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It's Called Culture

It's Called Culture

By Folk and Fad

First generation Portuguese-Americans reflect on their heritage in a sarcastic and entertaining collection of discussions that preserve the past of our culture and look to shape the future of it.

Sharing our own stories (and those of our guests and listeners) across the backdrop of the immigrant experience, we unwind ideas of guilt, fear, shame, and social norms influenced by ethnicity, religion, and media. Each new episode also has a segment dedicated to sharing mental health best practices (the elephant in the room of our culture).

Guests and listeners of all cultures encouraged!
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Altar Serving at the Funeral for $3 with Guest: Michelle DeMelo
Altar Serving at the Funeral for $3 with Guest: Michelle DeMelo
Michelle DeMelo has put in more time and effort into our culture and its traditions than most people our age.  From her altar serving side hustle as a kid to her current involvement as a cult member (for the holy ghost of course)....and all the funeral and marching band trauma in between.
01:08:34
January 24, 2023
I Guess I Gotta Give You Part II Of My Confessions (of a Hypochondriac)
I Guess I Gotta Give You Part II Of My Confessions (of a Hypochondriac)
Just when we thought we said all we can say, the host on the side talks about when she had one on the way.  If we're gonna tell it then we're gonna tell it all!  Cliffs notes = C-Sections, Parasites, Long Covid, Man Flu.
41:23
January 17, 2023
Living with Medical Anxiety: Confessions of a Hypochondriac
Living with Medical Anxiety: Confessions of a Hypochondriac
Hypochondriacs unite! We share our real life encounters with illness anxiety disorder and the mental gymnastics needed to fight the urge to visit Web MD. And as always, we do it with a healthy dose of humor. Just what the doctor ordered. 
51:52
January 10, 2023
Happy New Year aka Feast of the Snip
Happy New Year aka Feast of the Snip
First, it would be remiss not to mention the January 1st Feast of the Holy Foreskin and its history. Next, we learn about New Year customs from various countries around the world and preach about how fireworks are detrimental and unnecessary. And we end by discussing our New Year's resolutions as our mental health segment.
01:00:25
January 03, 2023
Christmas-y Liqueurs and the Anti-Santa
Christmas-y Liqueurs and the Anti-Santa
First we address a few discussions from our social media community before diving into Krampus, the anti-Santa. Then we cover a variety of interesting Christmas-y liqueurs and the multi-cultural fruit cake. And as always, we end with mental health tips!
01:01:51
December 27, 2022
Fun with FIFA: World Cup History and Controversies
Fun with FIFA: World Cup History and Controversies
Lower your expectations. In this special *SpOrtS* edition, we talk football in our own style - including confessing to what we don't know. We highlight the importance of the sport to our Portuguese culture. And of course, we would never leave you without at least a few nuggets about alleged corruption.
55:07
December 13, 2022
Christmas Gift Giving: O Sanny Claus, Yule Lads, and Saint Nicholas
Christmas Gift Giving: O Sanny Claus, Yule Lads, and Saint Nicholas
A cross-cultural Christmas journey beginning with our very own Portuguese-American experiences with "O Sanny Claus".  We discuss the pros and cons of thirteen Icelandic Yule Lads including sausage-snatcher and window-peeper.  Then we dissect the history of Saint Nick and how he allegedly became known for gift-giving.  An instant classic! Follow us: Instagram: @_itscalledculture Twitter: @folkandfad TikTok: @melanncoley and @itscalledculture  Reference:  The Icelandic Yule Lads and Gryla | Iceland's Christmas Trolls By Richard Chapman
01:07:60
December 06, 2022
The Specific Anxieties of a Culture
The Specific Anxieties of a Culture
Nature or nurture? Mel & Kel discuss a sample platter of specific anxieties they were brought up to have and whether or not they've been able to kick them to the curb. Fears not limited to burglary, trafficking, driving, cramping while swimming, cutting your hair after you eat, drinking wine with watermelon.  Wait, these got weird...!
01:14:35
November 29, 2022
Making a New Home Abroad with Guest: Kyler Canastra
Making a New Home Abroad with Guest: Kyler Canastra
We are joined by one of our listeners with a pretty neat life journey to share with us. Kyler Canastra is a fourth-generation Azorean-American from Massachusetts who studied linguistics and now lives full time in Lisbon. He shares his personal journey and academic knowledge with us, including what it was like to live abroad during the height of the pandemic lockdown. And of course, we also discuss mental health and generational traumas! Follow Kyler: Instagram: @k_canastra Follow us: Instagram: @_itscalledculture Twitter: @folkandfad TikTok: @melanncoley and @itscalledculture
01:18:43
November 22, 2022
Indestructible Furniture: They Don't Make 'Em Like That Anymore
Indestructible Furniture: They Don't Make 'Em Like That Anymore
We kick off by hilariously reacting to your responses on our Instagram poll about the "weirdest things people have snuck onto planes".  Next, we touch briefly on some Azores travel items before we get passionately sidetracked talking about our immigrant parents' specific furniture items for the remainder of the episode.  A wild journey you don't want to miss.
01:14:17
November 15, 2022
Brazilian Culture & Living Life with Guest: Indy Santos
Brazilian Culture & Living Life with Guest: Indy Santos
We are joined by Indy Santos, a bad-ass Brazilian who immigrated by herself to California nine years ago and became a US citizen. We compare our Azorean Portuguese culture to her Brazilian culture and learn about our similarities and differences. Indy is a strong, independent woman with a really good grasp on how to live a full life while balancing physical, emotional, and mental health! Indy most recently appeared on CBS' Season 24 of Big Brother, however our conversation focuses on Indy herself and not her experiences on the show.  Subscribe to our YouTube Channel for the full video episode. Follow Indy: Twitter @lovindy_ Instagram @indysantosofficial Follow Us: Twitter @folkandfad Instagram @_itscalledculture
01:06:30
November 08, 2022
All Saints (are ridiculous) Day
All Saints (are ridiculous) Day
We share some of the more intriguing and ridiculous stories we could dig up (pun intended) on saints and their miracles for All Saints Day.  There's a little bit of everything: fasting on nothing but the eucharist for 8 years, mules genuflecting to the eucharist, murder, foreskin wedding rings, cures for rabies, exhumations, dismemberments, stolen heads, and a touch or two of ~*magic*~.  And these stories are just the tip of the iceberg, folks!  Subscribe to our You Tube Channel for the full video episode. 
01:18:41
November 01, 2022
The Immigrant Family Experience with Guest: Joseph Abdin
The Immigrant Family Experience with Guest: Joseph Abdin
We are joined by Joseph Abdin, an attorney and first-generation American of Syrian and Palestinian descent.  We talk culture and upbringing in our immigrant families.  We knew we would find common ground even though we are from different cultures. Yet, we were shocked at how identical the immigrant experience is -- we are simply all the same. Joseph most recently appeared on CBS' Season 24 of Big Brother, however our conversation focuses on Joseph himself and not his experiences on the show.  Subscribe to our YouTube Channel for full video episodes.  Follow Joseph: Twitter @JosephAbdin Instagram @AbdinJoseph Follow Us:  Twitter @folkandfad Instagram @_itscalledculture
01:10:47
October 25, 2022
We're Breaking Generational Patterns with Guest: Vanessa Medeiros
We're Breaking Generational Patterns with Guest: Vanessa Medeiros
We are joined by guest Vanessa Medeiros, our former schoolmate who keeps us belly-laughing as part of The Portuguese Kids comedy trio!  We discuss how appreciating, joking about, and trying to improve our culture are not mutually exclusive things. Vanessa also puts on her therapist hat for an extended mental health segment with us! Subscribe to our YouTube Channel for full video episodes.  Follow us: Instagram: @_itscalledculture Twitter: @folkandfad TikTok: @melanncoley and @itscalledculture
01:15:24
October 18, 2022
Part 2 of The Portuguese Princess from Providence with Guest: Michelle Costa, BB10
Part 2 of The Portuguese Princess from Providence with Guest: Michelle Costa, BB10
In the second half of this episode, we continue our chat with the one and only Portuguese Princess from Providence, Michelle Costa from CBS' Big Brother Season 10.  We discuss embracing the culture, its benefits, and how Michelle earned her nickname. Part 2 also covers the more serious aspects of being on reality TV including some contestants facing racial biases, and the overall toll that continuous surveillance and publicity can have on mental health. Follow Michelle: Twitter: @michellebb10 Facebook: MichelleCostaBB10 Instagram: @michellebb10  Follow us: Instagram: @_itscalledculture Twitter: @folkandfad TikTok: @melanncoley and @itscalledculture
01:03:13
October 11, 2022
Part 1 of The Portuguese Princess from Providence with Guest: Michelle Costa, BB10
Part 1 of The Portuguese Princess from Providence with Guest: Michelle Costa, BB10
We are joined by the one and only Portuguese Princess from Providence, Michelle Costa from CBS' Big Brother Season 10. We bond over culture, react to the BB24 Season Finale, and Michelle shares interesting "behind-the-scenes" nuggets from her time on the show. Be sure to tune in next week for the second half of our conversation and our mental health segment!  Follow Michelle:  Twitter: @michellebb10  Facebook: MichelleCostaBB10  Instagram: @michellebb10  Follow us:  Instagram: @_itscalledculture  Twitter: @folkandfad  TikTok: @melanncoley and @itscalledculture
01:05:37
October 04, 2022
Azores Dining Customs and Remote Village Life
Azores Dining Customs and Remote Village Life
Tested tips on how to deal with unwelcome appetizers (hint: say nothing and eat them anyway), dinner reservations, DIY beverages, and ordering fish without the head. Hear a tale of the pinnacle of Portuguese hospitality. And finally, some excerpts of life in the middle of nowhere a.k.a. Cu De Judas (Judas' Butt....). It's a real place, look it up! Follow us: Instagram: @_itscalledculture Twitter: @folkandfad TikTok: @melanncoley and @itscalledculture
01:07:51
September 27, 2022
The Portuguese Traveler
The Portuguese Traveler
You enter the vessel dressed to the nines, asking the stewardess for a selection of wines. Clutching your husband and your rosary beads, a safe landing granted by the apostle's creed. I hope they don't ask what is in your pants, or you might have to give up your banana plants. Follow us: Instagram: @_itscalledculture Twitter: @folkandfad TikTok: @melanncoley and @itscalledculture
01:00:31
September 20, 2022
Espírito Santo Teacher Perspective with Guest: Jay Vaillancourt "Mr. V"
Espírito Santo Teacher Perspective with Guest: Jay Vaillancourt "Mr. V"
Our 6th grade teacher and local legend "Mr. V" joins us to fill in the gaps about our 1990s experience in a Portuguese catholic school through his perspective. It doesn't feel like 25 years have passed in this rare, hilarious, and heartwarming exchange between teacher and students. Follow us: Instagram: @_itscalledculture Twitter: @folkandfad TikTok: @melanncoley and @itscalledculture
01:15:59
September 13, 2022
Millennials Keeping the Culture Alive with Guest: Devin Meireles
Millennials Keeping the Culture Alive with Guest: Devin Meireles
We discuss parts of the culture that we'd love to embrace (e.g., minimalism) as well as parts that we'd like to kick to the curb (e.g., the fear of impending doom that lives rent-free in our heads). And we have some hard-hitting revelations about guilt and judgment in our It's Called Mental Health segment. We are joined by guest Devin Meireles, Luso-descendant from Toronto, Canada and author of The Portuguese Immigrant: Atlantic Heritage Story. Follow Devin: Instagram: @lusoloonie Follow us: Instagram: @_itscalledculture Twitter: @folkandfad TikTok: @melanncoley and @itscalledculture
01:03:19
September 06, 2022
Rituals of the Cult of the Holy Ghost
Rituals of the Cult of the Holy Ghost
We continue to explore the "cult" of our culture through our own lived experiences of processions, rosary rituals, and eating Holy Ghost soup. Unrelated, find out how to properly dispose of historical creative fiction novels you may have outgrown. And don't forget to hang around long enough for our It's Called Mental Health segment with tips for anxiety management. Follow us: Instagram: @_itscalledculture Twitter: @folkandfad TikTok: @melanncoley and @itscalledculture
01:00:46
August 30, 2022
Cult of the Holy Ghost: Setting the Stage
Cult of the Holy Ghost: Setting the Stage
Melissa and Kelly explore the "cult" of their culture. Mysterious brotherhood? Check. Unwritten rules? Check. Cult-specific symbols? Check. Religious rituals, chants, and animal sacrifices? Check. Check. Check.  Follow us:  Instagram: @_itscalledculture  Twitter: @folkandfad  TikTok: @melanncoley and @itscalledculture
50:59
August 23, 2022
Medical Treatment or Hocus Pocus?
Medical Treatment or Hocus Pocus?
We discuss different ways to seek medical care: doctors, herbalists, bone-setters, the women who read from the book, witches, and healers. If there is one thing Azoreans believe, it's that:  "God heals, and the Doctor takes the fees." - Benjamin Franklin
56:33
August 16, 2022
Agonias (The Agonies): A Catch-All Medical Term
Agonias (The Agonies): A Catch-All Medical Term
Nausea, heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach, diarrhea - Yeah, it's agonias!  We deep dive into research papers on the culture-specific phenomenon of "the agonies". Experiencing agonias? The doctor may prescribe Tums or an exorcism. It really is a spectrum. Also, we kick off a new segment titled It's Called Mental Health! Follow us: Instagram: @_itscalledculture Twitter: @folkandfad TikTok: @melanncoley and @itscalledculture Episode References:  Reframing (Dis)ordered Bodies: Understanding Agonias vis the Habitus by Lisa V. Dias Lost in translation : an ethnographic study of traditional healers in the Açorean (Azorean) islands of Portugal by Birdie Jane Bezanson
50:18
August 09, 2022
How to Cook for a Crowd
How to Cook for a Crowd
The Official Portuguese Method (works for buffets, weddings, holidays, birthdays etc.)  Step 1: Count the number of guests.  Step 2: Double it.  Step 3: Double the amount of food again because it still doesn't seem like enough.  Step 4: Keep doubling until guests arrive.  Step 5: Throughout the party, continue offering to cook up just one more thing...
38:50
August 02, 2022
Breakfast of (Someone Other Than) Champions
Breakfast of (Someone Other Than) Champions
If breakfast is the most important meal of the day, we can assure you our peeps were not out there setting the world on fire by starting the day with old bread soaked in a decaf coffee.  Or eating bowls of cornstarch.  Can a girl get one nutrient please?!  And it didn't get much better as the day went on, as Melissa also recounts the unfathomable tale of "sugar sandwiches" as after-school snacks (yes, plural!)...
34:53
July 26, 2022
Portion Control and Vegetables? Never Met Them.
Portion Control and Vegetables? Never Met Them.
We walk through the Portuguese food pyramid, except there are no section dividers. It's all carbs. With a side of carbs. For breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Discover the magic and miracles of soup. Weigh in on the dry bean saga. How much water does Jell-O need? And find out the secret ingredient that makes kids go crazy for hot dogs.
48:21
July 19, 2022
First Generation American Duties: Medical and Mail Interpretation
First Generation American Duties: Medical and Mail Interpretation
Speaking English means being assigned medical appointment and mail interpreting duties no matter how young you are.  Melissa and Kelly first reflect briefly on their podcasting journey thus far and then recount stories of misinterpreting a major diagnosis, using craftsman tools to perform an at-home medical procedure, hand-written chain letters, how to get out of jury-duty, and more...
43:10
July 12, 2022
Dating and Cell Phones as a Millennial Daughter of Immigrants
Dating and Cell Phones as a Millennial Daughter of Immigrants
Dating the milkman. Dating in church. Dating abroad. Dating an infant. Dating your cousin. This episode captures immigrant family dating sagas across multiple generations. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Millennials who came of age during the technology boom of the late 90's and early 00's will also appreciate the discussion on cell phone use, jaw-dropping bills, dial-up internet, and party lines.
40:21
July 05, 2022
Driving in Cars with Vavô: An After-School Special
Driving in Cars with Vavô: An After-School Special
Getting picked up from school by vavô was always a treat, just be sure to first wipe your feet.  Vavô's car interior was definitely covered in plastic.  And he may have had the motor-vehicle reaction time of a slug, but his wit was quick.  Our after school time was spent either doing homework at the bar of the local Portuguese social club (Kel) or watching MTV's spring break and Jerry Springer (Mel).  Don't stop listening before you find out what happens if you want a little after school chestnut snack.
43:48
June 28, 2022
Winemaking, Christmas, and Superstitions with Special Guest: Connie Marques
Winemaking, Christmas, and Superstitions with Special Guest: Connie Marques
Harvest and press grapes, shoo away fruit flies, and consume wine with us in this episode.  Learn what will get you banned from participating in the winemaking process. And you know we can't talk about our luscious grapevines without complimenting the Azorean green thumb.  So green it has taken over the Christmas nativity scene.  But wasn't Jesus born in the desert? Lastly, find out what not to put in your sangria if you want to survive the night!
47:05
June 21, 2022
Adventure to Canada with Us and Special Guest: Connie Marques
Adventure to Canada with Us and Special Guest: Connie Marques
Adventure with us between the US and Canada in a time before cell phones and GPS.  Whatever you do, do not: (1) hide things in your glove compartment if you are going to need to open it at the border to get your documents, (2) use landmarks that are not visible at night for directions, (3) accidentally leave something valuable behind at a rest stop, and (4) complain that nobody helped you drive if you did not ask for help!  And definitely don't miss the final story about what lengths the employees at Canada's Wonderland will go to retrieve a lost item...
43:19
June 14, 2022
Cultural Foods At What Cost?!
Cultural Foods At What Cost?!
We dig in to some traditional Azorean delicacies and the true cost of consumption.  Sure the food may be cheap, but now I have to live with the mental image of my ham's last screams.  Does the cost/benefit for picking and eating periwinkles check out?  Is it worth getting fresh goat cheese delivered to your door before sunrise if you're going to think you're being robbed?  Plus, find out which concert Mel saw for only 5 Euros (a steal!) in Vila Franca.
48:45
June 07, 2022
Visiting the Motherland (Azores) in the Early 00s
Visiting the Motherland (Azores) in the Early 00s
Vacationing in the Azores was a breeze with 5-star amenities such as BYOT (Bring-Your-Own-Toilet), corn husk mattresses, and one singular light bulb in the whole house.  Plus, find out why Mel's mom had to wear an eye patch to the festa!
42:26
May 31, 2022
School Uniforms: Sweaters in the Summer, Skirts in the Winter
School Uniforms: Sweaters in the Summer, Skirts in the Winter
Experience the torture that came with wearing the all-weather catholic school sweater.  Why were our shirts made of single-ply toilet paper?  Why didn't Kelly get in trouble like the rest of us for wearing spaghetti straps?  What does "pocketing" mean?  And a couple of bonus teacher stories that could be the start of a Netflix special...
43:01
May 24, 2022
That Time I Died: Jesus' Ultimate Throwback Thursday
That Time I Died: Jesus' Ultimate Throwback Thursday
Part 2 explores the period of Lent including Jesus' makeup routine, the optimal place to sit in church on Palm Sunday to avoid car crashes, and how not to overstay your welcome if you rise from the dead.
40:22
May 17, 2022
We Attended Mass More Than Class
We Attended Mass More Than Class
Part 1 retells the drama of middle school confession, performing church readings, and attending midnight mass.
40:57
May 09, 2022
Co-Ed Haunted Catholic School Sleepover: Leave Room For the Holy Ghost
Co-Ed Haunted Catholic School Sleepover: Leave Room For the Holy Ghost
This episode continues to share our experiences attending the First Portuguese Catholic School in America in the 90s and early 00s. Journey with us from being haunted by holy ghosts while babysitting the Jesus wafer all the way to prison yard recesses and middle school raves.
40:52
May 03, 2022
We Survived the 90s in a Portuguese Catholic School
We Survived the 90s in a Portuguese Catholic School
The school we attended holds the title of the First Portuguese Catholic School in America.  This episode begins to share our experiences attending this school in the 90s and early 00s.  From Computer-Teaching Nuns to the Great Lice Outbreak of 1997 and all the forms of punishment in between.
44:04
April 26, 2022
Immigration: From Island to Industry
Immigration: From Island to Industry
Incredible accounts of Azorean immigration to the US in the twentieth century. Mel & Kel share their own parents' immigration stories and discuss reasons for immigration, the arrival process, and how they made it work in a foreign land despite being broke and lacking education. 
49:28
April 18, 2022
Introducing Mel & Kel
Introducing Mel & Kel
Culture is a way of life for an entire society. Hosts Melissa and Kelly met in Kindergarten 30 years ago. Their culture is from the Azores - a remote group of Portuguese islands. But they don't live there. They live in America as part of the millennial generational culture. This podcast is their experience as children of immigrants at the intersection of these cultures.  Visit their site folkandfad.com for an episode recap or get in touch with them at mail@folkandfad.com. 
16:13
April 07, 2022