Yassou! Mazel Tov! Salud! Oh My! – I Love Other People’s Heritage

by Melody Jean

Yassou! Mazel Tov! Salud! Oh My! – I Love Other People’s Heritage Contemporary Seeker

“Yassou!”

This is how we were greeted last night at the Greek Festival, which was within walking distance from my place.

And, no I don’t live in Greece, I live in America’s Central Pennsylvania.

 

Other People’s Heritage – Oh How I Love Thee

There’s something awesome about that word “yassou!,” which hones multiple positive meanings. Oh, and Greek chicken and baklava sundaes don’t stink either <wink, wink>.

I love other people’s heritage, especially when they share it with me. One of the joys of America, really. Yes, America, the melting pot.

Comprised of living, breathing entities whose outer shells exhibit all of the various races, creeds, cultures, religions, ethnicities, and orientations found in the world.

America, the land of the free, home of the brave, and a place where all are welcome to call “home.”

Awesome Words – They’re In Every Culture

I actually googled “yassou” immediately when I heard it to ensure that I understood it’s meaning. I’m weird like that. A continual seeker, I want to know, and I want to know now.

“Hello,” “goodbye,” and “good health to you.” One simple word, with so many connotations. There are so many words like this, which we Americans utter from different heritages – mazel tov (Hebrew) and salud (Spanish) to name a few.

The City (or is it World?) Traveler

I consider myself fortunate to have lived in some of the greatest cities in the world.

I called NYC home and Boston home, each for five years at a time. A decade of my life spent in two extremely diverse cities. I’ve also taken-up residency in other, smaller cities, like Syracuse, NY and Harrisburg, PA.

While all of these metropolitan areas are found in the grand’ol’ U.S. of A. often I feel I like I’ve lived across the globe.

The numerous different cultures found in these cities alone, which I’ve been privy to, to learn and grow from are astronomical in a sense. These experiences too have become an invaluable part of who I am today. Local communities within these large metropolises are known to share with public folk, like me, their goodies including traditions and culinary delights.

From Indian, to Korean, to Arabic, to Greek, to Italian, to Portuguese, to Irish, to Japanese, to Chinese, to Mexican, to Spanish the list really is endless, and I’ve tasted it all. I’ve soaked-up their richness and I’m fortunate to have embraced the love of so many different heritages.

A New York City Subway Ride

I’ll leave you with a memorable experience that I have stored away in my cranium.

While living in NYC, I vividly recall one particular subway ride. It was a Saturday, and as I looked around I realized that I was the only passenger who had glowing, bright-white skin. This was no bother to me. I felt safe, I felt at home.

Yet, while I was dressed in a tank-top, cut-off jean shorts, and flip flops to bear the oppressive NYC summer heat, many of my fellow passengers were dressed in various clothing which underscored their religious beliefs. Sitting side-by-side – actually touching shoulder to shoulder — were men donning turbans (a bulle or dastar) and other yarmulkes.

It was heartening to see, yet I couldn’t help but to notice the irony. As individuals, these men sat kindly and peacefully side by side as did I with my bright-white skin and American clothing. Yet, in the grand scheme of the world, the countries that “house” our various belief systems have been fighting for centuries. Yes. Individuals sit side by side, and countries battle it out. Oh, of course I see the irony.

At What Cost?

So it’s here in America, that we are free to share our culture, embrace our heritage, and practice our religion, and relish in the freedom of this beautiful trait which ultimately defines America.

However, I can’t help but to think that it’s not without cost. Yet, I also realize sometimes we must forgo counting the cost because nothing is free. And with that — freedom is not free.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

George

Another really good one !!

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Melody Jean

Muchas gracias George 😀

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