Category - Culture

1
A Gift From Afar
2
A Few Weeks in Palau
3
Hanging on to Cultural Knowledge…Korea-Style
4
A Band of Explorers
5
A Warm Welcome to Milan
6
The Lecture Circuit in Hawaii
7
Working with the ?Other?
8
Adjusting to Life Abroad

A Gift From Afar

Just three days after Christmas, three travelers from the east (at least if you think of Spain as lying to the east) brought to Guam a gift?the skull of a Jesuit priest who had been killed on the island 330 years earlier. The priest, Fr. Manuel Solorzano, was one of the twelve Jesuits who lost their lives in what have come to be known as the ?Spanish-Chamorro Wars.?

The skull was a reminder of the worst of times, some would say. People died in unprecedented numbers from disease and violence, the culture was radically transformed, and for the first time islanders lived under a foreign flag. Read More

A Few Weeks in Palau

Here we are in Palau, an island group with a per capita income four times higher than that of the rest of Micronesia. “The Land of Gold Chains and Fancy Watches” is what one of our Jesuit volunteer teachers used to call it some years ago. It?s a place that is on the map?-Darryl Hannah and JFK Jr. vacationed here 20 years ago, and the Survivor TV series was filmed here ten years ago. The country has been self-governing for only 35 years, but it has had two presidents who died violent deaths?-one who was assassinated and another who shot himself. It?s never exactly been Dullsville here in Palau. Where else, a friend once asked, could you strike up a serious conversation on current political affairs with a total stranger? Read More

Hanging on to Cultural Knowledge…Korea-Style

Korea may seem an unlikely spot for mounting a crusade aimed at cultural preservation in the Pacific, but the UNESCO Center for the Asia Pacific Region happens to be located there. So it was that a handful of us from the Pacific met there in the traditional southern town of Jeonju. Did I say town? Jeonju is really a city with beautifully designed glass and steel buildings and a population bigger than my hometown (Buffalo). But it also is the home of a traditional Korean village, the palace of the emperors of the Chosun dynasty (who first came to power in the 14th century), and the burial place of the first Christian martyr in Korea. Read More

A Band of Explorers

We just missed it, but I was in the mountains in upstate New York with my ?extended family? of 60+ relatives at the time. July 31 was the feast of St. Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits. So, even if this comes a bit late, let me exercise my bragging rights and share with you a reflection or two on the religious order that I have belonged to for the past 58 years. Read More

The Lecture Circuit in Hawaii

As a fellow of East-West Center, I was given the opportunity to give talks?and do so much more?for two weeks in Honolulu and on the Big Island in mid-March. It all began with five presentations to classes in Ethnic Studies and Pacific Island Studies at the University of Hawaii. Why the ethic bias against Micronesians in Hawaii these days? How were Japanese migrants to Micronesia treated before the war? Read More

Working with the ?Other?

Milan is a small town of just 300 people in rural Minnesota, but nearly half of them are from Romanum in Chuuk. ?At the end of March I expect to be visiting Milan, after a couple of weeks in Hawaii, to help create bridges between the Chuukese and their new neighbors from the Midwest. Not that the Chuukese don?t have friends there already. At the head of the list are Eric Thompson, a former PCV who spent two years in Chuuk, and Bob Ryan, a businessman who has become a father to the islanders. Read More

Adjusting to Life Abroad

Nate and Trisha, Newlyweds

Nate and Trisha, Newlyweds

A week ago I had the honor of doing the wedding ceremony of a cousin (Nate) and his wife (Trisha) in a small New Jersey town near Paramus. Nate met his wife, whose parents were born in India, at Fordham University several years ago. Since then they have had very different careers?Nate is a lawyer, while Trisha is a CPA with a fine job with a good Manhattan firm?but love conquers all! For those who have never seen me wearing more than zoris, shorts, and a polo shirt, let me offer proof that life in New York calls for adaptation even from such as me. You can also see the newlyweds, by the way. Read More

Copyright © 2014. Created by Meks. Powered by WordPress.