-Username/Nickname: DP is fine. :)
-Website link, if you have one. My Peaceful Chaos ...it badly needs updating, though - hasn't been touched since Dec. '03. It's a mishmash of various things I find interesting/amusing.
-Where were you born? USA, a lifelong Illinoisan.
-What was your first language? Your second? Third? First is English...sadly, I don't know any others, and I don't think tidbits of fangirl Japanese count either. ;) If I made my brain implode I could probably think of some scattered miscellaneous phrases in various languages that I picked up from friends/reading materials. I took basic Spanish in high school but have forgotten all but a few words of it. I would like to learn French, though.
-What ethnicity do you identify as? Plain 'ol Caucasian. My family background (that I know of) consists of German (the majority being on my dad's side), Polish, Norwegian (those two being more on my mom's side), French, Irish, and English. There's a story my dad told me once about his great-great-grandfather, I believe it was - he originally was from Germany, but in the 1870's or so the army started conscripting young men and GGF (who was a farmer by trade) heard that officers were coming his way. Supposedly he was out in the fields when he got that news, so he literally dropped everything he had on him at the time, started walking and didn't stop till he got on the first boat leaving Germany. He wound up in the US, made his way through New York and into the Midwest, met and married a maid in farming country, and the rest, as they say, is history. ^^
About your culture...
-Name your favorite food that comes from your heritage/culture and tell us something about why you like it. Hmm. I like lots of foods (and it shows, lol *pats potbelly*)...the only one I can think of that has any ties to my heritage would be corned beef (an Irish dish, unless I'm mistaken). The way we cook it at my house is to boil it slowly for about 3 hours; if it's a good cut of meat it will literally fall apart when you try to cut it. The only downside to corned beef is that it tends to be pretty greasy if you get a slab that has a lot of fat on it - some fat is good, because it gives the meat flavor, but too much and you wind up with a plateful of grease. >.<
-What's one thing that you do in your culture that is different from American culture? Offhand, I can't think of anything...
-What's your biggest pet peeve when it comes to someone not understanding your ethnicity/culture? (i.e. people asking you where you came from, being weirded out by the food you eat, etc.) The only peeve I have is in regards to my last name - Fuchs - which is German for "fox" and is pronounced "few-shh" (though it's my understanding that there are several correct pronunciations for that one; that's the particular one we use). I got no end of grief from people in high school for it, and believe me, I've heard/seen just about every misspelling and mispronunciation of it that there probably is. I've considered changing it to something a lot simpler (say, Fox, for instance), but the fact that there'd be a ton of paperwork involved and it would freak out my parents something awful means I probably won't...in the near future, anyway.
-Name one thing your parents don't like/understand about American culture. Not sure if this counts, but from hearing my parents talk occasionally and from my own observations, I've noticed that there's a popular (mis?)conception of "the American small-town" as being super-friendly and close. Not necessarily. I grew up (and for the time being, still live here) in a small town, and a lot of people who have deep roots in such places tend to be into their own little 'cliques', for lack of a better word, and 'city-folk' or anyone else who doesn't go along with the general 'life-script' tend to get snubbed unless they somehow fit in with the acceptable status quo. My dad hails from this same town and many people know him (though that doesn't necessarily mean he's popular), whereas my mom came from a larger city, and when she first moved here and tried to meet people they pretty much shut her out by default since she wasn't 'one of the locals' - despite the fact that she and my dad both had basically the same sort of working-class background. It's not nearly as much of a prevalent attitude now as it probably was back then, but I get the general impression that to a lot of 'country folk' city places = weird, possibly bad influences, and to the citygoers country and 'rural folk' = inbred, backwards hicks. I think there's probably a fair element of truth in both viewpoints, but as with anything else, you just have to take each thing as an individual experience and go from there.
-Name one thing you don't like/understand about your own culture. As far as personal family history goes, I'd have to say that the German stubborness can drive a person crazy! It's not necessarily a very confrontational mentality, but it is a temperamental and argument-driven one. My grandfather inherited his temper from his father and passed it on to my dad, who in turn passed it on to my brother (albeit somewhat diluted). I'm probably more mild-mannered than both of them, but when I get riled I can rant and rave right alongside them.
-Have you ever visited the country you/your parents came from?
...if so, tell us something that you thought was different/interesting about it. I haven't been to any countries save for Canada, but my dad was in the army when he was young (before I was born) so he was schlepped off to lots of different places, including Germany. He hated it - he said that their 'black forests' deserved their name as such because they were so thick barely any light could get in! It also rained a lot while he was stationed there - at one point, he even woke up on his inflatable mattress about ready to float off in a pool of water on the ground.
-Have you travelled to places in the US or other countries where you've felt like a foreigner/outsider?
...if so, tell us something that you thought was different/interesting about it. Last summer a friend and I went to Canada to visit another mutual friend of ours who lives in Sudbury, and we had an awesome time. It was the first time out of the US for both of us. The only reminders I had that I was an 'outsider' came from seeing lots of road signs (or miscellaneous papers here and there) in French. "Nord" is north, "Sud" is south, "Est" is east, and "Ouest" is west. :) The stoplights were also kind of weird - the green light is smaller than the other two lights, and the lightbox itself is painted yellow instead of the standard black (making it harder to see the light, IMO), so you really had to pay attention to make sure you followed the correct sequence at the right time.
The country as you go north is really gorgeous - I'd have loved to have seen it in the peak of autumn, as I'm told that the colors really pop (we went at the beginning of August). Lots of trees, foresty-type areas, and lakes and farmlands that are not very different than from what the Midwest has, actually. Sudbury itself is a mining town, so there are quite a few rocky/mountainous areas there. There are several nickel refineries just outside of the town proper, so on a clear day you can see a couple of the giant smokestacks looming in the distance. The closest of these, which was also the tallest one, is easily visible from my friend's apartment.
I really wanna go back to Canada this year...we're hoping to do Toronto this time. :D *bounces*
And lastly, just for fun...
-Tell us one random odd fact about yourself. You know those little round push-tabs on fast-food drink lids? I like to press those in. It's an obsession for me. XD
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