Thursday, April 8, 2010

SERIES : Cultural ambassadors: USA (Cross-Culture Email Connection)

I am happy to announce that we have a second contribution from the USA for our series of cultural ambassadors, this time from the great lake area in the north. Our lovely fellow swapper will give us another insightful view on a country with a young but rich history.

• a description of what you eat for breakfast
Usually, my breakfast is some fruit and some water or juice.
The "typical" American breakfasts include eggs, sausage or bacon, toast and hash browns or pancakes.
I do not eat animal products, so my breakfast is not typical of my country.
Some people stop at a fast food restaurant to grab a quick breakfast.
McDonald's seems to be one of these most frequented places.

• a short description of a typical work day
Most people drive to work or take the bus (public transportation.)
As for me, I am unemployed outside of my home - so my workday goes something like this:
wake up, log on to the pc, feed my husband when he wakes up, (if we have to go to the grocery, we go then), maintain the house, eat something, do my crafts, prep dinner (or sometimes we go out), sometimes in the evening my husband and I may watch a movie together.
When he is not here (I am a military wife), my day goes something like the above - but sometimes I will skip dinner.

• a description of your favorite day off (weekend or holiday)
The weekends are pretty much lazy days around here.
When Jacob is not home, I sometimes take long walks and window shop.

• a short description of your country and its position in the world, including something you like about it and something you don't like
America is said to be the policemen of the world. I do not like this aspect, so much - but am proud of my husband for fighting for our country.

• a list of languages (optional: dialects) that are spoken in your country
English is the primary language.
Spanish is becoming more prevalent.

• a description of the most common ethnic minorities in your country and how they are viewed
Actually, Anglo-American people are quickly becoming the per capita minority.
Most of our neighborhoods around where I live are African-American and Latin immigrants.
In our areas, everyone seems to work toward getting along.
The biggest minorities that we have a problem with getting equal treatment lately are the disabled and the homosexual.

• a list of the three most important holidays of your country and how they are celebrated.
Most of the holidays celebrated around here are Christian based.
The two biggest being Christmas (the celebrated birth of Jesus) and Easter (the celebrated resurrection of Jesus).
Gifts and baskets are exchanged respectively.
On July 4th, we celebrate Independence Day with a big parade and fireworks.

• description of some national specialties/products
The United States exports from about $906 USD billion to $1.057 trillion USD worth of goods & services to the rest of the world annually.
Our main exports are:
agricultural products (soybeans, fruit, corn) 9.2%
industrial supplies (organic chemicals) 26.8%
capital goods (transistors, aircraft, motor vehicle parts, computers, telecommunications equipment) 49.0%
consumer goods (automobiles, medicines) 15.0%
Our main imports are:
agricultural products 4.9%
industrial supplies 32.9% (crude oil 8.2%)
capital goods 30.4% (computers, telecommunications equipment, motor vehicle parts, office machines, electric power machinery)
consumer goods 31.8% (automobiles, clothing, medicines, furniture, toys)

• a description of the role of men and women in your country
In our country, men and women are supposed to be equal under the law.
Both are potential house spouses; both are potential wage earners.
A woman does not have to be married to own property any longer, although that was so at one point in our history.
Still today, women generally make less than men at the same jobs (glass ceiling).
There is no specified role for men and women.

• a famous person from your country and what she/he is famous for
An example of an American Artist from my country is Chris Isaak.
He is am American rock musician who was born in Stockton, California in 1956.

• a type of craft that is typical for your country (doesn't have to be typical ONLY for your country)
Native American crafts include making dream catchers and peace pipes.
Sadly, the United States is one of the only countries who denies their Native heritage and culture for the most part.

• the role of religion in your country
Although the constitution was founded with Christian principles, our first amendment grants us the freedom to worship as we choose.
Religious freedoms are granted for every citizen.
There is no country religion.

Alright, for foreigners like me, I need to add some pics and videos for clarification. Hash browns
Ah, little patties from mashed potatoes. 
Many countries have these with slight variations. The Irish are very proud of their "boxty", us Germans like our "Kartoffelpuffer" and in India I had some spicy "potato tikki" that I still drool over. Over here, however, we don't eat these patties for breakfast, we have them for lunch with apple sauce (boiled apples either puréed or with some big chunks left in). Many Kids love it. How about your country? What's your potato patty recipe and how and when do you eat them?

Chris Isaak might also need clarification. He calls for a video. There we go:

In 1991 people were still wearing these giant bold color suits and Elvis hair? Wow, I really forgot.

Dreamcatchers are also not necessarily well known outside the U.S. For those of you who haven't seen dream catchers before, it is a traditional talisman in some Native American tribes, such as the Lakota. 
The Native Americans create these delicate objects to prevent bad dreams. Depending on the legend, good dreams are let through the hole in the middle whereas the bad dreams are caught or the other way around. I had great fun creating a dream catcher in school when I was little. It is quite complex but yields a wonderful result. If you'd like to make one yourself here is a link to an original tutorial by a Native American. Or, for those who prefer video tutorials, here you go:

Something bad Germany and the US share is that apart from the above mentioned exports these two countries are also amongst the biggest arms dealers in the world. This is mostly hidden from the population. One of my friends works in a shipping company and one day told us in surprise that there was a shipment of 300 transport tanks to a middle eastern country. It was not in the news, not anywhere in the media. This creates in my opinion a very hypocritical diplomatic position. Sell weapons for peace...

To end with something nice, pictures of a 4th of July parade are on the first contribution from the USA, check the "ambassador" of the north east of the US, quite interesting. Comparing the two is also very insightful. 

I am very thankful for this great personal review of our fellow swapper. 

Also check out the other contributions if you are interested:


Hearthandmade said...

oh god i have SUCH a craving for hash browns now!! They are the BEST things to eat with an Ulster Fry :)

if you would like any info from Ireland i would be happy to help!
I also love the dreamcatcher video!

Charlotte said...

Oh, Ireland would be soo great. Feel free to submit a contribution. I can add some of my own pics then. I had a wonderful time there, luv, some great crack :-)