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A Cross-cultural life without limits: Pamela Blattner

Photo courtesy: Pamela Blattner. Photo credit: Jenna and Pawel Photography
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With a soul described as nomadic, Pamela Blattner is a citizen of the world striving to live her best life as a blended Latina. Born in Aarau, Switzerland, to a Swiss mother and Peruvian father, Blattner leads a mobile life as she lives in-between Swiss, South American, and North American culture. “I feel a lot of gratitude for my diverse heritage,” Blattner expressed. As a certified life coach with professional experience in international communications, she attributes part of her success to an understanding of global culture.

I feel a lot of gratitude for my diverse heritage.”

At the age of three, Blattner’s parents got a divorce. Her father left Switzerland to live in Honduras and their relationship eventually faded. Six years later, Blattner’s mother—a Third Culture Kid herself—married a Swiss man who soon adopted her.

Pamela Blattner, CCK, Swiss-South American
Photo courtesy: Pamela Blattner

Brazil, Paraguay, Cuba, Botswana, Maldives and Cape Verde Islands are a few of the places she visited growing up. While most Swiss children would go skiing during their vacations, Blattner has fond memories of traveling to “remote places like Madagascar.”

“What initiated my love for the world was my first long flight,” Blattner described. She got the travel bug as a young girl during a family trip to Madagascar. Sweet scents of flowered trees, the excitement of sailing along the ocean and feelings of being immersed in a new culture are clear memories. She admitted, “the warmth of the people and the culture made a big impression on me.”

Avoiding Reality

While growing up in a small Swiss city, Blattner was comfortable assuming the roles of a traditional Swiss child. “I almost forgot being biracial until someone would sometimes painfully bring it to my attention that I was different looking than the average Swiss person.” Blattner continued, “my husband and I joke about how I was like the lioness who thought she was a sheep and messed up every statistic at the airport because I would always check the Caucasian box without even hesitating.”

“I almost forgot being biracial until someone would sometimes painfully bring it to my attention that I was different looking than the average Swiss person.”

“When I experienced racial bias, I thought it had to do with me not being okay. I never attributed it to my skin color,” the life coach explained. Not mirroring anyone else from her Swiss family, people often assumed she was adopted. The small city she grew up in was “pretty culturally homogeneous,” and Blattner tried to blend in with the community, overlooking her South American heritage.  

Her cultural fluidity developed with time as she realized, “I looked different and quite often also felt different. I slowly became more interested in my roots and in my identity.”

Finding the Missing Link

Blattner lived abroad in Iowa as a foreign exchange student at the age of 17. She remembered “a truly magical experience” that caused her to fall in love with the United States and broaden her horizons.

Pamela Blattner, TCA, Blended Latina, Swiss-Peruvian
Created by author. Pamela Blattner’s evolving process of self-discovery.

As a 20-year-old, she searched for her biological father “with the urge to understand myself more fully.” During those years of self-discovery, Blattner felt unsettled in Switzerland and quenched that thirst by becoming a flight attendant before attending university. “I was happiest when I was out in the world,” she shared.

Around this time, Blattner reconnected with her biological father and his family that reside in Seattle, Washington. As she spent more time with her father, the Switzerland native felt a stronger connection to her Peruvian roots.  

Blattner solidified her identity as she moved to Los Angeles in 2012—a long-time dream of hers. “I felt so at home and at ease in this whirling melting pot. That’s when I started integrating my Latina side. I’m more aware and more proud of my bicultural heritage in a sense.”

Now, when people ask where she is from, no one wonders why she does not look Swiss or has a different accent. “It moved me when a Latina, or even an American Indian, would pass by me and nod as if I were a part of a tribe or I belong somewhere,” she exclaimed.

Bridging Two Cultures

Blattner emphasized the important role her father figures had in each stage of her life. “They popped up in the perfect moments of my life to support the process of finding my identity. My Swiss father showed up when I just wanted to blend in and not be different as a child. Then, my biological father welcomed me when I was interested in my identity, roots and wanted to feel whole.”

The pieces of her world came together when both of her fathers walked her down the aisle at her wedding. For Blattner, it was a beautiful moment that represented the “somehow completed process of finding myself, my identity and the gratitude for everything it has given me.”

Pamela Blattner, TCK, Blended Latina, Swiss-South American, Global Culture
Photo courtesy: Pamela Blattner

Being confident as a blended Latina is empowering to the Swiss-Peruvian. “I get to live all my facets to the fullest now.” She elaborated, “only with getting to know myself better and embracing all of me, I got to know and appreciate the Latina parts in me as well.

Only with getting to know myself better and embracing all of me, I got to know and appreciate the Latina parts in me as well.

The process of self-discovery is ongoing as she uncovers more about her Peruvian culture. “I’m kind of in this in-between place where I feel more Swiss and I look more like a Latina. I’ve been accused of not being Swiss or Latina enough.”

The Third Culture Way of Life

Blattner has learned to not apologize for “being a bit too alive for a Swiss or speaking too little Spanish for a Latina.” Like many cross-cultural individuals, she does not fit perfectly within the molds of Swiss or Latin culture, but somewhere along the margins of each.

“I’m learning more about the Peruvian culture and it feels important to finally make time to travel to Peru next year. The beauty of it is that I don’t feel like I’m yearning for a place that finally feels like home anymore, but to discover another aspect of myself that I get to deepen. I’m excited to see what it brings up and what wants to be healed even more,” she revealed.

The cross-cultural adult noted, “I often draw upon my knowledge of different cultures.” A global understanding has helped in past experiences, and she continues to use her perspectives in her coaching practice. “I wanted to create a business that matches my global lifestyle and nomadic soul,” she declared.

The beauty of it is that I don’t feel like I’m yearning for a place that finally feels like home anymore, but to discover another aspect of myself that I get to deepen.”

“My diverse, multicultural background has helped me support my clients. Coaching my clients through their challenges towards a life they love has showed me again and again that no matter our cultural heritage, we are all connected by the same desires and dreams. When I listen to my clients, I observe much more that connects than separates us.”

Living with Abundance

Blattner’s coaching practice fosters personal self-growth. “My clients inspire me to live my best life. Even through this whole cross-cultural journey, I think I was able to support myself in these phases and stages because I’ve always been interested in the human condition. Because of the way I grew up, I was always intrigued by what makes us tick and what makes us live a happy, fulfilled life. I’m grateful I get to live that now.”

A cross-cultural life gives Blattner a “sense of freedom to be home inside of me no matter where I happen to be in the world.” She combines the best of all her worlds to create a content life where she sets priorities on what matters most—friends, family and love.

Pamela Blattner, TCA, Swiss-Peruvian, Blended Latina
Photo credit: Jenn and Pawel Photography. Photo courtesy: Pamela Blattner

She loves the pristine environment, social justice and considerate nature of Switzerland. Blattner credits her wildness and joy of life to her Peruvian DNA and Swiss upbringing. Currently based in San Francisco, California, she values the easy-going lifestyle, warm-hearted people and possibilities that fill the air. The Swiss-Peruvian contended, living in California “gives me breathing space to just be who I am.”

Blattner’s assurance in her identity allows her to “authentically show up with all of me.” She concluded, “my cross-cultural roots are just one aspect of the mosaic of my being in my life. Now, I get to just receive the rewards of my journey and enjoy the richness and depth of my world.”

Now, I get to just receive the rewards of my journey and enjoy the richness and depth of my world.”

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