I went to multiple events on the week of April 25 through the 29th on Cal State Monterey Bay campus. The first even I attended was a celebration of spring called ‘Holi”. I felt very out of place when first arriving as some people were dressed in authentic Holi garb, and there was a buzz of excitement in the air. Although I at first kept to myself and simply observed, everyone was extremely friendly and willing to answer any questions I had. I learned that Holi is ‘the festival of colors’ and happens every year to celebrate the arrival of spring. Also at this even were people enjoying colorful clays and chalks and throwing them all about, celebrating the color festival in a apropos way. It reminded me of what have now become popular as the ‘Color Runs’ that often happen in San Francisco (an idea they adopted from Holi, no doubt).
My next few days were spent enjoying the various food events they had through the week and can I say…YUM! The kalua pig was absolutely delicious, and I tried various other foods that were so yummy, but difficult for me to pronounce. Before enjoying the delicious foods however, I was able to hear some students talk about their families experiences as immigrants from various Asian countries.
Hearing the trials and tribulations these immigrants had to endure, it was a major reality check for me, and made me extremely appreciative of what I have.
One of the major takeaways I have from my attending these few events is how little turnout they receive from those that are not directly involved in the groups or organizations. I was one of the very few caucasian people at both events, and many of the others seemed to have gotten there by accident. It is just sad when we have so many opportunities to meet and learn about people from other cultural backgrounds, but we insist on staying in our little bubble with blinders on.
I was able to experience foods, stories, people and songs I never would have if I otherwise had not have gone to these events. Not only that, but multiple people went out of their way to ensure I enjoyed myself and felt included in the festivities. It made me hopefull for humanity, and also reminded me to do the same for others when I am in the position of the host.