Raising multicultural/multilingual children 101

3 30th, 2010

A few weekends ago, Lara and I went to Nagoya-city to film the Oi Family. We came across the Oi Family through the Association of Foreign Wives of Japanese, an organization my mother is a member of.

Here’s their quick bio:

Gabriela (Mexican, 37) and Kiyoshi Oi (Japanese, 41) met when they were students both studying abroad in the United States. They fell in love, married and moved to Nagoya, Japan. In 2001, they welcomed a baby boy- Alex Oi and three years later Sara. Alex (3rd grader) and Sara (1st grader) have been attending Japanese elementary school. However, worried about how her children will be able to straddle three languages (Spanish, Japanese, and English), Gabriela has started to explore alternative educational options. Along with this, Alex has been showing physical symptoms of stress, perhaps due to the teasing he receives from his classmates for being a hafu and from falling behind in his classwork. Gabriela has made the tough decision of sending him to the more expensive private international school. Alex will begin at his new school in August while Sara will continue attending Japanese school. Through the Oi’s, this film will explore the both the joys and challenges parents face in raising bi-national children.

We felt so welcomed by the Oi Family and fell in love with two kids immediately. We were able to film them up close and personal ie. making breakfast, playing ball in their backyard, taking Aikido lessons, visiting their grandmother’s grave, tucking the kids into bed and then we were able to film the kids attending Japanese school the following day.

Lara and I had a look at the footage last Friday and we really like what we see. It’s so exciting to see the ideas that were once inside our head are starting to come across the screen. We’re planning to visit them at least twice more–on  Alex’s first day of international school and then a few months later when he’s adjusted to see how he is doing and to find out whether switching schools was the right decision for him.

Of course we still have a long way to go and a lot of editing to do. Our hard drives are starting to fill up! We are going to  need to get more storage space soon!