We are Not an Island.

We are Not an Island.

Growing up in the U.S., we rarely talked about Canada in school.  If fact, I often joke with my Canadian friends that, when I was young, I didn’t even know that there was anything north of the United States. All of our classroom maps depicted the U.S. as if a floating land mass surrounded by sea. Something like this: 

We didn’t pay much attention to Canada and, honestly, I am not quite sure why. It's people are “the nicest” humans in the world (I married one!) and the topography and beauty is varied and unmatched.  But, it’s true, most of us Americans don’t know the first thing about Canada. Ok, well we all know it’s cold, and that everyone says “eh”, and that they drink Molson, love ice hockey, and proudly wear their flag. But, that is pretty much where our knowledge ends, period. [Side note: embarrassingly, during the eve of my wedding rehearsal, my future in-laws staged an impromptu Canadian trivia test in which I completely failed]. Thankfully, they still allowed me to marry their son…truly, the nicest people in the world, eh?

Now in 2017, in a surprising twist of our times, we are [belatedly] paying more attention to Canada these days than ever before. Prime Minister Trudeau is the antithesis of President Trump and that in itself is plenty worthy of attention.

So, in honor of Canada’s 150th anniversary (as they call it “The Sesquicentennial Anniversary of Canadian Confederation”) let me take time to share with you the few things that I have learned over the years that you just may not know.

But before we get started, let me say that what you DO already know, is in fact ALL true. It is cold (despite that there are 2 weeks at varying times in the summer that you would never believe this). And yes, the people ARE the nicest in the world even though they were edged out by Switzerland (what whaat??). And, if choosing to debate any historical ice hockey moment, Americans would be wise to refrain from challenging any Canadian on this topic.

Nevertheless, beyond these indisputables, here are some things that you [truly] probably didn’t know.

1)    Not every person you see sporting a Canadian flag is indeed Canadian. In fact, the positive Canadian stereotype is so strong that many “Non-Canadian” travelers flat out lie just to make themselves seem cool, neutral, and well-liked. As a Canadian, you can ACTUALLY tell people you are from Canada without any repercussion.

2)    Did you know that lacrosse is Canada’s national sport … NOT ice hockey?

3)    Did you know that Canada celebrates Thanksgiving too? Except that Canada celebrates this day on the second weekend in October instead of November and in honor of ... well, no one really knows the origin but it’s a “bountiful harvest” nonetheless.

4)    Did you know that Canada has highway overpasses made solely for wildlife? This way, grizzly bears, moose, elk, sheep, coyotes, and wolves can safely pass busy highways without becoming roadkill. People, you are entirely on your own.

5)    When you think of the Northern Lights, don’t just think Alaska or Scandinavia, some of the best views can be seen from Northern Canada!

6)    Did you know that Manitoba is the polar bear capital of the world?

7)    Oh by the way, Manitoba is a P-R-O-V-I-N-C-E. Province is kind of like a state but there are only 10 of these Provinces in Canada and they are “governed” differently than [see point #8 below].

8)    And then, there are these things called T-E-R-R-I-T-O-R-I-E-S. There are three territories in Canada and they are WAY up there. Up North of North that is. Yukon, The Northwest Territories, and Nunavut. I can’t really explain the difference between provinces and territories and I never really got a straight answer from any Canadian either. But, what I do know, is there are NOT a lot of people up there and those who do live up there don’t really give a $#@% about the rest of Canada unless it has to do with global warming or oil.

9)    Did you know that some of your favorite movies were filmed in Canada and those actors and actresses and singers you love are all Canadian?  Name one, look it up on Wikipedia, and I swear they will be Canadian. In a country that only boasts 35.8 million people (vs 321.4 million in the US), that’s a pretty good hit rate!

10) That thing about French Canadians vs. non French Canadians you heard? Well, whatever you heard, it’s probably true.

11) Lastly, on a wild n’ crazy geography note, did you know that Canada is also home to an island, within an island, within an island. Got that? So, basically a 3rd degree island. For Reals. Check it out here.

Anyway, happy Canada Day people (one day late) and don’t forget to take the time to learn a little bit more about our friendly neighbors to the North! We are NOT an island.

[**Check out some cool Google Earth Voyager footage on Canada here --FYI only chrome browsers work].

#CulturalLiteracyCounts

One-Sidedness is Rarely a Good Thing.

One-Sidedness is Rarely a Good Thing.

For those who know me, of course I would share this article, a topic near and dear to my heart:  "Liberal Arts in the Data Age" by Harvard Business Review. Below is an excerpt.

"...this STEM-only mindset is all wrong. The main problem is that it encourages students to approach their education vocationally—to think just in terms of the jobs they’re preparing for....If we want to prepare students to solve large-scale human problems ... we must push them to widen, not narrow, their education and interests..." 

To be clear, I am not anti-STEM. Quite the opposite. I just believe that one-sidedness in anything does not enable us to think and develop the most creative and innovative solutions. I fear we are now leaning too far in the STEM direction. Yes, I want my kids to understand coding language and be encouraged to test hypotheses in science, and I want them to believe that they can do/be anything they want. But, the so-called "soft subjects", including cultural and social studies, should not be forgotten. Liberal arts encourages studies in all subjects. It is not all soft and fuzzy as some may believe. A liberal arts school requires courses in the math and sciences even if you are an English major. It requires courses in the arts, even if you are pre-med. It produces students who think out-of-box, who know how to write and communicate, and encourages openness and creativity that are invaluable in the workplace, especially in tech.

#CulturalLiteracyCounts

More Alike Than Different.

More Alike Than Different.

While traveling in Japan this summer, my daughters and I were approached by some junior high girls who were learning about other cultures and hoping to practice their English skills.  Below is what we were handed by these students.  I just loved this. Yes, people from all over the world CAN be friends. The girls and I were asked to write a message about our idea of peace, love and friendship. 

Here is what we said: "If people lead a life of compassion and acceptance and keep an open mind when learning about people and cultures other than their own, nothing will stand in the way of peace and understanding. We have so much to learn from one another. There is no one “right” way of doing things, there is only the way of accepting our differences and similarities, and taking the time to learn “the why”. When we take the time to understand … to become culturally literate … we find that more often than not, we are far more alike than different.

#CulturalLiteracyCounts

Be a Girl

Be a Girl

Be a girl.

For she is fierce and strong.

This is her beauty.

 

She may feel broken at times, but she is resilient for she believes in herself.

She may get knocked down, but she learns and rises stronger and fiercer than she was before.

Oh, and don’t cross her. She will fight if she needs to, but she will also fight in support of you.

You cannot break her because even if the wind is strong, she will let it carry her to a better place.

 

Be a girl.

For she is kind and intelligent.

This is her beauty.

 

She follows her heart, but at times she can't hold herself back because her path beckons and her passions are stronger than her fears.

Sometimes she gets lost in adventure, but always knows where to find home.

Sometimes she cries, but with each teardrop she grows wiser.

 

Be a girl.

For she is important.  We need her.

She will make a difference.

 

Be a girl.

She is in all of us.

She is beautiful. 

 

-Written by Kristi Rible Scobie

 

Momwarrior & Me

Momwarrior & Me

It has been two weeks since I had the pleasure of moderating the inaugural #momwarrior™ event on Friday, May 12th. This is an event that celebrates the warrior mom – the “working mom", the “stay-at home mom", and the mom that doesn’t fit into (or doesn’t like!) either of those labels. It was an event that celebrated our diversity, our passion projects, and the challenges and celebrations of motherhood and our career choices.

The mastermind for this event was my friend Tet Salva, founder of Bentogirl and momwarrior™.  Ironically but not surprisingly, Tet and I met at a children’s birthday party approximately four years ago.  We hit it off immediately talking big visions, bold dreams, and walked away from that party with a business partnership practically sealed.

Over the course of those following months, we met weekly talking about our plan to merge our career skillsets into a united force, building a specialized agency, the first of its kind.

However, as we talked about Tet’s skills at organizational transformation and change management and my skills in international marketing and cultural strategy, our conversations kept coming back to the topic of being a mom and raising kids and following our passions, and HOW DO WE DO THIS! How do we choose career over children and why should we have to? Why isn’t our society set up better for mothers who also want career fulfillment?

Tet and I chose different paths after motherhood. I chose to leave my career and “stay-at-home” knowing that I could not sustain a life of international work travel while raising babies and knowing that I had a husband who also travelled extensively for his career.  Tet, on the other hand, chose to carry on with her career and be a “working mom” while raising her children, hoping that she could find a balance in career and parenting with her husband who also had a full-time career. And yes, we know that we are lucky ones to even have had a choice (while not without consequences) as many mothers often don’t.

But, what we found fascinating and interesting (despite our radically different career choices) was that we were both unified in knowing that all moms (of all kinds) are indeed warriors.

So, without having an answer on “how can we do it all”, we tabled our “corporate” business idea. As soon as we did that, things began to percolate. Somehow we were already each on our way. We honed in on our individual passions.

For Tet this is Bentogirl and momwarrior™. For me, this is Colorfully Cultured™, a passion project that has been an interest of mine since as early as I can remember. All it took was getting started. 

While now we each have our own organizations that we are building, we continue to meet and support each other in all that we do. This is what friends do ... and especially what women friends should always do.   Support and lift each other up.

So, for all the momwarriors out there. Just do it. Take Action. Follow your heart and the pieces will begin to fall into place.

Read the momwarrior article here.

Cultural Literacy Counts

Cultural Literacy Counts

Hello and thanks for visiting and taking time to read my very first blog post! I am so excited to be starting this journey and hope that you will join me. Colorfully Cultured™ began as a passion project between myself and my oldest daughter as we talked about travel and life and the uniqueness of cultures outside of our own. Beginning at an early age I have always had an interest in learning about people and places beyond my own borders.  The majority of my life has been shaped by the places I have lived and travelled and the people I have met along the way. I have lived in Africa and Latin America, and travelled throughout Europe and Asia beginning at a young age.  Additionally, for nearly two decades, I had a career in international marketing that required a focus on the unique dynamics of growing business in markets where culture, language, demographics and local/global economics played a leading role in decision making.

Now, as a mother of two young girls, being raised in a time where global understanding and tolerance is more critical than ever, I wanted to find a way to fast forward that cultural learning as they begin to shape their own values and perspectives on the world. This is project Colorfully Cultured™ where girls, who may not get the opportunity to travel or live outside of their countries, can still gain knowledge and inspiration from abroad.

#CulturalLiteracyCounts