My grandmother once told me, "When you're looking for a life partner, it's best to date someone who's Jewish."
"Because it's one less thing to fight about."
The waters of romance can be rough, and avoiding the iceberg of "What religion will we raise our children as?" is worth it, in her eyes.
As much as I love my wild and crazy grandmother, I never listened to this specific piece of wisdom.
All of the men I've ever dated have been from different cultures. Whether they were Irish, Italian or Greek, they've always been of a different ethnicity or culture than my own.
When you date someone who's from a different walk of life than you, you gain an entirely new view of the world. You learn all about their food, their religion and their values.
I've always had a severe case of wanderlust, longing to backpack across Europe, walk the beaches of Santorini or wander down the paths of Venice.
Of course, it's because I have the desire to travel. But, the real reason is because I love new cultures. I love learning about people's ways of life, how they were brought up and what values their ethnicities hold dearly.
A college girl working three jobs and saving for her loans and her future couldn't make her "travel around the world in 80 days" dream a reality.
But, instead of embarking on a journey across the world, I've embarked on the journey of cross-culture romance.
I've fallen in love with my soulmate who's from a completely different world than I am from. I was raised American with traditional Jewish values. My boyfriend, on the other hand, was raised Greek-Orthodox, and his parents are first-generation American.
While my boyfriend is an incredible human on his own, his culture is amazing in its own ways.
Dating people from completely different worlds than mine has not only broadened my own, but it has bettered it overall. Here's why:
1. You learn a new language.
Of course, we've all had to sit through high school classes of Spanish, French, Italian and Latin.
But, do any of us really pick up a language in just a year or two of classes?
And, let's get real: None of us actually wanted to take language in the first place. It was just a requirement.
When you date someone from a different culture, you want to learn the language of his or her ethnicity.
My boyfriend's grandparents, while they do know English, speak Greek as their native tongue.
After being together for some time, I downloaded Greek-learning apps on my phone for weeks, practicing greetings and conversational words.
Learning their native tongue was a huge priority of mine.
Plus, employers often look for unique qualities like bilingualism. Being able to say I can speak another language makes me stand out from the crowd and expands my own personal experience.
2. You get to try amazing, authentic food.
Every culture has its own signature dishes. While there are tons of "authentic Greek restaurants" all over New York City, there is nothing quite like eating lamb or spanikopita that my boyfriend's grandparents made.
The time and effort, the secret recipes and the love that is put into making a food from your own culture makes all of the difference in the taste. If you
If you don't believe me, ask any Italian if Nonna's chicken cutlets taste anything like store-bought ones. The answer is always no.
3. New cultures bring new lessons.
Every culture has its traditions and its values. While culture sometimes intersects in morals and lessons, it's always interesting to learn and absorb new traditions.
The biggest thing one learns when dating someone from a different culture is patience and understanding.
Not everyone is raised the same way you were, especially when you become an adult and move away from your hometown.
When you enter the workforce, you'll be faced with coworkers and bosses who are from all over the world.
Different cultures bring different norms. The biggest asset you can bring with you is tolerance.
When you become comfortable interacting with others interculturally and exhibit the patience you need, you'll be able to succeed further in your everyday life.
4. You get to make your own mini culture by combining both worlds.
When you get serious with someone and talk about your futures together, religion and culture always play a roll.
The best part about this kind of relationship is that you create your own mini culture.
When my boyfriend and I discuss our futures, we talk about the blending of both Judaism and Greek-Orthodox cultures, celebrating all holidays and keeping all traditions.
In a global society and economy, raising children multiculturally will not only benefit them, but will make them more diverse and well-rounded citizens of the world.
5. Life becomes an adventure.
When you are accustomed to going through life with one lens, things get fuzzy when the focus changes.
When you fall in love with someone from a different culture, the old way of doing things won't always work.
You both will have different ways of responding to things and communicating, and you'll have to both adapt to working with each other.
Compromises will have to be made, and you'll ultimately change your views of the world to better your relationship.
This is a healthy change because you'll grow as an individual by incorporating a new culture into your own. The best part about it is that when you travel together, the adventure never ends.