Just a few weeks ago, an influx of sports fans flooded the “Bold North,” braving Minnesota’s single-digit temperatures and subzero wind chills to watch the Eagles face the Patriots in the 52nd Superbowl in Minneapolis.
For Joan, all this means is more brake lights on her morning commute. She’s never been that “into” sports of any variety, and moving to the U.S. from England hasn’t changed that.
Joan has never been to a game, but she recalls an instance when her older daughter’s grade school took a field trip to see the Vikings play. Other students wore jerseys or team colors, and Hallie wore the sportiest thing she owned—a red English football T-shirt with a white soccer ball printed on the front. Her classmates teased her for this, but not nearly as much as they did when she accidentally and enthusiastically cheered for the wrong team.
A teacher herself, Joan understands perfectly well that children can be insensitive. She remains indifferent to American football. And as a traveling teacher of English at international schools in foreign countries, Joan’s accustomed to navigating cultural differences with her family.
Ever since she met her American husband, also an English teacher, in school in south Britain, Joan and her family have been on the move. They’ve maintained a little house in a St. Paul suburb for nearly 12 years, but before that, they lived and taught in a part of rural Oman where her daughters had to carry long knives for protection on the walk to school.
After a few years in America, the family moved to Kazakhstan to teach, and they’ve only recently returned. Joan explains that the constant shifts from school to school and culture to culture have had a positive impact on her family: her girls are open-minded, diverse in their interests, multilingual, adaptable. They’re never in one place long enough to see their everyday lives as default, and so different cultures don’t seem quite so “other.” Rather than losing friends with each move, they’ve learned to maintain friendships across the globe. They’ve learned to be comfortable living in a changing world.
(Photo by Juan Salamanca from Pexels)