Getting Cultural with Joa


Meet Joa - a photographer, mother of 2 boys and based in London. We met Joa not too long ago and fell in love with her photography. Joa describes her style of photography as relaxed, honest and natural. This resonates with FIN and ZEE’s style and philosophy which naturally lead to our first collaboration with JoaIn this blog, we get to know Joa and her family – a diverse, inspiring family with a rich cultural background
 
 
The family…
We are four.
One is wild and headstrong.
The other is calm and tenacious. 
Dad is a Software Engineer who makes video games.
Currently, alongside being a mama, I am a yoga therapist with the soul of an artist. I attribute my soul’sdesire to create art to those resourceful women I had the good fortune of growing up alongside in Colombia.
 
Lessons from motherhood… 
Two of the most impactful things I have learned throughout my motherhood journey are to trust the universe and listen to my kids. Prior to giving birth for the first time, I bought into the illusion that I had control over everything in my life. 
Upon preparing for the birth, I wrote pages upon pages of directions for my birth. I was living a very natural lifestyle and wanted my birth to happen naturally as well- no drugs or outside interventions. If it didn't happen in this way I would be disappointed and it wouldn't be the beautiful birth I had dreamt about. This is where my first lesson began. Beauty comes from many sources. The birth unfolded in a nearly opposite way than what I had planned. I end up undergoing an emergency Caesarean section and being put on what felt like every drug under the sun. After thirty hours of labour, the boy that would light up my life was born safely and dare I say, perfectly. My start to motherhood was seemingly the worst start I could have imagined but it taught me that life is unpredictable. Despite this, I am a warrior and on the other side of difficult moments are beautiful, life-changing moments and that's all that matters. 
The kids can be such a challenge but we try to have fun and do as many creative things as we can.
 
    
Waldorf inspired … 
Our family follows the Steiner Waldorf approach to our everyday rhythm at home as well as educational philosophy for our oldest child. This approach allows the kids a great deal of unstructured play, encourages a celebration of the rhythm of life as well as each passing season. We make life at home an interactive learning environment so that education doesn't feel forced but rather is something they seek out. Of course, balance is the key to a healthy life so we do allow some screen time! 
 
A mixed-race family in London… 
London is interesting. I think there are too many people and it’s extremely difficult to have a tight-knit community. We don’t have a lot of family in London. 
We are very much a mixed-race family. My great grandmother on my father’s side was from Israel, my grandfather on my mother’s side is black and his wife was a Colombian Native Indian. My partner is mixed-race too - Scottish and Egyptian. 
I think we’ve reached a point of view where we struggle to fit into any racial categories so it’s easy to forget to do so at all (which is a good thing). However, we seem to blend in pretty well. In Spain, people think we’re Spanish (until we start speaking). Exactly the same thing happens oddly enough in Egypt. We try to keep the idea that we are all just people from this earth, just like everyone else.
 
     
 
The family heritages… 
We do our best to show our kids the beauty of the world, teach them and expose them to different cultures, and immerse them in the history of food and art. We travel as often as we can, which is another great way of bringing awareness to the diversity of life experiences. We do this in an effort to foster an open mind and open heart and to encourage the boys to learn and grow in new and unexpected ways. 
Our children have a family tree that was created by an Uncle who is a passionate researcher of history and heritage. This has been an important tool that facilitates sharing cultural awareness with our kids.  
We embrace many traditions from our own families as well as friends which is why we encourage different rhythms within cultural celebrations.  
I have made a point to teach my native tongue, Spanish, to the boys. We spend summers in Spain so that they can practice outside of just speaking it with me and now they are both bilingual. This is one of the proudest ways in which I've passed my heritage on to them.  
We believe a huge part of any culture is food and how we eat. With our vast coverage, we cook many different types of cuisine, from Egyptian, Scottish, Italian, Colombian, Spanish, Chinese (from our Chinese Singaporean Aunty). We also love to travel and spend time in different cultures.  
We love creating rituals to connect over as a family. One of our favourites is intentionally remaining free of plans on Sundays so that we can all spend the entire day together - beginning with snuggles in bed and making breakfast as a family unit.  
Weaving my children's Scottish roots into this ritual, we cook a lovely Sunday roast for dinner. As we find our seats around the table, we all take a moment to express gratitude. We go around and share the things that we are grateful for or someone that has brought happiness to our life that week. This practice has been a powerful tool for our kids as a way to introduce gratitude and the importance of being humble. Our youngest son loves this time because he gets to tell us how grateful he is for t-Rex and any cartoon he has had the chance to watch!
 
 
 
Make sure to follow Joa’s Instagram@theazizbrotherhood;  to see more of her work at https://www.joaphotography.co.uk/


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