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Bicultural and Bilingual Living

I'm wanting to get to know this community better. Last night I browsed through the titles of all journal entries from beginning to end. I read quite a few and only had time to comment on one. I got to "know" a few people just a little better. I know most people here have multinational connections, either personally or professionally or both. But how many of you live biculturally and bilingually (or multilingually) every day? I've been doing so for over twenty years. I have found that the "internationalness" of my life gives it a richness and challenge that I never foresaw when I started this adventure. I have perspectives, experiences, joys, and concerns that are often not fully shared or understood by my monocultural and monolingual friends and colleagues. For example, I just returned from living over three months in Iran while my family and I worked on international adoption. I am still deeply processing the experience in rare moments that I find in the midst of mothering my newly adopted baby and my older daughter. I still have no short, neat answer to the question, "How was your trip?" At best, my one word reply is: "Complex!"

So, I'm just wondering who else has a personal life that significantly crosses international borders every moment of every day....


Cynthia Casas's picture


Hi Cynthia,

I'm a first generation Mexican-American and my early childhood and parts of my life were certainly spent with one foot in the Mexican-Catholic-Conservative-Spanish Speaking culture and another foot this one. I guess with the high rate of immigration and over-seas adoptions increasing, I think there will be more and more women joining this community who can identify with you. And yes, "Complex," is certainly one word that comes to mind. As if family relationships weren't hard enough, there's always traditions and mindsets to consider-- I see this on a daily basis when talking with my mother. It's hard, but overall I'm mostly very thankful for the richness it adds to my life. Now, the question is, how can I pass some of this richness to my kids... I guess I'll have to have one first. I already told my parents to only speak to her/him in Spanish, but i'm sure there will be other things to do.


Cynthia Casas

cgoodmojab's picture

Passing on the richness

Thanks for sharing a little of your experience with bicultural and bilingual living, Cynthia. My husband and I also feel that passing on the richness to our children is important. We spoke only Farsi to my older daughter for the first three years of her life. We will do the same for our newly adopted daughter. Picking up English is no problem in a country where that's the dominant language, but they will only hear Farsi on a daily basis if we speak it at home. Language is culture and culture is language. Without fluency in their father's native language, our daughters cannot access half of their family and cultural heritage.

Cynthia Good Mojab
Director, LifeCircle Counseling and Consulting, LLC (

Jensine's picture

A special topic

Dear Cynthia -
it is such a joy to connect with you on PulseWire! And what a great topic you have started. Your experience cultivating a multilingual home is an incredible resource for others who strive to do the same. Knowing how attuned, alive and visionary your daughter is -- I can only imagine what she herself might say, and ultimately teach, about the experience of being raised in the center of so many worlds!!!

Congratulations to your entire family on the arrival of the new soul in your home.

Jensine Larsen
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