Stop bragging, speak the same language

Stop bragging, speak the same language

Grocery shopping is part of life, routine, just like making your bed and doing your laundry. I've always loved going to the grocery store for an embarrassing reason. I love bumping into people and getting the news and what a better place than at the grocery store. 

When my eldest was born and just weeks old I proudly ventured to the grocery store with my darling baby. I bumped into my first acquaintances who were all oohing and ahhing over her sweetness. As she started to fuss, I spoke to her, "Hey princess, what's wrong? Are you hungry? We'll go home now." The woman standing next to me looked at me sternly, "Are you showing off? We all know you speak English, why can't you speak German to her when you're out!" I was flabbergasted. I would have never thought me speaking my mother tongue to my child could be considered rude or showing off. I responded, "I've researched how to raise bilingual children, and it's important that I always speak in English to her. Otherwise, she might get confused." The woman, an acquaintance, huffed a bit and strolled off.

This conversation happened many times with my in-laws, with the school, and with friends. A few years ago we were strolling through Kiel in northern Germany. The kids were all in their teens. We were speaking English and laughing, and the people stopped and stared and we walked. At first, I thought, "Are they confusing us for a star? Is my fly undone?" but then the realization came...we were speaking English.

The kids are all trilingual now, I kept with my routine with much criticism, and now I am praised for it. It isn't an easy thing to be different, to have everyone staring at you and to feel constant criticism because you do something different. 

I am guilty of being critical. I know someone who is homeschooling, and I find that to be strange. To be fair, I've never asked her about it, so I guess I should not be critical...I don't get her, and I haven't taken the time to ask her about it.

I don't always get other people, and I can promise you many people just don't understand what I am doing, what I have done or why I am doing it. I don't know why I was so surprised to feel that's human

—Allison Ochs Social Worker M.S.W. , Coach, Expat, Mother of three, Wife

Photo by Rubén Bagüés on Unsplash