Multicultural DC

You’re continually reminded of the wider world living in the nation’s Capitol — and probably any big city, for that matter.

There are all the languages and manners of dress on the subway and busses, of course. My favorite so far was a beautifull all-white dress and head wrapping that a woman at church yesterday was wearing in the pew in front of me. Just beautiful.

The past two Sundays I stopped at different Seven Elevens to pick up the Washington Post. At each place there were lots of Spanish-speaking guys hanging around both inside and outside the store. One guy looked like he came straight from a ranch, with a dressy cowboy shirt and hat. I guessed that they were day laborers waiting around in hopes of being picked up for a job. I learned later that I was partly correct, but that you could also find “anything and everything” there and they’re spots to stay away from as a Franciscan priest had been robbed and roughed up pretty badly at one of the stores. (I changed my bus route to get home from a meeting tonight; I would have had to walk through that area after dark and realized it would be better to avoid that.)

When I go to Mass, there are people of all hues and langauges in the pews, which makes a wonderful tapestry of our global church. The parish I went to today, Our Lady of Sorrows in Takoma Park, has a long list of weekend Masses to accommodate all the language groups: English, Spanish, Haitian and Ghanian. St. Camillus, the favorite of progressive Catholics in the area, has a multicultural Mass each Sunday that features prayers and songs in several languages. Both parishes have a variety of services to the community, including English-language classes and legal service for immigrants.

I hope to get more involved in this multicultural world, with a Spanish-speaking club I found on line that meets a couple of times a month for conversation and maybe some volunteering with immigrants and/or refugees. I also learned that some of the embassies have cultural programs open to the public, to promote their languges and arts to Americans.


About mariannedc

I just moved from Albany, NY, to the Washington, DC, area and many friends and former co-workers want to hear about my life here. So this seemed like a great way to do that.
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3 Responses to Multicultural DC

  1. Anne Paye says:

    Marianne, I hope you are learning to speak Spanish.

    • mariannedc says:

      Interesting you should mention Spanish, Anne. I am signed up for a beginner Spanish conversatoin group on Monday evening. There’s a club in the DC area that meets a couple of times a month at a restaurant for conversation and some basic language exercise. I’ll see how it goes and if I want to continue, or take a class. I know some words and can get the gist of written materials and if someone speaks slowly enough, but I need practice actually speaking the language.

  2. J.A. Miller says:

    There’s such a wealth of cultures – the embassy activities sound fantastic!! But, right, you do need to be very aware of your surroundings as you explore new neighborhoods.

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