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Hello, Ciao,안녕하세요, Hallo, Hola, Selamat tengahari! My name is Rachael and I am a travel enthusiast. Ever since I can remember, my parents have taken my brother, sister and I on good ol' American road trips. It's safe to say that was where my interest in new places, people and experiences was ignited. As my parents always encouraged my siblings and I to explore and ask questions, I developed a sincere curiosity for new adventures. In addition to seeing much of the United States with my favorite travel companions (my family), I had the opportunity to spend a semester in Rome, Italy, as well as a semester in Seoul, South Korea during my college career. Now, I am honored to be taking part in a Fulbright ETA Scholarship to Malaysia for a year! My family's favorite motto is "Life is all about the journey, not the destination." I invite you to join along in my journey of cultural exchange and mutual understanding in Malaysia! After all, the more, the merrier.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Coming to a close: Pancakes with a dose of coconut

Enjoying food with fellow teachers!
Photo Courtesy of SMK PNZ
During one of my last days of school at SMK PNZ, Form 3 students had finished their long-awaited PMR exams. Therefore, Form 3 students engaged in different activities that did not involve textbooks or papers. It was something similar to “free days!” Fortunately, I had the opportunity to spend a morning with about thirty, happy, enthusiastic Form 3 students. When I asked what activity we were going to do together, the students exclaimed that they wanted to make “pancakes from America!”

Their wish was Cikgu Ruhanna’s command, so Cikgu Ruhanna hosted a pancake event in the school kitchen, and she generously invited me. The students were excited to make pancakes. One girl even took my hand and said, “Teacher, we make you feel home.” It nearly brought tears to my eyes. 

As we made homemade pancake batter, I shared stories about Sunday mornings at my home in America. I explained that my family often makes pancakes and shares breakfast together on the weekends. The students were happy to hear my stories. I was even happier when Cikgu Ruhanna suggested a “variation” to the typical American pancake recipe. She put coconut flour in the homemade pancake batter.

There I was, in my school, with my students, making pancakes with a “Malaysian” twist. Best of all, they were delicious! I looked around the kitchen. The students were sporting green, pink and blue polka dotted aprons, flipping thick, perfect pancakes on the stovetop. I smiled, because when I looked around, it occurred to me that this was indeed what cultural exchange was all about- sharing. After all, it had been the sharing of thoughts, perspectives and ideas throughout my year as a Fulbright ETA that culminated the bridges to mutual understanding.  

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