The adults on our team have done extensive pre-field work and have had numerous conversations on spending dedicated time on culture learning (especially the first two years) and being prepared for culture shock and its effects on our families and our personal selves. We did, however, leave the kids out of these conversations. Maya was five months old when we moved here and has suffered no visible culture shock. Lorenzo and Evan did go through periods of adaptation, each at their own pace. It has been beautiful to watch how natural and theory-less their inculturation has been. Their complete trust in us, as parents, to take care of their primary needs, their flexibility in character, the fact that they have no goals or objectives they strive to meet has allowed them to assimilate naturally into their Peruvian-North American life here. It reminds me of Jesus’ words:
Here are a few cultural funnies and Spanglish from our kiddos that I hope you will enjoy:
- While coloring pictures of popsicles for his math homework: Briana asked, “Is the purple popsicle grape flavored?” Evan, “No, it’s chicha morada!” (a local drink made of purple corn)
- The skit one Celebration Sunday was the good Samaritan. At the end of the skit Briana asked several questions, one of them was “Who helped the man that got beaten up?”, Evan shouted “El buen Americano!”
- Spanglish: “I need to get the borrador from my cartuchera” (I need to get the eraser from my pencil case)
- Watching a Peter Rabbit cartoon for the first time: “Mom! Peter Rabbit speaks Spanish!!!!”
- As he watched me trying to open a jar by hitting the lid with a knife (to create air pockets): “What’s that mom? A smash-adora?”
- More Spanglish: “I’m doing an experimento”, “I need to take toys to school so when it’s recreo we can play me and Gianpiero and Mateo and Evan”, “I can’t get the tap on to this cup!” (tapa is ‘lid’ in Spanish)
- Her hand motion for "come here" is not using her index finger pointed up like ours. Like a good Peruvian girl she points her fingers downward and curls them towards herself
- Her favorite song is happy birthday. When she wants me to start a youtube video: “Mommy! Happy birthday! Feliz!!!”
- At dinner one night, she coughs after taking a drink then announces, “Salud! Salud!” (“Bless you! Bless you!”)
There are many more of course. Briana is really good about posting Evan’s funnies on Facebook so check out her wall if you want a good laugh.
Amidst culture shock, children are good for our heart. Thank God for the little children!