Wednesday, June 5, 2013

A Colorful California Experience!

We went to the Huntington Beach Farmer’s market last night.

Besides the locally grown veggies and the butterfly wing hair clips for sale, the main thing that stimulated my mind throughout the evening was the sundry group of people I was walking with.

At any given moment, I was surrounded by multiple languages, being spoken by a ridiculous amount of skin tones.  The hair color (on people and animals), the piercings, the tattoos, the pets (including a rabbit on a skateboard), the age range, and clothing styles (including a shirtless drummer, and three women in modest head-coverings), the unidentifiable food from more countries that I can count…

Even the deaf community was represented, as well as the physically handicapped. 

I’m pretty sure I was in the most diverse place I've ever been.

Having traveled to many countries, I've always been a minority among a group of people who are a majority.  But last night, there was no such distinction.  We were all the majority.  Or were we all the minority?

It was a new world for me.  A new experience.

An panoramic view of a million aspects of humanity collected together in one time and place.

It is the conglomeration that is Huntington Beach, California.

In spite of the colorful experience, I started to wonder about the unseen shades of this eclectic community.  What makes up the base layers that allows these bright colors to shine, while revealing the darkness in grey areas?

How did those people arrive in that place?  Did they all speak English?  Would that question be offensive to some of them?  Did they all have a place to sleep that night, a place that wasn't the street?  Was anyone a first generation immigrant, or did they all consider themselves Americans?  Again, maybe another offensive question.

The local band composed of four dreadlock rocking young men with saxophones and drums, calling themselves the Originalites… what was their story?  How did they become a band?  How long will they stay together?  What do they desire to express through their music?  Do they feel listened to?

The wrap-around-the-corner line for a food stall that seemed as good as the next.  What was so good about it?  The food?  The family that makes the food?  Either way, apparently the locals know something I don’t.

Skateboards as the primary mode of transportation.  Why?  Who started that?  Why do skateboarders skateboard?  Is it an identity thing?  Or is it just fun?

What drew these people to this place?  What keeps them here?  What are the family structures like?  What about their homes?  How do they all eat?  What do they all eat?  How do they speak to each other?  What do they say?  What do they all believe?  How important is what they believe to them?  Does it make a difference in their life?

 I don't have answers to these, and don't have capacity to find the answers... but I do have 5 neighbors back in Orlando from 5 different ethnic groups that I want to know better.  Hmm.  I think I know what I want to do when I go back!

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