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I come from two islands, both rich in family, not wealth. Both bleed red, white and blue as a sign of freedom and peace, each fought for independence years before but now have thousands of people migrate north to find a new kind of freedom, holding close to their roots, only changing the design of the colors on the flag they now proudly represent. In every household on both islands, one can hear the echo of bongos and trumpets and the quick step rhythm of the music makes every person who listens sway their hips in a sensual and meaningful way. Parties celebrating family, music and food happen more often than not. My people speak loudly and enthusiastically, with passion in every breath. With an abundance of Bacardi and Brugal, the energy is nonstop. Food is just one more reason to celebrate life. Arroz con gandules, platanos and polio guisado are part of a balanced diet. Palm trees and flowers and nature are not the only colorful parts of my islands. Rich in bright reds and greens and blue and white, the beach is an influence on the style of the home. Sometimes our skin is naturally tanned and sometimes seems abnormally pale, but either way we all speak one language. The slang and twang in our pronunciation of words, each individually scream the name if our proud heritage. And although sometimes we are difficult to understand, we get our point across by communicating with our hands and facial expressions. There is no hiding behind a wall; all is out in the open and written on our sun-kissed skin. These islands have so much in common, yet each is so vibrant with their own proud traditions. My holidays are spent with family, which doesn't necessarily mean by blood. Together we all enjoy pernil and coquito, the minute you walk into the door of the house you can smell the spices and rum in the air. Because of the heavy influence of the family and togetherness, opinions run wild, but hearts are pure and full of good spirits, remembering that the common goal is happiness and fun, music and laughter, food and love.

What is culture?
I'M FROM TWO PLACES. THE FIRST PLACE I'M FROM AND WAS BORN IS THE OF THE COUNTRY. MANY CALL IT A MELT.ING POT OF IN THIS COUNTRY. CAPITAL

IT'S VERY LARGE AND MULTICULTURAL. NATIONALITIES.

I SPEAK

ENGLISH

THE CITY IS LOCATED ON THE EASTERN COAST OF THE COUNTRY AND THE ACC.ENT EXISTING THE CITY CONTAINS CORPORATIONS. IS CONSIDERED MANY OFFICE THE STANDARD OF TH.E LANGUAGE.

BUILDINGS

AS WELL AS INTERNATIONAL

ON THE WEEKENDS

THE PEOPLE FAN OUT FROM THE CITY

AND MANY AREAS ARE DESERTED AND SOME SHOPS ARE CLOSED. THE WEATHER I'VE GROWN UP ALL CAPITAL HERE TOUCHES ALL MY LIFE FOUR SEASONS OF THE YEAR.

IN THIS PLACE BUT S.EEING HOW DIVERSE TH.E AND OP.ENED MY MIND TO OTH.ER CULTURES.

IS HAS INFLUENCED

THE ONCE THE

OTHER

PLACE

( AM

FROM

IS A VERY

SMALL THE

ISLAND. ISLAND AND WAS

THIS WAS

COUNTRY

WAS BY

A MAJOR

SETTING

FOR COLONIZATION. BY THE THIS

DISCOVERED

DUTCH,

THEN BY THE

COLONIZED BRITISH.

FRENCH,

FINALLY

COLONIZED

COUNTRY

IS NOW

INDEPENDENT.

IT CONTAINS ASIANS,

A GREAT HINDUS,

M IX OF CULTURES. AND

SOME

OF THESE THE

CULTURES THE

INCLUDE FLAG IS

WHITES

CREOLES. COLORFUL.

LIKE

PEOPLE,

IT IS A THIRD LANGUAGE

WORLD THAT

COUNTRY. IS MOST

THE

NATIONAL

LANGUAGE

IS ENGLISH AND

BUT

THE

WIDELY

UNDERSTOOD

IS FRENCH

CREOLE.

IT IS A TROPICAL FOODS

ISLAND AND

WHERE

THE

SUN

SHINES ARE

HARD. AND

THE

CHOICES

OF

LOCAL

SPECIALTIES

EXOTIC

FRESH.

MOST

OF THE

.FAMILY

ON

MY FATHER'S MOST

SIDE

STl.LL KNOW

L.IVES EACH

THERE OTHER

AND

THE THE

COMMUNITIES

ARE VERY

SMALL.

PEOPLE

WITHIN

SUBGROUPS

OF THE

CULTURES.

IT HAS

BECOME

A TOURIST

DESTINATION

FOR

MANY

EUROPEANS.

Can you name these places?

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There are two words that describe my city beautifully: crazy and chaotic! Its beauty lies in its surroundings and what you see all around you. To give you a taste of the beauty that exists in Lagos, we must begin with food. Our food varies in taste and it consists of rice dishes, beans, plantains, pepper soups with different meats, yams and so much more. Our food is tasty and spicy and has many varieties. Variety is the spice of life! Lagosians, like all Nigerians, have an eye for fashion; whether it is western or traditional wear. Lagos is a place where you see these two styles coexisting and working hand in hand, merging to create something completely new. Lagos is very traditional, yet still maintains its timeless beliefs, customs and practices. Separately, these traditions hold our different ethnic groups, communities, cultures, practices and languages together. We enjoy the best of both worlds, but are also able to borrow from the west. Lagos can be very chaotic, from the endless traffic to the busy street life. Merchants try to sell you their products on the street ranging from food to household items. Anything you need can be bought on a corner near you or on your way home in the traffic. Lagos is a lively and vibrant city. With so much to offer, it is the city that never sleeps. Lagos, also known as "Lagsgidi," is known for its nightlife and every night people are out and about enjoying the best of what the night has to offer. Lagos is more than just a city. It is our home.

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Livin

ST

GHT

One time my sister asked me "why do you always watch gay movies?" I looked at her almost offended and replied, ''because it's nice to feel normal once in a while." Most people won't understand this. My sister still doesn't. And that's because we live in a straight world. We live in a society that is dominated by a heteronormative ideology. And this ideology is reinforced everywhere. We are bombarded by straight imagery all day, every day. Television shows, advertisements, movies, music, friends, family. It's everywhere and it's unavoidable. After enduring this day after day, I for one like to enjoy something that I can truly identify with once in a while. And if that happens to be a low-budget gay film, so be it.

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Sun, surf, sand and fun All sum up where I am from Palm trees and beaches for miles and miles Under the perfect sun with tons of smiles Gas lamps light up the downtown district While animals at the zoo and Sea World Taco Tuesday With the renllXE!!d ~~~:e=:=~~id-back
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On 12 October, 2011, Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie Gildea visited the small, central city of Brainerd. During a community dinner at Central Lakes College, she made the statement, "I'm so happy to be in the real Minnesota ...outside the Twin Cities, in other words."

Well Lorie Gildea,

this is the 'real' Minnesota

created by: mitchell baker, aarushi chaudhry, charlotte crommelynck-Iogghe, pascale de st antoine, katy eveland, morenike fag bola, devan firoozi, anastasia fjodorova, viktoria klausner, april lafever, eric teeteh boye lomotey, javier martinez, brandon miller, kelly rivera, deena sammakia.