This has been a strange year, and that shows no signs of letting up. Families have had to deal with coronavirus concerns, wildfires, social justice struggles, and a divisive presidential election, and we’re not even through September yet. It’s no wonder both kids and adults report feeling stress like never before in 2020.
What’s disappointing so many families is that they can’t travel this year like they wanted to. Maybe you had a vacation planned, but now you can’t go because of Covid-19. Many countries have travel restrictions in place, and flying is risky, even with mask-wearing.
However, if you get creative, you can have a foreign experience without ever leaving home. It may not be the same thing, but you can still get that exotic flavor, and it’s also significantly cheaper.
Here are four ways to feel like you’ve traveled to a foreign country right in your living room.
Get Some Foreign Foods
One thing to do if you want to include the whole family is to buy some foods from other countries and sample them. For instance, maybe you want to introduce your kids to some Japanese tastes. You might get them:
- Some different instant ramen noodle packages
- Some flavored seaweed snacks
- Sushi if there’s a good restaurant nearby
You can finish the meal with some Japanese candy. This is a way for you to broaden your kids’ horizons, and your own as well. The whole household is probably ready for something besides pizza, and even the family’s picky eaters might be up for a new taste adventure.
Watch Some Foreign Films
You might also have a foreign film night. You can introduce the family to the works of:
- Studio Ghibli
- Akira Kurosawa
- Alfonso Cuaron
What you choose will depend on what different family members like, and also how old they are. Studio Ghibli is great for kids, with their dreamlike, mystical fare such as “Spirited Away” and “Howl’s Moving Castle.” If you have older or more mature family members, they might go for Kurosawa’s “Seven Samurai” or “Rashomon.”
You can find some of these films dubbed, or others come with subtitles. You can get a window into another country’s belief system and then talk about what you liked and didn’t like.
You Can Have a World Beer Night
For the family adults, you might try a world beer night. That’s where you get a few different beers from a particular country and sample them.
You might go for the Belgian-style Trappist beers like Chimay or Orval. Maybe you prefer German beers like Spaten Oktoberfest and Gaffel Kolsch. You might want something lighter, like the Chinese Tsing Tao or Indian Taj Mahal.
Of course, you could also go with liquor if you like. You might try a few different Scotch whiskies, such as a nice ten-year-old Talisker or the twelve-year-old Glenlivet. You can even pair some traditional Scottish food with them if anywhere near you serves it.
Be aware that Scotch can be expensive, though, so this might not be the best idea if you’re on a budget.
Learn a New Language
Getting away from the culinary notions, you might also sample a different culture by trying to learn some of their language. This is a smart idea since it’s appropriate for all ages. It’s also a way to encourage the whole family to gain a new skill.
If you know something about your family’s origins, then you can try to learn the language from the country where you originated. For instance, maybe you’re third or fourth-generation American, but your ancestors came from Russia.
You could try to learn Russian for a week. At the end of that time, the whole family can attempt to have a simple conversation to see how much you’ve picked up.
If your family enjoys these sorts of ideas, then you might have more elaborate theme nights. You can get some ethnic films or TV shows to watch, sample some food and drinks from that part of the world, and even see if you can get some accompanying ethnic clothing.
This is a way for you to learn about different parts of the world, even if you can’t visit them right now. You’ll feel like you’re traveling the globe for a minimal expense.
Hopefully, next year medical science will have a vaccine, and you can visit some of these places about which you’ve learned. You’re sure to appreciate them even more this way.