It’s Multicultural Week at our girls’ preschool and a couple days ago, my husband gave a short presentation about his homeland, Norway, to our girls’ schoolmates. Our girls were so proud to have their Pappa at the front of the class. He brought a flag, lots of big pictures of animals like a polar bear, reindeer, moose, a photo of a Viking ship and Norwegian cookies called Krumkake – one of our girls’ favorite kinds of cookies (among many), it seems.
All of the children’s parents were invited to participate this week. Turkey, China, Japan, Iran, India, Russia, Norway, Philippines – are a few of the countries that were/will be presented by the parents (my husband inspired me to do a presentation as well on the Philippines for the kids’ classmates and to make a special Filipino treat for them to share). As I photographed my husband’s session on Norway, I thought how lucky we are to live here.
Yes, property prices are outlandish by most standards. Yes, the typical daily commutes eat up hours of time that could be spent with family (or more work). Yes, it is getting very, very crowded in the valley. But, the cultural makeup of Silicon Valley is extraordinarily diverse. And this is the biggest reason I count myself lucky to live and raise my children here. Understanding, acceptance and celebration of different customs, languages, and cultures are taught at a very early age. Our girls are almost 4 years old, half Norwegian and half Filipino. They are growing up learning and appreciating their classmates’ different heritages as well as their own.
This is so unlike my own childhood. I spent 3rd thru 8th grade in Idaho Falls, Idaho. No one had heard of the Philippines. Everyone thought it was a part of the Hawaiian Islands. There was one family of two Hawaiian kids with Asian descent, my two brothers and me in our elementary and junior high schools. My brothers and I were the only brown kids in the school and we were Catholic. Let me tell ya how much of an “outsider” I was starting to feel as I headed into my teen years. I was beginning to wish that I was tall, white, blonde and Mormon. Luckily, my father was transferred to San Diego and we were outta there before peer pressure could do weird things in my head.
So, I am loving this multicultural week. I hope this sort of week is something that will be repeated through their school years. Goodness knows we could all use reminders to appreciate others’ differences.