Way to Be Like Weetzie,
Number Fifteen :: Embrace Cultures
Weetzie Bat never shies away from something new or exotic, and she has so many friends of different nationalities and cultures and enjoys so many different kinds of activities and fashions that her life is full of fun and beautiful diversity!
((I don't have many quotes for this one right now, since all of my WB books except Necklace of Kisses are MIA, but I'll add more later.))
Easy Ways To Explore Different Cultures Around You ::
~Try a new kind of restaurant
--I'll never forget the first time I tried a local (authentic) Korean restaurant. Even though I hadn't fully adjusted to the food, the experience was still amazing; korean banchan, sweet chilled cinnamon tea, and all that spicy amazing food! And I can't even begin to describe my first trip to an Ethiopian restaurant. So delicious, so exciting. Here are my recommendations for new food types :: Vietnamese (try the Pho, please!), Korean, Ethiopian (so yummy), West African, Sushi (don't you dare get a California roll!), and Dim Sum (Bao please!). If you're not sure if you have any of these in your area, check out ChowHound.com and ask around. Then get chowing! Don't forget to ask questions when there's something you don't fully understand, like "How do I eat this?" "What's this made out of?", etc.
~Go on a WikiTour
-- Start off on Wikipedia with something you like. Bollywood, Chinese Food, Salsa Music, whatever. Then follow the internal links from that cultural wonder to another. I used to do this a lot with food, especially sushi. I'd read about one kind of food, then click on a wiki-link that described another similar food, and so on and so on. You can do this with a lot of things on Wikipedia, such as music, fashion, celebrities, religions, etc. It's a great way to just soak up new cultural information.
--When you meet someone from a different culture, don't hesitate to ask questions about their life and culture (though you might want to ask if it's okay first). Think of yourself as a cultural journalist, collecting information on their unique and wonderful lifestyle.
~Find a Festival
-- I looove international festivals. Music, food, clothes, dancing, language, and cultural oddities all in one place! If you live near a university, it's likely you can find one of these at least once a year. If you live in an awesome hippy/diverse area (NYC, LA, Asheville, Miami, etc), you can probably find them much more often. The local university here does at least one full international festival per year, and the individual cultural organizations do their own cultural events as well, such as Chinese Moon Festivals or celebrations of the Chinese New Year. I once went to a Native American festival here, with tribal dance, food, and demonstrations, and I saw a flier last year for a Hare Krishna festival about an hour north of here (but I didn't get to go). Not to mention an Italian food festival downtown last month, a Celtic Culture festival in Boone a few years back (maybe they do it every year), and music festivals all over the state! Don't be afraid to get out there and experience something new.
-- Pandora and Grooveshark are great websites that let you listen to music for free. Team them up with Wikipedia or another search engine and explore different kinds of music from around the world. Experience latin beats with Salsa or Merengue, try some Japanese pop music or African rhythms.
~Do the Artsy Thing
-- Museums and galleries really are great ways to get out of the house and explore culture. This is especially true if the particular exhibit has to do with foreign history or art. Entrance is usually free or at least cheap, and on a day off from work or school it's a great way to have a relaxed day out and soak in the beauty and diversity. If you're lucky enough to live near an art/foreign/independent movie theater, stop by for a type of film you wouldn't normally watch, like a French drama or Bollywood flick.
~Celebrate a Foreign Holiday
-- I love the idea of celebrating random, foreign/different holidays, even if you aren't of that ethnicity, religion, or culture. A calender that lists different countries holidays is a great addition to your office/desk/living room, and a little research can go a long way towards a fun afternoon of cooking foreign, festive foods, listening to new cultural holiday music, and learning/exploring something new.
~ Don't be Afraid
-- Please, please, please; never be afraid of something new. I have a motto that I'll try anything at least twice. Because, to me, the first time is never really enough to fully grasp what it is you're trying. For some things (like bungee jumping) once may be enough, but for things like food, performances, music, etc, the first time is just an introduction, just a taste. To really know if you enjoy something, you have to at least try to experience it a second time, just to make sure you've fully seen (or tasted, or heard) what that thing had to offer you.
Recommended Links & Inspiration ::
Ted Global 2010 :: Videos of culture and issues around the world
"A very tiny old lady with a lavender sari and violets in her white hair joined Weetzie and the flower girl. The woman was so graceful like a young bride herself. Weetzie thought, That is how I want to be."
Recommended Reading :: Memoirs of a Geisha and No Reservations; Around the World on a Empty Stomach
"She sat at a quiet table surrounded by red and white cat statues with one paw raised, as if swiping at prey, and wiped her hands with the warm washcloth that the very tall, surprisingly broad-shouldered Japanese waitress brought. Then Weetzie ordered miso soup, spinach with sesame, edamame, sauteed pumpkin, rice balls with umeboshi, cold soba noodles with scallions, and tofu steak. Each item came in its own small red, black, or terra-cotta bowl or dish, she at slowly with her chopsticks."