How To Truly Connect To & Understand Culture

Monday, February 19, 2024

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Culture is a big word, and it can mean many things at once. While it might elicit something of a groan to start an article like this, culture is anything that connects people and provides a common fabric of experience. So for instance, even the office at your place of work can have its own culture. Two people can develop their own culture of understanding after being friends for a decade.

But culture as we know it often relates to people, sometimes born out of geographical locations, ethnicities, shared culture heritage, and values. In some cases, cultures can connect and blend into something new. We need only look to many Gen Z individuals whose slang becomes a blend of many different cultures, creating a brand new method of communication. The internet itself is homogenizing the way we speak and connect, which is why the skull face emoji, once a relatively ominous symbol, is now considered an emblem to use when recognizing the humor in something. That’s a cultural change.

Perhaps you have a set of exciting travel experiences coming up. Maybe you’re wondering exactly how to get the best of culture and learn the most while you’re there. Never fear, because in this post we’ll discuss how to truly connect to and understand culture, which should inspire you to have the best time possible:

It’s All About Gastronomy
From delicious cuisine to the cultural centers of a nation’s food production, experiencing the true bounty of that particular part of Earth is a wonderful thing. It’s why heading on Tailor Made Wine Tours France can be such a great way to experience various countries because they show you the essence and the history behind the biggest movers, shakers, and preserving experts of the great winemaking tradition. Exploring a nation through your taste buds is not only smart, it’s appreciated by the locals.

Attend Cultural Events & Festivals
You might consider an event, holiday or seasonal activity as unrepresentative of what the culture is, but that’s not always the case. Sure, an event might be a limited span of time in which many different perspectives come together, but how a culture enjoys a certain event, especially if they have their own take on it, can be enlightening. For example, Thanksgiving in the US is very unique, while the American take on Halloween is also much louder, bolder and more celebratory than in other countries. Moreover, some hold amazing traditions, such as the carnival in Venice. Attending cultural events is not only fun, it can help you understand what a country and its culture values.

Understand Basic Communicative Signifiers
Some countries, like Italy, talk using their hands and are quite expressive. Others are more reserved. Many have figures of speech that might sound a little odd to you, but are benign or even welcoming to them. For example, if a British person welcomes you by saying “You alright?” - they’re not necessarily concerned with your health or worried about you, they’re greeting you. This is just one example. Learning the common fixtures and signifiers of day to day conversation can help you flow more easily from place to place, and have fun doing so. Luckily, the internet is a great resource, as are travel guides.

With this travel advice, you’re sure to better connect and understand culture going forward.

#bookofthemonth The Tainted Cup by Robert Jackson Bennett

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

I love fantasy and mystery books. The Tainted Cup is the first in a new series from genre ace Robert Jackson Bennett, author of the  Founders Trilogy series. I powered through and was captivated all the way to the end.

"In Daretana’s most opulent mansion, a high Imperial officer lies dead—killed, to all appearances, when a tree spontaneously erupted from his body. Even in this canton at the borders of the Empire, where contagions abound and the blood of the Leviathans works strange magical changes, it’s a death at once terrifying and impossible.

Called in to investigate this mystery is Ana Dolabra, an investigator whose reputation for brilliance is matched only by her eccentricities.

At her side is her new assistant, Dinios Kol. Din is an engraver, magically altered to possess a perfect memory. His job is to observe and report, and act as his superior’s eyes and ears--quite literally, in this case, as among Ana’s quirks are her insistence on wearing a blindfold at all times, and her refusal to step outside the walls of her home.

Din is most perplexed by Ana’s ravenous appetite for information and her mind’s frenzied leaps—not to mention her cheerful disregard for propriety and the apparent joy she takes in scandalizing her young counterpart. Yet as the case unfolds and Ana makes one startling deduction after the next, he finds it hard to deny that she is, indeed, the Empire’s greatest detective.

As the two close in on a mastermind and uncover a scheme that threatens the safety of the Empire itself, Din realizes he’s barely begun to assemble the puzzle that is Ana Dolabra—and wonders how long he’ll be able to keep his own secrets safe from her piercing intellect.

Featuring an unforgettable Holmes-and-Watson style pairing, a gloriously labyrinthine plot, and a haunting and wholly original fantasy world, The Tainted Cup brilliantly reinvents the classic mystery tale."

A Fresh, Mindful Approach to Goal Setting

Thursday, January 4, 2024

Happy New Year!! Hoping that 2024 brings us all health, happiness and abundance. After last year, this year I am committed to making an effort to be more mindful. From how I approach life, self care, and more specifically goal-setting and focusing on things I am thankful for.

Sometimes in November, every Monday morning I started writing down three goals or things I want to accomplish and three things I'm grateful for. I wrote these in my day timer and the whole thing took no longer than five minutes but helped me to visualize and arrange the week ahead. I found that this helped me feel better and that not everything is crazy and out of control. However my agenda was not so conducive to this, so I created one that is – think of it as 5 minute journal within a day timer. 

While you can you sticky notes, your day timer, a simple note book - goal setting for the week and writing down at least 3 things you are grateful every week will help enormously. For one, it will help keep you organized, but more importantly put into focus the good things. Sure, those things are small sometimes but small victories are just as important. 

How do you goal set?

#bookofthemonth Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don't Know by Adam M. Grant

Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don't Know by Adam M. Grant

This book get mixed reviews but its one of those books I like to read to around the new year, reason being its good for a re-set. I think its well written, clear, engaging and hilarious - this book has been an enjoyable and valuable read for me at a time I m trying to focus on new beginning and new priorities.

"Think Again is a book about the benefit of doubt, and about how we can get better at embracing the unknown and the joy of being wrong. Evidence has shown that creative geniuses are not attached to one identity, but constantly willing to rethink their stances and that leaders who admit they don't know something and seek critical feedback lead more productive and innovative teams.

New evidence shows us that as a mindset and a skilllset, rethinking can be taught and Grant explains how to develop the necessary qualities to do it. Section 1 explores why we struggle to think again and how we can learn to do it as individuals, arguing that 'grit' alone can actually be counterproductive. Section 2 discusses how we can help others think again through learning about 'argument literacy'. And the final section 3 looks at how schools, businesses and governments fall short in building cultures that encourage rethinking.

In the end, learning to rethink may be the secret skill to give you the edge in a world changing faster than ever."

Ready, Set, Goal

Monday, January 1, 2024

This year we are all about intention, and getting shit done. I do the best when I plan and have things to work towards to so here is to making 2024 filed with goals, plans and ambitions that will help us look and feel our best.

The start of a new year marks an opportunity to reflect on life, and think about the future. Sure New Year resolutions get a bad rap for encouraging unrealistic goals that most people forget or fall off doing mid February but I look at it very differently; Writing down and embracing achievable goals, that are more of a work in process, and if you stick with them will slowly make new, attainable routines and habits that will make you feel great about yourself.

The fact that January 1st is on a Monday is a perfect re-set and start to a new year. 
Here are few of my goals for 2024 :

Start a gratitude and mindfulness journal.

Build a better budget.

Read 15 books this year.

Make the blog work/make this space a priority.

Make $50 extra a week.

De-clutter my home. 

What are your goals for 2024?

Life, lately

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

2023 was one of the hardest years of my life, but somehow filled with most amazing moments too. Its also been a year when I had to learn the most about myself and how to deal with stress, anxiety and bordering depression.  To top dealing with a hard year, life seems to be going a million miles an hour. Between work, trying to revive the blog (yeah 2023 took more of a hit on it than 2020 did), my relationship, trying to figure out life without my mom around I felt like I have been drowning for  better part of 2023.

Grief is a hell of thing, but with all that pain came burst of clarity. While I still cry most days, and have a hard time with losing my mom, I think I m finally learning how to cope. Its a small step but a step to being in a better place mentally for when my baby comes here. 

Few years ago,  I started blogging as a way to have something that was just “mine”, something I would have control over and to help me deal with the voices inside my head. Somewhere along the way other things took over and the blog took a back seat. Lately I felt so overwhelmed, alone, and had completely lost my sense of self. So in 2024 other than focusing on keeping a tiny human alive, the blog, and this space will be my  main focuses. 

2023 was so hard but filled with many happy memories and events that changed the trajectory of my life, as I know it. Highlights of this year include : Birth of the most precious and perfect person, AKA my niece Ajla; Seeing our baby in 3D! and getting engaged.

growing baby P and weekly iron infusions 

How was your 2023?

Winter Date Night Ideas

Thursday, December 21, 2023

Winter sounds great in theory, but I for one am cold at plus 10 but in an attempt to spend more time doing things, I came up with a list of date night ideas. This is your go-to guide if you want to go on a non-conventional date this winter. Although it may be alluring to stay home rather than deal with the bother, an outside date might be well worth it.

Build a snowman

Have a movie night

Go sledding

Go ice skating

Do hot yoga

Check out holiday lights

Play video games

Put up Holiday decorations

Make Christmas ornaments

Go and see a play