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Interview with the author of the new tote bag that you should get soon!

When you share addresses of places for specific country of origin, reviews or pictures, you help other users to find necessary resources or to facilitate their decision process. This is essential to the KITNDO community and the reason the rewards program was integrated since the beginning.

Starting today, thanks to your contributions you can earn a free tote bag, designed by Petra from “Czech this out, when you reach level 3 (make sure your address is filled in your profile so that we can mail it to you).

Tote bag DOWe are very excited to work on this project with “Czech this out”. It is a young brand created by a couple, originally from Czech Republic: while David focuses on metal sculptures, Petra draws, knits and makes jewelry. In the heart of their projects – one common thing: the inspiration from the nature. And this is not surprising, when living in British Columbia, the couple spend most of their weekends hiking and wandering in nature. Their products are sold online on Etsy and We Shop Canadian or at craft markets in and around New Westminster.

When we asked Petra to create a design for us, she related right away with KITNDO’s mission. In fact, the couple has been travelling and living abroad since few years: Scotland, Slovenia, New Zealand and now Canada. They moved to New Westminster, British Columbia in March 2017 and even though it meant to be a one-year stop, they fell in love with Canadian nature and they are not ready to leave.

New Zealand and lighthouse

When interviewing Petra about her Czech roots, and how does she see herself as opposed to other cultures, she pointed out a huge difference in the nation pride between Czechs and people from countries where she has lived. She took an example in the way how Canadians or Americans celebrate their Independence Day. Once, when they hiked the Garibaldi Lake on the Canada Day, she was blown away by the number of people carrying the Canadian flag and wishing them “happy Canada Day”. She wishes something like that exists on September 28 back in her native country.

Petra also describes what she misses most from Czech Republic, her answer was short and clear: “Friends and family for sure”. “I feel like there are always Czechs wherever we go :D. Even in Scotland where we lived in a small town of 8000 inhabitants. The community is even bigger in Edinburgh where you can find a Czech pub called “Pivo”. While living in Wellington, in New Zealand, we attended a few monthly Czech meetings and even though we did not particularly look for these events, as we wanted to get to know more about other cultures, we had a lot of fun… I know here is a strong Czech community- especially people on Working Holiday visa as British Columbia is very attractive with its stunning landscape and it’s relatively easy to find a job.”

Canada

Finally, the question we are always curious to ask to people living abroad, is what traditions do they keep alive? Petra told us: “We celebrate Christmas the Czech way (we bake cookies, eat fish and potato salad for dinner and unwrap presents on Christmas Eve- I still don’t understand how people can wait the whole night to open the presents in the morning- impossible :). Also, during Easter time I dye eggs and my husband cannot forget the “pomlazka tradition* on Easter Monday. And, of course, we keep celebrating our name days*”.

*”Pomlazka”: a braided whip made from pussywillow twigs – therefore used for centuries by boys who go caroling on Easter Monday and symbolically whip girls on the legs. Name Day: consists of celebrating a day of the year that is associated with one’s given name. The celebration is similar to a birthday.

Photo credits: Czech this out

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Interview time with Naomi

Let’s discover about some expats living far from their homelands and how they share their culture(s) with their children. Today, let’s get to know a bit more about Naomi, a Canadian born to a Japanese father and a Canadian mother with Scottish ancestry, living now in Slovakia. Naomi has completely embraced the culture of her Slovak husband. This has just added to her already multicultural background and influences the way she raises her four kids.

KITNDO: Do you pay special attention on transmitting to your kids their cultural heritage and how?

Naomi: I didn’t learn my father’s native language as a child and feel I missed out getting to know that side of the family as well as the culture. So, making sure my children are bilingual is very important to me.
Food and special holidays are the easiest ways to transmit their Canadian cultural heritage. For example, on New Year’s Eve we have Slovak Kapustnica for supper and Japanese sushi during the night. This year we celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving properly for the first time and one of my children asked what Thanksgiving was. Oops. We incorporate both Canadian and Slovak traditions for holidays like Easter (Easter egg hunt) and Christmas (food, opening presents both in the evening and gifts from Canada in the morning).
I also sing with the children and teach them songs I learned as a child. We read books aloud, from children’s books centering on Japanese culture to historical fiction chapter books (like Anne of Green Gables and the Canadian Girls series). Here in Slovakia, the children go to a children’s folklore group where they learn traditional songs and dance, as well as wear the traditional dress for performances. It is easy to take for granted that what I know as an adult, everyone must know, but we need to be intentional about teaching children.

KITNDO: What do you miss the most from your homeland?

Naomi: Besides friends and family, I grew up on a farm in the mountains and miss that lifestyle. There is not much snow where we live, and I grew up doing lots of winter activities outside in the Canadian Rockies. Having all that land with animals, living far from town.
I also miss the availability of ethnic foods from all over the world. There is a lot more here now than there was 10 years ago, but I still have to go to the city to get some.

KITNDO: Are you in touch with any Canadian community or with other expats in Slovakia?

Naomi: I know a few expats in my town from various countries, but don’t have connections with any expat community in particular. I live in a small town and it is logistically difficult to go often to Bratislava.

KITNDO: What other ways help you to keep in touch with your homeland?

Naomi: Video calling with family, two of my children have pen pals, I always bring books back with me when we go visit Canada.

KITNDO: What new tradition or recipe, that you learnt in the country you live now, would you take with you if you should move somewhere else?

Naomi: My favorite Slovak dish probably: strapačky (potato dumplings sautéed with sauerkraut and bacon). I love the traditions associated with food, like the process of pig butchering or making sauerkraut.
I also really appreciate traditional Slovak crafts, like embroidery and pottery. Music is one of my favorites – I always enjoy and marvel when a large group of people are together and everyone can sing along because everybody knows the songs.

almostbananas-cooking

Naomi is the creator of the blog ALMOST BANANAS where she shares about life in Slovakia, from recipes to traditions to places worth visiting. She also offers you her free eBook of 10 Slovak recipes.