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This is What Matters

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An anonymous gallery, where we can express pride in our ancestry and remind ourselves that it is the meaning of articles that makes them precious.

Published in: Spiritual
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This is What Matters

  1. 1. *This is What Matters *Cultural identity inside a Canadian police service
  2. 2. Making identities for ourselves… We have chosen the object that best explains where we’ve come from, and who we are. Then we explain why. Thank you for enjoying.
  3. 3. Accordion A few of my uncles played. Once an instrument came out, dancing would soon follow, and every family gathering ended in a sing- song. Whenever I hear accordion, it brings back fond memories of my Slovenian family together, in times of need or celebration.
  4. 4. Smudging Fire Brushing the sacred smoke across your brow clears the mind and spirit. Smudging the space around me - work, home, wherever - feels like washing my hands and splashing water on my face. I carry my smudging kit pretty much where I go. Colleagues often ask to take part when I do this at work; you don’t have to be native to find this comforting.
  5. 5. Akee and Salted Cod Fish This is Jamaica's National Dish. I visit my mom almost every Sunday and she always seems to know when to make it for me. Mother's intuition? I love it with fried dumplings. The smell and taste brings back pleasant memories of growing up in Jamaica.
  6. 6. U-Pick Apples Some of my happiest childhood memories revolve around apple picking. My (English immigrant) parents loved “picking our own” at Al Ferri’s, and we’d always come home with multiple bushels. Now, I share that joy with my family.
  7. 7. Coal For generations, my ancestors risked their lives and suffered lung diseases in the mines of Wales, digging coal. It was regarded as a major source of heat, employment, wealth and economic prosperity. Today, it’s my personal symbol of sacrifice, dedication, family and warmth.
  8. 8. The Cottage My family has enjoyed this view for four generations. That motorized raft has always been my family’s transportation of choice for the lake, for fishing, swimming or just coasting around.
  9. 9. Going Fishing One of my earliest recollections is of fishing. The time we spent on the lake in the boat is what I remember most about my father. I try to give my children the same experience because of how it has it has moulded my life. Sometimes it’s just me and Trooper. That’s ok too.
  10. 10. Getting Outside My family’s enjoyed Canadian winters over generations. When I was little, it was tobogganing, shinny and snowballs. These days I love a day outside with my kids for any reason. It’s great for the soul to be at one with nature, and to take a break from our increasingly 'electronic' lives!
  11. 11. Golden syrup Lyle's Golden syrup is like dessert in a can. As children we spread it on our parathas (flatbread) or crepes (we called skinny pancakes). Fifty years later, our children & grandchildren enjoy Lyle’s golden syrup; only difference is it comes in a bottle and not a tin.
  12. 12. Guitar The fifth generation of my family is now learning guitar from their parents. It’s a family tradition that started during the Depression. As long as I can remember, every family gathering features a jam session. Music is resonating through my family.
  13. 13. Keep Calm and Carry On “Keep calm and carry on” is a motto that I try to use in my everyday life. The bottle is an excellent reminder that nothing is so bad that a cool head and purposeful action can’t help fix it.
  14. 14. Lukken I decided to choose Belgian lukken. I've never seen them available in stores, at least not like my mom makes. She makes them for every family occasion and they've been a part of my life since I can remember.
  15. 15. Bob Marley When I was a 13 year old boy, Bob Marley and his music gave me a sense of where I came from, who I was, and what I could be.
  16. 16. The flag I wear We left the Phillippines when I was a little kid. 2014 is my family’s 40th year in Canada and PRP’s 40th Anniversary. This ties together two of the most important things in my life: being a Canadian citizen and being a police officer.
  17. 17. Open Water Born in Halifax to a Navy Man father. I served 15 years in the Navy and 10 years on the PRP Marine Unit. I own 3 boats and fish like a madman. Water speaks to me, it is a large part of my identity.
  18. 18. Paddle 200 years ago my ancestors made their living in the fur trade with this tool. It has always been a symbol of independent mobility to me. For them it was a means of getting to a new place or opportunity, for me a way to get somewhere quiet.
  19. 19. Passport My grandfather emigrated from Ireland in 1912, and like many Irish immigrants to Toronto, he spent the first 30 years living in a neighborhood called Cabbagetown. This is his Canadian passport, issued 1921 and it reminds me of my Irish heritage.
  20. 20. Jamaican Pimento Berries My father harvested the branches, and we’d all sit on the verandah picking the berries off and talking. Then he’d dry the berries and sell them at market. Today, the smell takes me right back to family time. Here, they call it Allspice.
  21. 21. Playing Cards My background is a mix of Italian and American culture. When our two families got together we always loved to play cards. Whether it be Gin Rummy, Poker, Euchre or Solitaire, playing cards still dominates family functions today.
  22. 22. I am a Reader I read for pleasure; to get some ‘alone’ time; to learn; to waste my time in a productive manner; to have great conversations with other readers; to focus on something other than myself. To escape.
  23. 23. Rice Rice is the Filipino’s staple food. Eating it reminds me of my heritage every day – my mother worked on rice fields herself and my father is a good cook! Rice for me is not just nourishment – it stands for comfort, home and family.
  24. 24. Roasted corn This is a traditional Ecuadorian corn. At any family get-together this is on the table, as an appetizer or to accompany the meal. There are South American stores you can find it here, but anytime family members come to Canada, they always bring us some.
  25. 25. Boat My family goes back several generations as coastal Newfoundlanders; so this boat represents mobility, access to food and livelihood. My father began building boats in his youth and is a Shipwright to this day.
  26. 26. Recipe This is my mother’s recipe for an Irish scone. It brings to mind Sunday afternoons, a cup of tea, a piece of scone and relaxed conversation. I have often tried to bake her scone, but somehow it never tastes as good as hers.
  27. 27. Soccer Maybe soccer is in my blood: my grandparents were English immigrants. But I have played and watched, driven, coached and cheered my daughter from the time she was five. So now I’m a FIFA fan, but when I think “soccer”, I think of her.
  28. 28. Warm bacon salad This is my grandma’s old family recipe that goes back at least 4 generations. The bacon and dressing are hot when you toss them in, so it starts wilting instantly. You have to eat this right away, which is easy. A special treat we eat only at Christmas time.
  29. 29. Canoe trip The thrill of exploring the wild, the physical challenge, the mental endurance, and the spiritual sanctity. This is what defined my ancestors...this is what defines me.
  30. 30. Family Dish This pottery is made in my mother’s village in Portugal. It sits in the centre of the table whenever the whole family gathers together, birthdays, Christmas Easter, whenever, it reminds me of where we come from, but mostly of who we still are.
  31. 31. Claddagh I was born and raised in a small community in Newfoundland, where family, friends and neighbours were valued and treated with respect. Those values have shaped the person I have become and continue to strive to be. The Irish Claddagh ring symbolizes those values.
  32. 32. Watching Coronation Street This is the *official coaster that you put under your tea, beside the plate of hard biscuits. *Must be in place by start of theme music !
  33. 33. Egg with toast fingers I loved these growing up: they were Grammy’s favourite, too. Warm, comforting, healthy, delicious and very simple. Also quite messy, and rarely perfect - too runny or overdone - just like family.
  34. 34. Empanada This traditional Argentinian recipe traces back to our true origins. It is served as a traditional celebratory meal where family and friends come together. For me, it will always be a symbol of family, joy and happiness.
  35. 35. Espresso For as long as I can remember, morning to night, espresso was part of daily life. Whenever company came over, espresso was the only coffee offered in our household. The moka, pictured here, is an integral part of the Italian social scene.
  36. 36. Microphone My earliest family memories? Gathered around grandparents’ piano, singing French Canadian folk songs. I grew up performing, that music, touring Canada with my family. Today, I’ll hear my husband’s guitar, or my children plinking on the piano, and it will resonate, because music runs through our veins.
  37. 37. Red The colour Red symbolizes luck, fortune, and joy. When I was young, it was only used during special events like New Years, weddings, family gatherings and so on. Nowadays, although red is used daily, I still reserve it for special occasions to maintain the tradition.
  38. 38. Sword & Shamrock My heritage is Potato Famine Irish. My forebears took jobs in the military and other “protection occupations”. Navy wrestler Dad wore a Shamrock on his robe and his ring name was “Danny Boy”. We were raised Irish, and to look after those around us.
  39. 39. Tea Post WWII British immigrants; hardworking, middle class labourers. There was never an event where a hot cup of tea was not present, through times of mirth or melancholy. A small reminder of one generation’s passion to continue old world traditions.
  40. 40. The family dog We have always had dogs as long as I can remember. A dog is friendly, loyal, selfless, funny, trusting and smart. Most important: they all love completely and unconditionally. My dog is the kind of family member we all try to be.
  41. 41. The Toast My family aren’t really “drinkers” but we make an exception for Irish Whiskey, which is the way we show something is very, very important at home. A new baby, Easter, a wedding or a funeral. All these things are marked with a “jar”. It may be the only way we mark our Irish heritage, but there is no sign of that changing!
  42. 42. Doordarshan As a child in India in the 70’s there were just 2 hours of television a day. This swirling symbol warned us that the shows were about to start. By the time the symbol stopped turning, the whole neighborhood would be gathered around my family’s the set to watch. TV was a communal affair!
  43. 43. This project is voluntary and anonymous. It was part of Masters degree curriculum at the School of International and Intercultural communications, Royal Roads University. Please add your story to ours by getting in touch: Andrew.Mizen@RoyalRoads.ca

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