Melting Pot

For those of us who call South Florida home, it is sometimes easy to take the concept of a cultural melting pot for granted. Here you’ll find almost every nationality, race, color and ethnicity you can imagine and quite frankly, some you probably don’t even realize exist!

Without packing a suitcase or pulling out my passport, the past few weeks have been full of experiences usually reserved for overseas excursions.

In 2008 I traveled to Beijing, China to cover the Olympic games for NBC’s The Olympic Zone. Our journalism teams met incredible athletes and also had the opportunity to experience Chinese culture. I have incredible memories from that month! I recently had the pleasure of enjoying another slice of Chinese culture, but this time right here at home, thanks to South Florida’s Shandong Association.

Shandong is the second largest province in China; it is an economic, cultural and social hub. It is the birthplace of revered Chinese thinker, Confucius. The local Shandong Association; a civil and cultural organization hosted the Confucius Mid-Autumn festival on the campus of FIU and invited me to serve as co-host of the event. I had the chance to once again get a glimpse of Chinese culture. China’s Deputy Consul General even traveled from Houston to join in the celebration!

The next week, I traveled to Africa. Having spent ten days in Nairobi earlier this year working on a production project, I gained a greater appreciation for the Mother Land. And while I don’t know which African nation my ancestors come from, there is an internal connection which cannot be denied.

So it was once again my honor to be in the audience at Florida International University as the mayor of the City of Miami Gardens performed the swearing-in ceremony for city councilman member, Dr. Erhabor Ighodaro. He is the first Nigerian born individual to hold a councilman position in any South Florida city. Congratulations to Dr. Ighodaro and his family! The event included a moving performance by the University’s choir, a traditional dance and drum presentation and a libation ceremony performed by Dr. Ighodaro’s uncle; a world renowned Nigerian High Priest who traveled from Australia to honor his nephew. Wow!

I’ve always appreciated the cultural melting pot that is South Florida. The mix of people, languages and cultures is intoxicating and fascinating. How lucky are we to live in a place where you can travel the globe without ever leaving home?!

A multiple Emmy-Award winning Anchor and Reporter, Julia Yarbough is a national blogger, motivational speaker, emcee/hostess, entrepreneur, travel writer and health & fitness enthusiast.

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