Tuesday, November 19, 2013

from her perspective

On growing up between languages and cultures:
Silja is starting to get some awareness about her roots and her background of living in different countries and knowing languages others around her don't understand, and it's interesting to see how her understanding of all this develops. She prefers Danish and English, and is not too keen on speaking Icelandic, although she understands most things said to her.
At the moment she is our little third culture kid (for info look here and here), with Icelandic and Danish parents, who was born in Austria and who now lives in America (and goes to school with Hebrew speaking kids, who celebrate different religious holidays than us). I can totally understand if that is confusing for her. It is for me too at times. 

From a conversation earlier this month:

Me: Can you hear in what language the song is?

Her: Icelandic.

Me: Yes! Good job.

Her: I can only say one thing in Icelandic: þú. What can you say?

Me: I can say: Ég heitir Dorte, ég er frá Danmörku. It means 'My name is Dorte. I'm from Denmark'.

Her: Are you from Denmark? (… long silence … ) Mom, where am I from?

Me: well…

Her: From Germany?

On moving and friends moving 
Because Bjarni and I have random conversations on issues related to our move to Denmark, she has heard we are planning to move there sometime next year. I suppose such news to her fall under the same category as "you will be a big sister". It's something she can make sense of in little bits (like we are going to live much closer to all the fun cousins, which means we can see them more often), but how much it will affect our daily life, and how she is moving far far away from her friends here, she has no idea. So we talk about it when it pops up, sometimes with a lot of detail and sometimes just briefly.
I guess it's no surprise that many of her little friends are in similar situations as herself, which means they are here temporarily. Her good friend Eli, who used to live in our building left this summer, and Linnea another friend is leaving this winter. It's still a little tricky to understand they are not coming back.

Her: Where is Eli?

Me: He left. Now he lives in Israel.

Her: Why did he do that?

Me: Because his parents found work there, and because that is where the rest of his family lives. It is like we will be moving to Denmark.

Her: Then we won't be living here anymore?

Me: No

Her: Can we come visit?

Me: I think so. Would you like that?

Her: Yes. Then I want to give Alberte (cousin, who lives in Denmark) a hug.

Me: Okay.

Her: When is Eli coming?

Who knows what will happen with our family in the future. I hope we really are able to settle down and stick to one place and then our kids will "only" have to manage two cultures and languages: Danish and Icelandic. And then Austria and America will mostly be stories Bjarni and I will tell. But I also hope that Silja's beginning and exposure to many different ways of being and doing things, will instill some core and life-long values of curiosity, tolerance and open-mindedness to people and life in general. Needless to say that would make her mama endlessly proud.

Oversæt til dansk


  1. Fantastiske indlæg du skriver Dorte. Stort knus fra os Danmark.

  2. Very interesting! Our kid used to be able to speak three languages too, however forgot most of his German now.