Luis is a 23 year old business major at USC. He grew up his entire life in Berlin, Germany and decided to come to the US for school. When he first came to USC, it was only his 4th time in the US. He tells the story of Krampus from when he was a kid and says he still gets nightmares from the image of it.
“So like, what they do in Germany, December 6 is saint Nicholas right? instead of saint Nicholas, little gifts are still given kids but he has a partner in crime, his name is Krampus, and he punishes the naughty kids, and he has a big bag and broom, and if you’re naughty he hits you with the broom and puts you in the bag and carries you away. I always got the Krampus every year at the town festival and I hated it, I still have nightmares, he would always hit me with a broom as my parents watched and cheered because I was naughty”
I think his condensed version of Krampus is one that gives the whole gist of it from the sense of an average person growing up around the time. I especially like this because I never had experience with anyone named Krampus, I just had Santa Clause give me gifts, so this idea of Krampus is entirely new to me.
Graham is a 21 year old music student at USC. Graham grew up in the South, specifically, Texas. Graham said that all throughout his schooling, many of the jokes he heard were racist jokes, specifically relating to African Americans. One joke in specific that he heard goes as follows
“A kid asks his grandfather‘hey why did you tip him so much’ grandfather says’ what do you mean grandson’ grandson says’ you tipped him 100 bucks grandfather, that’s a lot of money’ and he goes’ well you see jimmy, black folk, they gon’ need a lot more than 100 dollars”
Graham said he learned this joke from his schools, from other people saying it. I think this speaks to the idea that racism is still very prevalent within the US. Many people label the South especially to be “racist” because of their ties to Confederacy. Graham said he doesn’t repeat the joke, he just remembers hearing it when he was younger and that many people thought jokes like these were funny.
Graham is a 21 year old music major at USC. He is originally from Houston Texas and has lived there his whole live, he specifically lived on a ranch. A big part of Graham’s family activities is hunting. His grandfather and father take him quail, duck and hog hunting frequently. This hunting way of life has made his family speak in terms of hunting as well, for example:
“Don’t leave me hangin’, or else I’ll be sittin’ like a duck”
The phrase “sitting like a duck” he mentioned was a hunting phrase, and a sitting duck is a duck who is vulnerable to being shot and killed. The words “don’t leave me hangin” are words that mean make sure you have my back at all times, and are always there for me. Graham said this was a crucial foundational element of his family, the fact that they would all have each other’s backs. Graham said he heard this phrase a lot growing up, and it has taught him to never leave anyone hanging.
I personally like this phrase, and I find it interesting that because Graham grew up in a hunting family, much of their daily lives, things they say, and foundational elements relate around hunting.
Alexander is a 20 year old student at USC. He is currently a freshman, and is old for his grade because he spent an extra year in Russia, where he grew up his entire life. He said life there was very different and while he is good at English, he still struggles slightly as he is very new to the country. When I asked him about any games that him and his friends would play he said:
“There is a game where you put several pieces of wood 30 feet away from you, and make small structure, another big wooden stick you have, and you are 30 feet away and you try to throw the stick so the wood construction breaks”
Alexander said he spent a lot of time outdoors with his friends, and that this was one of the most popular games he played. He described this game as a “Soviet” game and said that many people played it in their free time. He said he learned it from older boys whom he saw playing it. To me it sounds like a game that any child would just pick up and play naturally, but it sounds like more of a known game there, as he labeled it “Soviet” and said it was very popular.
Alexander is a 20 year old student at USC. He is currently a freshman, and is old for his grade because he spent an extra year in Russia, where he grew up his entire life. He said life there was very different and while he is good at English, he still struggles slightly as he is very new to the country. I asked him about any specific types of folk medicine that they used and this is his reply:
“When people have fever or sore throat, they rub vodka on their chest and back, and eat garlic to prevent fevers.”
Alexander said this was a very normal thing to do, and that it actually helped him whenever he got sick. He said that it is a very normal thing for everyone to do. I have never heard of this method of folk medicine and so I was surprised when he told me. There is also a Russian stereotype in the US that all Russians use vodka for everything, so I think that this example is humorous, but fascinating nonetheless.