We live out in the country and although there is a Hispanic population in our town, we don't know alot of people. We do have two friends (they are brother and sister) from Mexico who live about 10 miles away and we hang out with them pretty regular. The girl has a son the same age as mine, so the kids are especially happy when we hang out. The guy has known my husband for a long time and they know some of the same people.
Anyways... they invited us to one of their friend's barbecue last weekend. When we got there I realized I was the only gringo there. That is fine because I speak some Spanish (if needed), love a cook out, and I'm really friendly!
The kids immediately started playing, the guys went outside and hung out with the cook, and there I was sitting at the kitchen table with the girls. Out of the 4 girls, there was one who spoke English really good. After we got all the greetings and introductions out of the way, her 1st words to me were...
"How long have you been married to your husband?"
Ummmm.....what.....????.... this is what I was thinking but of course didn't say.
I answered her, "10 years married, around 14 years together total."
I could tell by the look on her face she was surprised.
Her next question was...
"Does he speak good English?"
I answered, "Yeh, I guess. I understand him." That was suppose to be a joke but no one laughed.
So then she proceeded to make this comment...
"WOW! It must be true love! I know how hard marriage is and I can only imagine how hard it is when you speak two different languages!"
Now, at 1st I took this as an insult. It was her tone. It was a condescending tone. Whatever, I let it slide. No need to get offended within the first 10 minutes.
As the day went on, she asked a ton more questions! PERSONAL questions! Like do we own our own home, how much our house payment is, did my hubby's family in Mexico like me, etc...
By the end of the day she knew way more about me than I knew about her!
I wasn't offended though. I think she was curious and the type of person who just said or asked what was on her mind.
By the end of the day we had eaten frijoles charros, pollo, bistec, puerco, tortillas, guacamole, salsa, pastel, and ice cream cake! We were stuffed. We were speaking in total Spanglish! and laughing....OMG did we laugh! It was a great day and I'm really glad we went.
The reason for this whole story....
Going back to the one girls, original question and comment.
I started thinking and you know what...she's right!
YES, marriage is hard and YES! it is especially hard when you are from two different cultures and your native languages are not the same. I know every marriage has it's own set of issues. Being in a bi-cultural marriage is especially challenging in my opinion. (Throw in how difficult my hubby can be at times and I deserve a medal....or does he? hmmm...)
I know I'm always blogging about how wonderful everything is and yes at times it is wonderful and at certain times its not.
Things get lost in translation. He says one thing in English and I blow up because I took it the wrong way. (FYI, some things you would say in your native tongue sound different or come out different when translated into another language.)
The cultural differences peak around the corner from time to time and yell GOTCHA!
I guess if you want it to work, you make it work! It's not easy all the time and I think people in mixed relationships have their own set of challenges that two people with a similar upbringing will not face.
Does it make it harder? More interesting? I guess it depends on the way you look at it. There have been so many times I have thought.... I give up! This is too much. But, then I think of everything we have overcome. All the new things I've learned. The benefits of mixing two cultures together...
There are positives and negatives. The key is having the positives outweigh the negatives.
Are you married to someone of a different culture than yours? Do you think it is more challenging? Would love to hear your thoughts.