Thursday, July 19, 2012

Touring around New Iberia, with a stranger's eyes

We took Karin (the woman i stayed with in Belgium) around New Iberia, showing her a Laotian Buddhist temple, a soul food restaurant, Avery Island, and WalMart. An Australian guy in Berlin had told me going to WalMart freaked him out because they sell guns at the grocery store! Karin had the same reaction. And they sell them right next to the toys, too! I guess i'd never really thought about it.

Monday, July 16, 2012

To-go boxes

... don't exist in European restaurants. You're just expected to eat all your food, or leave the leftovers to be composted.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Secular First Communion and Godparenting

One of the unusual things I discovered in Belgium (in the museum of Walloon life) was a secular version of first communion. All kids, at the same age, traditionally undergo a ritual in the same vain as First Communion, but they can choose between the Catholic ceremony or the secular one. From what I understand, Fête de la Jeunesse Laïque ("Secular Kids' day/party/festival") exists so kids can be a part of the rite of passage without being pressured into a particular religion. Sounds like a good principal to me.

(There are also two distinct communion sacrament/ceremonies; one at age 7 and another at 11 or 12. Not sure about the details of this.)

There is also a secular version of godparenting: I saw a certificate for "Acte de Parrainage Laïque." I suppose this is for the same reason; so people can be a part ofthe community tradition without being pressured into a strictly religious ceremony. Pic posted below.