I Know the World, But Have Never Left America - My Family Travels

T?t c? b?t ??u v?i

It all started with my dad, a war refugee from Vietnam. Ever since I was a little girl, I heard stories of “life back in Vietnam.” Stories that included mango trees in backyards and traffic made of motor scooters. It created a wanderlust, a curiosity, and need to learn about culture.

Chúng tôi t?p trung ? th? ?ô c?a qu?c gia

We gather in the nation’s capitol, Washington D.C., which also happens to be a popular location for Vietnamese. I don’t know how many times my family has made the two and a half hour plane ride, or much worse, the 22 hour car ride down to Washington D.C., to visit my family there, but I do know every time we go, there’s something new to be discovered.  D.C. is incredible, a place where the United States gathers and shares history from the Smithsonian, to the war memorials, to the monuments. It’s enough to make you feel like America is where you belong, that it’s where everybody belongs.

Culture trouvé dans le plus improbable des lieux .

When the word “culture” is mentioned, we tend to go to the obvious: Washington D.C., New York, Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco, the list goes on. When my family took a trip to Disneyworld last year, I found culture in the unlikeliest of places, a hotel shuttle. French, Swiss, Italian, and Mexican were just a few of the nationalities on the shuttle from the hotel. It was amazing to sit back and watch how different people from across the world interacted with each other, to hear the languages they spoke, and also that all these adults had traveled great distances to go to Disneyworld, a place most Americans go to by the time they’re in high school. Language has always been something that has intrigued me, the more languages you know, the more places you can go, and the more you can understand about different cultures, people, and the world.

Aqui estamos nós, juntos em Miami.

Color, flavor, and fun, are three words I use to describe Miami. Although there are so many things to do there, my cultural experience came in another unexpected place, the ballet studio. I spent five days at Miami City Ballet, which was not only filled with people from all over the country, but all over the world, from Brazil and Mexico, to Japan and Switzerland, to name a few.

From all the cultures, my friend Jessica, a Brazilian, taught me the most about Brazilian culture. Over the five weeks, she helped me learn a little bit of Portugeuse, difficult, but a welcome challenge. She also taught me how Brazil is different from America in many ways, including politically and economically, but in a way, is similar. In the United States, people come from everywhere to enjoy the freedom we have. When the United States was first founded, it was mostly Caucasian Europeans, however throughout time, the cultural makeup has changed to include people from all over the world.  South America may appear to have people with similar appearance, however in Brazil, all bets are off. People come from many different cultures, making it very difficult to categorize someone as “Brazilian,” just as it is difficult to categorize someone as “American” based on their appearance. From this I learned how lucky we are in the United States to have such a diverse culture, where everyone is different.

Whether it be the history in D.C., tourists in Disneyworld, or ballet dancers in Miami, I have learned that in America, I can visit the world.

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