My parents emigrated from Haiti when I was three years-old and my sister and I soon followed. I grew up in Marin County, California where I learned quickly to assimilate to the American culture. Throughout my childhood, I seesawed between the very conservative culture of my parents and the often times “liberal” culture of my peers. By the time I finished high school, I began to realize that I felt much more comfortable with the idea of being a Haitian immigrant in American society and started gravitating towards more of my parents’ cultural norms. When I finished college, I stood firm with the ability to enter and exit either culture with great ease whenever necessary. Now married to a first generation immigrant, and raising two children who are considered second generation immigrants, I often find myself struggling to maintain their sense of comfort with both the American and Haitian culture. I am constantly confronted with issues for which there is no right or wrong answer. To further complicate this issue, we recently relocated to Caracas, Venezuela. I now feel the need to maintain a balance of the Haitian, American and Venezuelan cultures to make the most of our experience.
Feel free to send me your thoughts or questions at deborah[a]balancedmeltingpot.com.