On May 22th this year, we attended the Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month Observance at Bonneville Power Administration. We as ICSP members were invited to present cultural tables and join a cultural garment show. One of the ICSP alumni (at that time a current member) Lisha and I represented China. I was very nervous and excited about the garment show at the first place because I have not done something like this before! However, Tama, the person who made this request was very thoughtful and kind. She introduced to us the stage we would be walking on and the hallway where we would present our table. After the rehearsal, I felt more excited than worried!
Lisha and I prepared a presentation board about traditional Temple Fair during Chinese New Year and some artifacts which are commonly seen during Chinese New Year. I was so glad that each of us were able to bring a different kind of traditional Chinese clothing representing different dynasty for the garment show. We first set up our table before any audience came. Then we changed our clothes and walked on the stage one by one. After each representative had shown their traditional clothes, each of us introduced ourselves and shared some cultural information of the clothes we were wearing as what we did for the rehearsal. This was such an exciting experience for me! I tried to repeat what I prepare to say even while I was standing on the side of the stage and waiting for my turn! However, I calmed down when I listened to my peer ICSP members introducing their clothes and culture. When we actually stood in front of the audience, I felt so proud of my cultural clothes. What I thought at the moment was just how to accurately deliver all the content and my proud feelings to our audience. We shared how we use dragons to represent male, phoenix to present female and we love to sew them on our traditional clothes. We also managed to present two different traditional greetings, a unisex one and a female only one! After all of us walked on the stage, we stood in a row and answered questions from the audience at the place and also online. The number of questions came from our online audience surprises me! There were so many questions from online audience that we were not able to answer them all due to the time limit we had! All the audience at the place were also very attentive. They asked many questions about our clothes and culture we just presented. They showed respect and curiosity to learn about our cultural backgrounds! After we completed the show, we went back to our cultural tables and waited for the audience to come. Many people stopped by our table to read our presentation board and ask questions. We were able to communicate with many people working in the building. They are interested in other cultures and many of them also had experience visiting other countries! We knew from a lady that she has been to China before and we were able to talk about the differences between our hometown cities and the city she visited.
I love this presentation experience and if we have another chance in the future, I would definitely want to join again! I am very grateful for opportunities like this since through these cultural events, we can contribute to promoting cultural awareness and appreciation of cultural differences. Through these events, people from other cultural background can have a chance to learn about our culture, and through communication, we often can learn from their cultural background as well! This always brings both sides with new knowledge and new perspectives!
I love the fact that they have these heritage events periodically at their workplace. U.S. is a very diverse country with people coming from all over the world. People who have different skin tones, races, first languages work together and live around each other. Moreover, the world is becoming more and more connected and smaller. These events gave us a chance to learn more about each other’s cultural background, thoughts and beliefs. I believe better communication and understanding among people always contributes to building a friendly community and a better world.