Food and Semester Review – TMSE

By Hannah Tytus

This was our last day at TMSE! We’ve all had so much fun together this semester, and to conclude our program we definitely had to go out with a bang.

So we ditched the traditional powerpoint and had ourselves a traditional Southeast Asian feast! We took our shoes off upon entry and arranged ourselves on the ground in a circle to eat.Our home cooked meal encompassed cuisines from many different countries in the region, and everyone got a choice of how to devour their food: By fork and knife, like an American? Or perhaps chopsticks, like the Chinese? Most people went with the Indian option–to eat with their hands!

Once our guest of honor, Lynn, took her first bite, we all dove into the delicious food. It was both a rowdy and a joyful affair. Some of our dishes included pineapple tarts, seaweed salad, mango pudding, egg rolls, varieties of rice, tofu with bean curds, khao dome, and rice noodles.

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As we ate, we discussed some key concepts from the past few months. Then we looked at the concept of a feast through the four different anthropological lenses: the biological perspective, the cultural perspective, linguistic perspective, and the archaeological perspective. It was an excellent exercise in learning that one event can be seen and interpreted in many different ways, which I hope is a lesson the kids can all apply to their daily lives. If we’ve learned one thing this semester, it is how to see the world through another’s perspective.

When the food had been cleared, we went on to the next part of our party: Balinese dance. Holly, who spent a large part of her childhood in Southeast Asia, led the class in some fun traditional dancing. Things got even wilder when the music turned up and a dance off was declared–whoever could be the most culturally relative and incorporate Balinese and American dance moves the best would be named the winner.  We got a lot of “Whip and Nae Nae”, a lot of twirls, and a lot of Balinese twists.

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Eventually it was down to only two: Madeline and Sierra in their final dance-off. Whoever won this would be named leader of the Les Juens clan. Months and months of preparation had led up to this moment, and the girls were bringing their all to the dance floor.

It was Madeline who won! Our brave new leader rose her arms in triumph as the music faded out. What a spectacle it was!

Everybody wants to be an Anthropologist now. And this makes my heart smile.

Good luck to you, Madeline. And good luck to my other girls, India and Sierra. Fare thee well, Josh, Addie, and Keelan. The Lego Baticorns were the strongest clan in all the land. And of course, goodbye and good luck to the Alabama Panthers Makinley, Champ, and Evy. I hope you and your parents all have time to read these posts, and remember how spectacular you all are! We have really enjoyed being with all of you this semester, and wouldn’t trade our experiences for anything in the world.

See you next year!

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