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Monopoly Board

For the monopoly board I was able to complete 5 different things that can help my understanding on intercultural relationships. 

  1. Brazilian Culture night: At the culture night I was able to experience the Brazilian culture.  I experienced it was the taste of food that they had to try, and their main thing was the dancing that they performed.  I was able to watch the difference dances that they performed in their culture.  Everyone was all happy and smiley and wanted everyone in the audience to stand up and start clapping. And make it the best night of your life.  Just by attending this Brazilian culture night I was able to learn the traditions, the way of life, and many more it was great to go.  Now I have learned to speak a couple of words in brazil.
  2. Outsourced: It is a movie about how a guy goes to India to train a bunch of people to understand America better, meaning they had to talk, act America while they are on the phone calls with people.  In India these individual works at a call center and they are struggling to have customers when they can’t understand America in the first place.  They main character from the movie comes to India to teach them but soon he learns that not everyone thinks the same way he thinks.  Maybe he should learn about India culture first before he teaches everyone America culture So, to understand of one’s culture you must dive into it, learn their traditions, laws and even practices.  For example, in the movie when he was eating dinner with a group of people there is no silverware, so he is asking where the silverware is.  Everyone is like we just use our hands; your right hand is only for eating and the left hand we must never eat.  This gentleman did not understand that, pretty soon he realized that the left hand is consider unholy in India.  This movie outsourced had taught me the importance of one culture that everyone does things different because of the culture where grew up.
  3. “Joseph Smith’s religious Liberty and Ours” On campus I was able to attend this event about this topic and the speaker was Benjamin Park, the assistant professor of history, Sam Houston state university. Some people just love the topic about joseph smith while others are true passion for religious liberty and love for America.  I attended this event I wanted to learn the history a little more on religious liberty from joseph smith and wanted to hear what he had to say.  Back in the 1800 was a different time and place, also it was the born of a new century, and a new nation that founded on freedom the pursuit of happiness.  The speaker was kind of hard to hear and I wish they turned up the microphone a little bit higher, so everyone can hear his voice.  Benjamin also talked about some great things about religious liberty and how it was joseph smith’s passion as well.  Just being able to hear someone perception on this topic was good. 
  4. Sushi: I wanted to try a new food that I have never tried before.  It is called sushi.  My dad loves sushi it like his favorite thing and to me it just seemed gross the entire time and I could not understand why people would eat fish and rice, I mean I eat chicken and rice, but have fish it seemed a little strange for me.  I think I am the only guy in Utah that has never tried sushi.  When I try something new it takes me a lot of convincing to close my eyes and eat it.  I can taste lots of things that some stick with me forever, when I tried it I put it in my mouth at first, I bit on the rice, I think I was supposed to take a bigger bite.  As I did the rice and fish it was a weird taste, but I was determining to finish it and have that be my intercultural experience with food.  When I served on my mission I ate Balut which is way worse than sushi, so I had no idea why it was this hard.  Overall it was a great experience to try something that I have never done before.  If I ever want to visit a country outside the us I better get used to trying new foods.     
  5. Refugee experience. As my last monopoly board, I share is the refugee experience.  The reason why I titled that is Lenard who is a refugee from Africa cam and shared his story, experience how he came to America.  He shared where he is from originally and showed that he came from a tiny village where he had grown up and shared that he had to literally escape Africa to come here to America. He shared his experience how he was in the army as soon as he turned 18, that’s what they do in that country.  Once you turn 18 you join the military.  As he was in the military, he found a very small window to come to America.  He also expressed how grateful he is to be living here and that to have such a good experience coming to America.  As the audience was listening to him speak you could tell that there was certain words that were hard for him to say overall I think he spoke really good English considering how long he has been in the U.S.  We hear all the time that there are X number of refugees that are coming each year and have the obligation to help them.  While some people don’t like that, each refuge come from all walks of life, in different country.  Some really escaped a war zone, while other saw the opportunity to peruse the America dream. Lenard story is what we all need to hear, in that story it shows determination, dedication and following your dream.  

April 24, 2018   No Comments

Monopoly Board Posts

Restaurant -Thai Siam

 

Earlier in January my husband and I visited the restaurant Thai Siam which is located in Draper. I have actually never tried Thai food before but assumed it would taste a lot like Indian food as far as curry rice and chicken goes. We ordered the pad Thai and chicken curry. I don’t really like curry especially because I tried to make some once and the smell stayed in my house for probably a week, but I took a chance and hoped I would like the curry from Thai Siam! Unfortunately, I did not. I found the flavor to be very bland and didn’t love the paid Thai either! My husband really like it though, but he loves everything. Other than the food, the restaurant was really nice and clean. We went on a Tuesday night and there was hardly anyone there. A nice Thai lady sat us right away and our food came pretty quickly. It was a pleasant evening despite my feelings toward curry!

Movie – Eat Pray Love

Eat Pray Love is an awesome movie about different cultures and immersing yourself into them. The movie is about a women who was recently divorced and finds herself unhappy in her career and life. She takes a huge risk and drops everything to travel to three countries for a year. She starts off her journey in Rome Italy where she learns all about how the Italians live a life of pleasure in their relationships and food. She spends a few months there, then some in India where she learns to connect with her spirituality, and lastly in Bali Indonesia where she learns to love again. It was an awesome movie that really highlighted the beauty in every culture.

Restaurant – L & L Hawaiian Barbecue

We had a really funny experience going to L & L Barbecue. I told my husband I need to go to another culturally different restaurant. He suggested that we visit L&L Hawaiian Barbecue because he went there once and really liked it. We decided to go on a Saturday night to the one in Sandy and when we walked in the tiny restaurant it was filled almost to the brim with a family of Polynesians. We could hardly even fit in and I looked at him like maybe we should go.. but he insisted we stay and order. I could hardly get past the amount of people to get up to the register to order. My husband is a very friendly person and he started talking to someone and found out it was a family reunion that night, which knowing Polynesians, they tend to have larger families. So everyone in that restaurant was one family. And then there were two small white people trying to work through the crowd. We probably looked pretty ridiculous. That being said, we ordered some pulled pork, sticky rice and vegetables. I being as picky as I am didn’t love it yet again. I felt like the rice was way too sticky and the pork had too much fat on it. It was just a huge lump of pork on my plate and I’m not used to just eating meat straight up like that. It was still a fun experience though and I’m glad we went.

 

Book – Islam

For my 4th and 5th monopoly board event I read the book Islam. The Islamic religion is one very different from the culture surrounding me. Learning about the Muslim religion was very eye opening, and going into the heart of it would bring some major culture shock. There were some key standouts that I found very interesting and took away from the book Islam. First, the five basic pillars or obligations. Second, is the use and purpose of the Mosque. And third, the way the Muslim people dress, and the women in Islam. There were definitely some similarities to my religion though, like the third pillar of charity, which is a tax paid to the community, sort of like tithing in my religion. Or how in my religion we have churches and temples where we worship, and in Islamic culture they worship at Mosques. Or the turbans that the women must wear, and the clothes we wear in our religion. This book wasn’t extremely exciting, but definitely interesting to learn more about a religion and culture so different from my own. It was nice to think of similarities to my own religion while also realizing that their culture is so different, but no less beautiful or important.

 

April 24, 2018   No Comments

Service learning

This semester, I worked with Serve Refugees and Because He First Loved Us. Service learning was a struggle for me at times because I have a very busy schedule outside of school. Although this was a struggle for me, I got more out of service learning than I expected. I learned many life lessons that I will remember for a long time.

Between my work and school schedule, I only have a few hours I can volunteer. I found a few times I could go Friday night after work and Saturdays when I was not scheduled. The first time I volunteered was at the beginning of February. I went and helped with dinner one night and helped clean up after. On Fridays nights, the kids can be tired from their week at school, so many times they just want to lay low and relax. The kids were grateful for dinner and after we cleaned up then played a few games. This was a rewarding task because it was not something I had to bend over backwards to do.

The next time I volunteered was February 9th. I went to Because He First Loved Us to help set up for their Valentine’s Dinner and make sure everything was ready to go for the next day. On February 10, I returned to Because He First Loved Us so I could help cook dinner for their event. I helped cook the dinner with a few other volunteers. I am not a chef nor have I had the experience cooking for this many people before. This was a new experience for me and I did learn from it! When dinner was cooking, some of the other volunteers and I would walk around and see what the other volunteers were doing with their kids. This was fun because we got to play with the kids and the kids were so energetic. This was a fun event and I got to meet many new people.

The next time I volunteered I volunteered with Serve Refugees. Serve Refugees is often posting on their Instagram that they are in short supply of specific items. My mom and I saw that they had posted one of these posts and I knew I needed a few more hours so we decided to volunteer that night. On March 9, my mom and I went to their sharehouse in South Salt Lake and delivered cleaning and hygiene items that they were asking for. On their post they had asked for diapers, feminine pads, laundry supplies, and personal hygiene kits. For my brothers Eagle Scout project, my family and I put together personal hygiene kits for the homeless shelter in Downtown Salt Lake. We had some leftover so we brought those, and the other supplies Serve Refugees was asking for, to their sharehouse. We spent some time with them and their refugee kids that night and they were so thankful for our donations. I really enjoyed this experience because it was something my mom and I could do together and we were giving back to the community.

My last volunteer experience was on April 21st. I attended Because He First Loved Us’ day of music event. I volunteered in the Disney room and had a lot of fun because I love Disney! The kids were supposed to come in and listen and dance to Disney music for about 45 minutes but the other volunteers and I quickly realized this wasn’t going to work. The kids were shy when they came in and didn’t want to dance so we found that playing games with the music was a better idea. We played musical chairs or had dance circles to get all the kids involved. This was a fun experience and I am glad I got to finish my semester’s volunteer hours this day.

April 23, 2018   No Comments

Post 10; What I’ve Learned

This class has been amazing, in the beginning of the semester i just thought wow this class has a lot of busy work or that janit is asking alot of us. This isn’t really the case anymore, Yes it can be hard to find service hours to work with refugees, but there are other opportunities that I can take part in.

The biggest things that I have learned in this class is I have privileges, now what am I going to do to help other that don’t have the same privileges that I can participate in. I think I will give more of my time to other that don’t share the same privileges that I participate in so that way they can feel privileged. It’s a cool experience to write a blog about my views and experiences that I have had in this class. It reminds me of that paper I wrote about, if we blog about our experiences others can read them and want to participate in similar experiences for themselves.

When I meet people from other cultures I think I’ll pay more attention to what their culture consists of so I can connect better with them in the future.

April 23, 2018   No Comments

Events – Monopoly board

For my monopoly board, I chose to read the book ‘The Gay Revolution’, eat at Los Cucos and Lua-O, and watched the movie ‘The Boy in the Striped Pajamas’.

The Gay Revolution: The Story of the Struggle-

The Gay Revolution, by Lillian Faderman chronicles the struggle for gay, lesbian, and transgender rights from the 1950s to the early 21st century. I really enjoyed reading this book becasue I have always been an advocate for LGBTQ rights and it has been very interesting to see how far the LGBTQ community has come.

Los Cucos-

Although I have had Mexican food in the past, I have been very ‘American’ about how I approach Mexican food. For this class, I decided to try more authentic Mexican food. I went to Los Cucos with my family and made sure I got something more authentic than a quesadilla. I tried a few different things and actually really liked them! This has made my love for Mexican food even greater.

Lua-O-

Lua-O is a Vietnamese restaurant that I tried with my coworkers. My coworkers are Vietnamese and bring Lua-O into our salon a lot but I have never tried it. The first time I had Lua-O I tried it because I was working a 12-hour shift and my boss bought me pho and I was so hungry. Another thing I really liked was the vermicelli salad. I never thought I would like Vietnamese food but now I eat Lua-O all the time.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas-

This movie wrecked me! I initially chose to watch it becasue I studied German and went to Germany while in high school. I have always found the Holocaust to be a very interesting event in history.  Before watching this movie, I did not expect to become so emotionally involved in this movie but I definitely cried over it. This movie really opened my eyes to the reality of the Holocaust and I really enjoyed it.

 

April 23, 2018   No Comments

What I Learned & Moving Forward

I have learned to have more empathy for people of different races and backgrounds. This empathy has developed as I have come to realize that I have a lot of white, male, and Mormon privilege. Understanding this has helped me realize that most, if not all, of the differences that I have with other races are socially constructed. I saw that underneath the minor differences, we all have a lot in common. Moving forward I have opened my heart to those of other races and plan to keep it open. I choose to treat other people normally, no matter what their race is. I choose to acknowledge and respect differences, but to focus on commonalities.

April 23, 2018   No Comments

Service Learning Hours

ESL Students-English Conversation Practice 

  

Almost every Wednesday since the beginning of the semester I have had the opportunity to talk with other UVU students from a different culture. There is a class on campus that allows ESL students an opportunity to practice the English they are learning through conversational practice. I was able to be one of the “teachers” that they talked with. There were only 4 students in the class, so I got to know them all really well. The neat thing was that they were all from different countries including Columbia, China, Brazil, and Mexico. Everyone was still in the early stages of learning English, so it was fun to help answer questions they had. Often times they got frustrated trying to express themselves, so they would use google translate. It was a humbling experience to see them struggle with a new language. I can’t imagine coming to a new country and trying to learn the language and all the other cultural things as well. There was one day when I helped one of the students call their credit card company because the teller on the other end couldn’t understand what they were saying, but these are educated and smart people, just because they don’t know the language does not mean they are unintelligent.

Days For Girls 

    

I was able to spend a few hours this semester with some older ladies at the sewing machines at the Days for Girls organization. This is a program that makes re-useable menstrual hygiene products for women and girl refugees all over the world. There are several steps in order to just take make one item that is included in the kits that get delivered to the women. All over the room, there are images of the refugees all over the world who have received these bags and their faces are so happy. Participating in this service this semester really helped me to remember how blessed I am to have so many basic everyday necessities taken care of. I am so blessed.

Habitat for Humanity 

     

One very freezing morning we gathered in the Provo Towne Center mall parking lot to collect items that could not be thrown away in the trash, things like motor oil, bug spray, and paint cans. This is a project that lasted several hours, and I was surprised at how much we were able to gather. It felt good to be able to help the community in this way and continue to keep the earth clean. I imagine that the living conditions that refugees often find themselves in is not the cleanest, so I think that it would be beneficial if there were more service projects similar to this one in areas all over the world.

Because He First Loved Us- Music Day 

      

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Saturday April 21, 2018 I was able to go with some students from class up to the music day with the Because He First Loved Us organization. I got to be team leaders with Parker and we got to hang out and help the cutest 6-8-year olds as we rotated through the different music rooms. We had fun learning about different instruments and playing Freeze Dance! I was super surprised how quickly the girls felt comfortable around us. Before we knew it, they were wanting to sit on our laps and hold hands when we were walking around. They were so trusting, and it was so amazing to see them react this way almost instantly. I think that they had a lot of fun and they were pretty well behaved. It was fun to spend the Saturday with them!

April 23, 2018   No Comments

Service learning

In this class I actually didn’t realize that I had to do any service learning hours. Once I found out, I got excited about organizing a project and helping those around me. Originally, I wanted to do a project to help woman and girls with hygiene and beauty. But I soon realized that wasn’t possible. For my project I contacted a couple of different local business that had a lot of incoming immigrants who needed help. The company I worked with was called Tax City, and the company does taxes for many minorities, they also offer free service for people who don’t speak English and who need help with filling out their taxes, homework, English speaking lessons, and every day things they couldn’t do with not knowing English. I was there to help them with those needs and translation.

            When thinking about my project I wanted to do something empowering for my community. As a teenager I had done very many community projects, as I got older I got more and more busy and had less time to help those around me. By doing this project it helped me realize that it’s not hard and time consuming to just take a couple hours out of your week to help your community. If you think about it it’s barely anything! Throughout this class I started to get excited about being able to help out more.

            This business is a Tax preparation center specifically for the Hispanic and other minorities. The main office has a tax preparer that’s bilingual and it’s also an immigration center. I wanted to help out my community in a way that I could provide my skills. As I started to think I remember being in Big Brother Big Sisters Club and helping the Hispanic students that just moved here from Mexico. I also run my own business, and I always hear my clients telling me that they were always to shy and scared to go to other business, only because they spoke Spanish. I started to realize that our community needs help with translations.

            My job was to help families and students who just arrived to the United States, and help them with any needs they may have. It was a tax center and we would offer our time and help to help fill out tax forms, students would bring their homework, or give assistance and direction of local businesses, rentals etc. We would get many families who would come in, and believe it or not they were really apprehensive to come ask for help.

            We not only had Hispanics but many other cultures come and ask for help. I think the most challenging part was seeing these families in need but just being to apprehensive and proud to ask for help. Which I believe some of the families needed more assistance but they were just to shy to ask.

            Something that I learned while doing this project is that you are not only helping them but you are also helping yourself. Being able to help others makes you realize how lucky and blessed you are. To give an example I was helping a young girl, she was around 13 years old. She said to me “You are lucky that you know 2 languages, and you learned when you were a baby.” This really stood out to me because I never truly realized how lucky and blessed I am. I can go into a store and read in English, and also read in Spanish. I have the power and ability to help people who don’t know two languages.

            Another example was when a man came in and he needed help with taxes. I would read the form and translate in Spanish and I would help him fill out the paper work. He got really emotional during the process because he felt helpless, he didn’t know how to help his family. He said “How can I help and provide for my family, if I can’t even understand the language.” This was true. My parents immigrated to the States when they were kids. My mom had the ability to learn English in school; she had resources to help her become successful. In Utah County there are many places that teach English. This man said he has a much harder time learning English, because he has a family he has to provide for, and doesn’t have the time to go and learn English.

            By doing service learning it helped me realize that I am privileged to be living in this country and knowing the language. I’ve seen how much these families have struggled; my family was able to provide for me in teaching me both English and Spanish. I truly am privileged. Intercultural communications makes you an asset, you have the best of both worlds, and you can understand and create a bridge between two cultures.

April 23, 2018   No Comments

UVU BachataFest

First of all let’s get this straight! I’m not a dancer, I’ve tried dancing before so this event was out of my comfort zone. Going dancing helped me to see everyone’s heritage and culture and to see where they come from. Like I’ve mentioned before I’m Mexican. It was really great to see how other cultures such as Dominican republic, Puerto Rico, Cuban etc. They all dance differently and put their own spin on it. They also had a dancing competition which was really awesome to see. I definitely will go back, it was really fun. It helped me look through different lenses to understand other cultures. 

 

April 23, 2018   No Comments

Mic Drop Moments

I have learned SO MUCH this semester it’s hard to put it into a single post, but I’ll do my best. I think the absolute most valuable lesson that I learned this semester is that we are all cultural rookies. It’s one of the reasons I have themed my blog as “One White Guys opinion on life, #culturalrookie”. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you are from everyone is an individual and no one should assume they know who you are because of the color of your skin, or the country you are from. I don’t think it’s easy to do, but I think if you don’t do it you do humanity and yourself a disservice. By compartmentalizing people into groups and associating them by race and skin color you limit the individuality of every person on earth. No one fits the stereotype perfectly and labeling people limits are ability to connect and break cultural and racial barriers. Assumptions and judgements are the death of openness and cultural acceptance. 

So moving forward in my life, I am going to try and drop my walls and empathize with people with no preconceived notions. I had the chance to work directly with the refugees up in Salt Lake and it was so much fun. To see the life and vibrance these kids have it makes you want to do everything you can to help them. For some reason going and directly working with people who are different then you in some ways makes you see all the ways you are similar. The personalities of these young refugee boys I got to coach were larger than life. I could tell initially they were a little hesitant when I came to coach, but slowly I won them over and by the end they were having fun with me. 

If I am being completely honest there were somethings we talked about this semester that I am still thinking about and processing. I was uncomfortable at moments and I wasn’t sure how to respond but I think each time was a growing experience and changed my perspective. I don’t think real change happens overnight for anyone, but this class has given me new perspective and taken me one step closer to becoming the person I need to be. The world needs people who are willing to get outside of their comfort zones.

Learn to love change. 

Mic Drop. 

April 22, 2018   No Comments