Cultivating Culture

// Now that we live in the city, we are fortunate enough to not need a car.

There is something to be said for seeing your city on foot.  If you notice, when tourists visit  they are usually walking.  This affords the ability to see things that may be a blur while driving.

This past Friday we decided to walk to the barber shop instead of riding metro.  About a 20 minute walk from home, we took in some of the early morning sights.

Magdalena Abakanowicz, Stainless Bird on Pole II, 2009; © Magdalena Abakanowicz – See more at:
I have passed this building many times but never knew the history. It always stood out to me due in part to its Art Deco appearance which is so different than the other buildings in the area. I took the time to look it up after taking this picture – The art deco facade at the north entrance of the building is a former Greyhound Lines station originally constructed in 1940. The office structure was built on top of the bus depot. A small exhibit on antique buses is located in the north lobby
Magdalena Abakanowicz, Walking Figures (group of 10), 2009; © Magdalena Abakanowicz – See more at:
Magdalena Abakanowicz, The Second Never Seen Figure On Beam with Wheels, 2001 – See more at:

Its funny how your perception of time differs based on what activity you are participating in.  KO insisted he was exhausted when we set out that morning and that we had been walking for more than an hour…in actuality it had only been about 15 minutes…

After finishing up at the barbershop we stopped past a couple of food trucks for dumplings and kabobs and surprisingly there were no more exhaustion complaints, go figure.

In 1986, the city dedicated the Friendship Archway, a traditional Chinese gate designed by Alfred H. Liu, a local architect and chairman of the Chinatown Development Corporation, who emigrated from Taiwan to the United States as a teenager. The colorful, US$1 million work of public art includes seven roofs up to 60 feet high, 7000 tiles, and 272 painted dragons in the style of the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Erected to celebrate friendship with Washington’s sister city of Beijing, it was hoped the arch would reinforce the neighborhood’s Chinese character. According to the plaque next to the arch, it is the largest such single-span archway in the world. In 1993, the Friendship Archway underwent a major renovation funded by D.C. and Chinese governments. Artisans from China performed extensive repairs on the archway and repainted its decorations

Again, things you see every week but take for granted, though people travel here specifically to take all of this in.

KO needed a new pair of shoes so we took a slight detour.  Sports Zone Elite in Chinatown was having a sale and the service we received was impeccable.

Once we arrived back home the kids spent some time in our courtyard with neighbors and sidewalk chalk.


I woke up bright and early on the 4th of July because I received a request to bring banana pudding to a cookout we were attending. 

I was excited about eating crabs that day…
I have made banana pudding in the past but this was my very first time doing a meringue topping and I am quite pleased with how it turned out.  It was also my first time using my new Kitchen Aid mixer (KitchenAid KSM150PSAQ 5-Qt. Artisan Series with Pouring Shield – Aqua Sky).  Modern motherhood with a traditional twist!

There are two types of people – one who eats cold Banana Pudding and one who eats it warm, I am the latter and actually make my custard from scratch.  It is a recipe that has been passed down to me from my grandmother and I cherish it because I do not have too many of her worldly possessions to share with my kids.  This recipe is CLOSE to mine, but not exact.  I can only share that info with family!

Once everyone was nice and full we ventured outside to enjoy the fireworks display.


On Sunday the kids spent some time with my mom so I made my way to a screening of ‘Time is Illmatic‘ at Bus Boys and Poets Takoma.  The screening was presented by Words Beats & Life.

Upon entry we were gifted with this Hip Hop culture journal.

Among the first to arrive, seating selection was easy.

I opted to try the Vegan Nachos –

Vegan Nachos | 9 |  

yellow corn chips, guacamole, Daiya cheese, pico de gallo, vegan sour cream, black-eyed peas salsa

They were pretty much demolished.  I even got the kids dad to try them and he said they were actually good!  Healthy baby steps…

(l to r) DJ Soyo, DJ Heat and DJ 2-Tone Jones were featured in a panel discussion following the film, which was moderated by Mazi Mutafa, who is the Executive Director of WBL.

I really enjoyed the film.  Being born in Brooklyn, NY I have a sense of pride about the city that seems to grow as I get older.  This biopic of the life of arguably one of the greatest lyricists of our time only took that love for my birth city to another level.  Most importantly, I learned so much more about Hip Hop culture and how I can continue to expose my children to it.

I was pleased to know that in the call to action (instill culture into your children and those youth you are responsible for influencing, by exposing them to different eras and genres of music so they have an appreciation, so they go on to be the next Nas or greater), I am already actively doing this with my kids and they have been enjoying the musical history lessons and will even request certain artists or songs that I have shown them.

Javier Dj-jav Velasco provided the soundtrack to the panel discussion.

It was a great event and if you missed it there will be a screening each Sunday for the remainder of July at the other Bus Boys and Poets locations in the area.

Post Question: What traditions are you passing down to the children that you are responsible for influencing whether it be culinary, musical or otherwise?

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