What I remember most about my hometown are the smells: The aroma of Borscht soup lingering from our next door neighbor's kitchen into our own home. The hint of falafel when walking down our street. The cooking smells of tumeric, chillies, coriander and lentils coming from the house around the block. These smells aren't just the smells of delicious cooking, but they represent the smells of dishes from the various cultures that make up Sterling Heights, Michigan.
Sterling Heights residents come from an array of ancestries. These include Polish (19.0%), German (14.4%), Italian (12.5%), Irish (5.7%), English (5.0), Assyrian/Chaldean (4.8%) and American/US (4.0%), among others. In fact, more residents of Sterling Heights were born in Iraq than any other foreign country. In 2000, 5,059 people in Sterling Heights had been born in Iraq.
Every year, our middle schools and high schools would hold multicultural fairs and events to introduce students to different cultures from their own. One year, I participated in my middle school multicultural fair by Irish dancing. Other performances included Albanian dancing and a reenactment of a Chaldean wedding.
Another memory I have of Sterling Heights is walking through the halls of my middle school and hearing tidbits of various mother tongues ranging from Arabic to Chinese. The chart to the right shows the breakdown of languages spoken in Sterling Heights school districts.
Local attractions include movie theaters, bowling alleys, a roller-skating rink, an amphitheater and an ice arena. Usually in July, there is a celebration called SterlingFest held at a local park. Jazz music sways the crowd as people observe fine art and crafts or select from a variety of food choices. To the right is a picture from last year's Sterling Fest.