'Ugly American'

Today's post was written by my friend & blogger Naomi.  She is currently living abroud with her family in India and writes about their adventures at Delhi Bound.  She is quite an amazing woman and I hope you enjoy her writing as much as I do! xoxo

Hey fellow ChefsWidow fans!

I'm honored to be in the group of folks that Amelia asked to make an appearance here … writing some guests posts for her while she takes a little sabbatical.  We originally met years ago for the first time at the Cleveland Science Museum and sat and chatted away the hours while the littles played in the plastic balls.  Jonathan helped Rock-n-Tot get underway and we were one of the first guests at the Cook Cheffin' events.  She was a cool chick then, is a cool chick now and I'm glad she's in my circle.

We recently moved our family of five to Delhi, India from the snowglobe of Ohio and we just celebrated our one year anniversary.  How the time flies when you're experiencing life.

While I admit that it's not in everyone's future travel plans to move to India, there are still ways to instill a love of travel and a window to the world for your little ones ... and for yourself.

You've heard the term "Ugly American" right?  The Encarta dictionary defines "Ugly American" as: stereotypical offensive American: a loud, boorish, nationalistic American, especially one traveling abroad, who is regarded as conforming to a stereotype that gives Americans a bad reputation. In contrast, Dictionary.com defines "the Ugly American" as: Pejorative term for Americans traveling or living abroad who remain ignorant of local culture and judge everything by American standards.

Do you want to know what would start to change the wide use of this term?  Americans broadening their horizons, even just a smidge.  Loads of US citizens do not own passports and even more haven't traveled outside of their state's boundary lines.

No worries though, I'm not suggesting that you go out and spend $100+ on each member of your family to obtain passports and do not necessarily think you should start researching a global trip on Orbitz ... but am suggesting that you consider some of the following as simple ways to broaden your world view ::

REGISTER FOR PostCrossings.  It's a free site to join, and the concept is simple.  You send postcards all over the world, and random folks send YOU postcards from ... you guessed it ... all over the world.  Our kids have gotten such a kick out of receiving surprise postcards in the mail and if you're really ambitious, you can make it into a super quick and easy lesson on the location of the postmark.

ADD SOME BLOGS from people living in other parts of the world to your reader.  You don't have to go crazy, but pick one of your "I would love to live there" locations and also choose a location that you know next to nothing about.  Google something like "Uganda expat blog" and let your mind expand with every post.   I have way too many of these blogs on my faves list, if you happen to want some suggestions, shoot me an email!

If you've got little ones, take an afternoon and MAKE PASSPORTS for their toys.  Quick and fun, all you need is blue construction paper, white copy paper, staples, silver/gold stars and a quick photo session with the little stuffed animals.  We recently made a passport for Woody (ToyStory) and the "citizenship" section of his passport stated "Andy's Room".  Cute.  We also googled the United States Great Seal and used that on the front of their passports, so it looks just like the kids' very own passports.

If you've got a bit more ambition, host your very own PLAYDATE GOES GLOBAL.  Shortly before we left Ohio, two of my gal pals and I put together a fantastic afternoon ... Sonali’s post is here, the CVT article is here and my reflection on it is here.

As residents of this great planet called Earth, we have a responsibility to tread softly, speak out to make it a better place and in my opinion, to also be more culturally aware.

Just across the ocean, just across our borders … lies a completely different way of living. Whether it be the standard dress of a country, varied religious practices or general ways of life … it can be incredibly rewarding to learn tidbits about amazing locations across the world.  Share your newfound knowledge with someone under four feet tall and experience the joy of watching them light up with the awareness that there is more out there to explore than their cul-de-sac!

Naomi Hattaway :: Delhi Bound :: Fading Ladies