The snow is falling hard in Vermont, where my family and I have chosen to spend the last days of 2019. The chalet is quiet, my husband Tom, our two kids and son in law are out on the slopes. I am listening to the Mozart requiem, sipping a cup of spicy Chai from India with our rescue dog Ruby, from Hong Kong. This is the perfect setting to reflect on the past year and on what lies ahead.
For the first time, our son in law, Thijs, who is from Amsterdam, is traveling with us. The road trip from Manhattan to Jay Peak was fun. Thijs’ enthusiasm for everything “American” was contagious. The small, quaint towns, the country stores and Christmas ornaments on houses and barns. For lunch, we stopped at a traditional diner in Amherst, MA. The atmosphere! The fries! The portion sizes! The food was satisfying and the experience fun.
Back in the car, listening to the conversations, it struck me again: we are five people with three nationalities, four languages and memories from all over the world. Our son Max is bilingual French/English, Tom’s daughter Alexandra is bilingual Italian/English and learning Dutch. Thijs is learning Italian for their upcoming wedding in Italy, in 2020. From “how do you say that in Dutch?” to “remember Italy, the Galapagos, Vietnam, Egypt?” and Thijs’ commendable effort to speak to me in French, I realized this is exactly where I belong and where I want to be: in a multicultural, multilingual and international family and community. With tolerance, love, an open mind and heart.
Wishing you and yours a wonderful 2020!