Being the offspring of two cultures is quite literally a mixed blessing. There is always the realization that you never fit 100% into either culture, and that your world view is permanently imbibed by subtle differences of the distinct influences that you experienced during your upbringing, the vast differences of languages and a myriad of other tiny bits and bobs that came into your life if you grew up differently to your friends who had both parents and relations and the same ethnicity, language, religion and culture.
My Father speaks English.. well he thinks he does and yes, for most people he does.. and they understand him, more or less. Let’s be honest, some understand him more and some understand him a lot less. There’s a simple reason for it too, and that’s the bilingual wonder that even after 50 years in his adopted country he still sports a Dutch accent thick enough cut into wedges and the distinctly different sentence structure produced by a European childhood, that reveals itself in little oddities that would make people smile, frown, look surprised or just plain confused.
Even though I grew up with it, it still takes me by surprise now and again. Like when I was a child and he announced that he was going to fetch “ ags” .. yep, it was Winter so maybe he was going to chop wood… or since it was a cold morning maybe a hot fried breakfast on the cards ? eggs/axe are still two words that he uses that require a strong idea of the context so that you can have any hope of guessing what he meant. And yes, he was offended if we ever got it wrong.
I find that it’s often assumed that a mix like mine: New Zealand /Dutch will be rather easy: ok, aside from the obvious language difference, it should be pretty much the same living style with just the addition of a funnily written address : after all, going from living in a western society on one side of the world, to living in another western society on the opposite side of the world should be comparatively simple…. right? …
oh soooo ….wrong!