Making The Foreign Familiar Every Day :: Meet Amanda Freerksen

Here at Tea, we believe in making the foreign familiar, across the globe and across the street…Opening children’s eyes to the wonder of the world around them. Showing kids that, when you get down to the heart of things, we have a lot in common with other citizens of the world. And while a trip halfway around the world might instantly make the foreign familiar, it’s important to remember that you don’t have to go far to experience new sights, sounds and tastes!

Amanda Freerksen, of the blog Queso Suizo, (and one of our Tea Ambassadors!) shares with us a bit about her family, how they came to love Tea and how she strives to make the foreign familiar for her two kiddos at home.

Hi Amanda! Tell us a bit about your family…

Our little family started a couple of years after my husband and I met on the dance floor of a night club in San Diego. The adventure began with what we like to call an extended honeymoon – living and working in Switzerland for the first two years of our marriage. Today, we are a family of four: my husband, Isaiah; our 4-year-old son, Hunter; our 20-month-old daughter, Paloma; and me! I always thought I wanted a big family with around four children, but since we didn’t start our family until we were in our thirties, I feel like we got a late start. Besides, once Paloma was born, I looked down at that sweet face and got the overwhelming feeling that our family was now perfectly complete.

What is it about Tea that you most identify with?

Goodness, there are so many things that make me identify with Tea’s story, but what stands out is this idea that we are more alike than we are different, which Tea so perfectly expresses through the company name. Everywhere you go, tea is a drink that brings people together. It might be taken or served differently from one culture to the next, but the experience of sharing this drink with people we love or new friends we meet is something we have in common. What a perfect name for a company that’s all about making the foreign familiar! Additionally, I really admire how Tea gives back to children stateside through school fundraisers and around the world through the Global Fund for Children. These days I am all about supporting brands that align with my values, and Tea’s global mindset fits the bill!

As an adventure aficionado and mother of two, how do you try to make the foreign familiar for your little citizens in your home?

I want more than anything for my children to see themselves as global citizens, and I think the best way to achieve that is for them to realize that we are indeed more alike than we are different. Though, as much as I would love to whisk them off to foreign countries to see first-hand the common threads that unite us, international travel is just not on the docket for my family for a few more years. Instead, I try as much as possible to bring the world to our home through multi-cultural crafts, music, food, languages, and more. In fact, I have a series on my blog sharing all the ways our family is intentional about making the foreign familiar. For example, during our morning commute we listen to children’s CDs in foreign languages. My son loves them, and we sing along even if we don’t really know what the words mean. Often times it inspires conversations about foreign languages, and we get to look at a map and see where the particular language is spoken.

Also, we’re pretty lucky here in the Seattle area that the Seattle Center is home to a variety of cultural festivals all year long, and in the summer they happen as often as several times per month. Festivals, celebrations, and cultural ceremonies not only offer a glimpse into the sights and sounds of a foreign culture, they are a great opportunity to show children that no matter the language, the dress, or food, we are all united in our humanity.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to parents looking to inspire global curiosity in their little citizens?

I think it’s easy to get caught up in the idea that in order for your children to experience the world they need to travel the world starting at a young age, and that’s just not doable for so many families. So, my advice is to start small. Explore your own cultural background and heritage. Invite grandparents or great-grandparents to share stories, traditions, and experiences from their childhood. When children see that culture is part of their own familiar experience, they can start to appreciate the experiences of children from other cultures.

If you could bring your family on a trip anywhere in the world, where would you go?

I have two dream destinations on my mind right now. The first is Japan. I
think that experiencing the cultural differences between the U.S. and Japan at a young age would leave quite the impression on my children — that our world is so diverse and the way we do things in our own little bubble is not how they are done everywhere else.

My other dream destination is South Africa, which we are actually taking some action steps to make a trip come true in the next few years. My husband’s aunt and uncle live there half of the year and have invited us to stay with them, so lately I have been daydreaming about how amazing it would be for my children to see elephants up close and in the wild!

For more tips and ideas on how to cultivate a sense of global perspective for your littles, check out Amanda’s blog, Queso Suizo.

Photo credits: Family photo by Julie Rings Photography. All other photos by Amanda Freerksen.

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