Thursday, 28 January 2016

Around the world in a single city

As I said in my last post about Melbourne, it is an incredibly multicultural city. Its diversity and vibrancy is thanks to a long history of immigration (despite what those angry racists from reclaim Australia might tell you). I mean if you think about it, the nation of Australia was brought about by a bunch of British immigrants trying to stake out lands against the French and Dutch. If you want to be all ‘those who actually come from Australia should be allowed to determine the laws and future of the country’ then the only people who should have a say are the indigenous Australians, and let’s face it, indigenous voices have been pretty much silenced in Australian politics since the arrival of foreign settlers with their so called civilising mission (can you tell I am bitter about Australian politics at the moment?). But I am getting really off topic now.

What I am trying to say is that Melbourne is a place where many different nationalities, religions, cultures, languages and worldviews come together. This is manifested in the local museums, film festivals, sporting groups, and food.

In this series I am going to try to bring all these things together, giving you some ideas for themed outings to do with friends, family, with complete strangers or just on your own. 

Museums, festivals and cultural centres provide occasions for engaging with others, other people, other cultures and other experiences than what you would normally encounter on a day to day basis. These encounters help broaden horizons and create a better understanding of the world around us. The more we know about the world and are confronted with things that are 'different' in a positive environment, the more tolerant we become.

Food has a similar effect. The spices, aromas, colours, textures, there is just so much to take in! And every region’s food is different, I mean yes there are similarities but also very specific things that are distinct to a specific group of people. Even families have their own special recipes passed down from generation to generation. In these cases foods are a part of certain stories or histories.

I also think food is a great social tool, it brings people together. All the best holidays revolve around food (and presents of course), most first dates are over dinner or lunch or some other meal from the hobbit list (second breakfast is my personal favourite), food is brought along to cheer people up like ice cream after a break up, it just forms the centre to so much of our daily social lives. It would actually be great to run multi-cultural cooking classes for communities that have issues with racism and inter-cultural violence. But again I digress.

Anyway after living in Melbourne for two years, I have seen quite a lot of the city and experienced many of its multicultural events. This is my way of sharing these experiences and the knowledge I gained through them with the world.

The themes will range from Melbourne as a port town, to beer production in the city, to heritage listings. If anyone has any suggestions for themes they are interested in, put it in a comment!

- Annelies

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