About Tea and Excel sheets in bicultural couples!

TGregre thé BLOG (2)alking with couples about experience as parents, especially parents influenced by their respective home countries, is always exciting. Lots of laughs, pauses for reflection, and also moments in which the couple discover things about each other…
Learn more about my project Bilingual Families: Bringing Up Children between Cultures.
With younger couples, I spent a little bit more time discussing the way their perceptions about their partner’s culture, and indeed their own, have changed over time. In what ways does he or she conform to stereotypes about their culture of origin? Let’s have a look at the anecdotes that some of them recounted to me…

Alice is French, she lives with James who is Welsh.

Alice Tea is such a big part of your life. It’s kind of grown on me and I’m now drinking tea all the time at work, but I just can’t put milk in it and it’s not English tea, it’s green tea…
But James is so into his tea. The first thing you do in the morning is put the kettle on. If we go to France, it stresses me out if the hotel doesn’t have a kettle in the room because it’s a big deal for you and you get annoyed about it. “How could a hotel not have a kettle…?”

James Yes, it’s crazy in France. For me it’s normal that in every B&B in England there’s a kettle. But remember your grandparents’ house and they didn’t have a kettle for 50, 60 years? We arrived, took the kettle with us and now they love it! All these years they boiled water in a saucepan and we have this amazing device which you plug in…

Alice Tea is just the thing you need before you go anywhere – everything is scheduled around tea. (They laugh)

Melanie (from Germany) and Nathan (from Israel) shared a funny story about a family visit to Israel, where Nathan had a very -supposedly!- German attitude…

Melanie Nathan is certainly changing quite a bit, just from my own perspective. There’sa funny story I like to tease him about (they both laugh). It was one and a half years ago, we were on a family visit in Israel and Nathan sent an Excel Spreadsheet to all his relatives and told them “ please note our schedule for the visit”. And there were mornings, afternoons and evenings… all completely planned. (They giggle) Even I wouldn’t do that but he was just so organised, I think his family was totally shell-shocked… I thought it was cute — he wanted to be very efficient and to make the best of our time because he loves being in Israel.

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One thought on “About Tea and Excel sheets in bicultural couples!

  1. I like the tea story – resonates with me as an Australian, even though I don’t drink it. That second story certainly does sound very stereotypically German. I guess those of us in bicultural couples & families do tend to pick up on things from the other culture that dovetail with our own values and preferences, and make them our own.

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