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.

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A Bucket list


Do you have a ‘bucket list‘?

I’ve thought of making one…Actually, I’ve probably even been doing this subconsciously for a while.

There are a few things that jump to mind for mine straight away:

Prague

Prague…3 trips to Europe and I never made it there, even though BEFORE my last 2 trips I was certain I would. I WILL get there, and it will be amazing!

Writing a book. Yes, I’ve collaborated in ebooks, but call me old-fashioned. I still love print…paper…hard copies…real books. I will write one, oh yes, I will write one.

See one of my favourite bands – The Foo Fighters – live in concert. The tickets arrived in the mail yesterday! WOOH. 

The Foo Fighters

Live in France. I have a dream, and it involves living in a château, or an apartment, in France…one of my visions for the dream is to live as a writer in an apartment in Paris. The other – well, it yearns for the peace, beauty and serenity of the countryside (and even if it’s a month, I’m going to classify that as ‘living’, as I will completely encompass myself in the surroundings, the food, the culture, the wine, the lifestyle…).

Visit the Pyramids in Egypt. I know they are highly glamourised, and will not be anything like they are described in the history books I studied as a teenager, but I still believe that they will be amazing. I mean, I was awestruck by Stonehenge and the Coliseum – and they are very touristy. I think Egypt and the Pyramids would blow me away.

The Pyramids, Egypt

I know there are other things that could be added to my list – but at the moment I can’t think of anything apart from places I want to visit…of which I will blame on my itchy feet!

What makes your bucket list?

Possessed by Roma


I’ve been thinking about Italy a lot lately. I’m not exactly sure why, although a number of things come to mind now I’m writing about it.

A blogging friend of mine has recently introduced me to her ‘other’ blog – titled ‘Browsing Rome.’ Along with our tweet-chats of travel, the travel taste buds are definitely being tantalised!

I recently dug out my old travel journals, and have revisited my earlier journeys…the wonderful Roma featuring in 2 of them. Even with the dodgy hostels, bed bugs, sleazy Italian Lothario’s, Roma stands out in my mind as the place that made an ever-lasting impression on me.

Roman ruins

I’ve gone through my photos from my European journeys, my feet getting itchier with every viewing.

I’m just about to turn 34. My first trip to Italy (anywhere further than Singapore) was 10 years ago this September when I was 24, young, eager and naïve. My life-long friend Karina and I embarked on a 6 week backpacking trip around Italy…The September 11 terrorist attacks had just occurred, and we had made the decision to still go – as ‘we only lived once’. Our families were freaked out…especially my Dad, who tried to stop me from leaving at the airport, scaring Karina in the process (perhaps it was his dark, looming prowess). We had the most amazing experience, of which changed us forever (and it actually ended up being possibly the safest time to travel). I can clearly remember now sitting on a street corner, outside of one of the ancient churches, watching the tanks roll by; and then having our backpacks full of 5 week old, sweaty clothes searched by tall, dark, machine-gun toting soldiers at the Roma train station (whilst scratching our infected bed bug sores).

Ah Roma, I miss thee so.

Tell me, has any place you have visited ever possessed you? 

Monday Photo-day: Guest Photographer Tenella Favro

Gallery

This gallery contains 6 photos.


Today’s Monday Photo-day comes to you courtesy of Tenella Favro. I hope you enjoy. Janine x Hi, I’m  a mother of 2 beautiful children – my eldest Vincent is almost 5, and my little girl Sienna is 6 months old. … Continue reading