Saturday, July 31, 2010

Living La Vida Folklorama - Being 60 (week 13 - by Margaret Ullrich)

Winnipeg's 41st Folklorama is starting tomorrow.

If you haven't been to Folklorama, it's a made-in-Manitoba celebration of all the different nationalities that make up Winnipeg.  For 2 weeks Winnipeggers can visit 45 different pavilions and travel the world, while still being able to sleep in their own beds.  

Some of the pavilions are in our neighborhood, in walking distance from our house.  The north end is the most culturally diverse area of Winnipeg.  All we have to do is go for a walk to meet folks from around the world.  

Of course everyone's proud of his own country's culture, food and history.  But, in the day to day life of an immigrant, there are certain problems nobody ever thinks about when he gets on the boat or plane for the big trip.

Canada really tries to respect ethnic origins.  Officially that's no problem.  The problem comes when the immigrant's kids go to school.  Boom.  The Big Bang.   

Kids, no matter where they came from, are desperate to fit in with the other kids.  And parents, no matter where they came from, are sure their kids will be destroyed if they fit in with the other kids. 

The higher standard of living attracts many immigrants.  Food and shelter are no longer enough.  Then there's the bill for the higher standard of living.  Everybody has to help.  A Greek-Canadian comedienne once said Greek families have children to staff the family restaurant. 

A couple of days ago I saw an Indian mom, in a lovely butter yellow sari, delivering flyers.  Her daughter was helping her.  

It brought back memories.  

When I was a kid I helped Pop pour concrete on a new driveway and paint apartments.  I also did my homework in the TV repair shop Pop had in the storefront of his first duplex.  I was there to greet customers, while Ma ran in from our apartment behind the shop.  She was busy taking care of my sister and brother.  Pop was at his day job at Lily Tulip.

Funny, they only show kids dancing and singing in the pavilions.

That ain't the half of it. 

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