically for this moment, and I was stumped on what it was to be a part of the “American” culture. Was it Fast food? Baseball? Cowboys? Was it a “melting pot,” like I had been told in elementary school? As it turns out, I did not know what it was to really be American because it was all I had ever known. I wasn’t able to compare my own experiences with any other experiences. I was a 20 year old longing to learn something I couldn’t articulate.
I was accepted into La Sorbonne and spent the most glorious period of my life living and studying in Paris, France. I have no idea what my answer to that question was, but the memory has affected me throughout my life.
I find myself at age 35 having done many exciting things with my career as a French teacher, from public high school teacher to a foreign language business consultant. But the one thing I promised myself that day back in 1995 is that I would raise my kids to know more about other cultures, not only to be prepared to enter adulthood as worldly citizens, but to know more about where they come from too – right here in the good old US of A.
Enter adult female with three children aged 11, 8 and almost 6, who is surprised to learn there will be a fourth child. I am using this chance to do things across the age spans that will allow me to really raise cultural kids. With the other kids all in school, baby number four will learn only French from me. How will this work in a family of monolingual English speakers? I don’t know, but I bet it will be fun and challenging all at the same time. This site will track our progress, but it will also share little things I do (and you can too!) to give kids of all ages an advantage, however small, in this global world.