Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Columbus Day...Around the World

Last week, while calendars in the U.S. were marked with Columbus Day, countries all over Latin America were celebrating their own versions of the holiday, in honor of Columbus discovering 'the Americas.'  Little did I know that school kids in Central America, South America, and the Caribbean had grown up - like me - learning that "1492" was a very special year, and that "the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria" were very special ships.  On Friday Bart and I were enlightened on just a few of these commonalities that we share with our Latin American friends, as the 4th year Baxter students made presentations on their countries' cultures.
For the presentations, the two of us were asked to be judges for categories like decoration, music, and food.  So I channelled my inner Top Chef judge and enjoyed the delights they had to offer.  In terms of food, my favorite treat of the day was an avocado smoothie from Colombia (I know it sounds crazy, but it was so good!).  In the music category, our brothers from Cuba scored high for their great rendition of "Guantanamera," which means "a girl from Guantanamo."  And while a day like Friday can highlight all the distinctions between countries, for me it also illuminates the fact that, as humans, we are more alike than different.  

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Children's Day!

Last weekend, the Baxter students celebrated Children's Day!  In Honduras, Mother's Day and Father's Day are celebrated, just like in the States.  But here they also celebrate Children's Day, which is a pretty big deal.  The presents that the kids receive, as well as the focus placed on them, could rival many Christmas celebrations here.
Last year for this event, Bart and I bought a present for one of the children.  This year I wanted to do a little more, so I volunteered to bring some food for the party.  I've taken food to events here before, but this was the first time for me to bring a dish that they suggested...and that I knew they'd have high standards for.  I hate to divulge what it was, because it seems simple enough, but I know many of you reading this will realize how stressful it can be try to fulfill a task according to the standards of another culture.
Well, everybody ate what I brought...and nobody for me, that's a success.  And, honestly, it felt great to walk away from Children's Day this year knowing I had stretched myself a little and tried to adapt to this culture just a bit more.  (poco a poco...right?)