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Cultural Cottages | Rosanne Pak

This past Saturday, I got the amazing opportunity to go to the Traditional Korean & K-pop Festival located in Balboa Park which was held in honor of Veteran’s Day, specifically for all the American soldiers who died fighting in the Korean War. The festival consisted of 6 women dressed in brightly colored Korean clothing called hanbok performing a series of traditional Korean instruments, singing, and dancing. There was even an exclusive performance of the hit song, “Gangnam Style” by Psy, where the women played a traditional Korean drum called a buk to the beat of the song and wore sunglasses as they put on an engaging show. Not only did this experience leave me in awe at the beautiful clothing, but it also allowed me to explore more of my own culture as well. This was just one of many events Balboa Park hosts each year, from their Ethnic Food Fair to simple tours of each house, these cozy cottages welcome every visitor to a new country with warmth and hospitality.

The House of Pacific Relations (HPR) is a small village which consists of 32 cottages representing different countries around the world and recognizes each house’s diverse traditions and culture. The village is home to these 32 countries: Mexico, Panama, Philippines, Iran, Puerto Rico, Spain, Italy, Hungary, Czech and Slovak Republics, France, Columbia, England, Israel, Germany, Finland, Ireland, Turkey, Palestine, Chamorros, Peru, India, South Korea, Poland, USA, Ukraine, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, China, Scotland, Austria, and Lebanon. Each adobe house has a kitchen but still incorporates the feeling of a homey museum each in their own unique way.

Besides visiting the House of South Korea, for example, I also visited the House of Norway. As someone who is interested in Nordic culture, I was especially drawn to the House of Norway because of its simple sign shaped as a small Viking ship. But walking into the house itself was a whole new experience. The first object that stood out to me was the giant intimidating axe that hung up on the wall in front of me as I walked in. I then caught the smell of the freshly cooked waffles with a side of jam to accompany it as I entered the house. As I walked around the house, the enlarged intricate maps of Norway, miniature wooden models of Viking ships, and the welcoming representative of the House overall created an atmosphere of comfort and the eagerness to learn more about Norway.

My final thoughts on my first visit to the HPR is that it will definitely not be my last. The atmosphere of the village that the adobe houses emit was something that I have never felt before. I would most definitely recommend visiting these charming yet educational cottages; if you would like to visit the HPR, all 32 houses are open from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM on Saturdays and Sundays. The next time you decide to visit these cultural cottages, take a moment to simply appreciate the art behind each cottage and its unique culture that embodies it.

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