14 months ago it seemed impossible. 8 months ago it felt distant. 4 months ago I still couldn’t believe it would happen. 2 months ago it did. Our daughter walked. Yep. She didn’t just recently celebrate her first birthday, but also her first steps. I’m not talking about 2-3 steps, I’m talking about across the room, through doors, up and down steps, and over the river and through the woods…(just kidding about that last part).
We started thinking about how much we have in common with her. We usually feel like we’re learning how to walk in a new country. Here’s a couple ways cross-cultural adults have to “learn how to walk” just like babies.
1. New Language
We are not the experts. Actually we find ourselves learning every day from the Uruguayans that live around us. Babies spend huge amounts of time listening, making sounds, and trying to talk and we have much in common with them. Did you know that PRE-VERBAL bilingual context babies can distinguish different languages just by watching a person speak? Impressive.
2. New Friendships
Living in another country requires us to take risks to make new friends with new people. Otherwise life gets lonely, boring, and we miss out on the joys of community. Our daughter is a bit of a people person who seems to love meeting new people and interacting with them.
3. New Movements
Did you know that every time we visit the United States now, we struggle not to kiss everyone? In Uruguay, it is more typical to kiss everyone on the cheek which was new to us. Other things like the right way to get on a bus, the proper way to nod your head in agreement, how to signify “who cares” with your hand and face, and how to say “come here” with your hands are all different. Our daughter likewise has recently learned how to walk, crawl, wave, push, carry, and more.
4. Increased Distance
As we’ve moved away, we’ve felt the distance emotionally, financially, and relationally. It’s hard. We are learning how to manage relationships across a distance. Our daughter as well is learning how to deal with babysitters, taking naps while guests are in our home, and walking on her own everywhere without always being held.
What else have you learned from your children? What do you have in common with them? Share below in the comment section. We’d like to know.