yesterday a colleague decided to change an upcoming meeting from a regular infrastructure meeting into an infrastructure meeting with potluck. but not any potluck. a holiday/international potluck. and we're all supposed to bring something that represents our culture and heritage. um... culture? i grew up in south florida, which is known for its latino flair, and i can merengue and salsa, but that's about it. my family didn't identify with any specific ethnic group, and at school, we had a semi-diverse student base (nicauraguans, brazilians, peruvians, cubans, puerto ricans, colombians, argentinians, chileans, swedes, british, irish, french, spanish, japanese, chinese, indian, and canadian, to name a few), but i was more in the general white catagory.
however, i work at a very diverse, international organization, where unlike many of my coworkers, i was born here in the US (chicago, to be exact), and so were my parents (not in chicago). in fact, the majority of my grandparents were, too. being asked what i would bring to this international lunchtime affair, i sat there confused, and even over the phone, i think the general feeling of "huh?" was conveyed. to assist me in my mental transition to address my lack of ethnic association, my supervisor provided a vivid example: one of our chinese colleagues feasted on mice when she was younger, and her suggestion was to bring in a mouse dish (yes, little mousies) reminicsent of her childhood. i just sat there stunned. dumbfounded, even. hello, not only am i vegetarian, but that's just wrong. run, little mice, run for your lives! after this mental torment, when she asked what i would bring, all that came to mind was white bread.