be different, be yourself
Today I feel like telling stories.
I come from small country called Latvia. As a kid I was member of choir, learned to play piano and flute, danced folk dances, once even on the big stadium during Latvian Song and dance celebration. When I was 11, Latvia became independent again and my family got back properties, which were took away in 1941. We moved to our farm and I got a dog!!! I loved freedom of farm – we could see houses of our neighbours, but between us were fields, meadows and ponds. Years later when I moved to study in Riga, even than I was lucky to find a little house with a garden for a rent.
And than I met Him. He happened to be German and love of my life. It took few years, but finally I left my family, my friends, my work and little house with a garden behind me and moved to Germany. No matter than Latvian and German are quite similar cultures, I was shocked. There were so many things which I had to learn! At first that there are still two Germanies (for two years we lived in place near Stuttgart, where even my German husband was a foreigner). I learned to know neighbours, which were very curious, untactfully controlled our waste and gave me suggestions how to better sort it! (Nowadays I get small crises myself if I see plastic waste in paper bin, but I do not know which of our neighbours are sorting wrong). Than that every one and everything has an insurance e.g. die Haftpflichtversicherung what is something like “public liability insurance”. When we got our kids, it became more interesting. I could not imagine to talk with my kids in other language as in Latvian. Some people had and have a problem with that, offended call it secret language and many think that I backbite them. Of course I want to integrate myself and to belong to the community, but I also wanted to keep my personality. Besides I wanted that my kids are able to talk to their grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins in Latvia. There are no schools or lessons for Latvian kids in Thuringia – how much I will talk, read, play, make, sing to them, that is how much they will learn Latvian language and culture. So I decided and talked consequent with my kids only Latvian. At home, on the street, in the kindergarden and at friends. To others I explained that there are no secrets, that I simply talk to my kids Latvian and if they want, one of us can translate every single sentence. My experiment was successful. How do I know it? First of all, my kids speak good Latvian and are not ashamed to do it. Second, children in kindergarden know that there are at least three languages in the world: German, English and Latvian. Latvian for them is not a strange exotic language from nowhere, but simply a language.
Now my oldest is already in grammer school and time to time I get so tired to be different, but I know that there is no way back.
Why do I write all of this? Because I see similar pattern somewhere else in my life – in my profession. Software testing is like strange exotic language in the world of software development. They hear it, rise their eyebrows if it is too loud, but do not take it serious. How I deal with it? Similar like talking Latvian in Germany:
- be proud of yourself and your work
- be consequent
- be tolerant and translate to others how and why you do what you do