Travel without Traveling

How do you raise worldly and cultured children? Education through culture gives us a new way of seeing things. This is what I want for my children. I want to teach them to embrace other customs, food, and people with their eyes open. C'est la vie!

My second grade classroom and my own children will learn "The Star Spangled Banner," but also songs, customs, and flags of other countries. My second graders are learning the German and Japanese language thanks to some wonderful volunteers. It is AMAZING to hear how well they can pick up the accent, remember material, and always speak without fear! All the more reason why foreign languages should be taught to children in elementary school.

A little note to teachers and parents...All you have to do is ask! People are more than willing to share their culture with you if you show the interest.

I've always thought travel is the best education but with this economy it's just not possible. We must find culture in our neighborhoods and there's no better time to do that than in the fall! Fall brings families together with an abundance of festivals. After you go to one you feel like you've been on a vacation!
Some of the festivals going on right now really make you feel like you're visiting a different country. We just took our children to Addison's Oktoberfest. I can't believe I'm from here and have never been! German cuisine and entertainment...schmeckt und sehr spass!

Next, I'm looking forward to UNT's World Fest on the Square Saturday, September 26th from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. There promises to be culture galore, international foods, music, and dance. I'm especially looking forward to seeing some Argentinian Tango!

Did you know UNT has international students from 123 countries? So see, right here in our little metroplex we can find beaucoup of culture without spending money on tickets and hotels.

Finally, on my travel without traveling agenda is the Lebanese Food Festival in Lewisville on October 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. We took our kids last year and ate so well. We also listened to Lebanese music and discovered our daughter can belly dance! Lebanese food is so fresh with the perfect blend of herbs, spices, and earthy flavors. My favorite is the Lebanese baklava that has pistachio nuts and is drizzled with rose-water syrup. Need I say more!! Mon Dieu!

I've always been curious about other cultures, I can NEVER get enough. I know it's time for a trip when something inside me sleeps. These international festivals are like a dose of medicine for my soul.

When I was a child I would make my sister play this game with me...The game just involved pretending to be European. I am a Francophile (an admirer of France and everything French) but it doesn't stop there. I'd like to experience all cultures for the rest of my life. My husband and I looked into living in Florence, Italy after our honeymoon. We both felt like we belonged there. If I could, I'd move there and raise a bunch of Italian babies!

I feel more alive and passionate about living when I'm learning something new about another country. I'd used to beg my mom to buy me French Vogue so I could try to dress and do my hair like a Parisian and look coquettish. My parents gave me the greatest gift after high school, two weeks in Europe. I think I learned more that trip than I did my entire high school career and I say this as a teacher!!

I daydream and obsess about getting on a plane daily! I can tell you what the weather is like in Italy, France, Austria because I have it bookmarked on my computer and my phone! I crave culture more than chocolate, wine, and shoes! I always have a foreign movie on my DVD player to watch, a book about Italy or France to read, and French music playing in the kitchen. I'm an American "pretending" to live in Paris!

I'd like to share some of my favorite travel without traveling materials with you:

Food: Julia Child cookbooks are my favorite bien sûr! I feel connected to her because she was an American living in France absorbing as much as her 6'2" frame would allow her too! Mexico the Beautiful and Savoring Italy are two cookbooks I always come back to, The Sweet Life in Paris, AND Cooking for Mr. Latte (our next Julia Child Book Club book) as proven to have some very tasty and worldly recipes.

Music: Carla Bruni (She is the wife of French President Nicolas Sarkozy) Quelqu'un m'a dit is one of my favorite songs. Edith Piaf (France's greatest popular singer) -- my daughter turns into a classical modern dancer when I play La vie en Rose, Julie Rousseau (you can hear the song Shalom on Sur la Route XM radio, it's fabulous)

Movies: French Kiss, Jet Lag, (anything with Jean Reno, I have a huge crush on him!), Roman Holiday is classic!

Books: Lucia Lucia, Abundance, Eight Days in Provence: Chasing Matisse, Paris to the Moon, Almost French, A Year in the Merde, anything by Hemingway, My Life in France, Everything You Need to Know to be Impossibly French, This is Paris (and all the "This is" series. . .) by Miroslav Sasek are wonderful for children, as well as the classic Goodnight Moon in French and Spanish (Bonsoir Lune and Buenas Noches Luna), and La Petite Prince

Websites: (a fabulous source for exhibits and art related events) (celebrates all things French)

"We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open." ~Jawaharal

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