Monday, December 21, 2009

It's the most wonderful time of the year

Aside from writing this blog, another part of my job is to facilitate a program called the Bilingual Café. Every other Saturday, native English speakers and native Spanish speakers gather to help each other improve conversational skills in their second language. Each meeting, I usually prepare several activities around a central theme. This past Saturday we talked about holiday traditions.

For the English speakers working on improving their Spanish, we watched this clip about a Hanukkah (Jánuca) celebration in Argentina. Even if you can't understand the video entirely, it is still quite interesting to see Latin American culture and Jewish culture meet on the Boca Juniors soccer field!

The Spanish speakers wishing to improve their English watched a short clip about Kwanzaa. This video was even informational for the native English speakers since it explains the 7 principles celebrated on the 7 respective days of Kwanzaa, celebrated from December 26th to January 1st.

The discussion about Christmas traditions sparked some interesting conversation. One of the attendees had recently arrived from Latin America and had never experienced Christmas time in the United States before. The rest of us had to explain the concepts of mistletoe, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, and why poinsettia is prounounced by some people without the last "i." I am constantly amazed by the way Bilingual Café attendees can deepen their understanding of other people's culture just by trying to have a simple conversation. Although we may have been discussing some silly details, the laughter we shared sent us out into the snowy afternoon with a little more warmth.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

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