If you enjoy travelling for the purpose of understanding other cultures, you may be interested in visiting the International Gathering, taking place this Friday from 1-3pm at Crossroads Shopping Center. (near QFC, next to the big chess game. Look for a table with the small sign International Gathering.)
Almost 2 years ago, I started the International Gathering with 2 goals in mind. To create a space for those who are curious to learn about other cultures, and to provide the opportunity for new immigrants to find supportive connections in their new community.
I have the good fortune to work with international clients from many countries who are working on their English and adjusting to their new culture. This opens the door for me to understand attitudes toward everyday life. Traditions that are important to others, values that are held dear.
This opportunity adds a great deal of richness to my life. And I know there are many people in our community just as curious as I am in understanding other cultures, but may not have the same access as I to have these indepth conversations. That's what the International Gathering can offer.
The other goal I mentioned is for new immigrants to feel connected to their new community. Since this group started in December of 2010, I have a standing invitation to stay with a woman who lives in Italy when I visit. I've celebrated with new mothers whose parents may not be able to visit the U.S. when their grandchildren are born. A grand-mother-want-to-be practically drooled over the newborn of a young woman when we visited the brand new mother. We've visited the Tulip Festival, Deception Pass, San Juan Islands, local beaches, and other non-tourist attractions.
This group is open to the public. People come and go in this group because some return to their native countries, or they are now working, or they are caring for their new babies. Nevertheless, we stay in touch and visit each other.
So next time you are free on the 1st Friday of each month, stop by Crossroads Shopping Center between 1 and 3pm, and look for us next to the big chess game (near QFC). Our table has the small sign International Gathering. Don't worry if you can't stay the whole time. Some come during their lunch hour. Come by and say hello.
We usually have a topic of discussion. Often though, we are interested in learning about each other and our discussion goes in other directions. We don't mind because the purpose is to connect and to understand each other's cultures better.
The address of Crossroads Shopping Center is 15600 NE 8th Street, Bellevue, WA.