A professor of mine once said, “If you know the code, you can read the signs.” I think he hit on the essence of what it takes for a person to live in a different country. It’s essential to understand, assimilate and apply all of the different cultural codes involved – both your own and those of your new home or host country – if you want to relate to the new environment and most importantly, to the people you’ll be meeting.
This blog is all about cultural identity. In other words, it’s purpose is to explore the questions “can we, should we, or are we able to change our cultural identity to fit into another country’s culture. ” I hope it will be a dialogue among many individuals who have insights or opinions about this subject. I invite you to share your experiences at this blog.
So, to begin, let me just say that the rugged countryside of southern Ardeche in the southeastern part of France is a “far piece” from Texas where I was born. It’s known as a great vacation spot for outdoor sports – bicycling, canoeing, rock climbing, mountain hiking, swimming and just about every kind of outdoor sport.
I arrived here at the age of 51, newly married, with my French husband, who brought me to a new home and a new way of life. The advantage I started with was that I was already bilingual. I majored in French and had worked as a bilingual secretary at the start of my career.
I’ll be sharing with you some glimpses of my journey between these two cultures and introducing you to this region of France, the Ardeche. I’ve come to know and appreciate my adopted country, its people, traditions, and of course, French food and wine!
In the meantime, here’s a question: What are some of the experiences you’ve had as a traveller between two or more cultures?
And one more: What’s the difference between being bilingual and bicultural?
Until we meet again – Happy trails.