Christmas Around the World

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In the past week, I’ve come across various articles showcasing Christmas dinners and traditions around the world. Falling on various days with various ingredients and meanings behind them, all of the dinners incorporate two things: family and tradition.

The Le Réveillon feast in France on December 24th is just as festive as the Fata in Egypt on January 6th. Sweets are incorporated into most gatherings, and a meat – whether it be turkey, beef, lamb, or Japan’s Kentucky fried chicken – is usually a main component.

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White Girl

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Many people comment that they don’t think of me as a “white girl”. Maybe it’s because I listen more than I speak, or that I’m more collectivist and caring then most ‘Americans’ are. Maybe it’s because I’ve picked up cultural habits from my environment at a young age. I started thinking about this more in-depth recently, and have come to a few conclusions regarding why:

1. I have grown up with multicultural friends all my life which, in turn, has led to my social circle containing very few white Americans 

While a child, some of my best friends were Jewish, Pakistani, African American, Indian, Asian, and Spanish. In middle school we moved out to the boonies where most of my classmates were white, a running joke being that all of the black people were related (and, from my knowledge, not in a racist sense. They really were). Needless to say, I felt a bit out of place at first.

I soon met my best friend, who is Iranian, and I was soon at every Persian event in the Washington, DC area. Before I knew it, I was dancing at Sizdeh Bedar and Chahr-Shanbeh Souri, eating kabobs and tahdig at family dinners and hanging out at local hookah bars on the norm. I undoubtedly picked up values that overlapped with mine from this immersion, including respecting elders, the concept of time being fluid, dancing no matter your age, and many customs and language terms I hadn’t thought of before, such as the various views on the “Americanized” Persians and views/stereotypes of other cultures. Continue reading

Chef Guillermo Pernot of Cuba Libre

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I had the pleasure of interviewing Chef Guillermo Pernot of Cuba Libre on his motives for creating Latino cuisine and his experience bringing the Cuban culture to DC.  

He began with the goal of using knowledge of Latin food and Cuban cuisine to help run Cuba Libre Washington, DC, and has since adapted the restaurant to the palates of those he serves while maintaining a true Cuban experience. Both dedicated and passionate, Chef Pernot understands the benefits of intercultural communication.

Photo courtesy of Kristin Cummings

Photo courtesy of Kristin Cummings

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Arturo Ornelas on Participatory Action-Research as a Way of Life

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When I do something that takes me beyond what I have been able to do before, and I discover what I am capable of doing that action, I realize joy. I am, in fact, growing. It is a feeling of movement and satisfaction for both the individual and the group.

Development is an energizing force that grows synergistically. Without linkages between people, that energy is not created. Synergy pushes us to walk on, to go further, to work more. The moments of joy have so much to do with people being together and caring deeply about each other. This, in turn, affects and reflects the actual work being accomplished.

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