Some students have a story that is so central to their identity that they feel their application would be incomplete without it. Share yours. :
Step, kick, step, step. Or is it step, step, kick, step, step? At this point I am not even sure which foot I am stepping on, all that is going through my head is how interesting the beat of the music is. I reach for my cousins' hand as she joins the line of dancing people and I try to watch her feet as the line moves in a large circle. I think it is step, step, kick, hop, step. Yes, that must be it. The sequence did not seem too hard until I tried to kick and hop at the same time. One second I had my left leg in the air and the next, my face on the floor bringing down the line with me.
So maybe not all Lebanese are born naturally knowing how to dance the dabke but at least they are able to get back up and go on dancing even if one of us slows down the line. Okay, maybe I slow down the line a lot but they at least pretend not to mind. Trying out my dabke skills with people who actually grew up in Lebanon, home of the dabke dance, might not have been the best idea but I can honestly say I enjoyed every moment, every kick, jump, step, even fall.
My life has always been filled of days like this with my family and friends. One night it is being a part of the dabke line to traditional Lebanese music and the next it is dancing the samba surrounded by Latinos losing themselves in the song. Each is so different but such an important part of who I am. With a father raised in Lebanon and a mother that emigrated from the Dominican Republic, I have grown up constantly surrounded by culture. My culture has become such an intricate part of who I have become as a person from the values I hold to the lessons I have learned and even what my future goals are.
Working with OCCHA, the Hispanic heritage organization for our area, and being a member of my church's Maronite Youth Group, I have met more types of people than I can remember. The best part is that they all love to share what they know or any talents they have. I have had people show me the tricks to playing a set of darbuka drums while others always love to test my language skills in Spanish and French. I usually do pretty well in the latter except when I start to mix three languages in one sentence.
I was born in America but I would not say I am American. I am American and Lebanese and Dominican but I am also Cuban and Belgium and Indian. I may have been born into a certain ethnicity but not into a certain culture. My house is filled with Lebanese cuisine and Hispanic music but my life is filled with pieces from all around the world. There is no such thing as one way or one culture that is right or better. In every culture, there is something unique they have to share with the world and I have loved being able to grow up experiencing this diversity and everything it has to offer. It is because of reasons like this that I see college as an incredible opportunity to engage with the world's diverse group of people, not just culturally diverse but intellectually, artistically, and so much more.