Talk about where you live!
I realize it has been a very long time since I have posted anything. I'm sorry for being so absent this last year (or more), I had some amazing opportunities and wonderful distractions. Over the summer months I had the opportunity to work with my local Chamber of Commerce where I was in touch with many small businesses and community volunteer organizations. It reminded me that although I work on an international scale, helping those in my immediate community is incredibly important. I have since had the opportunity to volunteer with local refugee families, help out at one of our festivals supporting local businesses, and I got to tour the beautiful area I live in.
This has led me to appreciate the knowledge we gain by living in a community. Know your home, what it has to offer and what makes it special. Many years ago, it feels like another life, I was sitting on a tour bus in British Columbia with coworkers when two lovely ladies from Australia asked us if there were any tourist attractions in our area back in Ontario. Both of my coworkers scofed and said loudly, "No, it's so boring there. There is nothing worth seeing." This actually made me angry. I spoke up without thinking and immediately went to bat for my hometown. We have beautiful lakes, fishing, wildlife and nature photography. We have the Mom and Pop shops, the homemade gifts, and the image tours in the autumn. We have ski resorts, massive hockey games where the entire community comes together to cheer on the players, and some of the best food I've ever had! I could have gone on and on about how many more amazing things we have in our area, but I was silenced by my coworker saying, "Sure if you're into that boring kind stuff."
My point is, we have to teach, look for, and learn about what makes our home special. If we don't, we are not only missing out on fun and culture, but we are damaging our economy and degrading the connections we create while living there.
I hope you and your family take the time to get to know your home. Tell others about what makes it special. Use your own language and then try to translate it the best you can so others can imagine. Spreading your own language using the correct native name will help others learn your culture. You can then test yourself and try to describe your home in English. I am a firm believer we need to preserve languages and be mindful of how we teach ESL to youth. So spread the word and share how beautiful your home is!