I'm feeling pretty normal! Since last weekend I have gone through two boxes of tissues (one of the cheap kind and one of the luxurious lotion kind), three rolls of cough drops, and about thirty cups of herbal tea.
Beyond the fact that I'm healthy enough that I'm a soprano again, there's not much to report. Wednesday was the International Dinner, and I brought peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I had to leave pretty early thanks to the night bus schedule, so if anything exciting happened I missed it. This weekend will bring some sort of adventure, but I'm not sure what yet. I don't even have any new recipes. But, while I was studying at the laundromat I found three things in my notes that I had meant to blog about and hadn't, so here they are.
1) In France, Scooby Doo is spelled "Scoubidou." That cracked me up.
2) According to the subtitle expert, there are only a few types of audio-visual documents that don't get subtitled. Documentaries, news, and... "videos with minimal dialogue, where the image suffices." I liked her wording, and that cracked me up.
3) We were discussing the notions of "culture," "society," "nationality," "ethnicity," "community," and so on in Anthropology, and I jotted a note in the margin "US: ethnicity ≠ nationality, Europe: usually =." So I used some of my laundromat time to think about that more, and free-write a bit. This is what I came up with:
In Europe, and in fact in most of the world, there's rarely a big difference between ethnicity and nationality. One question covers the other. But in America, it doesn't. Anthropologically, the big concept that creates an ethnicity is the idea of a common origin, and America is far from having that, and may never gain it. The vast majority of Americans have a time line that goes something like this: "Jamestown and the Pilgrims, Declaration of Independence, Revolutionary War, Louisiana Purchase, Civil War, Industrial Revolution, and then my family comes into the picture." For us, the "common origin" is the origin of many of our ideals, but it wasn't actually our ancestors, so we're detached. Americans have language, culture, traditions, and values from our American nationality, but there are strong remnants of culture, traditions, values, and often language from the ethnicity half of us. Just a part of our historical tie is from American history, since our political ideals were created in America, but it's hard to feel closer to some Puritans just reaching the New World or colonial white men writing a new constitution than to your blood-relatives who were half a world away at the time.
So where does "American" fit? It's a nationality, yes, because it can be on a passport. A society, since we share and validate sovereignty. But without an origin that we all share, without a deeply personal tie uniting us immigrants from all over the world, "American" isn't an ethnicity. And until it becomes one, our society can't be as united or have as much power as it should.
I promise I'll have at least one adventure to describe this weekend, and it will include photos!