Greetings and Happy Midweek,
I have recently been preparing some Global SKILLs training materials on inter-cultural communications for third culture kids and adults. It’s been good to see the wealth of resources and support groups online these days working to identify and facilitate the many types of challenges and transitions which are faced routinely by those who move between cultures throughout their lives. If you’re not familiar with these terms, check out the relevant Global SKILLs Links below - it’s a fascinating domain!
In working with the materials, I am reminded again that I am indeed a third culture adult. I totally identify with so many of the classic ‘third culture’ characteristics like being comfortable in multi-cultural contexts, having major gaps in my home culture literacy, feeling like I need to travel frequently, and evaluating a home culture practice through the lens of my adopted cultural perspectives.
In this context, I realized that I’ve been having an interesting ‘third culture’ experience this autumn with, of all things, pumpkins! Pumpkins are a type of squash which (at least when I was growing up in the US) were round and orange, and used as part of several autumn festivals (Oct 31st or Halloween and that last Thursday in November which is tomorrow - Thanksgiving). The first thing I have noticed is there are many more (people literally have piles of them on their porches), and many more varieties, of pumpkins now available - so many colors (green, white, reddish…) and sizes (from tiny to gigantic!). The second thing I notice is they are used primarily for decoration and are not being eaten...and that has bothered me. The decorations are pretty...but what a waste! Having lived for so long in cultures where food is not to be wasted, and food items even if used temporarily for decorations (like beautifully arranged piles of fresh produce in markets, or exquisite strings of multi-colored peppers hung out to dry), they are then also served up for dinner!
The pumpkin squash is delicious and nutritious, and the seeds when roasted are wonderful. Despite what one local merchant told me - that only a few of the varieties are ‘good for eating’ - I have experimented with a number of different types and they all taste just fine! I have asked a neighbor, who has multiple pumpkins adorning his front courtyard, if he’ll give them to me when he’s done with them...I can at least salvage a few - and maybe broaden the perspective and dietary practice of local friends by introducing them to another way of enjoying pumpkins which my third culture background takes for granted - that food is for eating!
What about you? Have you come across any cultural traditions or items lately which you see differently from others around you?
Share about that with a friend or here. I’d love to hear from you.
And have a wonderful Thanksgiving if it’s part of your cultural heritage...or a bountiful harvest celebration whatever way you celebrate it!
Until next week,
Global SKILLs LINKs
A fun history of pumpkins and some more bits of pumpkin trivia:
An introduction to TCKs (third culture kids) https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20161117-third-culture-kids-citizens-of-everywhere-and-nowhere
The term ‘third culture adult’ is often used to apply to TCKs who have grown up...but I use it in the context of someone like me who did my cross-cultural living in my adult life. "Global Nomad" is a term perhaps more in line with this: https://goexpat.com/global-nomads/
2020 - Celebrating Global SKIlls 10th Anniversary Connecting, Collaborating, Cultivating Community