Just because it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, doesn’t mean it’s a duck – Amanda Joseph


Amanda Joseph

Today’s post in ‘The Beauty Of Difference’ series comes to you courtesy of Amanda Joseph, the inspirational creator and writer of the blog Confessions of a Green Queen.

Amanda describes herself as ‘a writer (for film), a philosopher at heart, an environmentalist and a globe-trotter’ and is currently undertaking a Master of Science in Sustainability Management, juggling full-time work as an Environment Officer, as well as branching out into the film industry.

Heritage

My heritage is a mixed bag. My Great-Grand Mother on my Father’s Father’s side is from Scotland, and my Great-Grand Mother on my Father’s Mother’s side has Yugoslavian and Portuguese – and of course we have Indian. My Step Mom is French-Canadian, and I lived there for a while. So I actually identify myself as Australian-Canadian in culture, whilst my accent decides to do a jig between Canadian, English and Australian!

Cultural Beauty

The most beautiful thing about my culture is the mixture. I’ve picked my favorite parts of each and amalgamated them into one! We love food. All social gatherings are around food, wine and laughter. Canadians are quite progressive and egalitarian by nature and very friendly and accommodating. Australians are very laid-back and are happy to lend a helping hand when needed. And boy can they throw a great party! French Canadians, or Québécois as they prefer to be called, identify with their French heritage, which means we adopted a lot of the French heritage into our own traditions.

Tradition

Canadian Christmases would be one of my favorite events of the year. I love, love, love going to midnight mass on Christmas Eve and walking out to find snow floating down to cover everything. It was so magical, it made sitting through the mass at an ungodly hour worth it. And then the family would throw a massive party that lasted all hours of the morning, and the first person to go home, usually around 4.30am would have to serve the family breakfast on Christmas morning, around 8am when we would rock up. It was brilliant. Halloween is another favorite. We always went all out on Halloween in Canada, and I miss the traditions around that festival. I’d still be trick or treating if I were there!

 Cultural Misconceptions

I don’t think there are too many misconceptions about Canadians. Or at least none that I have come across. French Canadians are usually considered quaint by our French counterparts, but I say we kept the language French whilst they anglicised it. Weekend is an English word, the French one is fin-de-semaine!

 Knowledge Sharing

The one thing I think people need to understand is just because it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, doesn’t mean it is a duck!

My background is fairly unique, and my constant travelling means I have adopted the traditions of a few cultures into one that is very individual. I commonly get mistaken for Indian until I open my mouth, because of my skin colour. I think in an increasingly globalised world, the safest bet is not to assume where someone is from. So do not start speaking to me in Hindi when you’ve just met me that’s just plain offensive.

The Beauty In Difference

Difference is what makes the world such an interesting place to be. I couldn’t imagine a world where we were all the same. I’d be bored out of my mind!

A respectful approach to cultural differences is imperative. Never assume someone is willing to share that part of themselves. It can be tricky because we’ve all experienced racial prejudice at some point or another and that’s given us a tendency to keep things close.

Words of Wisdom

I do not want my house to be walled in on all sides and my windows to be stifled. I want all the cultures of all lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any.

– Mohandas K Ghandi

This is one of my favorite quotes. It celebrates diversity, whilst encouraging each individual to maintain their own unique culture. Just because you are open to other cultures, does not mean you lose your own.

Advertisements

The Beauty of Difference is coming soon…


Australian Painted Lady, Vanessa kershawi, fee...

Image via Wikipedia

8 days left till I finish up at my job, the thought of which leaves me a but nauseous this evening…perhaps from the growing butterflies in my belly?

7 days left until my new blogging series ‘The Beauty Of Difference‘ commences, right here on Reflections From A Red Head, the thought of which makes me very excited about sharing with you the many stories, interviews and photos of so many ‘different’ people throughout the world.

And 5 days left until I turn 34…in a way it feels like I am starting my life again. It also (and finally) feels like I have reached a point in my life whereby I have realised what the last almost-34 years were building up to, and in a way come back to the path I had wanted to head down so many years ago – but had deviated from.

My life is changing on this life-journey, as are the lives of the people who will soon share their stories with you. I hope that we manage to share something with you that will also help you along your journey, whatever that may entail.

Janine

x

The Beauty Of Difference kicks off on 1 September 2011, and will involve people sharing their stories and photos dedicated to championing all that is beautiful about being ‘different’.

Tell me: How did she get here?


She stands alone, expressionless and oblivious to her surroundings as people swarm around her. She hears nothing. Sees nothing.

It is a city – somewhere, anywhere. The people have no time for anyone, not even themselves. They dress in Prada, Gucci, Burberry handbags in tow, entranced by their latest portable toys, faces obscured by sunglasses that bring the movie ‘The Fly’ to mind.

She stands still staring vacantly into nowhere, blue jeans torn, pink shirt faded, shoeless, and makeup-less.

She is suddenly jolted into reality by a man plunging into her shoulder, catapulting her backwards into the miscoloured concrete. He doesn’t notice, or he does not care, and is soon lost in the faceless crowd.

She strains to pick herself up from the ground, arms trembling and tears welling, as the emotions come flooding in.

How did she get here? 

Tell me – what is the next chapter in the story?

I’m looking for the right words…


A woman thinking

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve done a lot of thinking about this new blogging series I’m going to launch in September. The problem is that I’m not 100% happy with the name of the series…it’s just I haven’t been able to come up with anything better at the moment…I mean, it was hard enough coming up with a name for my dog 10 years ago, and don’t get me started on naming this blog – sheesh! That was just painstaking!

So, I’m putting a call out to my readers. What would you like to see the series called, instead of the working title ‘Embracing Difference’?

A reminder of the concept –

It is all about showcasing the beauty of difference and individuality in the world – be it hair colour, dress, physicality, heritage, religion, lifestyle, passion, career, country/place of residence, etc. 

It is about giving a voice or an outlet to those like myself, and others like myself, who have been bullied throughout their lives for being ‘different’ in some way.

It is about showing that there is nothing wrong with being different – that we are all special in our own way.

It is about sharing interviews, stories and pictures…of you, me, my Mum, your friend, your Great Grandad, that person you have always admired, or that someone who needs a champion.

Now tell me, what would you call it? I will bestow on thee who comes up with the perfect title the honour of…something.  I’ll need to think of that too now – damn it!