My mother grew up in an immigrant household, and until the start of primary school, her first language was Dutch. My grandparents spoke in fragmented English, creating a muddling of languages in the household that left my mother and her sisters with significant gaps in their Dutch proficiency. Things That I Know, Things That You Know is a visual representation of my mother and I learning and re-learning Dutch together; mother and daughter embracing our mother tongue. Due to the differences in our learning styles and geographic locations, much of our learning takes place independently in the form of letters sent back and forth. As this process stretches over time, we trade stories, songs, secrets, and memories and our familial relationship begins to change, intensifying to that of two individuals relying on and learning from one another to accomplish a shared goal. We begin to speak Dutch in a way similar to how my grandparents tried to learn English—through shared memories, awkward fragments of language, and trial and error. We discover that language carries with it things that are untranslatable, that are embedded in Dutch culture and tradition. Unexpectedly, our language learning also reconnects us with deeper, hidden aspects of our family history.Things That I Know, Things That You Know is about learning through visual documentation, making sense of a new language, and of a mother and daughter learning both about and from each other. Things That I Know, Things That You Know is a visual representation of the process of learning the Dutch language and of my mother and me, learning a language together. Me, learning the Dutch language for the first time, and my mother, relearning it for a second time. My mother is an auditory learner, and I learn visually, and we live on opposite ends of the country, so much of our learning takes place individually. I shape my learning around the everyday and try to visualize how this learning is taking place --- my individual learning, and where my learning and my mother’s learning intersects in what we know and do not know. The learning process is difficult, filled with blank spaces where words struggle to reside in memory, and the struggle in switching back and forth between two vastly different languages. While we learn, my mother tells stories about her upbringing. I learn more about this language that is foreign to me and it bridges the gap of the heritage language that I am learning as the third generation. Things That I Know, Things That You Know is about learning through photography, making sense of a new language, and of a mother and a daughter learning from each other.

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