How was your weekend? Mine was fantastic, and filled with some pleasant surprises. I’ll share some of them with you in this blog, starting on Thursday – since I don’t have classes on Friday, that’s the official start of my weekend (yes, I have chosen my classes carefully!).
Thursday night, I attended a lecture by former ihouse director Joe Lurie entitled “Astonishing Tales about the I-House Building and its Extraordinary Mix of Residents Over Eight Decades”. Joe shared some very interesting facts about the building; did you know the auditorium ceiling was inspired by a Spanish/Moorish temple?
Moreover, Joe shared some of his experiences as ihouse director regarding cultural differences. I-house history has many ‘cultural success stories’, with some former residents being married today as a result. However, in a place as multicultural as I-House, cultural conflict also occurs, varying from differences in time perspective to unexpected dining or bathroom habits. Many of these conflicts do not arise because residents dislike each other, but rather because of differences in cultural values that both parties may not be aware of. Sometimes, these unexpected behaviors result into friction. However, ihouse also gives us the opportunity to explore these cultural differences in an informal way and learn from each other. In that way, ihouse can be regarded as a cultural playground, where we learn (and have fun) together.
Talking about fun: let’s skip ahead to Friday! Time for another unexpected surprise. I’ve found that the ihouse corridors are a place of excitement late at night and there is always something going on somewhere. Last Friday, that somewhere was my room. Some of my friends invited themselves to a party in my room and one of them was so kind to put the good news on Facebook (thanks Nico!). A lively party was the result, until the moment we all knew would arrive was there: an RA banging on the door. Party over! 😉
Back to cultures: to further enrich my intercultural ihouse experience, I joined the Intercultural Leadership Initiative, which brings me to Saturday. We had our first ‘field trip’ as an ILI group! The trip took us to Oakland, where we visited Oakland’s Chinatown and experienced some American culture whilst eating ‘soul food’ at Everett & Jones (which I highly recommend for any BBQ/meat lovers!). Below are some pictures we took during the day, it was a great trip! (Thanks for organizing Jess!)
After going clubbing ‘in style’ (as in, going there with a limo!) in San Fransisco Saturday night, my Sunday started out lazy. However, in the afternoon it was time to dress up for another great ihouse experience: the Sunday supper. The supper was great, I hosted a very nice family from the rotary club and the acts were amazing! I think the various acts nicely illustrated the diversity of ihouse and it’s residents. And again, some unexpected things awaited me – I had no idea skipping rope could be so entertaining!
And with that, my weekend ended. Luckily, there are more weekends to come! If you guys still have some free weekends in October/November, consider visiting one of the many national parks. Yosemite is a must-do, but the lesser-known Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks are also fantastic – some pictures I took on a trip there a couple of weeks ago are below.
That’s it for now! I wish you all good luck with any upcoming midterms and hope you enjoy California and of course ihouse, our cultural playground, full of the unexpected.