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.

Heritage


I decided to plug my last name into Google last night in an attempt to understand where my family came from…

It was thanks to that amazing search engine called Google that I discovered that the earliest records of the Ripper family (my Dad’s side) dates back to 16th Century in Cornwall, England, where they survived through farming and mining.

Due to a downturn in the Cornish economy, as for centuries Cornwall had depended on the export of tin and other ores, and with the discovery of new mineral deposits in Australia, that the first Rippers ventured to Australia (and surprisingly North America!).

The first Rippers arrived in South Australia on the ship “Lysander” in 1851.  I cannot believe I have actually located the ships log, which includes the names of 4 of my family – http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/lysander1851.ht (oh Google – you truly amaze me!).  In those days, the trip averaged 110 days (I obviously did not get the sea-faring genes, as I still have not managed to survive a boat trip to Rottnest, which is a little island not far from the coast of Western Australia).  To put that into, perspective there were 3 births and 5 deaths on that journey.

Notably, immigration of the Ripper family followed the first fleets of convicts, trades people and early settlers to Australia, which means my family had been in Australia for more than 150 years (and that we did not appear to be convicts which actually surprised me!).

Which brings me to this century.   My Dad grew up on a farm in Quairading –  a country town a few hours out of Perth, with his parents and siblings, living off the land.  And when he grew up, well he became a miner – in nickel and gold.

So it seems that for hundreds of years part of my family were farmers and miners.

Technology is amazing! I would never have know had it not been for the internet and my friend Google!