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Internationalize Your Life

Yes, I just made up a word in that title. But I really think it could take off.

For today, some tips on getting out of the domestic rut, which may or may not be an .. ahem .. resolution of yours. You may live in a cool city (Indianapolis) or out in the burbs somewhere. Maybe you're even living in the quaint, quiet countryside. But whether you love your hometown or not, there are likely times you feel that your surroundings are, well, a little bland. You need some spice, some pizazz, something different.
You need to internationalize your life.

Now, I don't want to come off sounding like some kind of lifestyle guru. I don't always do the things I'm advising (except the food things -- I'm reeallly good at eating ethnic food), but I want to remind myself to do them more often. So we're all in the same boat here. 
National food flags, from here via Pinterest.
 -Internationalize Your Belly:
This is probably the easiest way to spice up your life (um, Spice Girl shout out anyone?) With immigration and migration as it is today, you'd be hard pressed to live someplace where a great - or at least mediocre- ethnic restaurant isn't within a reasonable driving distance. Like spicy? Try Thai. Like warm, comfort food? How 'bout Moroccan? Need some greasy goodness? Grab a gyro or falafel at the nearest Middle Eastern restaurant. Want something really different? Try Korean. Next on my list to try are Ethiopian and El Savadoran.

If you're not ready to commit to a whole meal, try scoping out the local international groceries for funky munchies. This is also a great way to revisit places you've been and miss. I love going to the Indian grocery, buying some Limca and digestive biscuits and getting all nostalgic and weepy. Visit the asian grocery and sample all the weird candies. My particular favorite are the mini-jello shooters. Or the Mexican Taqueria, where you can often get fresh tacos and tamales from the back kitchen, on top of fresh meats and strange veggies.

-Internationalize Your Workout:
What-what? Yes, you can add some ethnic flavor to your gym routine. I'm BIG into Zumba, a cardio-dance class that combines classic latin dances (rumba, salsa, cha cha) with hip-hop, jazz and even folk dance (we do a nice Greek number.) You feel like Shakira, and if you're in a good class, you'll probably be dancing with a very diverse group of women - all colors, ages and abilities. It's actually pretty inspring.
Pinned Image
You don't have to look glamorous to work out. I am proof of that.
Via Pinterest.
If you don't want to shake that thing with a room full of other women (um, ok) then why not try Bikram (hot) Yoga, Tai Chi, or Copoeira? These all pack a punch and offer insight into another culture.

Pinned Image
Via Pinterest.
-Internationalize Your Weekend:
Read your local papers (like Nuvo) - you're sure to find some cool ethnic events. Indy has an International Festival, a German Fest, Cinqo De Mayo events, an Indian Market, St. Patty's parades, and all kinds of smaller events. See an international movie - or rent one from Netflix (they have a good Bollywood section on demand.) And if you absolutely live in the boondocks and there are no events or movies, go to the bookstore, select a novel with a funky title, or by an author with a name you can't pronounce, purchase and read. There you go.

-Internationalize Your Work:
This one's a little bit harder, depending on your 9-5, but the truth is: every business nowadays has a global aspect. Whether it's an international market, business trips abroad, or just working with coworkers or customers from different parts of the world, there is generally some opportunity to think globally at work. Sometime during the first week or so of my job, I joined an international-themed committee and since then, I've been asked to lead a group trip to Costa Rica. Very lucky, but couldn't have happened with out some gentle prodding (or begging, if we're being specific) on my part. Talk to people in your office, do some research, and see how you can fit what interests you into your daily grind.

So, there you have it. Or we could all just take a year off and travel the globe...shall we?


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Emily! My first blog comment!
    Sooo, I was reading this thinking, "Emily needs to internationalize herself in Central America, I should tell her to come to Costa Rica" and then I see that you have the possibility to lead a group down here. you should totally do it! I could help you out and obviously you could come visit. So yay!! Do it! Let me know the dates. :)

    (I'm posting this comment again, because it posted under the wrong name before...)

  3. yay! thanks! yes, as long as we get enough students to go I am set. I thought you knew this - didn't you get my email?? anyways, i'll definitely try to get in a visit to you - hope you had a good time back home for the holidays!

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