My Home, the cultural melting pot. - Recipesupermart

My Home, the cultural melting pot.

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“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” – St. Augustine

This is true,the world has very much to offer and every country is filled with wonderful secrets that can only be discovered if one is very curious. In my travels and stays around the world, I have been very fortunate to experience and live in an array of cultures which in a way have made me a global citizen.

Tolerance, an open mind, patience and the ability to “fit” into any environment with a smile have made me master the art of cross cultural integration. This coupled with being an Army officer”s son, exposed me to a plethora of experiences which would fill up shelves of knowledge if I had to get down to writing.

Having lived in Singapore for a while I realized that the “X” Factor in terms of actual mixing of cultures is non- existent, maybe it’s the rat race or the affluence of the society, which has already formed various stratas of class consciousness, where to be seen with a certain amount of cash,condo,car and credit cards is considered a norm and  where people have actually forgotten to appreciate little things in life such as basic human bonding,treating a fellow human with dignity and respect, emotions , communicating, smiling and saying thank you for small good deeds, an emotionless society which has evolved over the years ,people here pass time by staring at brand filled shelves after shelves of goods without any feelings , this is a country where if you look at someone with a smile he or she looks the other way, a no brainer society?

The icing on the cake  in terms of idocity was when recently a local organisation decided to play an advertising prank in the form of a culture invite to people to come to each other’s homes for dinners cum culture exchange and later everyone found out that it was a media prank, left many a families disappointed and wondered why someone had retorted to such cheapness.

For a person like me who loves meeting people, smiles at the drop of a hat and someone who has never seen the world in “colour”, it becomes increasingly suffocating to live in a place devoid of emotions, hence I decided to create a “world” within the four walls of my home. Over the years I had been collecting little artifacts from places as far as Canada and as close as India and Thailand, magically the warmth of these countries has translated to the walls and every nook and corner of my house. The only element missing was the people, until one fine day a Japanese friend of mine advised me to start teaching English and IELTS to Japanese working adults, what followed was pure magical.

My students are from the various stratas of the society, from Chefs to hairdressers, to teachers who are here for the short haul. Over a period of a few months a bond started  to form with them when one day a favorite student of mine gifted me a mouth-watering cheese and Soba noodles as a present. These small gestures started  a process whereby most of the students who came to my house brought me gifts from Japan in the form of yummy eats. A lunch time class started from tasty Soba noodles treat to sometimes Tom Yam Cous -Cous salad cooked by me, which everyone relished. Sometimes the mothers of some of my students baked the best cheese bread that I have ever had, topped with home-made Hummus, succulent carrots from Japan or the most incredible potato salad that I have ever had. This culinary adventure opened the doors to a two way culture exchange, talks about each others home cities and how we missed them.

My students connected with me because I saw beyond race, colour, religion and they looked up to me as a teacher who stood by them and also was flexible to listen to their stories. We all connected because basically human beings are social animals and they love to socialize, sadly not in this city.

The warmth of my heart translated to my cooking, a genuine care for my students,some of them who missed home cooked food,in fact some of them have been so loyal to me that even after passing their IELTS Exam they continued to study with me, a rare act of humility .I have learnt so much about the Japanese culture from them and vice versa.

The dining table at my house, a laptop and a glass of water has seen so much culture being exchanged that no amount of money can replace that priceless time. The millions being spent by the Government here to make people do little things such as smile, pales in front of our little group of individuals who have opened our hearts to each other, which no money can buy.The bottom line is,courtesy begins at home and it doesn’t cost anything  to smile,are we willing that small change?

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