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Differences on cultures

Balance Cultures with Meghan Kitchen

Meghan is the host of the Balancing Cultures podcast. That is how we met as I was in her podcast as a guest. I was intrigued after our chat to understand more about her journey as a mother, wife, and someone who has lived in several countries. Where is home? How does she see herself? What do Americans think about the world outside US? Is Scandinavia just ABBA, IKEA etc?

We did some myth-busting and talking about how our worldview is changing and how our kid’s lives are different because of it. And of course what are those foods that she really liked and disliked in Finland. Meghan said that

“It takes a lot of maybe not effort, but time to wear down what you have considered normal your
whole life, and to challenge those things and to be open to change and accept that. “

Follow Meghan

Website: www.balancingcultures.com
Instagram: @balancingcultures
Twitter: @balancing.story
Facebook: @balancingcultures

Differences on cultures

Questions Covered on this Podcast

  • Tell me about you. Who is Meghan and where are you, what you do?
  • Did you meet your husband in Europe or in US?
  • Give me few quirky things that we Finns have?
  • Did you know that statistically, Finns are the biggest coffee drinkers?
  • Are there subtitles in German television?
  • What other things are quirky in Finland?
  • What does American think about Scandinavian?
  • What things do you love about Finland?
  • How has living overseas changed you as a person?
  • Where do you see yourself in two years’ time?

Balancing Cultures with Meghan Kitchen Transript

Susanna
Welcome to the Nordic mum podcast. Meagan.
Megan

Hi, how are you?
Susanna

I’m good, so lovely to speak to you again.

Meghan
Yeah. It’s nice to be on this side of the podcasting. I’m not usually a guest. So thank you for inviting me.

Susanna
Oh, pleasure. And I actually like doing the podcast swap in the sense that, you know, one interviews and then the other one interview the other person, so it’s kind of like mutual because we ask different questions, because our podcasts are slightly different.

Meghan
Yeah. So I’m excited to be asked some questions today and see what comes up.

Susanna
Yeah. So tell the listeners who is Meghan and tell us a little bit about your journey and who you are and where you are and what you do.

Meghan
All the things, all the things, all the things. So I’m Meghan, and we can kind of work from now and then work backwards. I’m currently a podcast host of the balancing cultures podcast. I live in Munich, Germany. I am married to a Finn. I have two kids. And we’re just living this international third culture kid multilingual life right now. How did I get here? Um, well, I was born in the US lived in a bunch of states moving is not unfamiliar to me. We did a lot of moving within the US with my family.

My parents had lived abroad when they were before kids. And so international life was not a strange concept for us as a family. And so after university when I said, Oh, you know, this whole sitting in a cubicle wearing a suit thing isn’t really working for me. Um, maybe I should just backpack Europe, which is not common for Americans. We don’t do gap years, gap years, I wouldn’t say are smiled upon. They’re not as frowned upon as they used to be, but it’s somewhere in between.

And so I packed a backpack and only took a couple months and was on my own through Europe. And in that time, I thought, you know what I was right. The cubicle is not for me, I’m not sure what’s right for me yet. But I need to figure that out. And I’m gonna figure that out living abroad. And so I moved to Europe, and I’ve been here ever since.

Susanna
Now, you have a Finish connection. So I have to probe on. So did you meet your husband in Europe or in US?

Meghan
We met here in Germany. So I was here first, which I love to declare with my female empowerment stance. I’ve got my hands on my hips. Because I think a lot of especially American women when they’re living abroad, once they’re in a relationship, they go, Oh, you moved here for him? I’m like, No, no, no, I was here first. Thank you very much.

Um, yeah, I was living in Germany. He came for a job. You know, there were a lot. There was a lot of unemployment up in Finland, around in the tech industry in engineering at one point. And he was headhunted to Munich after his other company downsized. And so he came here for a temporary contract, and it ended up working out. And that’s when I found him. And I said, I don’t care how temporary you thought that contract was.

Susanna
You were staying?

Meghan
No, it’s a permanent contract. It’s a permanent contract. Now. Yes. We’re both very happy that Germany is kind of our it’s like our level playing field. You know, we’re not in the states where I’ve kind of got the upper hand on cultural awareness. And it’s the place that I grew up. We’re not in Finland, where he would have that strength. We’re both kind of a bit lost in the culture of Germany together. Hmm. It’s nice to be lost together. Yeah, I think you’re experiencing that. Well, I don’t know if you lost in the beautiful beachside town.

Susanna
But, yes, I know what you mean. Like, I think we all lost together because we lived in UK for such a long time. And that was like his homeland. And I loved my time in UK, but then being in Australia, which is kind of different for both of us. So I understand. And Germany is kind of like, it’s western US country by speaking English. And it’s kind of like, it’s not Finland, but it’s not us either. And it’s kind of in between.

Meghan
Yeah. I remember when we talked about, you know, long term would we see ourselves in either of our home countries. And I never said no to Finland. It was more my husband who said no to Finland on my behalf because he didn’t see it working out for me long term, culturally, like that I wouldn’t really fit in. I would always kind of be on the outs. And he knows me as a person. that would be really hard on me because I’m very sociable. I like
to be in a group, I like to have deep conversations with people. And he worried that I wouldn’t reach that level in Finland the way I can reach it here or in the States.

Susanna
Yeah, I think the friendship groups and I spoke this with one of my podcast guest, who is Italian and has lived in Finland for like 20 years. And she said, and even now, she has Finnish friends, but getting into the Finnish groups and in the defence, friendship networks is difficult. The most of her friends are other expats or Finns who have lived overseas. Yeah. And I think that happens when you’re an expat.

Meghan
I remember you saying that about your experience in the UK, that you also surrounded yourself with other people who were living abroad. I do that here in Germany, a lot of my kind of mom, friends are other Americans. Because you also kind of want people like we’re, my husband and I are in our relationship last together, you want other people who understand your feelings of not quite fitting in? And you do that together?

Susanna
Correct. Because my, you know, closest friends here are Canadian, and a kiwi. And, of course, they’re both experts he married to Aussies or a Brits and Jason’s happen to live here. And funny laugh so other people that are doing hang out, they are all expats or their partners have an expat or there have lived extended period in overseas. So it’s kind of like the you find the common ground with people, you know, who’ve been in the same situation. That’s you. Yeah.

Susanna
And I have to ask this because, excuse me, because we Finns always are interested what other people think about us, because we think we are great about lots of things. But then there are those things that foreigners just don’t understand about us all, they misunderstand us.

 So if you would give me a few quirky things that, you know, you have kind of observed about the Finnish culture that you don’t understand, or you think it’s weird, but you might think it’s weird and wonderful. So what would those be?

Cultural difference

Meghan
I will say, with every culture I’ve been to, there’s that feeling of like, Ooh, this is different. And then there are some things that you go Hmm, but is it better? You know, and that’s where you get to kind of adopt and embrace things from other cultures, which is the fun part in Finland. I remember one of the things that baffled me was that there’s more coffee than water. So what I mean by this is if it comes to the amount of beverages consumed in a day by a single person, my observation is there is more coffee consumed per liter, let’s say then water. I was just I was baffled by that. Like by my second trip to Finland to see my in laws who were not my in laws at the time.

I was bringing like a Nalgene water bottle with me to carry around through the day. Because they’re just there didn’t seem to be water. Drop like a habit of drinking water as much as I am used to. Now it could be the ex tour guide and me and the teacher in me or the person who just is really talkative who needs more hydration. And I will say my in laws are not as chatty as I am so maybe they don’t need that. But I remember saying something about this and my father in law, who is Finnish? said Oh, yeah, I drink water when I do sport.

Okay, and then at dinner, you know, maybe they set out some water glasses, but they’re those tiny little Ittala ones the kids that are like a triple shot of water. You know, I’m just downing those and asking for a refill. Like Can I just get a big old water glass? No, I don’t need I don’t need ice anymore. I have broken the American habit of needing ice cold drinks. It actually hurts my teeth now when I go visit the states, but I still want like a giant cup of water all the time.

Susanna
Did you notice the statistically I think fins were the biggest coffee drinkers? Statistically, I can’t remember how many litres per year per person there were you know gulping but I can understand like coffee comes before water in Finland for sure. I don’t doubt this statistic that they are probably the to.

Meghan
And directly next to that, of course, you have to have some type of treat with your coffee. So there has to be a little chocolate or something with that. So that might go into the consumption as well. Yes, absolutely. You can’t just have coffee. There has to be like the blueberry cheesecake with it. Oh, yeah. At least blueberry or cinnamon bun? Or the cinnamon buns.

Meghan
So something that people might not know about if they are not in relationship with a fin is the Finnish Independence Day. And the thing that you watch on Finnish Independence Day? You know what I’m going to say?

Susanna
Yes. The ball. Watch the ball.

Meghan
Yeah, that, you know. When you’re, when your friends or family are describing this to you, you anticipate, oh, I’m going to see a bunch of people in a very grand estate room, you know, in like, some type of castle dressed up nicely dancing around or having a fancy dinner. What you will watch is three hours of people in line to have a handshake with the president with the President. And the one I I don’t even think I’m exaggerating. When I say three hours.

Susanna
No, no, you’re pretty much correct. That’s three hours.

Meghan
They just they invite all of these people did you know, people get invites for whatever reason. They’re sportspeople. They’re famous people. They’re also royal. And they literally stand in line for three hours. And these people have shake every single hand. The President shakes every single hand. And that’s the show. It’s, you have to have no one, you have to watch it.

Susanna
You but you know, like, I remember when I was a kid, and I lived in Finland. And my friend’s father was a member in the parliament. So he was invited there, because all the members of parliament, the government, all the important people were here. And we knew what kind of address my friend’s mother was going to have. And so we were watching it just as we could spot her in the television, and we can tell our friends, or so on. So mom was in a television. Did you see her?

Meghan
For her famous handshake? Yeah, yes. She was, you know, shaking hands with the President. And yeah, it was a beautiful dress, and there’s lots of beautiful dresses. But it’s like a fashion show. It is a little bit like a fashion truck. See, that actually is cool.

Susanna
That building where they have the ball, the annual independent day ball, which is sixth of December for those who don’t know, it’s actually called the President’s castle. That’s what it is a castle, this castle. It’s called the President’s castle.

But it’s not a castle, but it was built by the Tsar in the 1890s as residence for the Tsar when it came to visit from the Russia. So it’s actually called a castle. It might not look like a castle, you know, with the brick walls and all that, but it is.  What else quirky things do Finns have?

Meghan
Well, I don’t know if you would call this a quirky thing. But as a non Finnish person, visiting Finns, this was something that was challenging for me since and so Finn’s don’t dub. You know, this of course, they listened to television shows and movies in the original. So if it’s an English, it’s an English and they put subtitles. But this means if we’re all watching TV or movie together, my inlaws and my husband don’t care if the volume is up, because they’re not listening to the voices, they’re reading the text. And so the volume on the TV is so low, or the dishwasher will be going or my mother in law be cleaning something and banging pots and pans and I can’t hear the show and all I see is finished text. So that was something difficult for me because I constantly had to ask them can you just can you turn it up so we can actually hear it?

Susanna
I just remember again, from my childhood to one of the way I was learning Swedish was watching broken hands with the Swedish subtitles. So it might have been broken in Finnish or English but you with the Swedish subtitle so you were actually kind of learning the language and it’s a great way you know, for people who you know from overseas like yourself, but yes, I think I know the volume there. It’s like in my family a pet hate as well. But the volume is so like doesn’t even exist because people are reading. Why do you need to hear the voices you’re reading it?

Meghan
But I will say since being in a multilingual relationship I’ve been hooked on subtitles. So we started putting subtitles on for even English speaking shows, so that my husband could make sure he didn’t miss anything. Especially, you know, when we were watching like the Wire and they’ve got thick accents, and they’re using lots of slang. It was helpful for him. But now I almost refuse to watch something if it doesn’t have subtitles, because it’s so nice.

Susanna
Do have subtitles in Germany, by the way?

Meghan
We do watch Netflix, I don’t watch German. The only thing we will watch is they have like HGTV stuff, you know, these like home renovation shows. But they’re the American shows that are dumped in German.

Susanna
So what other things you think are quirky?

Meghan
So I don’t know if this is quirky, but it is something of note that I now enjoy, and it’s the buffet lunch. I don’t know if it’s quirky what I think is unique about it is every single place does it you can go to a restaurant that’s a burger place. Yet one it’s a weekday lunch, they put out a spread of like a buffet it what I would call like an ultimate salad bar. So it’s gone soup salad, a bunch of different kinds of main dishes, but they’re all served with a big spoon. You know, and you walk along and you your serve yourself. And it’s not typical on a weekday lunch to go to a restaurant order something other than that.

Susanna
Hmm, I’m just thinking back to my student days when I was living in Oulu, and I do remember going there was his very famous or too famous one. Pizza buffet place which is pizza, pizza, pizza, more pizza as the buffet. He just eats slices of different kinds of pizzas. But it was still a buffet. It’s still a buffet. Yeah, they were they just brought new pizzas all the time. And you just take whatever you want. You could order from the list, but nobody wants to do that. Because say, you could just taste different things. So maybe it’s because you can mix and match rather than just have that set meal kind of thing.

Meghan
Yeah, like I completely understand the benefits. But I just think it’s funny how widespread it is that no matter like high end, low end restaurant. They ll have a buffet, you go to one of these, like gas station pull off places on the highway, the ABC. Yeah, you know, and they have one. Everyone has a buffet lunch.

Susanna
On our way to my grandparents house. And I remember the kids were like, Oh my god, it’s another one. We can have a burger and chips again.

Meghan
Like, there’s always a fish dish. There’s always a soup. And then there’s Oh, this is something it’s not quirky. It’s delicious. Is the home beer.

Susanna
Oh, yes. I got the koti kalja

Meghan
Yes. I’m not going to attempt to say that. Thank you for saying it for me. Um, it to me It tastes kind of halfway between a home brewed beer and an iced tea. It’s like a very light light beer that you have midday and it’s delicious. Oh, that’s interesting. You like got a call. Yeah. I love it. I love it. And I don’t really like beer. So it’s kind of it’s like a gateway to beer for me, huh? Yeah.

Finnish culture

Susanna
Now, what does American people normally think about the Scandinavian Nordic countries just kind of taking a step back so if you go back to your life in states before you escaped but what do they know Finland exist or Sweden taxes so do dishes think IKEA and about and they’re all the same? Or am I just generalizing here?

Meghan
I think you are generalizing but generalizations come from a place and and I think it is fair to say that most Americans don’t know much about Finland or the difference between Finland, Swedene etc. But I grew up with a family that was very internationally minded. And with Finnish friends. Oh, yeah. So I went to high school with her dad was American but her mom was Finnish and her mummu, which I thought that was her name for the longest time.

I didn’t realize that my grandmother and Finnish. They was one of my best friends in high school was half Finnish. And they had a sound in their backyard and I don’t think it was a huge culture shock when I met my husband and then I went to Finland. But I don’t think I’m the average American in that way. Yeah.

Susanna
And if you would have to pick those things that you love about Finland about you know you’ve been there you married to fiend so you know about the culture. And you know about our love for moving mugs and geisha chocolate and salted liquid, you know, whipping ourselves with the birchtree in a sauna. But if you would have to pick few things that you actually think are great and you know, really love those things about feeling, what would that be?

Meghan
I’m what I’m going to start with one that is beneficial for my husband and I and that’s that Finland is very lactose free, friendly. And everything is available lactose free, everything. And it’s amazing. Because when I first moved to Germany, at least you could even guarantee that you would have a milk alternative in a cafe. And you go to Finland and even the ice cream stand on the corner. You know, even a, an ice cream person with a cart will have a lactose free option. And not just like a fruit flavoured like the chocolate one will be lactose free. And I find that amazing.

Susanna
Yeah, I have to agree. Because when I’ve been in back in Finland, and I have lactose intolerance, that’s probably because half of the population in Finland has lactose intolerance might be what influenced the trend. Yeah, yeah. But when I was growing up already, then this is like back in the 80s. We had hyla products. And then we have lactose products, lactose free products, hula products, which you could use if you have lactose intolerance. And I at the time in Finland, I didn’t have any simplices only when I moved overseas, maybe because I was not been if I don’t know, I was exposed for different bacteria and whatever else.

But yeah, I went up been going back and you just go to the milk section and the yogurt and the cheese section, that cold section. There’s like, a like, so many cupboards like there’s like a wall full of lactose-free products of everything. So you’re right. It is like  I think it’s because the demand from the people. And the National Health is kind of like they’re very pre-emptive in terms of taking care of people. So they are when people are demanding. We want to have lactose-free yogurts for you know, blueberry flavor, we only have strawberry flavor, then they when there’s a demand when there’s a consumer demand. And there’s also shown research that it’s good for you to have lactose free products if because XYZ that reason, because if you have lactose intolerance, it’s better for you than taking the tablets all the time that you know, make the break that will break down lactose. So yeah, but that’s pretty good. You know, it is you’re very right there. Like there is lots of lactose free and it’s available everywhere.

Meghan
Another thing I love about Finland is the culture to get outside, no matter the weather. Because I grew up from nine years old until 18 years old, so kind of a good chunk of the growing up years in California. And the weather is not so dynamic there. Now I grew up in the San Francisco area. So you know, we have a little bit more dynamic weather, then Los Angeles, let’s say. But still, I don’t think I owned a winter coat until I went to university on the other coast.

So for us as Californians, if the rain is coming down, we stay inside. You know, because we don’t, we don’t know how to deal with weather other than sunshine. And when we go to visit my in-laws, and we’ve got the kids, it doesn’t matter if it’s raining, you just put on the correct gear and you go outside doesn’t matter if it’s freezing, put on the correct gear and you go outside. And I like that. That priority that fins have on being with nature and being out with the fresh air and moving your body regularly.

Susanna
Yeah, and I have to say that Australia is similar to California in that we have nice weather most of the time and as soon as when it rains, the Aussies just don’t budge, they just go inside and even like in the daycare centers, the kids will get limited playtime when it’s wet weather and when it’s raining because they are not used to wearing gumboots and the overalls and they don’t even have those available here to kind of, you know, adapt to the weather. It’s like it was raining. We’re inside and it was nice weather we outside No matter if it’s 40 decrease. We’re still outside. So yeah, I have to agree with that.

Meghan
Yeah, here in Germany, I think it’s a good kind of, maybe even more than halfway point because yeah, my kids have the what they call them here, match choza, which are the rain pants with the, the straps, you know, and then the gumboots. And those are sent to school every day, they have a spare pair that’s at school, rain or shine no matter what time of the year, because if there’s a chance of rain, they’re still going to go outside for playtime. So they need to have the right gear, I send a sun hat and a nip cap, all year round, there’s sunblock, there’s a rain jacket, it’s all about the gear, so that you can then get that first year, which I think is so important for Well, it’s important for all of us to get outside.

Susanna
But I just find it Australians, they just don’t want to be outside. And I think his mentality is that, oh, it’s raining. And yeah, you see the odd people you know, with their dogs outside or someone working at the beach, but they just stay inside Oh, it’s too bad, where they can do surfing can do swimming, don’t want to go to walk, and they just stay inside. And it’s a shame because you know, everything looks different when it rains and they’re still fun to be here. And I do remember being the only parent always on the playground when was wet weather or my Aussie friends are like cancelling their play the crazy Finnish mother with my two crazy Finnish kids just screaming around and jumping on muddy puddles like a Peppa Pig.

Meghan
Exactly. Well, it’s it’s fun as well to raise my kids in an environment that has multiple seasons. And then this motivation to go outside regardless of the weather, because they are more aware of of the gear that we’re wearing. So we’ll go out and if they’re wearing regular shoes, and there’s a puddle from earlier, they know you don’t jump on that puddle. We’re not wearing the right shoes. We go to the rain shoes on boom, they know they can jump in the puddle. And so you know it’s life lessons in multiple season.

Susanna
Australia just don’t have those gear available. If you want to have it, you have to order it from the Europe.

Meghan
We definitely will we used to stock up a bit when we went to Finland but I’m finding more connections and things here in Germany because of course they still they sell it here as well. But we liked you know, I find that we shop more when we’re abroad in the US or in Finland, because it’s just what you do when you’re traveling you shop a little bit. Yeah, and when you don’t always make it a priority. No.

Cultures

Susanna
Now if you give me one more thing. What do you think what you love about Finland? What would that be?

Meghan
Oh my goodness. I mean, we could talk about all the food if you want.

Susanna
Don’t make me jealous.

Meghan
Oh, I’m gonna make you say the name because I don’t want to say it wrong. But it is the pie that has the the rice porridge in it.

Susanna
Oh Karjalan Piirakka.

Meghan
Thank you. I tried to say that. I love those with the egg butter on top.

Susanna
You know, hubby hates he’s like that this is his pet hate anything else you can know. And when we’ve gone to places and feeling like the only thing they offer is the Karelian Pie with the egg butter. But he’s so polite. He will eat it. But he’s looking at me like, Oh my God, you’re so good to pay for this.

Meghan
No, they are my absolute favorite. And when I was pregnant both times I was pregnant and we would go visit my in laws. And I wasn’t feeling well. Those are one of the few things I could still eat even if I was nauseous. I don’t know why I don’t know how but it just hit the right place. I even put some sliced cucumber on top. Oh, let’s just let’s take a moment for that.

Susanna
Do you know how to make them?

Meghan
No, I don’t think I would have the right pinching technique. But my trick Yeah, I can make the egg butter like that hard. But no. Luckily we also found some Finnish connections here in Munich. And there’s finished Christmas market that happens every year. And they sell bags of these and we get those and we get the black bread and we usually get like a jam. And yeah, all different things.

Susanna
Yeah, we have the Christmas markets here as well. And my friends friend who is a Finnish nurse who’s been living here for like 30 -40 years, she makes the rye bread and then she makes the Karelian pies. I’ve been trying to get the pie recipe from her for ages now. Get it send it to me I have not succeeded, I think big and it’s all about the flour because in Finland the flour is rye and ohra  (barley) and I don’t even know what a flower is in English. But it’s the two typical flours. I will put it on the show notes what it is.

You can get those necessarily in every, every country. So you have to improvise. But I have to say the food in Finland in general, compared to Australia is just, it’s fresh and it’s, it’s, it’s straight from the forest floor. And the fact that you can forage things like mushrooms and berries, you know, every man’s right, any man’s right to go and walk about on the forest and pick your berries and mushrooms and go home and make some food out of it is just, you just don’t have it anywhere else.

Meghan
Yeah, yeah, I love when my mother-in-law would just leave and she’s geared up, she’s got her gumboots on, she’s got a rain jacket, and she’s got a little bucket, and she’ll come back with fresh blueberries. She’s like, I’m gonna make a cake. Like, Oh, yes. Good. Will you do that?

Susanna
We did my kids foraging mushrooms with my mother, their grandmother, and they were just, you know, like, excited. We’re going to go to the forest. And we particle ended make us on that season. And that time of the year was July. Yeah. So you didn’t have it yet. But there was some mushrooms. And they were so excited. They were taking all these mushrooms, which were half eaten by worms.

What is it called? Can we take this? And it’s just like, they all even talk about that mushroom foraging trip, even now, when they see mushrooms when I’m cooking with mushrooms? Or did you remember when we went to granny in Finland to go to self foraging? So yeah, it’s very special.

Meghan
Whenever we go to the forest here, which is nearby, that’s when I see the finish side of my son, he doesn’t necessarily want to stay on the path, and he just loves it. I feel like he could be in the forest all day long, regardless of the weather. He is just at peace with himself when he’s out there. And so I’m like, Yeah, you’re a little Finn.

Susanna
Now, would you say that living overseas has changed you as a person? And if it if it has, how would you describe this change? Like how has living overseas changed you?

Meghan
answer to number one is 100%. Yes, it has. The how I think the How is very gradual. Of course, you have culture shock at the start. But the change within yourself is gradual over time, because I think it takes a lot of maybe not effort, but time to wear down what you have considered normal your whole life, and to challenge those things and to be open to change and accept that.

Just because something is how you’ve always done it doesn’t mean it’s the best way or the only way to live life or make decisions or do anything. And I think that’s one of the biggest benefits I’ve gotten from living abroad, having friends from different nations countries cultures, and being in a multicultural relationship is being able to examine my own assumptions, my own values, the roots of who I am, and challenge those things to potentially hopefully, turn myself into the better version of myself.

Susanna
I have to agree, like I find, exploring my childhood and my upbringing and the values that my parents and my school has, you know, drilled in on me, even now I’m particularly through the eyes of my children and how they see the world when it’s more multicultural, and it’s more all inclusive. So you have lots of different cultures and nationalities and ethnicities that you are working with when in Finland is a very homogeneous society, and was when I was growing up there and you didn’t have the exposure that you know, today’s children have and you didn’t have the digital world like we know it today. So I have to agree that that’s really, that is when you live overseas. That’s, that’s what tends to happen to you.

Meghan
Yeah. And a very kind of simple example is even just the food we’re exposed to my husband it I think he’s starting to reduce the amount of shock he has each time. But he is shocked every time my son or daughter will eat something that he didn’t grow up with. Because to his eyes, it’s not quite kid food. So my son will eat sauteed duck and curry and dumplings and locks and all of these things that I think my husband either didn’t taste until he was an adult or he has always considered adult food or it just seems so unusual to him that our children have this kind of buffet if we want to bring buffet back, cultures in front of them to taste from and how great that exposure is for them.

Susanna
Yeah, I have to say, our kids eat very Asian food in Australia, Australia has a lot of cute Asian food, but I cooked dumplings and noodles and like today we had rice and lentils too. But it’s very different to the kind of food we would have had if it would be children in Finland. So yeah, it is interesting how, and then he’s asked questions like, you know, so wasted dumplings from who is invented them. You have to Google them. Okay, let’s have a look. Was it Mandarin Chinese or Hong Kong? Ie, so? Maybe somewhere else? I can’t remember what the answer was. But they’re kind of exposed and different kinds of cultures even through with the foods.

Meghan
Yeah, I like that, too. You know, we had ramen the other day. Now I make it fancy. We add some veggies and I crack an egg on top. Oh, it’s delicious. But it’s fun to hear my kids say, oh, noodles, and I go Actually, this is called ramen. And then they’re like, well, what’s ramen and we go, you know, and it’s even learning that this basic thing of spaghetti noodle, whatever you want to call it has multiple names. And those names come from different cultures. And then that opens a conversation about how we can all have different names for the same kind of type of thing. So, yeah, it’s a fun life.

Susanna
And where do you see yourself in two years’ time from here? Where do you see yourself being in Germany or Finland, US and other country, you’re just still in Munich.

Meghan
I think we’ll stay here, I can see us being here, potentially long-term.  At least for the kids to get through school. I think I moved a lot when I was growing up. And it has its benefits. I definitely grew from that experience. It built a lot of independence in me and adaptability. But I also see the benefits of letting my kids be in one place for a longer period of time. And so I’m more drawn to that scenario where we stay here, we let them get through school. And then if my husband and I want to sell it all and get a van and in the world, maybe we don’t know, we’ll see. But yeah, I think we’re gonna we’re gonna stay here we like it here. Despite the rain today, despite all the cultural challenges that we face. And the language, it’s, it’s worth it.

Susanna
And what you said about selling it all and you know, traveling, like this is very Australian, like, I know, so many families from locally from here, who’s just sold their house have rented their house and sell everything and had a camper van or big, you know, huge type of whatever we do an extension on it. And they just hit the road with their kids and go around Australia and another friend of ours is leaving next March and they taking like a year off to travel around Australia.

And it’s very, yeah, it’s kind of like the Australian dream almost to do that. At some point. If you can, you will go travelling around Australia, whether it’s before kids, so with kids or after kids, but it’s kind of the dream. So we looking forward to that train when it comes to one day.

So where can my listeners find you Megan, your podcast and yourself?

Meghan
So my podcast is balancing cultures. And we’ll keep it really simple. You can visit balancing cultures.com I’m also on Instagram at balancing cultures on Facebook at balancing cultures. And on Twitter. Wait for it at balancing story. Oh bouncing. Yep, balancing cultures was one letter too long.

Susanna
It’s like my Twitter handle is Nordic Mum Podcas without the t in the end because it was too long.

Meghan
yeah, I was going to shorten it to balancing cult and then I went No, I think that’ll attract the wrong type of people. Yeah.

Susanna
Well, thank you so much for your time Meghan. I just loved chatting with you again.

Meghan

Thank you so much for having me. It was lovely.

.

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