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Two cultures, one family

01/31/08 12:00PM By Jane Lindholm
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Jaed Coffin grew up partly in Vermont with a white father and Thai mother but as an adult spent a year in Thailand, immersed in the culture of his mother's homeland. His new memoir, "A Chant to Soothe Wild Elephants," explores Coffin's understanding of his own multi-ethnic identity. We talk with Coffin and Saint Michael's College English professor Lorrie Smith about how people view their own identity in context of the world around them.(Listen)

Also in the program, new rules for crossing the Canadian border go into effect on Thursday. We talk with reporter Ross Sneyd, on location at the border crossing in Highgate.(Listen)

And "Dr. Why" - Bert Yankielun - teaches us the secrets of igloos. An engineer with the Cold Regions Research Laboratory in the Upper Valley, Yankielun leads workshops on choosing the right kind of snow and ice for your igloo, and designing a sound structure.(Listen)


Susan, listener from New Hampshire:

Another aspect of cross cultural identity involves people raised in one culture, who have moved to another and who are never really a part of either. I lived for my first 18 years in Thailand with occasional visits to the U.S. and I have never quite felt at home in New Hampshire, where I have spent most of my adult life. This continues as something I think about, even though I am 57 years old. I cook Thai food for our family and friends, and this is a valuable way to maintain my connection with my childhood culture. A very good book on the subject of growing up in two cultures is "The Third Culture Kid Experience: Growing Up Among Worlds," by David C. Pollock and Ruth E. Van Reken.


Lenora, listener from South Burlington:

A bilingual Spanish playgroup is available for ages 0-5 years old.  It is a for fluent Spanish speakers.  It's held Wednesday from 9:00-3:00 and Friday from 3:30-5:00 at the Orchard Elementary School in the Family Center in South Burlington on Baldwin Avenue.  There's no cost associated with this play group. 

Related Links

Yankielun's book How to Build an Igloo Coffin's book A Chant to Soothe Wild Elephants New border crossing rules
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