Meet Elizabeth and Chad

January 21, 2010 Comments disabled

Where are you from?

I am from the West Midlands in the UK and my husband is from Virginia in the US

Where did you meet?

We met in Zambia, Africa. We were both volunteers in the same area.

What language do you speak at home?

English, but two different versions of it! Now we are back in Zambia we both speak one of the local languages, but Chad speaks it much more fluently than me.

Do you try to cook food from each other’s countries?

Chad makes a good chilli and homemade burger. Being a food writer, I do most of the cooking – he loves my Yorkshire pudding. Mostly we cook food from all over the place, I lived in Italy for a while and my sister-in-law is Italian so that has a big influence on what we eat.

Can you explain one part of your partner’s culture you found surprising?

I think it’s sometimes assumed that America and Britain are similar so finding any differences is surprising. I would say the biggest surprise for me is how traditional Americans seem to be in comparison to Brits when it comes to family life and relationships. I think we British are more flexible about dating and marriage and how things ‘are done’. However I think it is difficult to generalise too much because America is so huge and influenced by so many other countries.

What’s the best thing about a cross-cultural relationship?

Of course you learn a great deal from someone from another culture, for me being married to an American is wonderful – American culture has become such a mythological thing as it has penetrated so many other cultures. I personally love American fiction so to see a country I have read so much about is very exciting. Personally I have found Americans to be warm and friendly people and I have many friends there now who I have great affection for.

What’s the hardest thing about being in a cross-cultural relationship?

We do not always see eye to eye politically, and there are some topics we don’t really touch upon because they are so controversial. We also have the problem of working out where to live, wherever we go we will be far away from one or the other side of the family. Maybe that’s why we are in Zambia again!

Do you have any advice for other cross-cultural couples?

Learn as much as you can about your partner’s culture and ensure they are doing the same. If you understand where your partner is coming from you understand who they are. Visit that country and ask a lot of questions and talk about your differences. If you have children I think it is crucial they grow up knowing both cultures it, will make them richer human beings.

Find Elizabeth on her blog Scrapbook

Read more:
More interviews with cross-cultural couples
The year of America: are Americans misunderstood?
Blogs from the UK on Blogs of the World
Blogs from the USA on Blogs of the World

About the author

Lucy (Liz) Chatburn
Lucy is English and first ventured out of the UK she was 19. Since then she has lived in 4 different countries and tried to see as much of the world as possible. She loves learning languages, learning about different cultures and hearing different points of view.
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