Cultural Background and My Identity

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Culture is defined as the system of shared beliefs, values, customs, and behaviors that the members of society use to cope with their world and one another. When I was first asked to write about my culture, I thought to myself, “what culture?”, but upon further inspection I found that we all have a culture even if we haven’t had to think about ours because it was primarily the dominant one in society. I grew up outside of small town America in the rural part of Northwest Ohio which consists of mainly farmland and woods. I was born into a white, blue collar, working class, democratic family. My grandparents on my mom side were European, mostly German and English, and on my dad’s side they were entirely German. My paternal grandmother still spoke mostly German to her children and my father didn’t learn a lot of English until he went to school. There was an importance of Christian traditions and family on both sides. I remember Christmas Eve’s at my grandma’s house on my mom’s side, and all of Christmas day at my grandma’s on my dad’s side. My paternal grandmother made German butter cake called bottakuchen, as well as sauerkraut and sausage and German potato salad. There were also Easter celebrations with church and then Easter egg hunts with my cousins. I also enjoyed many birthday celebrations on my mom’s side; one for every season. I was very close with all my cousins from my mom’s two sisters and her brother, and still am till this day. The matriarch of the family, my mother’s mother, has asked that when she passes we still continue all of our family traditions in order to keep close ties between all of us. There was also a strong work ethic and an importance placed on schooling as I grew up. It was important to my parents that I go to college and get a good education in order to not have to work as hard as they did to earn a living. We were not poor, but my

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