Happy St. Patrick’s Day (again)

It’s March 17th– so that means I’m wearing green, I’m ready to meet friends for a beer after work, and perhaps even make a “boiled dinner.” That’s right, it’s St. Patrick’s Day. I wrote about the meaning of the holiday last year in my family, so this year I’ll write about something related but different.

Working in the field of International Education is great. I frequently talk to people from different countries, and I am always learning new things. This past week I attended a program organized by my Iranian students about Nuwroz (Persian New Year), and had a chance to share in various cultural activities. I also get to experience a lot of Nepali cultural activities, and although I do hold my own with organizing Thanksgiving, Christmas, Halloween (etc) …  there is one cultural activity I wish I had partaken in while I was younger so I could tap (literally and figuratively) into this particular skill today.

When I go to a lot of these cultural programs there are often many songs and dances from the local region. I’ve been put on the spot many a time when I’ve been asked, “sing an American [or Irish] song” or “do an American [or Irish] dance.” Sure, I can break out with a chicken dance, but I’d really love to break out with… some Irish Step Dancing moves.

See, when I was in high school my younger sisters signed up for Irish Step Dancing lessons at the local AOH club my dad was a member of. At the time I was on the high school swim and track teams (not that I was any good), and thought I was too cool to go to “dancing” class. Each St. Patrick’s Day the Irish Step students would put on a show for people coming to eat the corned beef and cabbage sandwiches and green beer at the club, and I would sit with the rest of the crowd while my sisters tapped their feet and danced with the group.

Now I really wish I took those classes too. How neat would it be to be in a crowd of people singing and dancing to Nepali songs, be prompted to show something from “my” culture, and jump up to perform an impressive jig? One night my Irish friend and I even looked at Irish step dancing videos on Youtube to try and get some of the footwork down, but it’s actually pretty complicated and challenging. I think I almost pulled a calf muscle!

Maybe one of these days, when I’ve got some spare time and cash, I’ll sign up for a class. I think it would be fun… and I’d totally volunteer a jig at that next cultural gathering!

(If only I could dance like these girls…)

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