Throughout this three part series, you will see Pamela Blattner’s journey from ignoring her Peruvian heritage to becoming confident as a blended Latina. First, let’s take a look at her upbringing where she tried to fit into the molds of Swiss culture.
An intercultural beginning
Blattner’s cross-cultural roots come from her Peruvian father and Swiss mother — a Third Culture Kid born in South Africa. However, she did not experience many multicultural influences growing up since her parents got a divorce when she was three years old.
Her Peruvian father left Switzerland to live in Honduras and their relationship eventually faded. Six years later, her mother got remarried to a Swiss man who adopted her as a nine-year-old. The family expanded with the addition of Blattner’s half-sister one year later.
The certified life coach remembers a happy childhood filled with lots of love as she grew up near Zurich, Switzerland. “I was fortunate to meet my then-neighbor, now-husband and love of my life when I was just five years old,” she gushed.
Blattner got the travel bug as a young girl since her family frequently visited foreign locations.
A young globetrotter
Brazil, Paraguay, Cuba, Botswana, Trinidad and Tobago, Maldives and Cape Verde Islands are a few of the places she visited. While most Swiss children would go skiing during their vacations, Blattner has fond memories of traveling to exotic and remote places.
“What initiated my love for the world was my first long flight,” she described. As a young girl with a love of films, Blattner enjoyed picking movies to watch on the plane and arriving in a different place.
What initiated my love for the world was my first long flight.”
A family trip to Madagascar made a strong impact on the Swiss-Peruvian. The cross-cultural adult has clear memories of sweet scents of flowered trees, the excitement of sailing along the ocean and feelings of being immersed in a new culture. She admitted, “the warmth of the people and the culture made a big impression on me.”
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. “There was no mirror for myself even in my own family as the rest of the family looks Swiss. People assumed I was adopted from somewhere else since the city I grew up in was culturally pretty homogeneous,” she said.
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.”
Read part two of the three part series to discover how Blattner used her past to learn more about her South American background. Part two: https://cultursmag.com/series-part-2-of-3-blending-culture/