Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A time to celebrate!

Saturday rocked! To start off, as I mentioned yesterday, I biked into downtown Bryan to our local farmers market to secure the next two weeks' worth of goodies. The Vaughn's (a husband and wife team that sell the most wonderful veggies) usually great me with a "there's our girl" that always makes me feel welcomed and loved. But that was only the beginning. 

Around noon, we picked up my grandfather (who lives here in town) and took him to Cotton Patch Cafe to have lunch with my brother Tim and his family (wife and three little girls). They came into town just for the day (they live in Dallas), and I haven't seen them since last Christmas. It's embarrassing that it's been that long. I mean, Dallas is only 3 hours away, but you know how time can get away from you. We had a wonderful lunch and I just can't believe how big my brother's kids are getting. I remember when each of them were born and now they are 7, 5, and almost 3. Wow. Times flies!

After lunch, my brother and family headed off to visit a few other people around town and we headed to Worldfest 2008! This is a new festival in downtown Bryan (in only the second year) that celebrates the cultures of countries all over the world. There are several stages where you can experience dance, music, and other arts. Linking the stages together over several blocks, there are also booths for each represented country where participants can display clothing, arts and crafts, regional food, and information on their country. Guests are encourages to obtain a "passport" at the information desk and have it stamped at each of the booths.

I've been looking forward to Worldfest since we attended last year. I love it, not just for the wonderful entertainment, but because in a town as conservative as ours, this cultural festival not only survives, it thrives! Even as late as we went the streets were full of people enjoying the beautiful costumes, yummy food, and crafts. There was even an area dedicated entirely to children. Here's a taste of the day in video, and my favorite part. It's Kaminari Taiko or Japanese drums. The sounds were entrancing and beautiful. Next year, I'll be sure to get a seat for the whole show (sorry it's such a short clip)...

After the festival, we had another quick visit with my brother and his "girls" before heading out to a friend's party (he called it an anti-birthday party). He insisted on no gifts, but I brought some of my homemade jam anyway. 

Exhausted, I look back at a very full day and the celebration of good friends, wonderful family, and an amazing world of diverse cultures right here in our own hometown. A few months ago, I could have never done it. My chronic illness had left me far too week. But I am getting stronger each day and that's something I am so thankful for. So I guess I'm also celebrating change and healing. How wonderful to be a part of it all!


Jennifer (of Veg*n Cooking) said...

I'm so happy that you have been feeling well enough to enjoy yourself as you have been.

It sounds like you had a busy, but very fun day! I don't live too far from my family either, but rarely see them outside of holidays. I always use the "I don't have a car" excuse, but that is all that it is. If we wanted to go down there we could. Eh, but you are right, time has a way of just running away from you.

The festival in your town sounds like it was a really good time. It is nice to see things like this in conservative towns too, it shows progress, at least in my humble opinion.

I am lucky to live in one of the most liberal places in Missouri, Columbia, but I am from the suburbs of St. Louis where it is a lot more conservative so I understand the difference and how much that means to a lone progressive. :-)

Happy Thanksgiving Heather!

Heather @ SGF said...

jennifer - Happy Thanksgiving to you too!

Theresa said...

What a lovely day! How great that your health has improved and you can enjoy such things to their fullest. May your healing and wellness continue, and Happy Thanksgiving!

Di Hickman said...

Hmm worldfest sounds different to our Worldfest here in Los Angeles. Here it's a green festival, full of sustainable companies, eco-speakers and veggie foods (some meat too). Great for the eco minded

Heather @ SGF said...

Theresa - Thanks!

Di - The closest thing we have to that is our Earth Day celebration. This was more a celebration of cultures different from our own. This area has a history of being very intolerant to anything different from the accepted norm, so this is a major step for this community. We're definitely on the right track though!

I would have loved some veggie booths like at your Worldfest. Most of the food was ethnic so there may have been something somewhere. The one thing I did notice (food wise) was a humongo sign for "Texas sized funnel cakes." Right. 'Cause no other state can quite make the big enough, right? Gee wiz! :)

ttammylynn said...

I should think that such a large university like Texas A&M would draw so many kinds of people that there would be plenty of diversity, no matter what sort of people it is that you are looking for...ethnic, political, religious, young, old, or any other way you could divide people up into divisions of difference. The thing I like is that we don't have to be different. As humans we share so much common ground.
As for Bryan, it was host to College Station essentially, named for the university-College and the old train station-Station. The Bryans, Boatwrights and three other families founded Bryan. There were boys in the Bryan family, thus the name. My grandmother is a Boatwright. The Bryans are still active in government(and the community) as conservatives, but many older families hold more conservative, traditional, moral views. I think that the old town, strict rules keep daddies sending their daughters to school in College Station because it feels a bit more "safe" than larger cities where anything goes and there are places you dare not go after dark.
All that said, I like our area because it isn't so big and scary. There are already so many cities that could boast big and scary. This area hovers on it, but the city council refuses to let it get out of control. This is bad when a factory(jobs) could come to the area and growth is refused, but the underlying reason is to keep us below the point of explosive growth. We will see what the future brings but after living in big cities where red and blue lights came to your neighborhood every night, where people smoked crack or weed on their front porch, where you could see three accidents on your way to work everyday(at least one with fatalities). I kindda like smaller towns.

Heather @ SGF said...

Tammy - Oh, I agree. We all share so much in common as humans that it's silly to let our small cultural differences come between us. We all just want to be happy, right? But despite the number of international students that come to TAMU, there is very much a culture on intolerance. How many times have we heard about foreign students being beaten up in Northgate just because they are foreign. Very few gays are openly so for the same reason. Students may come, but they rarely stay.

I've heard reports that companies complain our graduates can't be sent outside of the state for business because they don't play well with others.

I dated a greek man, still a wonderful friend of mine, and during our 5-1/2 years together I couldn't tell you how many times we were told that if you didn't like the way things are to just "get out." It was awful and I experienced it first hand.

Now it's much better than it used to be. I remember in elementary school kids would get beat up if they wore a University of Texas shirt. We've definitely been progressing, but we also have a VERY long way to go.

Going Crunchy said...

Looks like so much fun, and loving the sandwich post you are running.

Heather @ SGF said...

going crunchy - thanks!