My reasons for being what I am becoming…

Germany (birthplace), USA and Brazil (child), Germany (youth) and Germany, US (studies, sort of adult), France and Egypt and France again (parent and still searching the adult)….     Having grown up with multiple languages in multiple countries within a multicultural family, I had to learn to bridge the differences between cultures: my parents culture, which was the “home” culture and the “outside world” culture.Sometimes, I didn’t have much of a choice but to bridge those gaps for my own sanity. In your own culture, you grow up with certain codes that you apply to life around you to be able to understand and thus to cope. I had two sets of codes at home and outside our home… multiples sets of cultural codes for that matter as the cultural codes in the US are quite different from those in Brazil. And then, at age 10, I was thrown into the set of codes in Germany. But those weren’t the codes my parents had taught me; my parents had changed and adapted to the system(s) around them and their codes had been altered… leaving me feeling like a… well a misfit almost… sometimes. Though sometimes that was cool, more often, as is normal when you’re a teen, I didn’t like being different… at ALL!

It took a long time for me to realize that all of this was a positive thing. It took time and energy to get there. But it is one of the many reasons that helped forge the idea of turning my experience into my future job:

     Raise awareness that the world is not a in a box, but a “box of chocolates” (thanks Forrest!): as an intercultural coach, I would like people to “taste” all those different flavors that make up our world. Maybe at times we don’t like what we taste but have to accept the fact that the flavor exists. Or whilst we don’t like the taste of it, others do for whatever reasons. Other flavors we enjoy or even love, but we would like to understand why. Going beyond the tasting part is not an easy thing. But that won’t stop us, right?

   My job? Make people become aware of (their own) cultural differences and similarities; create a climate of mutual understanding with insight into the complex world of intercultural communication.

My inspiration for the name of this blog and new adventure?
                 Edward T. Hall’s book “Beyond Culture”

Couverture“Beyond Culture is a proud celebration of human capacities. For too long, people have taken their own ways of life for granted, ignoring the vast, international cultural community that surrounds them. Humankind must now embark on the difficult journey beyond culture, to the discovery of a lost self and a sense of perspective. By holding up a mirror, Hall permits us to see the awesome grip of unconscious culture. With concrete examples ranging from James Joyceʼs Finnegans Wake to the mating habits of the bowerbird of New Guinea, Hall shows us ourselves. Beyond Culture is a book about self-discovery; it is a voyage we all must embark on if mankind is to survive.