A Few of My Favorite Things {July 2015}

Hooray for July! The month started with a literal bang as we took Gabriella to her first fireworks show. We sat in a field as brilliant colors lit the sky. She had so much fun it was ridiculous.

I taught her how to "ooooh" and "ahhhh" in all the right places. Then, as nearby kids hollered, I joked to Billy, "or we scream bloody murder." This statement led Gabriella to respond to the fireworks by shouting, "ooooh, ahhhh, BLOODY MURDER!" Classic.

Here are some more of our favorites from July.

Soccer for the win!

Guatemala came to Nashville to play the US Men's Team. That's only about 3.5 hours from us, so we were totally in! And I gotta say: so. much. fun. From the costumes to the boisterous group singing, the only thing missing was spontaneous choreographed dancing. Basically, I'm saying attending a soccer game was akin to living inside a real-life musical.

We dressed in a hybrid of patriotic apparel, feeling loyalty to both countries. And we weren't the only ones! So many Guatemalans wearing blue and white jerseys and waving American flags. We had such a great time, and it was a real treat to be able to see it live (and film a 2015 World Cup Wives video).

Then, we were on to the Women's World Cup Finals. This time on TV, but still. The US Ladies rocked it! July was a good soccer month.

Birthday Boy

Isaac turned two this July. Two! It's shocking in both its "you were just born" and its "you've been here all along, how are you only two?" We celebrated with pizza and cake.

And he got his very first bike, on which he's been slowly gaining confidence. Now, it lives in the living room, and he jumps on first thing in the morning to scoot around in circles.

Books and Tears

This month I started reading chapter books to Gabriella. It's like a life dream come true for me. I couldn't read Llama Llama even one more time. (Oh wait... I have a second kid. Ok.)

But I decided to experiment with Sarah, Plain and Tall. She totally got the concept of the story being continued across several days. And then she said to me, "Mom, this book has no pictures, but I see it in my mind." I nearly cried as we discussed imagination.

As always, I felt a little nervous that her English literacy is outpacing her Spanish. So Billy instructed me to order this book. It arrived this week, and now she has started listening to a chapter book in Spanish, too. She needs a little translation help, but that's ok. We'll take it!

Beach Babies

Last year, we had a crawler and decided not to go to the beach where he would burn his knees and eat more sand than a human really should. So it was fun to go this year and swim, build sandcastles, and eat our weight in snacks.

Gabriella learned to ride waves, and Isaac chased birds along the surf with his truck. I got to read The Book of Unknown Americans. So it's safe to say fun was had by all.

My Favorite Purchase

After years of searching, someone recommended to me a water bottle for kids that doesn't leak. I'm in love. Now, if we can just not lose them...

And I'll throw in a bonus purchase favorite that's not so "mommy." They stopped carrying my go-to eyeliner at the store, so I found it on Amazon.

All the Links

Here's a few favorite links I shared this month:

Last Comic Standing - Ryan Conner - I've watched this more than once, and I'm still laughing. This fella's experiences in a large, multiracial family are relatable and hilarious.

Historian Says Don't 'Sanitize' How Our Government Created Ghettos - Helpful, historical perspective on how neighborhoods in the States were created.

What's the Difference Between Hispanic, Latino, and Spanish? - There's not really a clear cut answer to this question. But I hear it asked a lot, and this video sheds some light.

Could You And Your Partner Pass A U.S. Immigration Marriage Interview? - I remember studying many of these questions before we appeared for our interview.

And here are some posts on A Life with Subtitles that readers enjoyed:

43 Thoughts You Have While Speaking Spanish (As A Second Language) - Don't say embarazada. Don't do it, I tell you.

Why My Views on the Confederate Flag Changed - How I was taught about the Civil War growing up in the South, why it matters, and what has influenced me since grade school.

13 Culture Blogs You Gotta Check Out - Some favorites that you should definitely add to your Feedly or Pocket or whatever you use to read blogs!

Thanks to Leigh Kramer for hosting this link-up. What are you into?


Eat, Love, & Be Vulnerable

I came across a post online entitled What I Learned Living Cross-Culturally as a Christian, and it really resonated with me. That's when I started reading Cindy Brandt and her reflections on faith and culture. I am stoked that she is guest posting today, and I love this story of sharing dinner and sharing life. 

Marrying internationally means that cultural dissonance is a regular part of my life experience. We don’t go very long before either one of us find ourselves in a situation that is counterintuitive to the way we were raised. For example, my husband and I often get questions curious about what kind of food we eat, but in addition to eating different cuisine, we also differ in the way that we eat.

Growing up Chinese, we eat "family style," which means the dishes are set in the center of the table, and we use our chopsticks to directly pick up food from the communal dishes straight into our mouths for consumption.

As of this writing, we are visiting my American in-laws, and following their custom of eating western style, which is when you pass the dishes around, and spoon however much you'd like of each dish onto your dinner plate.

For those of you who grew up eating this way, it’s probably second nature. But for me,  I often cannot gauge how much food to put on my dinner plate around a western table, so that I am always either over-eating, or needing to get seconds, thirds, and fourths.

It's a minor nuisance, but can be quite frustrating to find yourself floundering at such an ordinary event such as dinner time. Those who have experience living cross culturally know it is the little things that add up to an overwhelming feeling of helplessness and loss of power. This is one of many examples of how being in a foreign element places you in a state of vulnerability.

And of course, as we live in Taiwan, my American husband is constantly encountering situations outside of his control. Everyday living brings a layer of apprehension, an uncertainty as to what is culturally appropriate, what words exactly to use, and how to interact with others with efficiency and without dissolving into yet another cultural faux pas.

It’s not easy, this dance of reciprocating vulnerability. At any given time, one of us is feeling outside of our native element. And yet, the vulnerability queen, Brene Brown, says, “we cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known.” There is a precious opportunity for those of us who are cross-culturally married to empathize with the vulnerability of the other, and in so doing, recognize the tremendous courage it takes to show up.

Marriage is already a vulnerable thing. Sharing the most intimate aspects of life together tugs at our pride, requiring us to shed any sort of self-protective mechanism. Add the cross-cultural element to marriage, and we are looking at vulnerability multiplied. But I suppose we can console ourselves in that when we are extra weak, we are extra strong.

The constant reminders of our dependence on the other for cultural guidance is a daily exercise of our trust muscles in our partner. It’s romantic even, those moments when we need to ask our spouse to translate a phrase, to hear the meaning to our own  words roll off their foreign tongue in the beautiful language they effortlessly speak.

Bound to our marriage vows, we are committed to regularly step outside of our comfort zones. Which is okay because there is no adventure in comfort, no growth in status quo. Our inevitable vulnerability training in the anxieties of cross cultural living becomes our best efforts in strengthening our marriage.

So I get seconds, thirds, and fourths, and feel a bit like a dufus at the in-laws dinner table. With each serving, my vulnerability is making way for a stronger love.

Cindy blogs about faith and culture at cindywords.com. She is the author of Outside In: Ten Christian Voices We Can't Ignore, which you can get for FREE by signing up to her monthly newsletter.

How Culture Can Trick Us Into Being Rude

Not too long ago, this Buzzfeed article showed up in my Facebook newsfeed: 14 Reasons Why The Irish Goodbye Is The Best Exit Strategy. Basically, the article was promoting the practice of quietly leaving a party without saying anything to anyone.

I can guarantee you that this 'ghosting' would never be tolerated by my Latino husband. Saying goodbye to everyone is like half the reason we came in the first place.

But this article (and exit strategy) left an impression because of the writer's mention of how this is a polite way to leave. For one, you don't interrupt everyone's conversations to announce your imminent departure. Secondly, you don't trigger a mass exodus and basically end the party. And third, if you're partying too hard, you quietly slip away before any kind of scene gets made.

All of that does sound polite actually.

Except I also see how it could be completely rude.

Context and culture is so important. I would argue that there is no inherently right or wrong way to leave a gathering. Cultural norms are what defines politeness.

And this is where cross-cultural relationships can get tricky. If I think it's polite to leave your house without saying goodbye because you were in another conversation, I could ruffle feathers if you expected me to come and say something anyway.

You might start to think I was rude even though I was trying to be polite.

Surprisingly, it's often these small differences that can wear on friendships. It's valuable to learn what it polite to the other person. For me, that means lots of kissing (but not too much).

It seems cross-cultural friendships require a certain commitment on everyone's behalf to step outside their comfort zone. Perhaps if we all try to do what the other considers polite, we can care for each in new, meaningful ways. Of course, that's easier said than done.

What ways do you notice the same actions being considered both polite and rude from different perspectives?

It's Our Two Year Citizen-aversay!

It was two years ago that I sat in a meeting room of a government building and bawled my eyes out while clinging to my newborn baby. On that day, in that room, my husband became a US citizen. It was a joyful celebration at the end of what felt like a never-ending tunnel.

In today's video, I follow up with him on the experience and all the things he can (and still cannot) do as a naturalized citizen. And, of course, as in all our videos, there's a little bit of foolishness.

And I apologize in advance for the video quality. It was not as dark as the video suggests. And apparently we've lived in Georgia for too long because we did not notice how loud the bugs were until we watched it later. And lastly, yes, we are sitting on a couch on our porch. Because... Georgia.

(If you are reading this post via RSS or email, click here to watch the video!)

Thank you so much to all of you who've read our immigration story and supported us along the way. We're grateful to celebrate this citizen-aversary with you!

13 Culture Blogs You Gotta Check Out {Round-Up}

It's Friday Follow on Twitter, and I thought I extend the tradition to my blog to introduce you to a few of my favorite sites around the interwebs. This is a mix of news-y sites (not like "The Newsies," though wouldn't that be great?) and personal blogs. But I hope you find a few to add to your reading repertoire!

1. NPR's Code Switch - This blog from NPR is hands-down one of my favorites. From pop culture to history to sports to gender, Code Switch explores all the ways that race, ethnicity, and culture intersect with our lives.

2. The Mashup Americans - My most recent guilty pleasure! Mashup focuses on multicultural people, families, and expressions in culture. Lots of yummy fusion food and family stories. I specifically recommend their weekly newsletter, where they share all kinds of good mashup articles.

3. Huffington Post Latino Voices - It's likely you're familiar with HuffPo already, but this is the subsite that focuses on news, entertainment, style, and culture aimed at a Latino audience. I also enjoy Black Voices for similar content with a black context.

4. G92 - This blog unpacks a Biblical, compassionate approach to immigration. The site is specially written towards an Evangelical audience. I've enjoyed writing there a few times - most recently on the globally important topic Jane the Virgin.

5. NPR's Goats and Soda - Another NPR blog, but this one focuses on global development. Stories on wealth distribution, health, and other topics affecting the world at large. And what a great name, right? You can learn about that here.

6. NewsTaco - If you're curious what shenanigans Donald Trump is up to this week, NewsTaco may be for you! I follow them on Facebook and am often interested in the topics their articles address. Of course, every time I see the name, I get hungry...

7. Austin Channing Brown - Austin is a racial justice and reconciliation shero. Her writing and insights are powerful and woven with a deep and hopeful perspective for Christians seeking a more united church and a better world.

8. Eugene Cho - Eugene is a Seattle pastor for whom I hold mad respect. He leads a multicultural church, and provides a pastoral voice in a world full of angry Facebook posts. I appreciate his calls to prayer for justice and peace. And his book Overrated is another gem you should check out!

9. Tim Hoiland - Tim grew up as an American in Guatemala City, and he is familiar with the tug of multiple cultures. He's a voracious reader, and often shares book reviews on his blog, focusing on community development, Latin America, and theology.

10. Simply Complicated - Michelle is a California girl married to a Guatemalan, and they live and work in community development in Guatemala. If you really want to read her beautiful insights on mothering, life abroad, and more, I suggest following her on Instagram.

11. Christena Cleveland - Christena is a social psychologist and provides sharp insights on racial reconciliation and the church. She has taught me a great deal, and I appreciate the way she weaves academic perspectives throughout her writing and teaching as well.

12. Between Worlds - Jody is a white blogger who has written extensively on race and privilege. She offers encouragement and guidance for entering conversations on race topics and breaks down white privilege to help folks who want to understand and move towards a deeper understanding of race and power.

13. Latinaish - Tracy's husband immigrated from El Salvador, and she shares recipes, music, and funny cultural observations from their bicultural life and family. My favorite are her posts on household Spanglish mix-ups, and she recently hosted mine as well.

These are 13 favorites that I hope you'll enjoy. I am always expanding my culture blog reading list, though. Who do you recommend I add?

For When You Forget Why You're Raising Bilingual Kids

Raising bilingual kids has turned out to be more challenging than I expected. It's not like I thought it would "just happen" - okay, maybe I did.

But I've been a bit surprised at how much thought and experimentation we've put into it. We've pushed, we've bribed, and sometimes it works (and sometimes it doesn't).

Lately, I've been encouraged by Gabriella's attempts to speak Spanish at home - even when the hubs is not around. She asks me to translate words and bosses her brother around in both languages just to see which one sticks!

Raising bilingual kids is an ebb and flow of up and down. Rights now we're in a great flow, but even with only four years of experience, I know that I'll be back to lamenting before too long. And then celebrating again!

But for those moments when it's hard. When you're arguing with a toddler about which language to watch Mickey Mouse in, you might appreciate this little slideshow. Just a quick reminder about all the benefits that we're hoping to offer our kids as we seek to hone their first and second (and third!) language skills. Check out these 20+ reasons below!

Connection to family and heritage is probably my biggest motivator when bilingualism feels like more trouble than it's worth. But I also love numbers 5, 7, and 17. And, of course, #12 is pretty amazing boost as well!

What motivates you when bilingualism feels like too much?

Note: Thanks to TakeLessons.com for sharing this slideshow. You can read more about each benefit in the original article.  

And the Bizarre Travel Award Goes To...

Whenever I travel, time seems to slow down. Do you have this experience? It's like a day at home that would have flitted away making sandwiches, working online, and running laundry is suddenly filled with back-to-back memories. I'll reminisce about a particularly hilarious experience with a tuk tuk driver and have to remind myself, "Oh yeah, that happened earlier today."

And that's another thing. I laugh so much more when I travel. Even when I'm not accidentally robbing people or being attacked by snakes, funny things just seem to happen.

The first time I ever traveled internationally was to spend four weeks in Guatemala to learn Spanish. (I also met my future in-laws on this trip - without Billy!) I traveled with girlfriends, and our four weeks felt like at least six months and was packed with bizarre, silent-shaking laughter types of experiences. Naturally, I started writing them down in a notebook.

After years of wondering whatever happened to that bad boy, I finally found the notebook in our attic last week. And all of my crazy notes made me laugh all over again - but this time for a different reason: I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THEY'RE TALKING ABOUT! Save for a few particularly memorable moments, most of these little phrases and explanations mean absolutely nothing to me anymore. A lot has happened in eight years.

Still, it brought me ridiculous glee to read gems like:

Oh, we're on Guatemala time... I probably did have time to change out of my mock turtleneck and wind pants and into a more appropriate dance outfit... a spandex onesie!"

Charades: bling bling, drugs, stripper. "I don't really know what you're doing in English right now." (aka Cinderella - involved flapping wings like a chicken)

Too much gresa! Don't EVER eat food from the calle or I'll tell my dog to pee on your homework!

Okay... the lights are out... grab your gun... wear your fatigues... the time is NOW!...over" [fuzz of radio]

Siete horas... need I say more?

Yes, Sarah! Please say more! What on earth does all this nonsense mean? Ah well. I may not remember specifics, the notebook brought back some wonderful and funny memories. One, in particular, stands out among the rest.

In Xela, Guatemala, you may stumble across this life-changing Natural History Museum. When I tried to look it up recently online, many people commented about its questionable taxidermy practices. I don't quite recall the worn, well-loved look of many of the exhibits, though I do remember the museum's fondness for displaying many life-like and "in action" animals. (Think birds hanging out of the mouths of big cats.)

However, what really made an impression were two shocking displays. I was casually glancing around... hum drum... starfish, crawdad, bam! El Diablo del Mar. "The Sea Devil." And there it was: a Gumby-like, little, white alien waving back at me. I tried to translate the placard for some explanation, but no luck.

Moving on. We've got a taxidermied cat, a nondescript parrot, and whoa! Two-headed cow. It stood, life-sized and stuffed in the middle of the room, protected by a glass box. Again, no real explanation was provided. I guess they used to roam the area at some point? Hmmmm.

Needless to say, this museum cracked me up for years to come. I couldn't get over the casualness of the bizarre. But I love the Xela Natural History Museum all the more for it. If I ever return to that lovely town, you can bet I will be introducing it to someone new.

Do you find time slows down when you travel? What's something funny that has stuck with you long after the flight home? 
Image credit: Benjamin Jakabek

43 Thoughts You Have While Speaking Spanish (As A Second Language)

1. English or Spanish? English or Spanish? English or Spanish?
2. Spanish. We're doing this.
3. Alright, I said hola. #killingit
4. Oh, we're kissing! One cheek? Two cheek? Don't miss! And don't make this awkward.
5. Hmm... Usted or tu? Usted or tu?
6. Why does Spanish have two forms of "you"?
7. I feel like I have to choose between "Greetings! How arst thou?" or "Yo, what's up, mama?"
8. Is she older than me? Does she look older than me?
9. This seems like a dangerous game. I don't want to play.
10. Silence is golden. But seriously, I should say something.
11. Bam! Done. Informal for the win! Worst case scenario I just confirmed the "rude American" stereotype.
12. I'll try to make up for it by offering to help carry these things to the kitchen.
13. Okay, she said no. But I think that really means yes.
14. I really don't have the verbal skills for communication subtleties.
15. Okay, helping now. I guess I just confirmed the "pushy American" stereotype.
16. Small talk is my bread and butter. I can totally converse about where we're from, how many siblings to we all have, and on and on. Let's do this!
17. Just don't ask "Where is the hotel?"
18. Why are intro Spanish classes designed for tourists rather than actually speaking with people?
19. At least I have some basic kitchen vocabulary in my bilingual quiver.
20. Why is refrigerator such a hard word to say in Spanish?
21. Just skip it. Go with "refri." Zing!
22. Besides, that totally makes me sound bilingual.
23. I should not have said "refri." Now they think I'm really bilingual. Rapidfire Spanish instruction incoming!
24. Man, this language is beautiful.
25. Oh great. I was listening and totally missed any meaning whatsoever.
26. Welp, I think I just did something wrong. This is why they didn't want me helping in the first place.
27. Whatever you do, don't say embarazada. My brain says it should mean "embarrassed" but it always means "pregnant." Don't say "I'm pregnant."
28. This is not the time to start rumors about myself in my second language.
29. Just keep smiling and nodding.
30. Should I just shuffle away at this point?
31. No, there's no "socially awkward American" stereotype to my knowledge. That foolishness would be on me.
32. Okay, everyone else is talking. Wow! I love all these photos on the wall!
33. Uh-oh. Why is it so quiet? Was I asked a question?
34. Yep. Everyone's looking at me. Not good.
35. Say something!
36. Okay, response is out of my mouth. Does it land?
37. Yes, everyone seems to be nodding. I must have made some sense.
38. Whew!
39. I hope I sounded at least a little polite.
40. Okay, I think it's time to make a graceful exit.
41. Agh! We're kissing again!
42. Hold it together...
43. Oh yeah. I'm totally bilingual.

Why My Views on the Confederate Flag Changed

When I see the Confederate flag, two images come to mind.

In the first, I am back at summer camp. Our rag tag group of teens had been canoeing down the Tennessee lake for three days, camping along the way. We'd now arrived at our destination, a small, uninhabited "island" where we'd camp the rest of the week.

We slept outside, played "King of the Canoe" on the tops of upside down canoes, and hollered during games of "greased watermelon," wrestling bright melons slathered in Crisco in the water. We built campfires and sang worship songs, read through prepared devotional guides, and had long talks.

A few of the boys slept in hammocks slung between trees, and one of them tied a confederate flag bandana above his hammock. He was one of my favorite friends because he was so funny.

My memory is hazy about that flag. I remember it with unease, so I want to assume that the fact I remember it at all reveals my discomfort - or at least, confusion - at the time. I even think we may have had a conversation about it, which this young boy quickly dismissed in favor of "Southern Pride."

I Love the South

I have Southern Pride. I mean, loosely. I love global cultures, but when it comes to the States, I have been most at home in the South. Three years in Los Angeles, I would always greet people when I walked on the streets. No one responded. I couldn't get over it. I worked at a summer camp in Vermont, and I wasn't there but a few hours before I was acutely aware of the whiteness of that area. It was uncomfortable.

But I have cherished memories of hot, summer nights - the smells of freshly cut grass, the wonder of lighting bugs in jars, and the ever present heaviness of humidity in the air. I know Southern hospitality is romanticized, but I appreciate the customary greetings, the potlucks, and the thank-you notes. I have Southern Pride.

I also have a bit of defensiveness about the racist reputation of the South. I'm not saying the South does not struggle with issues of racism. I'm saying everywhere in this country does. And some of my experiences elsewhere have been that race issues are not only ugly, but they are right under the surface, spilling out unexpectedly. But I do believe that much of the Southern ugliness around race is more overt. I don't know which is worse. I think they're both terrible.

How I Was Taught About the Civil War (And Why It Matters)

The Civil War was taught differently to me growing up in East Tennessee than (I have learned since) children in other States are told about it. It was framed as a war based on economics. States rights verses federal control. Northern states issuing steep tariffs on international imported goods, essentially forcing the predominately rural South to buy from Northerners whatever the cost.

I was taught that the Civil War, at its core, was not about slavery. The Emancipation Proclamation was issued a couple years after the war began. It was framed as a political effort to encourage wavering Northerners to stay engaged with the war.

This educational approached allowed me to reconcile a worldview that supported the South while also abhorring slavery and being grateful for its abolition. And thus, I could live in a campground where the Confederate flag waved under the reasoning of Southern Pride without too much angst.

New Friends = New Eyes = New Perspectives

The second memory that springs to mind was several years later. I was nineteen and on another Christian trip into the woods for some type of retreating. We were packed into air condition-less 15-passenger vans as we drove through rural Georgia. Our driver and leader was a hugely significant mentor in my life and a dear friend, who is also black.

With all the talking and laughing and radio blasting, we lost our way. Eventually, we pulled over at a convenient store/outpost-y place to confirm our directions. We were in backwoods Georgia, and the place looked like so many I'd seen in my childhood and adolescence, I thought nothing of it.

Our leader went in, got the directions, and returned to the van. He laughed uncomfortably, and joked, "I did not feel comfortable in there." There was a part of me that was genuinely confused. He went on to describe the looks he received from employees, the stilted conversations, and the overwhelming decor of Confederate flags. His words hinted at a real fear for his treatment at the very least, and his safety at worst.

For me, that was the end of my ambiguity around the Confederate flag. For me, it was an easy call. If the flag symbolized racism, hate, and exclusion to a large group of people, particularly the group most affected by those negative characteristics, than that was that. It shouldn't be displayed.

For me, it wasn't an issue of what the flag represented to me. What mattered it what it symbolized to those most affected by the hate and violence. If the flag was negative to them, then I couldn't support it's proud promotion.

A Place to Start

As with all justice issues in my life, relationship has been the turning point. When you are surrounded by a large group who sees everything the way you do, outside voices can feel like "an attack" on your viewpoint, your way of life, and - in this case - pride, history, and identity. But when people in my circle shared how it affects them, I found I held much more loosely to my viewpoint.

I want to promote the best things about living in the South: sun-ripened peaches, church cookouts, river tubing, hiking in the Smoky Mountains, the Lady Vols, BBQ, and Dollywood. Yes, Dollywood is amazing. You should go.

Taking down the flag doesn't diminish my love for where I've grown up. But it does show hospitality and welcome to all people, especially those for whom the flag serves as a painful reminder of hate.

Of course, I'm not naive enough to believe that a flag change will take care of the racial issues still present in our region or country as a whole. Diverse relationships have opened my eyes to many issues that need to be addressed, but this one is in front of us at the moment.

Racial reconciliation is the real work of the church. It's not simple, and it's not going to happen in the time it takes stories about the Charleston shooting, the Confederate flag, and black churches burning to move through the news cycle.

I pray that the Church will listen to Christians of color, and that we can take steps to heal. We can do better. I was especially moved by this liturgy written for churches in the wake of Charleston. If you're a pastor or lead a small group or anything, I encourage you to incorporate this prayer into your time.

Let's start with prayer. Let's start with taking down the flag. And let's move together towards true reconciliation.

Image credit: J. Stephen Conn

Happy 4th from the World Cup Wives!

I agreed to soccer once every four years. But truth be told, I started missing the festivities late this spring. Never fear... the Women's World Cup and Copa America were here!

Futbol has been around this summer, and this weekend may be all about America's birthday. As it turns out, America loves soccer.

We're celebrating the Women's World Cup final: USA vs Japan. And the Copa America final: Argentina vs Chile.

But yesterday, Guatemala played the USA Men's Team in a friendly match in Nashville. We were there. And it was awesome. We saw soccer fans even on the drive from Atlanta to Nashville, and my new BFF, the cashier at the rest stop, told me folks had been coming through headed to the game all day.

We met Katie, my World Cup Wives comrade, at the game. And we decided to film a little video for ya! It ended up shorter because... soccer.

(If you're reading this via email or RSS, you may need to click here to see the video.)

Of course, my love of multicultural identity made this match even better. It was awesome to see families in Guatemalan jerseys waving US flags. We saw young men wearing Guatemalan jerseys with USA bananas tied around their heads.

My favorite was a family wearing matching t-shirts of a half US - half Guatemalan flag that said "We're 50-50!" I totally accosted them and asked where they got the shirts, only to be told the Guatemalan mother-in-law had custom made them for the whole family. Fabulous!

Billy, too, felt a tie to both teams, cheering for his Guatemalatecos while also feeling pride in the US team. He made me cover my heart for both national anthems. We, too, are 50-50.

What games are you watching this weekend? And who are you cheering for?

A Life with Subtitles. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.