A look into Our Parents

Mark McLean, a Canadian prairie boy who moved to the West Coast, has spent the past few months living in Michigan and sixteen months prior in Dominica. His time abroad has allowed him not only the opportunity to meet locals and expats alike, but also to get writing. May we all be especially grateful for the latter.

Mark’s newest project involves taking a look into, not the people he meets, but the parents who raised them. He was inspired to start the blog Of Our Parents. (more…)

April 10, 2012 4 comments

Saudi Arabian naming traditions

Following on from our post about traditions for naming children around the world, PocketCultures reader Yousef who is from Saudi Arabia submitted this post about what happens when a child is born in his country.

Amir Sultan street, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

In Saudi Arabia, most names are either taken from history or religion. For instance, the most common name in Saudi Arabia is Mohammed. It is chosen by most people in memory of the prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him). Other names come from the name of the prophets such as Moussa (Moses), Issa (Jesus), Dawood (David), and Yahya (John).


March 16, 2012 Comments disabled

The Bouquinistes-Book Sellers along the Seine River

Bouquinistes, a trade that goes back to the Middle-Ages and is unique to Paris

The story has it that a boat transporting loads of books sunk near Notre-Dame Cathedral.

The sailors swam ashore taking with them as many books as they could and sold them to the passersby to make up for the wages they had lost. They certainly found the sale lucrative enough to start making a regular living from it.


Bouquinistes' stalls near Notre-Dame Cathedral

Since then, we are used to seeing the booksellers along the Seine and they have become one of the many iconic symbols of Paris.


February 29, 2012 6 comments

French Royal Mistresses

Valentine’s Day is over.  But let’s still celebrate Love by talking of the royal mistresses who often influenced the fate of France.

The Royal Mistress, a vast and controversial topic that makes us either smile or shy away!

François Boucher 019

Madame de Pompadour (Source Wikimedia)

Were they exceptionally attractive?

Not always but they were undoubtedly more attractive than the average women of their time when hygiene was questionable, when teeth started to decay in teenage, when women’s life expectancy was so short, when they had reached their “shelf-life” by the age of 30, if they had had the extreme luck of surviving until such an “advanced age” despite the multiple births and epidemics.


February 15, 2012 6 comments

Defining Kyrgyz Identity

The fact that I find it difficult to define myself as a Kyrgyz person occurred to me  only when I moved to London. Not only most people around me find it difficult to pronounce Kyrgyzstan, most of them have no idea what Kyrgyzstan is. The fact that I am Asian, Muslim and speak Russian doesn’t make it any easier.  So the question occurred, how do I accurately describe myself as a Kyrgyz person?

By now I have realized that it’s impossible to do it without a lengthy introduction into Kyrgyz History, because after all identity is shaped by culture, and culture is shaped by history, well, and many other components. (more…)

October 28, 2011 1 comment

Sweet-Sour Topoloveni Plum Jam

Recently I participated in an open day at Topoloveni Plum Jam Factory, in an anniversary moment: the company celebrated 10 years from takeover by purchasing the production units from Mrs Bibiana Stanciulov, a very energetic and determined woman,  which offered it the chance to continue Romanian jam manufacturing tradition after an old recipe from 1914.

Mrs-Bibiana-Stanciulov-Topoloveni-Open-Day. (more…)

October 12, 2011 1 comment