Saturday, March 12, 2016

My Family Culture

New class, new thoughts, new assignments. For this assignment we have to imagine that our country has just had a major catastrophe and we are forced to evacuate to another country, that has a different culture, and we are only allowed to take with us 3 personal items, aside from 1 change of clothes. These 3 items need to be something that you hold dear and that resemble your family culture.

For me those 3 items would be:
-A photo album
-My great great grandmother's Bible
-A box of dice

The third item was such a struggle for me. I'm assuming that my paper documents (birth certificate, passport, etc) and a small bag of hygiene items don't count as a third item. I'm also assuming that I'm allowed to wear special jewelry that's important to me (my wedding rings, my grandma's ring, a bracelet, etc).

So if those things don't count (which honestly if you're really in this situation they probably would count), what would my third item be? At first I thought of something electronic like a computer or a phone, to help me keep in contact with other family that may have been diverted to a different country or another area of the same country, but it's hard to know if the electrical currents would be the same in the other country. Then I thought of cash, but it could be very likely that would be confiscated at the boarder of the other country, or even if it wasn't it would be in a completely different currency. I also thought of a blanket, I love blankets, it would be comforting and could remind me of home. Lastly I thought of a deck of cards or a box of dice, because as a family we love playing games together and it would help pass the time in a country that we didn't understand.

After talking to my husband, who's first item would be a computer, I settled on a box of dice.

How would I explain the meaning of these items? I think it would be difficult if there is a language barrier. I think I would try to learn a few words right away that would be helpful to explain, like family, God, daughter, son, book, game, etc. Then I could explain that the Bible is a family book about God, that the dice is a family game, and I could point out the people in the pictures in the photo album.

If at the boarder they said I had to take my 3 items down to only 1 item, what would it be? I would have first put a few of the most important pictures of my family (a wedding picture, a picture of my parents, a picture of my sister's family, a picture of each of my kids as babies, and a current family picture) in my Bible already, used them as bookmarks. So I would keep the Bible, it has family history written in it, it's a family heirloom, and it's also the word of God, all of which is very important to my family. I would be upset about loosing the picture album and even the dice, I would feel violated and grieve over those things, especially after loosing everything else that we had left behind already, but I would be glad to keep something.

This was hard to think of, but it started some really good conversation between my husband and I and some friends. It really makes you think about what you hold so dear as important and what really isn't. The idea of something patriotic from your home country was brought up, which I think would be something I would really want in a new country, but it made me realize that I don't have an American flag in our home that I could even bring with us. I have a folded one, that my dad taught me how to fold properly, but it's in storage right now. I think it's hard to think of what is truly your culture, when you're indoctrinated into your own culture currently, it's hard to know what you would really miss and what wouldn't be available to you in the new country. But man that would be so hard.


  1. Danielle, I enjoyed your post very much! I went through the same process myself. I asked my boyfriend and several other friends what three items would they take. It was interesting how people value and care for different things. At first when I read your third item, I was wondering why a box of dice? But after reading it is a family game, I found it quite compelling. In the midst of this "disaster" you still hope for some togetherness and positive environment.

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Hello Danielle,

    I loved your post. I also chose my bible as one of my items, I'm a woman of faith so its important for me to carry the bible. I have went through a lot of things in my life, and I know I have gotten through those situations by praying and believing in God to bring me through the storm. I also loved the box of dice item because you know that symbolizes something. I also struggled a bit coming up with a third item, but I just know that as long as it has a meaning to it then it would work. Thanks for sharing your post.

  3. Danielle,
    Thank you for your practicality in your post- assuming that passports, birth certificates, and jewelry that you are able to wear are not included in the three items. Something that I did not even think about. I love that this sparked great conversation between your husband and friends. So great when we can apply the things that we are learning in the course to our daily lives. That's what it's all about! I also think that it's important that if you are traveling with your family, which is what the scenario suggested, and each of you were only allowed one item that you wouldn't want a repeat of that item. So yes, if your husband has the computer, then you would not need yours. Your post has inspired me to ask my family what their one item would be.
    Thank you for your post.

  4. Hi Danielle,

    I really enjoyed reading your post! I see that many of us discussed this topic with our spouses and peers - what a great conversation starter! I know that I gained a lot of insight with this assignment. I especially liked your choice of dice! Matt and I always have a deck of cards accessible, and I remember being stuck on an interstate in Tennessee, sitting on the hood of the car and playing games while we waited for an accident to clear. Your post really made me think - thanks!