BY: Lolita Obolenskaya
Getting off the plane when I was 6 and not knowing what America had in store for me was one of the most terrifying moments of my life. I came from a city in Turkmenistan called Ashgabat. Life there was wonderful. I had my grandma and aunt taking care of me in an apartment filled with all the necessities we needed to survive. My mom and step-dad were already in America and my aunt decided it was best if her and I went to live with them. I remember leaving my grandma behind as I walked through security at the airport. It was saddening to leave someone who took care of me my entire life, but I was going to see my mom again! Taking off on the plane, I only saw desert and at that time I did not know anything other than that. I was greeted by my mom and extended family, but I did not know who most of them were. I remember holding onto my aunt’s hand because I feared meeting them. Little did I know that was going to be the least of my worries.
BY: Michelle Akseruld
Coming into MSOE, I was a shy, awkward, and not very confident person. As a freshman, I never had interest in Greek life. When I thought about Greek Life, I always imagined what I saw in movies. The hazing, the partying, and the extents people would go to just to fit in. Starting at MSOE, it was difficult to make friends because I commuted, and everyone else lived in the dorms. I would always feel left out because people were able to make connections together outside of class. Before I knew it, everyone had their own group, except me. Eventually, I made acquaintances, but not the kind of connections I was hoping to make.
BY: Christine Boland-Prom
My mother and my father are both Baha’i’s. The Baha’i Faith is a monotheistic religion that believes in the oneness of humanity. We believe of Progressive Revelation, meaning that different manifestations of God (Jesus, Moses, Muhammed) come throughout humanities time to reveal more of God’s message. This meant that “Christmas Break” was a break to celebrate a holiday my family didn’t practice.
My parents made a choice, to celebrate a holiday from another religion. They did this so that my brother and I would fit in at school. They knew how incredibly difficult it would be for a child to continuously explain to their peers why “Santa” didn’t bring them anything. How do you explain that to a 5 year old? They made a choice to celebrate Christmas with my brother and I.
I always looked forward to Christmas, because I got presents. And in a few months I got gifts during a Baha’i holiday, Ayyam-mi-Ha. Ayyam-mi-Ha translates to the Days of God. We celebrate God and the relationships we have, this often translates into gift giving as signs of appreciation.
When I was younger and my family celebrated both holidays I was always excited about presents. As I got older I started to learn the significance of Ayyam-mi-ha and I look forward to decorating the Christmas tree every year. My mom also make different types of Christmas cookies each year and the cookie plate is ALWAYS full of delicious cookies.
BY: Fatimah Ahmed
Culture is a very important part of our lives. It is a way of life that is very different for everyone.
My culture is very important to me, it’s part of my identity. I am a Muslim Indian American. I grew up in an Islamic school and Desi South Asian community. I grew up around kids that were Indian, African, Pakistani, Egyptian, and Palestinian. I loved learning about cultures and their ethnicity.
BY: Amanda Mudlaff
This summer I was provided with an experience of a lifetime. I was able to travel to Costa Rica with two of my best friends. I had always wanted to explore the world outside of the United States, and I finally was given an opportunity to do so. As it was my first time traveling out of the country, I was very nervous, but also extremely excited.
My friend that grew up there planned the entire trip. She talked to her parents in order to get discounts on tickets and was able to schedule an activity that everyone would love and enjoy. Her parents were the best hosts and tour guides we could’ve asked for. Her mom was very kind and was always up for adventuring with us kids, and her dad would quiz us on the culture of Costa Rica and was an amazing chef.
Throughout the trip, we got to experience some breathtaking and amazing feats that Costa Rica had to offer. We started our trip by spending the first two days in a hotel near a volcano. During that time, we were able to go white-water rafting down a river, as well as white-water tubing! The white-water rafting tour also provided us with lunch from an organic farm that offered the typical Costa Rican lunch. IT WAS AMAZING. Typical Costa Rican meals include rice and beans for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as chicken, yuca, and a salad. Afterwards, we were taught how to make sugarcane juice, and then given a shot of moonshine the farmers make themselves. We finished off the night by going swimming in natural hot and cold springs.