The Mini Mibba Cultural Exchange Program

  • indigo.

    indigo. (480)

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    [please lock if duplicate]

    Hello! I'm always interested in different cultures, languages and countries around the world but I'm not able (yet) to travel. Hence the birth of this thread. This is where we can share and discuss experiences, no matter how ordinary that we think/feel or even suspect as unique to our own cultural group. If you have questions about certain cultures, feel free to ask!

    I'll start!

    I'm indigenous Fijian and my culture & language is unique to roughly less than eight hundred thousand people. Mats woven from dried pandanus leaves and tapa cloth play a huge role in most of our traditional ceremonies. Oh, tattooing had also been a rite of passage for Fijian pre-teen females (a specifically female thing) until the arriving missionaries thought the practice demonic and outlawed it.

    Anyone else out there want to share about their culture??
    February 8th, 2013 at 03:23am
  • dally winston.

    dally winston. (100)

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    @ flutter.
    Did you get any tattoos as a pre-teen? o:

    I'll go next!

    I live in the US. Michigan, to be more specific. I'm Russian and German. So, I guess you could say I have a mixed heritage. Truthfully, I don't know much about my Russian and German culture because I was raised American. However, I do know about all the different celebrations.

    The city I live in, is well known for it's Arabic and Muslim population, so there's a lot of Arabic restaurants, hookah lounges, mosques, etc. Fun fact: Dearborn, MI (where I live) has the highest population of Arabic decent, other than the middle east.
    February 8th, 2013 at 06:09am
  • folie a dru.

    folie a dru. (1270)

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    I'm from the Midwest (Iowa, Nebraska) in the United States. I believe I'm a typical American from Dutch, German, English, etc. heritage. My family never placed much emphasis on ancestral nationality. I did live on military bases fairy often (with my mother) and live in a military town now. I've been exposed to other cultures since I was 1 and I even lived in Spain as a toddler. (I had a different name there because of the language.)

    I've met people from India and China and the Middle East and Mexico and France. I've been exposed to different cuisines and languages. I wouldn't say that I'm an expert on any culture, but since I lived in very small towns with predominantly white populations (with my father) I always knew there were other cultures out there and got exposed to them. I think it also taught me racism was just an unthinkable, stupid thing. I couldn't believe how much racism there was in the world when I left home.
    February 8th, 2013 at 05:33pm
  • indigo.

    indigo. (480)

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    @ l0lita-
    Oh no, I didn't. When Fiji was colonised, the administrating British outlawed it. I think it was because the practice was sometimes so traumatic (they used tools like these) some girls died.

    The American culture is kind of a mystery to me. Like why do you celebrate Thanksgiving/Halloween, for one? (If you don't want to answer that, I understand completely).

    The Arabic culture's so interesting! Especially the sweets Nyam

    @ dru burnt the ashes.
    Your heritage sounds quite exotic.

    I've only ever lived in Fiji and perhaps because we're the majority race here, the indigenous Fijians are often accused of being the most racist around here. But I do know what you mean by that. Racism is one of those things the world would do so much better without.
    February 8th, 2013 at 10:57pm
  • folie a dru.

    folie a dru. (1270)

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    @ flutter.
    Thanksgiving is supposed to celebrate the Pilgrims (settlers) coming to America from England. The Native American Indians helped them the first winter and they celebrated after the first harvest with a Thanksgiving. (Since we killed a lot of the Indians, it can be viewed as a hypocritical holiday.)

    Halloween actually started in Europe, if I'm not mistaken. People used to dress in costumes to scare the spirits that were thought to wander the Earth on that day. Now kids just dress up in costumes for fun and get candy. That tradition was started because so many pranks were being pulled on Halloween that people started giving out candy in hopes kids wouldn't prank their houses.
    February 9th, 2013 at 06:05am
  • Sansa Stark

    Sansa Stark (930)

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    I was born and raised here in Portugal, although I lived in Spain when I was a kid and recently, I lived in the Netherlands.
    Here in Portugal there are a tone of immigrants, mostly from Romania, Russia, Ukraine, China, South America and the former Portuguese colonies (Angola, Mozambique, Cabo Verde).
    I think my country has a very unique culture and more people should know about it. All people hear about Portugal is the crisis, but this is actually such a beautiful country.
    February 10th, 2013 at 06:39am
  • dally winston.

    dally winston. (100)

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    @ flutter.
    We celebrate Thanksgiving because it was the day that the Native Americans helped the pilgrims and gave them food and whatnot. So, they had a big feast and said what they were thankful for. As for Halloween... it is said that All Hallows Eve was when the dead and living are the closest, and everyone would dress up in masks and costumes to scare the dead away. I'm actually not sure why we celebrate it. But now it's just a Hallmark card holiday where we dress up like tramps and get free candy! xD
    February 11th, 2013 at 02:06am
  • hiwagang hapis

    hiwagang hapis (1550)

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    I'm a Filipino and I take pride in the 7,107 islands that my country has. I believe that I have some Chinese or Spanish blood in me because according to my lola (grandmother), her grandmother had Spanish blood in her. Anyways, most Filipinos are Roman Catholics so most of our traditions include the Church. We celebrate festivals in honor of saints or God. My country used to be pagan but then when the Spaniards came, we were converted to Christianity.

    Also, we don't celebrate Halloween for some reason.
    February 12th, 2013 at 02:23pm
  • indigo.

    indigo. (480)

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    I have a couple of filipino friends! One of them also has some Spanish and Chinese blood. I just asked him to teach me tagalog Smile
    February 15th, 2013 at 01:33am
  • folie a dru.

    folie a dru. (1270)

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    @ megurine luka
    I didn't know there were that many islands. Wow! Are they close to each other? Is it easy to commute? Do people from one island often go to other islands?
    February 15th, 2013 at 02:09am
  • NegativeA

    NegativeA (100)

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    Well I guess I'm sort of like everyone else.

    I'm Russian and German but only stick with my german culture. I was sort of raised in the "Aryan" way, I had to be that perfect blond, join the military, marry a woman who will give me a lot of children... So you can say my family was sort of strict. But then as I got older, I started learning more about my Russian side and ended up the wild child of the family. Also I'm atheist due to my Russian side of the family and my own personal beliefs. But the culture in Germany isn't really all that, not like the African or Asian countries that have high context cultures
    February 15th, 2013 at 03:59am
  • hiwagang hapis

    hiwagang hapis (1550)

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    @ flutter.
    I would offer to teach you but then, I'm not really good in Filipino unless I'm making poems.

    @ miserable dru.
    Well, people from Indonesia or Brunei can go to the Philippines by boat because the islands of Sulu, Mindanao and Jolo are very near. I guess I can say that the islands are close to each other but it only takes long to go from one island to another because of the water separating them. It's not really easy to commute by boat because it can take hours or days whereas by plane, it only takes minutes or an hour to get from one island to another.
    February 15th, 2013 at 09:36am
  • hiwagang hapis

    hiwagang hapis (1550)

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    @ NegativeA
    Can you explain more about "the Aryan way"?
    February 15th, 2013 at 09:39am
  • notweirdbutunique

    notweirdbutunique (750)

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    I hail from Singapore, which is a tiny, island country. Located in the south-east Asia continent, my country is surrounded by the bigger countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia.

    Because majority of the citizens here are Chinese, a lot of foreigners tend to mistook Singapore as part of China. It didn't help that the movie, Pirates of the Carribean: At World's End, made a mess on how Singapore was supposed to be. Facepalm There are other races living here, mainly Malay, Indian and Eurasian. These are the four main races which makes up Singapore. However, we now have a lot of expatriates and foreign permanent residents here. Eduardo Saverin (co-CEO of Facebook) now resides in Singapore.

    By the way, I'm a Malay. I don't exactly know where my ancestors came from, but I'd have to guess they were originally from Indonesia as most Malays came from there. Cute We're also culture-rich, which I'm thankful for.
    February 15th, 2013 at 01:06pm
  • The Real Mitt Romney

    The Real Mitt Romney (250)

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    I was born and raised in New Jersey but I'm currently living in New York. My dad's family is Russian and Polish and my mother's family is English and German. There was a KKK group in my hometown in New Jersey, so I really haven't been in contact with different cultures until I moved to New York 8 years ago. Central New York is so different than Northern New Jersey. My neighbor and her daughter are actually from Africa. I'm not sure which part, but I remember Chelgat (I'm not sure if I spelled her name right so I apoligise) once made my family a dish from Africa. It was so good of my Happy face it was some type of meat pie. And she made us a desert too, but this was years ago and I can't remember what was inside it.

    In the city closest to my house there are many Russian and Bosnia immigrants. I can't say I've been totally exposed to their culture but we do have a part of the city that's primarily Bosnia and Russian restaurants. Most of my mother's co-workers are Bosnian and I've met them all a few times. I've had a baklava type desert from them (it could have actually been baklava but they called it something else, something I can't remember) and I've had a main dish before and it's amazing.

    I've really only been exposed to other cultures by their food tehe

    But there's nothing really special about where I live and the culture around me. My city is split. One side is Bosnia, the other is Russian, and the Americans are all mixed it. Racism isn't big in the city, but once you're into the country surrounding the city it's big. I really don't see the point of it. It's sad, really.
    February 15th, 2013 at 01:51pm
  • indigo.

    indigo. (480)

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    @ megurine luka
    Oh I also have a niece who's mother is Filipino Smile

    @ notweirdbutunique
    An aunt of mine is originally from Singapore too! Mr. Green

    @ NegativeA
    I think Russia has A LOT of culture. Ballet, music, etc etc. Anyway, speaking of Russian. We were drinking with a couple of Russians last night. Heh.
    February 15th, 2013 at 10:55pm
  • PoeticMess.

    PoeticMess. (150)

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    Hi. (:
    I feel like my story is kind of ordinary compared to some of yours, but it's pretty interesting where I live. Right now I live in Illinois, USA. It's in the midwest so I was raised on family values and the idea that if you work hard you can achieve anything. I'm German and Polish, but I'm closer to my German side since that's my mom's side of the family (my father has never been in the picture).

    Right near the end of WWII, my family was living in a town in Germany, I can't remember what it's called, but I remember my Gramma pointing it out on a map. It's more towards the west. Anyways, many of my family members died during the war because they refused to submit to the Nazi ways. My Oma (which means grandma in German, but who is really my great-grandma) watched almost her entire family slaughtered in her home, except her brother, Wolfgang. After that my Oma and her husband, my great-Opa got a sponsor who lived in Illinois, so they took their three daughters and left Germany, assimilating the best they could after the war. Not many people were very accepting of a German family who couldn't speak English right after WWII.

    My great-uncle Wolfgang still lives in Germany with his family, but we haven't seen or spoken to him since my mother was a child. I'm not sure why. My family keeps their secrets and doesn't like to talk about the past.

    Sorry, that was a lot, I'm just so fascinated by my family's story. They survived such terrible things and if they wouldn't have then I wouldn't be living my life right now as an American or maybe at all.
    February 16th, 2013 at 02:50am
  • hiwagang hapis

    hiwagang hapis (1550)

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    @ notweirdbutunique

    I just thought I'd mention but I'm going to Singapore this July, I think. Is it true that things there are expensive?

    @ PoeticMess.

    Woah. Your family sure has a lot of history! And I think your grandma is one very brave woman based on what you have said.
    February 16th, 2013 at 04:45am
  • hiwagang hapis

    hiwagang hapis (1550)

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    I forgot to mention this. I don't know in other countries but in my country, most families here have maids. Note, the plural form of maid. Anyway, is it the same with other countries? Do you guys have maids? I know that in the States, there's a housekeeper and that's not the same, I think.
    February 16th, 2013 at 04:49am
  • PoeticMess.

    PoeticMess. (150)

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    @ megurine luka
    I know we do. That's not even all of it, that's just what I've heard through out the years. & Thank you. She really was.

    & some people have maids/housekeepers here, but just the richest people and some celebrities. No one I've ever met has had a maid or a housekeeper. We pretty much do everything for ourselves.
    February 16th, 2013 at 05:11am