Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, the day of love and romance, at least it is if you go in for all that cards, flowers and romantic dinners malarkey (can you tell I might be past all that, what with three children and a vague recollection of the last time my husband and I were out alone?) In any case, it seems the perfect timing for a Multicultural Kid Blogs carnival on the topic of love.
I remember my first (and last) love triangle like it was yesterday, rather than the thirty five years ago it actually was. It was early primary school, in Warrington in Cheshire in the North of England. My class
was forced lovingly created Valentine’s cards for each other. The recipient of each child’s creation was a free choice and before we left school that Valentine’s Day, our handcrafted cards were distributed amongst the class.
Horror of horrors I took two cards home with me. I was guilt ridden. Tears rolled. I felt awful for the boy who had given me a card but had not received one from me in return. I went home and immediately began making another card so I could give it to him the next school day. I was oblivious to the fact that he probably went home and thought nothing more of it. The unfairness of it all ruined Valentine’s Day for that little five year old me. (Sensitive? Me?)
These days of course this situation is avoided with the idea of fairness and exclusiveness, as Aisha Ashraf tells in her piece about Valentine’s cards in her children’s school in Canada for Global Living Magazine. But in my day, you lived with the guilt and the disappointment, and surprise surprise I got over it and survived the many more Valentine’s Days that followed.
|Photo Credit: Nithya Ramanujam|
So, back to love. Love is not the same around the world. It means different things to different people, to different cultures. Love takes different forms. Love is expressed in different ways, shown by different acts depending on the culture of where you live and who you are showing the love you feel to.
Varya writes about what love means to her and how she teaches her children to show love on her blog The Creative World of Varya. Rina Mae (Finding Dutchland) describes how her husband expressed his love for her in her blog post When in Rome. Jaime of Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails shows her children love through her 10 Simple Ways to Spend Quality Time with Young Kids. Leanna, of All Done Monkey, highlights that sometimes we have to be creative with how we show our love for someone else in her post Monkey Kisses and Dinosaur Hugs.
In the Netherlands, I love you is expressed by the words, “Ik hou van jou” (spoken as “ik how von yow”) and Valentine’s day is relatively low key. There are cards in the shops but that is about the extent of it. Are the Dutch a romantic lot? Not particularly. They certainly don’t have a reputation for romance, in fact according to CNN’s World’s most romantic nationalities the Dutch don’t even hit the top ten. The British don’t feature either. You are in luck though, if romance is your thing, if you are with someone from Spain, Argentina, Italy, France or Brazil. Maria Babin, the Trilingual Mama, writes all about je t’aime in her post “Love Makes the World Go Around in Paris” and discovers it’s not a phrase flung around in France’s capital.
But is romance really about love? Of course not, at least I don’t think so. There can be romance and no love. There can be love and no romance. Love is more solid. It’s a foundation. Sara Ager (A Hotchpotch Hijabi in Italy) highlights that love can be most powerful when it’s low key in her blog post, “10 Things I’ve Learnt About Love in the Real World“.
“Love is what makes the world go round; love is what keeps us moving around the world.”
|Photo Credit: Ben Earwicker|
Long lasting love isn’t about fireworks and sparks, for me it’s more about the solid foundation of a couple. The first building blocks of a family. Love is what makes the world go round; love is what keeps us moving around the world – growing our multicultural families. I’m an expat because of love. I live in the Netherlands because of love. I have a beautiful little family because of love.
I’m just one of many who has crossed both country and cultural boundaries for love.
Like Aisha Ashraf who reflects on her ten year wedding anniversary on her blog Expatlog.com, with a beautiful piece called “What price a woman’s heart?” She counts her blessings that her husband refused to adhere to religious, social and cultural expectations around marriage. She highlights that sometimes marriage has nothing to do with love.
Olga Mecking, The European Mama, shares her intercultural love story in her piece called, “And Not Because He’s German: My Take On Intercultural Relationships” and highlights that love looks past cultural differences to the man or woman beneath.
And of course sometimes we use the word love to describe our passion about other things in our lives; our interests, our careers, our hobbies. Thereza Howling writes about the importance of Loving What You Do on her blog A Path of Light. And I couldn’t agree more – you should love what you do, and do what you love. The alternative is slowly withering away inside.
Whatever love means to you, however it is shown in your life there is little doubt that without it the world would be a greyer, lonelier, less passionate place to inhabit!
We would love to hear from you what love means to you and your family – how is love expressed in the country you call home? How do you say ‘I love you’ in the languages you speak? Have you made a life change for love – be it for a person, a job, a hobby?