Wednesday, November 07, 2007

It's Still Got That New-City Smell

After spending many years in a, well, um ... somewhat homogenized social environment, I'm celebrating the fact that we now live in an incredibly diverse cultural locale. The food, the faces, the accents, the traditions, and the languages here in Honolulu are all different, and all interesting.

When I filled out bureaucratic paperwork in California, Spanish would occasionally be offered for those for whom English was a second language.

Here? The paperwork I received from the State of Hawaii Department of Education while enrolling Finn in kindergarten included its main information in English.

Then, in alphabetical order, there was also:

* Chinese

* Chuukese

* Ilokano

* Japanese

* Korean

* Laotian

* Marshallese

* Samoan

* Spanish

* Tagalog

* Tongan

* Vietnamese and

* Visayan.

Four of those don't even use western-style keyboard letters in their alphabet, so the State of Hawaii must have some pretty impressive software programs on hand to accommodate the diversity of characters necessary to enroll schoolchildren across the state.

Folks, I bought one of them there fancy globes from Costco last week, but I STILL don't know where some of those countries are.

But I do know that as I pass many of the Asian grocery stores around town and their distinctive signature scent -- herbal, mostly, subtly infused with slightly rotting fruit -- wafts out the front door, even my two-year old can tell the difference:

"Mommy, it smells like Chinatown!"

Yes, it does, sweetie.

And I'm so grateful it does.

1 comment:

Shannon said...

What an enthralling place to be a child. What fun.