Author Archives: Larissa Puro

Folk Dance – Russia

My mom said in her Russian community, all children had to have at least one artistic talent. The youth were expected to entertain their elders.

Her specialty was Russian folk dancing. The boys and girls who learned this dance were around 11 years old.

The costumes were very distinct. Boys wore special tunics, belts, and leggings. Girls donned elaborate headdresses adorned with real flowers and ribbons on each side. Both wore a lot of embroidery on the sleeves and aprons and danced in special boots.

The dance was passed on in the churches from the older women and performed on social occasions. The girls would dance in a circle with the boys doing kicks, leg lifts, and squats called “yesginka” in the center. Most of the time, they would dance to Balalaika music.

It’s interesting to me that this dance, unlike most folk dances, was not necessarily performed in a celebratory fashion. Instead, it was more to please the adults at a social gathering.

This concept speaks to the level of discipline and familial hierarchy in Russian culture, which contrasts greatly to American society, where kids are never forced to pick up a hobby merely to entertain guests. This is an old-fashioned idea that maybe prevailed in previous centuries in America, but certainly not during my mother’s time.

Perhaps this forced acquisition of a “talent” was a way to teach discipline Russian children. My mom also mentioned how some kids had to memorize long Russian poems by authors like Pushkin and recite them from memory. That must have been incredibly difficult to accomplish, and is certainly not something we even consider a kid capable of doing in America.

Joke – Washington D.C.


9/11 Joke – Washington, D.C.

Person A: Knock, knock.

Person B: Who’s there?

Person A: You said you’d never forget!

This joke references the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. During that time and for years after, the phrase, “We will never forget” came to define the tragedy. It became a unifying American idea that while we will move on as a country, we will never forget the lives lost on that horrific day.

This joke is a spin-off of the classic knock-knock joke, which always follows the format:

“Knock, knock”

“Who’s there?”

When the audience member asks, “Who’s there?” the jokester plays off of the question, pretending to be hurt that he or she “forgot” 9/11.

This joke can arguably both assert and insult the American identity. If a person from another country heard this joke, he or she probably wouldn’t understand the reference, and assume Person B forgot who Person A was. Therefore, only an American can participate in this joke. However, it mocks the tendency of future-oriented America to disregard/forget her past.

Lucy learned this joke seven years ago in D.C. from a friend, whom she says tells many morbid jokes. She does not find the joke insulting because, in her words, “it stretches the boundaries with what we can make fun of.” She thinks people shouldn’t be scared of being politically incorrect. “I think it’s hilarious,” she said, noting that “there is nothing worse than mindless good taste.”

While I think this joke carries an important commentary on America, I’m not ready to tell and laugh at 9/11 jokes. Seven years later, that memory is still fresh in my memory. However, I agree with Lucy that people shouldn’t be afraid of being politically correct, but only if the situation calls for it.

Holiday Tradition – Jewish

Religious Holiday Tradition

The Passover Seder – Jewish

My dad’s Jewish family observed this tradition during the mid 1900s. The Passover Seder is a very ritualized Jewish dinner during the first two nights of Passover. The first born, oldest male child of the family, my dad’s older brother, would read holy scripts while the family ate at designated times. Certain things were to be eaten during certain parts of the script. For example, bitter herbs were eaten during the bitter parts of the story.

There were strict rules— nobody could be sitting straight at the table, all must be leaning. For the more religious families, this process could take many hours. The more casual families, like my dad’s, would take shortcuts and skip parts of the script.

My dad remembers this ritual as very tedious. He used to get bored and extremely hungry while listening to the script. However, he enjoyed the hunt for a hidden matzah (unleavened bread) after the meal, because the person who discovered it would get a prize.

Other foods eaten during the traditional Seder include: Charoset, a mixture of chopped nuts, wine, cinnamon, and apples, which symbolizes mortar the Jews used for bricks; Karpas, a vegetable dipped in salt water to symbolize tears; Maror, bitter vegetables eaten to symbolize the bitterness of slavery; and matzah, the traditional unleavened bread symbolizing the poor man’s food. The scripts are from the Haggadah, a book which tells of the Jewish exodus from Egypt.

While I can understand that this tradition can be extremely lengthy and dull, especially for children, it seems very integral to the Jewish religion. Because my family does not recognize any strict religious traditions like this, hearing about the Passover Seder was intriguing. I find it to be a creative and respectful way to commemorate the suffering of one’s ancestors.

Prank – New York


Blue Moon Cafe Joke – New York

Lucy: Okay so this is the most epic and important joke you’ll ever hear in your lifetime. It’s hilarious, you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll want to hear it again. I need your full attention and I need you to just go along. You ready? Ok let’s do this thing.

There’s this guy, right? And he’s really stressed out, like imagine the most stressed out you’ve ever been your whole, entire life—you doing it?

Listener: Yeah.

Lucy: Okay, he’s that stressed out, like, times a-fillion. Ok so he decides to take a vacay, so um, he goes to his boss, first, and he’s like “Hey, boss-man! What’s up!? What’s happening? Listen, I think I’m gonna take a vacay. I think I’m gonna go to the Bahamas”

And the boss was like, “Oh, the Bahamas! The Bahamas are great! Oh that’s wonderful—oh hey listen, though, while you’re in the Bahamas, there’s one thing you can never do, okay? And that’s go to the Blue Moon Cafe.”

And the guy’s like,  “Um, okay. Whatever.” So he goes home to his wife and he’s like, “Oh hey, Wifey-Baby! What’s shakin’ bacon? Listen, I think I’m gonna take a vacay, to the Bahamas…without you. You know, kind of time to rekindle the love.”

And, um, and the wife was like, “Oh, okay, um, that sounds cool! Listen. Listen, while you’re there, the one thing you must never-ever-ever do, is go to the Blue Moon Cafe.” And the guy’s like “Okay, two people have told me this, fine, I won’t, that’s really random. And strange, but okay.” So he decides that, like, um, that, uh, by the time he gets back from the Bahamas he’s gonna be all tan and fit ‘cause they, like, eat cockroaches there and stuff. Then he’s gonna need a new suit, for when he gets back. So he goes for his tailor before he leaves, Mr. Sketchy-Pants. He’s like, “’Ey, Mr. SketchyPants! I need a suit because I’m gonna be all tan, and fit, and lean when I get back from the Bahamas”
And the tailor’s like [measuring movements], “Oh! The Bahamas! The Bahamas are great! [GASP] The Bahamas! Oh listen, dude, listen [acquires English accent]. The one thing you must never-ever-ever do, is go [laughs], is go to the Blue Moon Cafe, are you listening to me?”

And the guy’s like, “Okay, fine.” So he gets on the airplane, right? [airplane motions] And he’s watching the stewardess do this [points to “exits”], and, you know, do this [puts “oxygen mask” on], and he’s flying over the deep blue sea, and, um, while he’s in the air, every single hotel and cafe in the Bahamas burns to the ground. Ftssssss [sound of incinerating buildings], like burns to the ground. Like, what are the odds of that happening!? Like, you’re more likely to get hit by lightening 49 times consecutively while holding different flavors of, like, Ben & Jerry’s, um, than for that to happen. It’s just not feasible! Like in the whole universe, that cannot fucking happen, but it did! Freaking happen [looks at me].

Okay, so. So the guy gets off the plane. Um, he gets laid by a couple of natives—they put leis on him. Um, mhm, small chuckle. And, uh, he’s like, “Shit! Where am I going to stay?” Um, because everything’s burned to the ground. And then he sees, like, this red walkway, and a silver awning, and a beam of light shines through a cloud and angels are going, “Ahhhh!!! [singing]” and he sees a little sign that says “Blue Moon Cafe.” So he’s like, “You know what? I’ll stay here for a couple days, if I hate it, I’ll go home.”

He stays there for two weeks, he loves it. He has the best food ever, he loses weight, though. He has sex every night with random prostitutes who just present themselves to him. He’s religiously, spiritually enlightened. He just, he, uh, uh, learns to play the sitar. He’s just having the best time ever. So he goes back home. He flies back home. First, he goes to his boss. He says, “Boss-man!! Wazzupp!? Listen, dude, you know what’s weird is I went to the Blue Moon Cafe and it wasn’t bad like you told me it would be.”

And his boss was like, “What!? You went to the Blue Moon Cafe!? You’re fired!” He fired his ass right on the spot and he gets the security guard to throw him out of the building and he’s like, “If you ever return here, so help me God, I’ll pop a cap in your ass.”

Um, so the guy goes home to his wife, all befuddled, and he’s like, “Wifey-baby, I just got fired for going to the Blue Moon Cafe!” And the wife’s like, “WHAT!? You went to the Blue Moon Cafe!? What did I tell you!? I’m divorcing you right now!” She has the papers all ready, he signs them. She burns all the clothes, including the one, stuff, the ones on his body, sends him out onto the street with nothing. He’s now jobless, wifeless, naked, severely burnt—just all kinds of crap is happening to him. So he goes to Mr. Sketchypants to get his suit so he can not be naked anymore.

He’s like, “Mr. Sketchypants, I just got divorced, fired, and burnt for going to the Blue Moon Cafe. I don’t know why.” His tailor is like, “WHAT!? [French accent] You went to the Blue Moon Cafe!? Sacre bleu! What’s wrong with you!? I’m charging you for this!” And um, um he rips up his suit and sends him out into the street.

And the guy, he’s like wandering around. So he decides to look for religious enlightenment so they can tell him what happened. So he goes to his local priest, Father BillyBob, and he’s like, “Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned [praying hand motions], but, um, heh, I went to the Blue Moon Cafe and everyone’s mad at me.” And the priest was like “Oh my God! You went to the Blue Moon Cafe! Oh, get out of here right now—if I weren’t a man of God, I’d strike you down with…a hammer [hammer motion].”

So he goes to a Protestant dude and he’s like, “Oh please help me, tell me what happened!” And they try to kill him too. He goes to a Jewish rabbi, a Hindu…person, and, um, no one will tell him what he did wrong. So finally, he hears tell of this one Buddhist monk on top of Mount Kilomanfufu, that will tell him the answer of anything he asks. So he climbs [climbing motions]. It takes him 13 days and nine hours and three seconds and he climbs the top of the mountain, and, uh, he kneels before the monk and is like, “Please, God, I…I’m going to kill myself if you don’t tell me why the Blue Moon Cafe is so bad.”

And the guy’s like, “Ok, you know what, I will, I, eh, I will tell you [laughs] but first I have to purify my soul for what I am about to impart upon you.” So they row out the middle of this big lake [rowing motions] in a rowboat, and, um, and the guy, the monk, prays for 10 hours. So finally he stands up [stands up] in the boat, and he’s like, “The reason why everyone is mad at you for going to the Blue Moon Cafe is—”

And this huge wave comes [sweeping wave motion] and knocks him overboard, and the moral of the story is, don’t stand up in boats.

This joke has been the bane of my existence for the past year. As it is Lucy’s signature joke, she tells it to every new person she meets. And as I am always around Lucy, I have now heard it more than I can count. The first time I heard it, I hated it, and each consecutive time thereafter, I hated it more because it had no point. However, after sitting and transcribing each word of the joke, I now realize why Lucy loves it so much. Because it follows a set basic formula, the speaker has the freedom to add many details and silly side points in between the important parts. Each time Lucy tells the joke, it changes subtly—this time, she added accents, and despite being horrendous, they actually added humor to the joke. I must admit, despite my hatred of this joke, I can’t complain about it being redundant. Her constantly changing antics keep it engaging even though I know, and hate, how it ends. This is the most important part of performing a long piece like this—the ability to change it up and keep people’s attention.

Lucy learned a different version of this joke in 2002 in Saratoga, New York. To this, she added her own personal jokes and details. She has even created a Facebook group entitled, “30 minutes of my life I will never get back again…” in which every one of her victims, I mean, listeners, can rant about the pointlessness of the joke.

In the end, this joke is not really a joke—it’s a prank. Lucy is the only one who actually gets amused in the end because she was able to fool everyone. The audience instead of being rewarded with a punch line, are left high-and-dry to suffer. This makes them want to make others suffer, and thus, the Blue Moon Cafe is spread.



The Bedbug Rhyme

“Good-night, sleep-tight,

Don’t let the bedbugs bite.

And if they do,

Get a shoe,

And hit them ‘til they’re black and blue!”

The first two lines of this rhyme are what my parents used to say to me before tucking me in at night. I learned the longer version at a camp, and thinking it extremely clever, ingrained it into my memory. Everyone I tell it to loves it because while the first two lines are a common rhyme, the extended lines are not very well known.

I never understood the original rhyme. What bedbugs? Why did my parents feel they needed to remind me not to let them bite me? Isn’t that common sense? For years, this disconcerting bedbug-biting image irritated me because I didn’t know its purpose. When I learned the rest of the rhyme, it was a relief because it offered a simple solution to those ever-warned-about bedbugs. So after years of being worried by my parents about bedbugs, my young mind quickly embraced the advice the rhyme offered about the shoe.


De Grote, Diane. Good Night, Sleep Tight, Don’t Let the Bedbugs Bite! Seastar: 2002.

Tale – Washington D.C.


The Black Coffin – Washington D.C.

Exact transcription of Lucy telling the Black Coffin tale:

OK, so there’s this guy, and he’s getting read for bed one night, one dark and stormy night in, uh, Vermont—which is a very scary place. And, um, so he’s getting ready for bed. And just as he’s pulling back the covers to sort of wedge himself in between, um, the phone rings. Brrrriing! Brrrrrrrrring! So he picked it up [clicking noises], and he’s like, “Hello?” and um, it’s not that late, you know, so it’s not weird that somebody’s calling him.  And he says, “Hello?” and on the other end he hears, “[crackling noise, and in scary voice] This is the Black Coffin [pause] (I don’t know why the Black Coffin has a Long Island accent). This is the Black Coffin. I am down your street [sound of phone hanging up].”

And, um, the guy’s like, “That’s weird, um,” but he figures that it’s just a prank or something, I mean, how do you react in a situation like that? It’s just strange. So he like, you know, eschews it from his mind [eschewing motions]. So, you know, it’s like, whatever, OK. He gets into bed, and he’s like, you know, sort of propped-up with Harry Potter 5 and a nice mug of cocoa ‘cause that’s what they do in Vermont besides, you know, cow-tipping. And so, um, he’s just sort of drifting of into the first folds of sleep, when, uh, when the phone rings again. He j-jolts awake, Brrriiing! Brrriiiiiing!

He picks up, [clicking noise] “Hello?” And on the other end, he hears, “This is the Black Coffin. And I…am at…your walkway. Click.” The guy’s…mmm…a bit freaked out, not really, but it’s kind of weird. This is not the kind of thing you want to hear before you go to bed at night. I mean, he’s got insomnia, he’s got a big day of work tomorrow, you know, corporate systems analyst kind of thing, it’s a hard job. He doesn’t want to have to worry about shit like –stuff—like this…at night.

Um, so, uh, he’s kinda antsy-in-the-pantsy. He’s not sure what to think. But he decides just to, like, turn on the TV and just try and go to bed. You know, white noise in the background. So finally, a half and hour later, the phone rings again. Brriiiing! He picks up on the first click, and he’s like, uh, “Hello?” and, uh, the “hello” is more urgent this time, “Hello! [more urgently]” and on the other line, you hear, “This is the Black Coffin…and I am at your door.”

The guy hangs up [slams hand repeatedly on desk], just slams it down on the receiver, he’s, he’s, he’s, he’s scared! He’s like the girl in The Ring when she’s like, “Stop calling me!”  He’s pissed off, he’s scared, he doesn’t like this prank. He’s like sitting in bed, the covers are pulled up to his chin, his eyes are darting back and forth like the kind of clockswith the cats and the tails that go back and forth.

So barely two minutes later, the phone rings again, Brriing! He picks up again on the first click, “Who is this!? Who is this?!” and on the other end it says, “This is the Black Coffin…and I am down your hall.” And the guy is fucking freaked out—freaking freaked out—he’s scared. He runs out of bed, he locks the door [sound of locks clicking]. Like all four locks of them, and he puts down the deadbolt [sound of deadbolt]. He pulls the chain [chain-pulling sound]. So he’s scared. He’s sort of dancing around and walking [gets up and starts pacing] like Oh God, I don’t know what’s going on.

Um, he decides not to pick up the phone because he knows it’s gonna ring again. Brrrrriiing! Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrinnng! Finally, he picks up [slames table] “What do you want!? Who is this? What do you want!?” And the voice in the phone says, “This is the Black Coffin…and I’m in front of your door…” Okay so the guy’s scared now. And then, just as he puts down the phone [hanging-up clicking noises], he feels these tendrils of fear grab at his heart, twisting around it like a Cuisinart. He hears at the door [knocking sounds]—ow! [laughs]—he takes a couple steps toward the door, slower and slower, inch by inch, he’s reminded of that math problem where it’s like you take half the amount of space, will you ever get to the point? ‘Cause he’s fucking scared.

And, um, he gets up do the door. He takes off the three locks at the top [three slow clicks]. He takes off the deadbolt [deadbolt sound]. He takes off the chainlock [sound of chain]—have fun transcribing that. He slowly turns the rusty New England knob [creaking sound]. He starts to pull the door open and light sort of filters in as he pulls it [another creaking sound, though much longer].

“I am the Black Coffin….I am HERE TO GET YOU!!!!!!!! [screams this last part]”

Lucy’s dad told this joke to her first. She was “freaked out” and also wanted to tell somebody else. Ever since, she has been  telling the story.

This scary story makes good use of popular culture references. This helps the audience relate to the story and get more into it. The extensive use of little details—like Lucy’s metaphors and descriptions—lulls the audience into a false sense of security.

My favorite part is when she slowly goes through each step of the man unlocking the door. When I am scared, life seems to slow down just like that, and every step seems to take a thousand years. By slowing the story down piece-by-piece, Lucy forces the audience to pay very close attention, only to be shocked and surprised when she shatters the silence by screaming “HERE TO GET YOU!”

Festival – Thousand Oaks, California


Scandinavian Festival – Thousand Oaks, CA

On April 19-20, Cal Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, CA hosted a Scandinavian Festival, put on by the Scandinavian American Cultural and Historical Foundation.

On the first day, they erected a Maypole and danced around it, singing traditional songs. Some other events included productions of The Three Billy Goats Gruff, soccer clinics, Krubb (an ancient Viking game), regular folk music and dance performances, and a variety of folk arts and crafts. The arts and crafts offered were paper cutting in the style of famed Danish fairytale author Hans Christian Andersen (Denmark), friendship bracelets (Finland),  paper volcanoes (Iceland), card wool (Norway), and Dala horse puppets (Sweden).

The first thing I noticed was how everyone was dressed. The women all wore traditional Scandinavian clothing—long dresses with embroidered aprons—and had their hair braided and encircled with rings of flowers. The men wore short trousers and billowing tops with vests and stockings. Everyone was in character. In the Viking area, an authentic-looking Vikinc camp was set up with tents and beds made with fur. Animal skins hung everywhere and rough-looking tables displayed heavy tools, chain mail or other hand-made wares like furniture and jewelry.

One of the vendor’s tents was filled with dolls that looked a lot like my idea of Santa Clause. When I asked the vendor what they were, she said they were indeed Norwegian and Danish Santas, called “Nisse.” Nextdoor to her was an impressive display of clogs, mostly hand-painted.

Down in the food court, I got a “Norsk plate” which consisted of Sweedish meatballs, Lefse (Norwegian flatbread), potato balls, and boiled red cabbage. For dessert, I tried some delicious Aebleskivers, which are like hollowed out pancake balls with strawberry glaze and powdered sugar.

Overall, I really enjoyed the festival. I had no idea what to expect because I know nothing of Scandinavian culture. I was especially shocked at the sheer size of the festival. There were hundreds of people in costume, many of them actually Scandinavian. Massive amounts of hand-made Scandinavian goods were being sold. I never realized how much of a presence Scandinavians have in America.

The festival did a good job in exposing me to Scandinavian culture. A lot of the items, costumes, food, and music were familiar to me, but I had never known what culture they originated from. It looked like everyone was having a good time celebrating their heritage and reviving their ancient customs.

Drinking Game – Seattle, Washington

Drinking game

King’s Cup/ King’s– Seattle

You spread out and mix up a deck of cards, face-down, on a table surrounding a big cup or bowl. Everyone playing the game (usually a group of five or more) needs a few drinks, like a beer. Going around the circle, a person will pick up a card and, depending on what card it is, complete an action. Each card is assigned a rule:

Ace –  Social: everyone drinks

2 – Fuck You: the player picks another person to drink

3 – Fuck Me: the player must drink

4 – Hit the Floor: everyone must touch the floor with his or her hand

5 – Guys: all guys must drink

6 – Chicks: al girls must drink

7 – Heaven: everyone must point upward

8 – Mate: the player picks another person to drink with him or her

9 – Rhyme: the player must say a word and everyone in the circle must rhyme with it

10 – Waterfall: when the player takes a drink, everyone else must start drinking and can only

stop when the person to their left stops drinking

Jack – Make a Rule: the player gets to make up a new rule

Queen – Question: everyone around the circle must ask any question

King- King’s cup: whoever draws this must pour some of their drink into the cup or bowl. Whoever chooses the last king must drink the King’s cup. Then the game ends.

Abby said that every time she played, the rules were different, and that the goal of the game is to get people drunk. She said it’s fun because you have to remember all the rules and try not to mess up (because then you have to drink). Also, she mentioned, if people have all different kinds of drinks, the King’s Cup can get pretty disgusting.

From my observations, this game is popular among underage drinkers, probably because it is quick and fun.  This may be because it is quick and fun. Also, the rules vary from person to person and region to region. The rules Abby told me, for example, were different from the rules I heard of living in California.

Perhaps why this game is so fun is because everyone is constantly messing up. The more complicated the rules, and the more everybody drinks, the more mess-ups. It just gets funnier and funnier because everyone becomes more forgetful and slow. In the end, this game is highly successful at achieving its intended purpose.

Game – Seattle, Washington

Childhood Game

The Pony Game – Seattle

In this game, you stand in a circle around a person. Everyone claps and sings the following while the person “gallops” around the circle:

“Here I go, on a pony.

Riding on a big fat pony.

Here I go on a pony.

All around the circle”

Then the person stops where he or she is standing and turns to the person nearest him or her. The two, facing each other, start dancing together and singing, “Front-to-front-to-front, my baby” (shimmy movement), “Back-to-back-to-back, my baby,” “Side-to-side-to-side my baby. All around the circle.” During this last line of the song, the two partners switch so the new person is galloping around the circle now. The songs starts over from the beginning.

According to Abby, this game is played when you’re bored and have nothing else to do. Also, it is a good way to keep kids occupied, she said. Originally, she learned the game at a choir camp, and her choir group in high school continued it ever since. “I love this game,” she said. “It’s excellent.”

To me, this game sounds suspiciously like one of those “get to know each other games” one plays at camps, leadership conferences, orientations, etc. However, Abby told me this isn’t so, and that it’s more just for fun and to keep people occupied.

I suppose the variation possible in the dancing and speed of the singing keeps its participants occupied for a very long time. If this is its purpose, I can see why now, in hindsight, games like these were always so popular in my elementary schools. Perhaps for a those years, my teachers were just trying to control us. Too bad, they didn’t know the Pony Game!

Holiday Tradition/Ritual – Japan

Holiday Traditions/ Rituals

Japanese New Year

On the Japanese New Year, Dana said all the food has some kind of meaning to it. Each year, her grandmother puts together big circle trays with seven different foods on it. The black beans are supposed to bring good health for the coming year. The black seaweed brings happiness. Bamboo brings luck. As for the rest, Dana cannot remember the purpose but does recall that the other foods are supposed to clean out the eater’s systm.

For breakfast, Dana and her family make a soup called Ozonu. First they make mochi by pounding sticky rice into mounds. The broth is made with vegetables. After adding the mochi to the broth, it melts. During the rest of the day, they eat sushi and Mochiko chicken, which is fried with a batter and soy sauce.

Mochi is a big deal on Japanese New Year, because it is only to be made on three days: the 28th, the 20th, or the 31st. Because the number 29 is unlucky in Japanese culture, the mochi cannot be made on that day. The first batch of mochi is offered to their ancestors. They make a large mochi and put two smaller ones on top. On top of this, they put tangerines, with one leaf. Dana is unsure why they do this. The whole thing is left for a couple of days and then thrown out. She enjoys this holiday very much and enjoys sharing the food with her friends who don’t celebrate the Japanese New Year.

This celebration is very detail and ritual-oriented. After doing further research into the significance of the stacked mochi and orange, it seems the purpose has been lost over the years and is now done solely out of tradition. However, many of the other rituals and traditions have very distinct functions.

I like how food is used to bring people together, symbolize a good, healthy life and to make offerings to ancestors. This holiday seems very family-oriented.