Since I was born, I have lived in different worlds. I was born in France and had Cambodian, Vietnamese and Chinese roots. I speak and write in English and French and can understand and speak Cambodian.
It is a natural part of my upbringing. Like cooking and eating French, Cambodian, Vietnamese, Chinese and Mediterranean meals are—the richness of languages and food cultures. I immerse myself in different cultures and develop different tastes and love for other countries and cities.
There are such subtle nuances between South Asian food cultures. It is the same for different regional French food habits. My food habits have always been diverse as Paris is at the crossroad of many cultural communities with their own specific local food habits and recognized spots to hang out.
I watch the weekly gastronomy TV show ‘Très Très Bon’. I hear the weekly food podcast ‘On va déguster’. I love getting my weekly wishlist of restaurants, groceries, wineries, street food spots and cafes. I love pinning some of them on my digital map and going when time allows for lunch or dinner.
Eating different types of food. Meeting and discussing with their owners. These are my ways to marinate and learn from other cultures.
Travelling is my way of learning from different cultures, even if I don’t understand the local language. For instance, I’ve been to Copenhagen, Stockholm, London, Edinburg, Vienna, Sienna, Pisa, Firenze and Oslo for personal trips. My immersion and explorations on the ground of each city triggered conversation in public life spaces with local inhabitants.
I observe how people move and behave. These have helped me feel and learn more about local mindset, lifestyle and social habits. I love wandering the streets abroad. I love feeling what’s happening in the air / the city. This is complementary to content-learning to discover different cultures.
It is easy to do so via a book, a documentary, a blog, Youtube, a podcast and a movie. Global communities, too. In a nutshell, I like to balance street smarts with content learning. I actively forge my point of view and cornucopia of different cultures.
I went to Venice, Italy. I have already been there in the past. This time I enjoyed it differently with my entourage and now have a Mediterranean passé. I lived in Marseille. Italian culture is influential here.
I have also been to Roma and Florence for personal trips. Italian culture is somehow familiar to me. I love it. I revisited the comic book ‘This is Venice’ by M. Sasek. My past and present inspire me to learn from Italy and different cultures.
“You’ve got to marinate your head, in that time and culture. You’ve got to become them.” (Speaking about researching, and reading, and immersing yourself in History)” — David McCullough in the biography of John Adams
How do you marinate yourself and learn from different cultures?