Lindsey Adler is a cross cultural kid, or Third Culture Kid (TCK). She’s spent her childhood with two or more cultural backgrounds, regularly has moved globally as part of that – as a result, she has been influenced by different cultures in and outside of the home. Adler is a first year freshman Biology major in the U.S. after taking a gap year. Her mother is Dutch, and her father is American. During her gap year she returned home to the Netherlands, a country that highly influenced her upbringing.
K: Will you tell me about your family life at home?
A: My mom is from the Netherlands and my dad is from New York. All of my mom’s family is from Netherlands, so every summer I’ve gone back there since I was a little baby.
Do you speak Dutch at home?
Yes, I speak it with my mom and my sister sometimes. I’ve been bilingual since birth, so was my sister.
How is it having people over? Have you noticed differences between your household and the traditional American household?
There are small differences, like we eat a Dutch breakfast. It is bread, butter and chocolate sprinkles, which all my friends thought was weird. We celebrate Old Year’s Day, which is the Netherlands’s version of New Year’s Eve and we make Dutch donuts for it which are delicious!
How was it taking part of your gap year in the Netherlands?
Because I am half Dutch, I wanted to get more in touch with that side of myself. I decided to gap year and move to the Netherlands for a bit and it was really, really good. I was an au pair, or nanny, for a Dutch family while I was there. It was very similar to the way my mom had raised us, a sandwich with cheese for lunch, a sandwich with chocolate for breakfast.
Did you notice any American tendencies showing through as you worked with the children?
I always spoke Dutch with the kids, it was more me being Dutch instead of me teaching them any of the American tendencies I was raised with.
I did miss American culture at points, I mean while I was there, I felt very confident being Dutch, but the Dutch are very direct. So I would ask questions and they would be so blunt it felt rude, but in the United States they’d be more considerate of tourists.