cultural competence?

Son: In which country is slurping polite?

Me: Korea.

Son: Oh, yeah. We’re in Korea. (Loud slurping as he takes in a forkful of spaghetti.) That was a compliment, Mom.

what language does that lion speak?

Animal Sounds –BadgeA favorite “reading” activity for our little one is to page through an animal book as we make the accompanying sounds for each animal. He’s getting better at reproducing the sounds himself. Yesterday when we were outside and heard some crows he quickly mastered the, “Caw, caw” sound.

But even our four-year-old finds “What sound does the animal make?” an engaging past time. It gets complicated, however, when their daddy plays along. His idea of the lion’s sound varies significantly from my older son’s. It’s the source of heated discussions. (The boy has a bit too much of his mother’s personality, I’m afraid.) I’ve explained that what sound the animal makes depends on what language a person speaks, but he doesn’t buy it. Neither is he convinced that the person who came from the same continent as the lion might know more than he does.

It wasn’t until my first full-time teaching job that my Korean students informed that a dog says, “Mung, mung,” introducing me to this concept. If it took me that long to figure out just how multilingual animals are, I suppose I needn’t be to too impatient with a child. Perhaps some day for fun, we’ll have a look and listen to one of the several online sites that illustrate the diversity of animal noises across languages.

boredom

“I never knew what boredom was until I came to this country,” my husband has stated. Where he’s from there are always people around. To the point that you sometimes wish they’d leave you alone.

Looking for a wife

Our son is now just over four months old. Last week his daddy told a friend of mine–in a short exchange before he handed the phone over to me–that we are looking for a wife for our boy. “We have one here waiting for him,” she replied.

He’s been telling people this looking-for-a-wife line since we got home from the hospital. “That’s the best answer I’ve heard so far,” he told me later. This friend who is from the same background as my husband understood the meaning, unlike the Caucasians who are generally at a loss as to how to respond. I was myself.

It just means that our boy is growing quickly, he had to explain to me.

So there will always be more to learn in our cross-cultural marriage. That is part of what keeps it interesting and fun.