Category Archives: immigration

Diamonds in My Pocket and the art of living cross-culturally

I’ve often wondered, what would be the most powerful cross-cultural  immersion situation one could ask for? What daily life activity could give you a taste of another culture – and a jolt of culture clash – in the most effective experiential way? Shopping in a foreign country? Sharing a meal with strangers? Falling in love? What could be the single most important step you could recommend to someone to get acquainted with a culture?

While I was reading the absolutely delicious Diamonds in My Pocket by Amanda Kovattana I finally realized what this activity most certainly is. Yes, living with a family with a different cultural background, but more specifically having someone from a different culture have a say in organizing your personal space: tidying your room putting everything in order; with a concept coming from a different culture. But who publishes guides detailing how space is organized in foreign countries? You have to either experience it or decipher it in literary texts, to find those hidden diamonds where they are least expected to be. Diamonds in My Pocket is one of the most honest and culturally illuminating books I’ve read recently and I firmly believe the most powerful reason for that are the rich descriptions of interiors loaded with cultural revelations. Continue reading

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Nothing More and Travelers & Magicians between here and there

Speaking of feeling foreign and the unbearable tension between your wings and your roots, here are two films that deal with the conflicted desire to leave your native land. Their plots are almost a mirror reflection of each other yet they offer the same inspiration to follow your dreams.  But you know, dreams can be a twisted, unreal reality.

Nothing More (Juan Carlos Cremata, Cuba, 2001). Imagine Cuba, where bureaucracy is a tool for control and where vocal dissatisfaction with life is not allowed.  Clara, a young postal employee has languished for years, waiting for her green card so that she can join her parents in Miami.  But her mother’s letters bring her both hope and despair of the unknown. Continue reading