It’s all about how you sound

I just read an article titled Polyglot babies ‘more tolerant’. It talks about how the more different accents that babies hear, the more likely they are to be more tolerant to people that sound that way. It seems pretty logical to me, the more kids are exposed to different people, the more accepting they will be.

Yesterday Daniel asked me what was the primary language spoken at home. Bea has 3 languages to pick from and I can speak two of those fluently, learning more and more of the third one with time. We actually use all 3 to communicate. While I hardly ever use French, I do understand some of the things she says and jokes about. Spanish being native to both of us is used mostly when talking about the past or family. We use English whenever it is a better language either because of technical terms or simply quicker.

I have to admit that Bea did wake up my Spanish language side. I had not used it for a while and was glad to hear that I had my “valluno”(area where we grew up) accent. It is kind of weird, but as I started to hear more colloquialisms from her, my brain seem to start remembering words faster. I bet I can probably interpret a little better that I am using both languages.

Growing up I heard mostly Spanish. The English that I did hear was music here and there. The kids from my family here will have the advantage to have grown up hearing both Spanish and English even though they mostly speak English. I believe we are entering the first generation where it is not a shameful thing to speak English in the US with an accent, or know two languages. I know many immigrant families stamped out the “old” language from their kids from my Italian and German descent friends that say they heard their grandparents would speak the language but not their parents.

I have friends from many backgrounds and love the fact that in my house you can hear all kinds of accents and languages depending on who is there. I need to concentrate on my next language soon. I also think I should continue learning ASL and actually become fluent at it. Linking language with tolerance is very cool, I only wish that more people will start seeing it that way.

Divorce

I have often wondered if it is easier for a child or an adult to go through the divorce of his or her parents. While at first glance it would seem that it’s a simple answer, I went through it as an adult, so I have no point of reference for a child going through it. While I do know some children that are affected by it, I have no way of knowing what it is that they are truly feeling.

The biggest issue I had stemming from my parents divorce was that I lost my sense of family. I had moved to a whole new country, and the family structure I had come to know growing up -grandma, grandpa, cousins and aunts- had been removed from my life due to geographical distance. Then when my parents divorced I lost the only sense of family I had left. I guess what I rationalize about divorce is how used you are to something, and then not having it… I had a family my whole life and it was gone in just one day.

What was worse is that, even though I was an adult and I should have never felt rejected because of the situation, that is exactly what happened. Rejection, which had been one of the biggest demons in my life, became the biggest one of them all, destroying in its path my sense of self and my personal desires. In the coming years it became stronger and stronger to the point it got a hold of me, and it was close to suffocating me.

Children will often blame themselves for their parents’ leaving, and while the movies always show the parent saying “It’s not your fault,” I am not sure that is enough to convince a child in real life.

The divorce of my parents truly shaped some of the future to come for me, even more than I could have expected. I was so desperate to regain the sense of family, that I did everything I could to recapture it, often participating in relationships that were destructive simply in order not to feel rejected again. While my first marriage did not feel solely because of this, I do think I entered that and other relationships simply because I wanted to have a family again. I was desperate to feel that way, I was desperate to be home again.

My parents have not acted like adults during the whole process. Even now, they both keep their aggressive and passive-aggressive personalities that ultimately torn them apart. Having to choose who you spend Christmas or birthdays with has been a nightmare. While the grown ups in the situation have been able to rationalize the situation, I know that my niece has had a hard time reconciling why grandpa and grandma don’t speak to each other.

I wish I had the answer to this situation, and while it seems than an “amicable” divorce is the answer, pain is sometimes so deep that not even the love for a child can mend those wounds as it should. It is easy for people to say, “put your child before you,” or in this case your grandkids, but we do not know what it is like to be in the situation. Can you imagine what it is like to be in the same room with a person that causes pain so emotional that you feel it physically?

I believe that one of the causes for divorce is unrealistic expectations. We enter relationships not seeing the person in front of us, but rather what we want to see. Many times we are surprised when this person “changes” who they are. Maybe they were that person to begin with but we failed to see it, or we chose to ignore it. Marriage requires love and the ability to accept people for who they are, not who we expect them to be.

They say time heals all wounds; I wish this was true for everyone. Some people choose to leave their wounds open as reminders of their pain. Letting wounds heal on their own at times does not work either. I think we all need to be proactive at healing wounds and accepting everything that we cannot change about our lives.

I had an epiphany the day I realized that I was living for other’s happiness instead of my own. It was hard to swallow since it was a piece of advice I always liked to trow around, “if you are not happy yourself, you can never make someone else happy.” I had chosen to do all I could to regain the sense of family I had lost with disastrous results to both my self esteem and well being.

I started to heal, little by little and then I met the woman of my life. I finally met someone that not only makes me happy, but likes me exactly how I am. Our goal is to support each other in any endeavor and make sure that we are both our own person and our relationship is the point of compromise, not who we are as people.

This principle can be applied to any relationship, even that of two people that are divorced but still share kids. Civility and courtesy while in the presence of their kids should be something that can be accomplished for their children’s sake. However hard that is to accomplish, I think that should be the responsibility of parents that once called each other husband and wife.

Sorry

If you had been trying to make comments and my blog was not cooperating… new face (might change soon again) but at least I think comments are fixed now.

Of Dating and Love

I had an excellent weekend with some of my friends here and KC and the topic of dating came up. It seems that everyone disliked dating quite a bit. Love seemed to be a distant mistress that was never palpable to those that so desperately seek her.

While dating is an interesting concept it is one that not everyone wants to sign up for. Meeting people is a hassle when you are willing to put your heart on the line. Finding trustworthy friends is a hard task, imagine finding someone that you are going to give everything, mind, body and soul.

The easy answer that I hear all the time, and even at times I give, is don`t worry about it… it will happen when it is supposed to! but what happens when your biological clock is ticking, or you just simply don`t want to be alone? Why is it a crime that you want to find the “one.”

I know several people that if I could do the magic matchmaker thing, I would without hesitation. The problem is that meeting and liking someone is a process that involves more than just personalities to match. What eharmony promises is hardly the answer to love. The most compatible human to you might just be your chemical opposite.

The big issue is that when we enter a relationship with someone we don`t already know, we end up looking at a mask and not the real person. We try to see everything that we like in that other person and little by little we start discovering who that other person really is. The complete opposite happens if you date someone you have known as a friend for a while. That is probably the ideal situation when it comes to dating.

Building a group of friends is the easiest way to find actual people that you can eventually date. It is an easy way to find new people without having to go to dating sites or singles events.

The big plus to a group of friends is also the human contact factor. I think that one of the reasons we end up falling for fruitless relationships is because we become starved for contact with other humans and as time passes we will settle for anything instead of waiting for what we really need.

I wish that dating was a way of finding love, but in reality love finds you. The more we seek it, the further it seems to go. I do not miss dating at all, but I do think is an important part of life. It is the time that we spend figuring out not so much what we want out of a relationship, but what we don`t want.

It is not a cynical view, really. It simply means that once you find someone who you do not see anything that you truly dislike, or someone who`s flaws somehow compliment you, your “search” has ended. If you feel like you know yourself better after spending time with that person, or that you are more who you are than you were ever before… brace yourself, you have found love.

KC vs Chitown Round One

You would think that KC cannot even begin to compete with the city of Chicago on any level, but it is actually growing on me every single day. Even though I have many great friends living in Chicago and still love this city, KC has a certain charm that Chicago is having a hard time matching.

One of my biggest complaints about Chicago is traffic. I have disliked not commute times as much as sitting inside car in stop and go traffic. I have a less than 5 minute commute now, but even if it was 45 I would not mind driving here because traffic does flow. There is nothing more infuriating that having and ever changing commute every day that can take you 45 minutes one day and 2 hours the next.

Road construction in Chicago seems to be another headache that can back up traffic for ridiculous times, and it is also present here in KC, and what is worse is that the alternate routes are either already slow by congestion or just simply not a smart idea because of safety. KC seems to keep up with their growth and expand their highways accordingly, Chicago just simply cannot keep up. Every single highway expansion I have seen there seems to be about 10 years late.

Tollways are the other annoyance that Chicago presents. Even though not all highways are pay to drive ones, some of the main ones coming in and out of the city are. The worse part is that someone from out of town pays double for not having an Ipass (a little box that automatically deducts the fee from a preloaded account.)

Even though I am comparing cities in two different “weight” classes, and the judging is highly subjective (maybe I can do a stats one next), I think that round one goes to KC. I think it is going to be a great fight and I still don`t know who is going to win. So how does your city come out if they join the fight?

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