As a white Christian girl growing up in Cheyenne, Wyoming (population 50,000) let's just say I wasn't exposed to a ton of culture. In my elementary school we had exactly one black student, and in some crazy irony, his name was George Bush.
I didn't meet a Jewish person until I was about 10. She was a Holocaust survivor and I remember my mom instructing me not to ask about it, so I didn't. It wasn't until I was a 22-year-old reporter that I was given a story on Rosh Hashanah, and when the assignment editor told me my story, I'm pretty sure I said "bless you," because I thought she had sneezed. I didn't know what the heck she was talking about.
Fast forward to my 35-year old self living in New York City, and let's just say, I'm still learning new things. The first time I saw a Hasidic Jewish family (ever) was about 9 months ago, and I'm pretty sure Mike had to tell me to stop staring. I was so intrigued because it's just something I had never before seen. (Now a horse-shaped potty-training seat, that I have seen. And used.)
Despite my work-in-progress of trying to learn about new cultures and religions, I'm still a hot mess when it comes to writing or reporting on 1) Anything Pope-related and 2) Anything Jewish-holiday related. So during my 12 years working in the news business, I cringe whenever I'm given a story on either of these. As many of you know, I work as a news writer for a station in NYC and this week when I was assigned a story on Rosh Hashanah, I literally had to Google "Judaism 101." Is that normal? (And a couple of weeks ago, I edited video of the Pope. But apparently the wrong Pope. Who knew? Don't they all kind of look alike?)
For the Catholic stories I do, it's not only trying to figure out who is who, but have you ever heard all the unique terms Catholics use? It's like a whole other dictionary! I have to chuckle every time I write about canonization or beautification, because this is what they could also mean:
Canonization- The act of getting shot out of a cannon at a circus
Abstinence- Giving up Chipolte for a week
Adultery- Hitting Chipolte on Tuesday after work, but hiding the evidence from the hubs
Anointing- The chubby kid next to me on the subway. Oh wait, that was annoying...
Beautification- The 1 1/2 hours it takes for me to do my hair and make-up. Used only for special occasions.
Blasphemy- When someone criticizes any of the Real Housewives shows. Or The Bachelor.
Impediments to Marriage- Having only one TV. Or a Queen bed. Or only one bathroom. (During our city living, Mike and I have had a lot of impediments.)
Shalom everybody! (I actually have no idea what that means, so hopefully I didn't just curse you out.)