Sunday, March 3, 2013

Global Café Read-a-Latte

Day 3 of 31 at Two Writing Teachers!
As soon as I stepped through the double doors to the cafeteria, I knew this was an event unlike any other.  An excited buzz of teenage voices hummed over a cheerful backdrop of Irish fiddle music as my eyes scanned the living tapestry of unfamiliar sights.   Chattering students with sparkling eyes milled around, clutching myriad foods and drinks I'd never seen before.  Dozens of trifold display boards trumpeted the names of countries near and far, beckoning with stunning photos and fascinating information.  At the other end of the huge room, the fiddlers tapped their feet and nodded their heads in concentration.

Dazzled, I began to weave my way through the display tables.  "These are samosas: fried dough filled with potatoes and peas, and this is mango juice," a sari-wrapped girl informed me.  My tongue tingled with the sweet tanginess of the juice as she talked me through her display about India.  At the next station, I sampled soda bread as I learned about the history of Ireland.  Next, I viewed wedding photos of one girl's Italian great-grandparents.  Delicious Japanese rice balls with edamame, sweet tamales, creamy Persian pudding, crunchy Indian dough twists whose name I can't remember... my tongue was dancing with delight as my brain contemplated the history and culture of each country.

After a whirlwind tour around the world, I sat down in the performance area for further amazement.  Athletic yet stoic Taiko drummers bobbed and bounded between their drums, in sync with each other and the music.  Energetic dancers in beautiful outfits gestured with theatrical style as they filled the air with Russian songs.  Two boys performed their own rap songs with positive messages.

Through it all, the other students circulated and stared in rapt attention, supportive and clearly impressed with their classmates' heritage and talents.  Gathered after school, casting aside other commitments, dropping fears and preconceptions at the door.  That afternoon, it was clear: our school is a world community, where cultural heritage is an asset to be shared.  Embodying one of my favorite Thoreau quotations: "Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant?"

(Global Café Read-a-Latte was a special two-hour event after school on Thursday, held in conjunction with Read Across American Week and Dr. Asma Mobin-Uddin's visit.)

3 comments:

  1. "My tongue tingled with the sweet tanginess of the juice as she talked me through" "Athletic yet stoic Taiko drummers bobbed and bounded between their drums" Loved the alliteration in these lines!

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  2. What great diversity you have in your school. It surprises me, I wouldn't expect that in Ohio. However, I think this is awesome! Other cultures fascinate me. I guess that's why I like traveling so much.

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