I am a Canadian born Filipino woman and growing up, aside from my sister, I didn’t see anyone who looked like me. The town I was from was predominantly caucasian, and it took me awhile to fully embrace my culture. It wasn’t until when I was 19, when I first visited the Philippines, that I truly understood how two cultures made one whole, me. The Canadian me, and the Filipino me, the latter side I wasn’t familiar with at all, but learned it to be an integral part of my being.
When I went back home to Canada, I took that precious knowing back with me and was able to appreciate so much more, all the different cultures I am surrounded by and have gotten to know. A few of my experiences have included attending a wedding in a mosque, witnessing the union of a South Asian and Persian couple and I’ve learned how to put a kimono on, a not so easy task.
In honour of International Women’s Day I want to acknowledge two things; women and what she represents, and specifically the women who inspire me with their own different stories of integrating different cultures, history and tradition.
Because women are inspiring.
She is resilient with the power to grow another human being and yet, she is a force as well, on her own, without having a baby. She can make that choice and it is ok.
She can pick up pieces wherever she is dropped off, working with change as an alchemist to learn, to grow into and become more of the woman that she is.
She makes things home-made, as in, love conditions all things that she touches with a little more care, a little more thought and without asking for anything in return.
She is strong enough to ask for help,
she is strong enough to breakdown and
she is strong enough to let it all go when time tells her so.
That strength of women is multiplied with the history of where they are from. I talk to four different woman from various ethnicities, who share their perspectives of favourite traditions both of, Canada and their country, favourite foods, and women that inspires them. Juhnaliza (Filipino/Guatemalan), Donya (Persian), Fukima (Japanese), Janelle (Ukranian).
A picture gallery showcasing two cultures as one whole.
What is your favourite tradition?
(Guatemalan) Festival of patterned clothing.
(Persian) Nouroz (Persian New Year)
(Canadian) Going out to see the natural scenery of Canada
(Japanese) The traditional Japanese Kimono
(Ukranian) Ukranian Christmas
What is your favourite food?
(Guatemalan) Jocon, Chicken stewed in green sauce.
(Persian) Fesenjoon Stew
(Canadian) Summer BBQs
(Japanese) Boiled fish in soy sauce
(Canadian) Peanut butter pickle sandwiches
Who is a famous woman from your country and why?
(Guatemalan) Rigoberta Menchu, because she is a noble peace prize winner, known for fighting for women’s rights and the Mayan community.
(Persian) Christiane Amanpour, because she has a diverse personality.
(Japanese) Kuroki Hitomi, because she is a hard working, intelligent actor and dancer.
(Ukranian) Yulia Tymoshenko, was the first woman to be appointed prime minister & Milia Kunis, actress best known for her role in that 70s show.
Canada is a multicultural mosaic, an incredibly diverse landscape of beautiful people and a benefit to learning about them, is you don’t have to step on a plane to travel, you can just simply talk to your neighbour, co-worker, friend.