Monthly Archives: January 2012

IF YOU HAVE A MINUTE…

IF YOU HAVE A MINUTE… PLEASE READ THIS    

You might be interested in this and you might not be, but here it goes. In our mother tongue group we have been working on different cultural aspects. I’m going to talk about the cultural presentation that we did in one of our lessons. My presentation was about Saudi Arabian culture. I talked about Arabian culture because I was born, and raised up in Saudi Arabia, Jeddah to be precise. I enjoyed doing this as I talked about a book that I have been dying to read called ‘Princess’. This book means something as it’s from a perspective of one of the princesses in Saudi Arabia.  It speaks about a life of a princess that has been brought up in the Saudi Arabian royal family. I had an opportunity to speak about my culture to other people who might have a clue what our culture is about, but not in depth. I hope the class enjoyed my presentation as much as I did.

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KK

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Adapting To The UK

Adaptation Lifestyle Essay

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”

-Charles Darwin

I believe Charles Darwin’s evolution theory is applicable to all aspects of everyone’s’ life. Like all species, humans, adapt to their current environment in order to survive. When species go through hardships, and whether or whether not they adapt will determine if they are on the right side of natural selection.

            My biggest hardship so far, was when I moved to London, which was on the other side of the ocean. The life I had been accustomed to in the greater Boston area of “The States” was entirely unconnected to the one given to me in Great Britain. I had no choice in whether I wanted to stay or go to England because where we lived depended on my Dad’s work. We had moved twice before but not even out of Massachusetts, and furthermore the country. I already knew some of the difficulties that were to come my way, such as: new school system, finding new friends, different accent, and driving on the other side of the road. For the challenges I didn’t expect, I would have to face the hard way.

            One major change in my life that originated from London, was transportation. In all of the more countryside America, only cars are used to get around. This is actually the reason why America is the number one consumer of oil products (well-known fact). The trains are used in the cities, but I never lived near those areas. Nor had I intended to use public transportation to get to see my friends or attend school. The first six months were not even enough to memorize the Underground Tube Map. My parents attempted to solve this problem by sending me to school the provided school bus (as I had done before). There were several issues with this solution: one being that traffic in the city cannot be compared to the countryside, second was that there were times that I had to stay after school meaning that I would have to take the Tube anyway. I kept trying though to understand how the transportation around London worked, asking students who used it more often. By my second year in London, I had already converted to using the Underground to get around town having memorized most of the routes.

            As soon as I had immigrated to London, I had immediately learned of the great diversity between people’s cultures. In west side Boston, the minorities who visited our city were mostly from neighboring countries of the same continents as us with some deep heritage originating from most of Europe and Russia. However, even in my first days in the new country I realized how different people were here. I began to see people from all corners of the world including India, China, Japan, Italy, and Russia (again), and many people from the Middle East. In fact, I constantly classified Ealing Broadway to have the largest population of Indians I had seen in one area, until I had actually gone to India myself. In my small towns in the States, if we saw a minority move into the town, they would become the talk of the town after mentioning where they are from. This was very easy to adapt to in London because, usually when a different a different culture moves to a city, their diverse cuisine came with them. I am fan of all foods, except Thai, and I love to taste Mexican, Indian, and many other dishes. When I hear that Indian population exists in a certain area, I assume that there is Tikka Masala and run to try it.

Despite enjoying the company of cultures that I am not too familiar with, I sometime find it difficult to communicate. This not only applies to people who don’t speak English as their first languages but the different accents around United Kingdom as well. To be honest, when I first moved to England I would turn on the television and not be able to understand what anyone was saying… I only heard of British accents on BBC and in the movies before I had moved to the country itself. It wasn’t as difficult to understand people at my school, though this was probably because they spoke in understanding with other cultures that joined the school every year. They have to make English as simple as possible in case the new students can’t speak English. The first year I struggled to maintain a relationship with people outside of school because I had to ask them to repeat what they said in order to understand them. I kept telling myself in order to understand the native English speakers I had to think like one: to walk the dog on the leash, is to walk the dog on the lead; to take the subway is to take the Tube; to call a taxi is to call a cab; to wear pants is to wear trousers; to use the restroom is to use the toilet etc. etc. By the next year, the tables of understanding were turned, and perhaps too turned well-understood because occasionally I would find myself pronouncing in a pathetically posh accent. Sometimes, I found a telling person that I am American was difficult and they would tell me I don’t have the right accent.

-Mark Roytman

Categories: Cultural | 1 Comment

I Know a Place in Africa

I know a place in Africa
Where I can feel the sun on my back
And the sand between my barefoot toes
Where I can hear the gulls on the breeze
And the waves crash on the endless shore

I know a place in Africa
Where the mountains touch the skies of blue
And the valleys shelter vines of green
Where the trees spread out a cloth of mauve
And the bush veld wears a coat of beige

I know a place in Africa
Where I can hear the voice of thunder gods
And watch their lightening spears thrown to earth
Where I can breathe the scent of rain clouds
And taste the sweet dew of dusty drops

This is the place of wildness
Of evolution and dinosaurs
Where life began and mankind first stood
Of living fossils and elephants
Where lions roar and springbok herds leap

This is the place of struggle
Of desert plains and thorn trees
Where pathways end and hunters track game
Of horizons and frontiers
Where journeys start and sunsets bleed red

This is the place of freedom
Of exploration and pioneers
Where darkness loomed and light saw us through
Of living legends and miracles
Where daybreak came and hope now shines bright

My heart is at home in Africa
Where the sound of drums beat in my chest
And the songs of time ring in my ears
Where the rainbow mist glows in my eyes
And the smiles of friends make me welcome

My mind is at ease in Africa
Where the people still live close to the soil
And the seasons mark my changing moods
Where the markets hustle with trading
And Creation keeps its own slow time

My soul is at peace in Africa
For her streams bring lifeblood to my veins
And her winds bring healing to my dreams
For when the tale of this land is told
Her destiny and mine are as one

By Wayne Visser

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Around the World in 15 Years…

Traveling around the world in fifteen years is a journey worthy of recognition. Not only is it a literal journey of flying around the globe, but it’s also a figurative journey of self discovery and self actualization. It’s been an adventure living around the world, and my adventure is nowhere near its end. So I wanted to pause my journey for a while and leave a literal mark on this blog. From Asia to Europe, and the Middle East, it’s been hard deciding on a place to call home, because each of the places I end up living in seem to perfectly fit the role of being my home. My experiences have been the same in terms of adapting to the community and including myself in the areas of society, but the differences and unique characteristics that each place possesses are unimaginable. The chief aspect that differentiates each country from another is definitely culture. Culture is not only composed of religion and mentality, but it’s also the way of life of the population. People’s interests, values in life, traditions and even interactions with each other make up their culture, and that’s what makes each community unique. Evidently, there are the major differences in each environment such as the weather, the language, the food and the education, but the most interesting differences to discover are the ones that are felt rather than seen. Feeling welcome and appreciated and being treated respectfully is a great gesture from the people of the community, and when you receive that, you know you’re home. Of course, it will take time for someone to completely settle in one place, but if the environment is welcoming, it’s just a matter of time until a new place becomes a new home.

I definitely consider myself an expert in moving around and starting over. Some people may say it’s hard leaving behind people, things and memories, but I like to look at the positives in the situation. In my opinion, another move to another country is just another opportunity to transform and try something new, and basically, it’s a perfect chance to reinvent yourself and change who you are.

The latest move I’ve made in my journey lead me to ISL. I searched around London for a new place to start fresh and I wound up here. Coming from various schools that genuinely made me feel comfortable and welcome, I have pretty high expectations of ISL, and I can honestly state that this community has been successful in making me feel special. From my experiences, I ‘ve been able to develop an understanding of different cultures, and I have this positive feeling that in this one, I won’t have any difficulties being whoever I want to be, and definitely no problems being myself.  

-Haya

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Andy Hull, My Hero

Blogging about Andy Hull

 

    We were doing a unit on culture in our English mother tongue class. I decided to do a feature on my American hero Andy Hull, who is a singer songwriter for the bands
Manchester Orchestra and Right away, Great Captain. I have a very emotional attachment to Andy’s lyrics and his catchy riffs. I think that his style of writing is very unique and he is so honest, it’s like he leaves no details out. Many people are not attracted to this style but it seems that the ones that are, like myself, are very serious about Andy’s music. If you would like to listen to one of his songs, my favorite Right Away, Great Captain (Solo Project) song is “Love, Come Save Me” and my favorite Manchester Orchestra song is  “Simple Math”or “‘I’ve Got Friends” Check them out!  🙂

–          Candy Thomas

 

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A Lifestyle of Change

I’ve only lived in two different countries throughout my life and the transformation that I have gone through has been greater than I had ever expected. I was born and raised in various parts of India until I was twelve years old, which is when I came to London. I had moved around a lot within India but there was never any great cultural change which meant I had a very similar lifestyle for the twelve years I was in India for. Upon hearing the news that my family and I would be shifting to London, I did not know how to react as I had never been such a situation. I didn’t know whether to be sad or excited, I ended up being a bit of both. I had left India on January 2nd 2009 and that was the day the transformation began.

Upon arrival at London I felt like it was all a dream, it was all so surreal. It had not yet hit me that I had just shifted to one of the most famous cities in the world. The first time that I really felt a change within me was only when I had started school as I did not need to interact with many people before that. I was nervous before that first day of school. I didn’t know what it would be like, I didn’t know if the people would accept me, I didn’t know if they would accept the way I looked, I didn’t how anything worked here. The whole change from wearing a uniform to coming in whatever you wanted also took some time to adapt to as I didn’t know how to dress here, I didn’t know how to fit in. The whole system in London was also completely different to India. It was more relaxed and the teachers were not as strict and listen to your opinion more. This was a big shock for me as schooling in India was quite formal in class and punishments were handed out for small things which would not be noticed in London, this was a reason as to why I might not have been that participating in class as much as the teachers would like me to.

Everything was just so different in London, and I was starting to worry that I would never get used to it, starting from the people right down to having to use public transport every day. I had to rely on myself a lot more and I did not know if I could do that as I never had to. In India everyone has a driver who is available to them twenty four hours a day. It was a much more relaxed and maybe a bit of a lazy way of living. I wouldn’t say that it was difficult for me to make friends here but the way they acted was very different to my friends back in India. Since I am in an International school there are many different cultures, which means people with many different attitudes, beliefs and a very different way of living. Whereas in India, everyone had the same way of living, we believed in the same things to an extent and it was a lot easier to understand the people, as you knew what you would be thinking.

Another big change was the difference in accents, and I was worried what people would think of my accent. I know, it sounds ridiculous to be afraid of people listening to your voice, but I was a boy on a very low self-esteem. Moving to London didn’t only change the way I was on the inside, it also made a big physical change on me. I had to become a lot more active here as I had mentioned earlier, which led to me loosing quite a bit of weight which I think led to me being more open. I know all these points make it sound like I was the kid who sat in a corner with no friends, but that wasn’t the case. I just kept all my feelings to myself and avoided expressing myself.

London is completely different to India, which changed me a lot from the person I was before. I now am no longer that conservative little boy who kept his feelings to himself. I came into London a very shy, chubby, silent boy, who doesn’t share his opinions, doesn’t try to get to know people and basically someone just really low on self-confidence.  And now I feel like I express myself more, socialise a whole lot more and someone so much more confident in himself, I even dress better now which is a good thing of course. London has made a major impact on my life and there is not one thing I would change about my school, my friends, my surroundings, as all that and a mixture of my Indian culture and background has made me the boy I am today.

Smogster

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