Our most recent stop on our drive around the U.S. was in Chaseburg, Wisconsin. We stayed with our cousin Karen of the End of the Rainbow Valley Blog. While we were there, we were discussing our desire to do more than see tourist sites. We want to learn about the people, to have cultural experiences.
Karen's partner, Irv (or Natureman as Karen calls him in her blog) made an excellent point. He applauded our desire to learn about other cultures. But he also pointed out how easy it is for Americans to have cultural experiences right here in our own country. One could visit a Native American powwow. One could eat regional specialties like grits, shoo-fly pie, or tapas. One could even have a cookout on an open pit fire.
And you know what? Irv is exactly right. Everywhere we go, we experience a new culture. Even when it is with our own families.
In Aztec, NM the kids got to milk a cow which Great Grandma Joy does twice a day, everyday, to multiple cows. A cultural experience!
In Golden, CO Alrica and I got to enjoy the amazing downtown pedestrian mall of Denver. The people there are relaxed and pleasant. A cultural experience!
In West Des Moines, IA where there are many kids (and many adults) with many activities, it was a culture of continual getting people to their proper places and eating and sleeping and thinking when time could be spared for such an activity. A cultural experience! (Seeing the pattern?)
In Minneapolis, MN we played an amazing board game with many complicated rules that required a lot of strategic thinking. (I need a phrase to use in place of "A cultural experience!" Maybe "Rock on, baby!" Did I pull that one off?)
We have spent far less than two months at each of these locations (which is good, because who wants you camping out at their house for that long?) But even in those short times, we are learning about the cultures of others, even if only a few of the others.
I'm hoping it is good practice for our bigger, longer, further excursion. So here's to cultural experiences! Booyah! (You know what, just accept the booyah. Call it a cultural experience.)