The Silver Lining –
When mothering abroad, it isn’t only about getting one’s point across and getting things done one’s own way. Our Season 3 guests also learned to appreciate certain Spanish ways of life, especially when it comes to their children.
Raising children abroad has the obvious benefit that they will grow up bilingual and will learn that there is more than one option when it comes to living a fulfilling life.
For our third guest, Michele, it was more than just bilingualism. In her interview, she shares with us some interesting insights on how bilingual (and bicultural) children are better at focusing, at recognizing the values and manners of each culture, and are more open minded and tolerant.
“[Being] bilingual is praised now.” (Michele, 16:41)
Michele Franche is a native of Ottawa, Ontario. After graduating from McGill University and the Université de Montréal, she moved to Spain where she earned a further degree in English Philology. Michele currently lives in Cuenca with her twin daughters and her son.
More Cultural Clashes –
It’s hard to fight old traditions, especially if they are as deeply-rooted as toros (bullfights) in Spain. No one knows better about this than our guest from episode two: Sue, a British animal-lover raising her children in Spain.
Needless to say, she is completely against bullfighting and sometimes struggles when transmitting these values to her children. After all, they are half-Spanish and live in a country where toros are perceived as a cultural asset, not as torture.
“As a mum, I just say to them why we believe what we believe.” (Sue, 13:19)
Sue Ramiro-Ibañez is native of Newcastle upon Tyne, in England. She was working as an RSPCA Inspector investigating animal cruelty when she met her husband in 2007. She moved to Spain in 2011 with her husband and two children. Today, she is busy putting her heart and soul into a new venture: www.animalesencantados.com
Dealing with Cultural Clashes –
Season 1 kicks off with Agnieszka, a Polish mother who is raising her two young daughters in Cuenca, a small city in the heart of Spain. As a mother living in a foreign country, there were some topics that Agnieszka had to look at from a fresh point of view.
“We have a cultural clash, let’s talk about that.” (Agnieszka, 08:51)
For instance, it is a common and widely accepted tradition in Spain that parents pierce the ears of newborns if they are girls. This idea shook Agnieszka to her core! It took a shift in power as she stepped into her new role as Mother, making her voice heard and choosing not to pierce her daughter’s ears.
A native of Poland, Agnieszka Koniak studied International Culture at the Jagiellonian University in Cracow and met her husband Salvador while on an Erasmus scholarship at the University of Castilla-La Mancha. After finishing her degree some ten years ago, she moved to Spain. Today she is a teacher in a public school and the very busy mother of two beautiful girls: Sara and Emilia.