LIVING WITH A GREAT DANE
PA R T 2
AS INTERNATIONAL COUPLES, OUR LIVES ARE FILLED WITH CULTURAL ABUNDANCE, MULTIPLE LANGUAGES, EXPERIENCING LIFE ABROAD, LOTS OF TRAVELING TO VISIT THE IN-LAWS AND FRIENDS, BUT WE ALSO HAVE OUR FAIR SHARE OF CHALLENGES. PHOTOGRAPHS ISTOCK.COM
TEXT KATHY BORYS SIDDIQUI
IF YOU HAVE decided to live in Denmark because of love for your Great Dane you might find this topic particularly interesting.
WE ARE A MULTICULTURAL FAMILY Multicultural families juggle such issues as multiple languages, incorporating into their family life various traditions and celebrations, living abroad, having family all over the world, dealing with extensive travels, and much more. As parents, we have to come to a consensus on how the kids will be raised. Although it may seem that after many long discussions all-important child raising matters have been put in place, you will get a surprise or two, especially when you decide to live in your spouses/partners country. Certain cultural aspects are unavoidable and become very prominent when you enter a given country. For some, it has been the fact that they find their kids engaged in "grown-up EQUALITY IN DENMARK IS NOT JUST GENDER-BASED; IT IS ALSO INCLUDdecision making" talks. EqualiED IN RAISING KIDS. KIDS ARE EQUAL, AND THEY ARE INVOLVED IN FAMty in Denmark is not just genderILY DECISIONS, THEIR OPINIONS MATTER, THEY ARE ASKED TO EXPRESS based; it is also included in raising THEIR FEELINGS AND THOUGHTS ON FAMILY MATTERS. TO MANY OF US, kids. Kids are equals, and they are involved in family decisions, their THIS IS A FOREIGH CONCEPT, AND WE CAN HAVE DIFFICULTIES UNDERopinions matter, they are asked to STANDING THIS NEED. express their feelings and thoughts on family matters. To many of us, this is a foreign concept, and we can have difficulties underat times, the most innocent differences can fuel conflict. The standing this need. sandwich. Yes, it has been the cause of many family feuds. NuOn the other hand, many internationals admire that responmerous individuals have concurred that a sandwich is made up sibility and independence are valued high in Danish life. Alof 2 pieces of bread, not 1. I am not trying to poke fun of anylowing kids to participate in all household activities and proone. The fact is that little things make up the bigger picture. jects is a part of family life. Kids are encouraged to learn by Yes, we may complain and feel nostalgic, but it is not because doing. It does not matter if the job is not done correctly; the we are unwilling to try new things or adapt. It is only because key is a willingness, participation, and effort. Once again, the we miss the way we used to do things. Living life as a multicultural difference may resurface because many spouses/partcultural couple requires continuous giving and taking. Someners grew up with a completely different approach. Such actimes, we need to step back and look through a different cultivities as cutting veggies, sawing, mowing the lawn and othtural lens. This means allowing the spouse/partner to make er various household projects including sharp objects, were their favourite Christmas dish, easing up on our traditions, seen as grown-up activities. We were told that adults could putting more energy into communicating, paying a bit more perform such tasks faster, better, and more efficiently. I have attention to manners, eating foods we are not crazy about. learned to see the benefits of such an approach. It most defiIt is a life made of big and small compromises. Living with a nitely takes a bit of letting go, and at times just shutting the Dane has its ups and downs. I conclude that many Danes are eyes tight when you see your little one strolling through the proud, stubborn, reliable, independent, do not overindulge in kitchen with a knife in hand. words, are family-oriented and very present. Life as a multicultural couple is a challenge, but it takes a specific type of SMØRREBRØD OR SANDWICH? person to take on these challenges, work through them, and In this broad cultural mix, we have to go on in our families; continue to grow and learn together. THE-INTL
SEPTEMBER 2019 - WWW.THE-INTL.COM
KATHY BORYS SIDDIQUI FOUNDER, ACTIVE ACTION Kathy was born in Poznań, Poland and has lived in four countries and on two continents. Growing up as an immigrant and a cross cultural child she was able to discover a multicultural world that shaped her into the person she is today. As an adult she experienced life as a re-pat as well as an expat and she is not a stranger to the challenges and opportunities that life abroad offers. Just when she least expected it, she met her Danish husband and once again packed her life in boxes and set off to live the happily-ever-after life in the land of the Vikings and Hygge. Over the span of 10 years she has lived on Fyn, in Jylland and currently in Nordsjælland. Kathy has a background in Cultural Studies and also a degree in American Studies. She has been able to combine her passion and profession as a Cultural Transition and Expat Spouse and Partner Specialist at Active Action. A firm believer that if you are lacking something - create it. She is the founder of two International Mom Groups in Denmark, a running enthusiast, active lifestyle advocate, wife and mom. www.activeaction.dk firstname.lastname@example.org