Recording Secretary Jordan Huffer participated in the International Festival Queen Contest in 2019.
I moved to the US when I was 15 years old. My first 9 years were spent in Sweden. English and Swedish were both my first languages. When I was 9 years old my parents had an opportunity to move to Israel to manage a small Swedish Bed and Breakfast. I moved there with my family where I attended Public Israeli School and learned Hebrew. After living there for 3 years we moved back to Sweden. When I was 15 my parents felt like it was time for them to move back to the US so my family and I moved to Muncie, IN.
Although my parents are from the US, I have always felt a strong connection with the Swedish culture. I spent the majority of my childhood and youth in Sweden. Leaving Sweden and moving to the US was difficult. It was a bit of a culture shock and I missed my friends terribly. Luckily I was able to adjust to the US culture with help from friends and family. I have kept in contact with all of my close friends and I try to visit Sweden as often as I can. I am very happy to have joined SVEA Lodge 253. I enjoy celebrating the Swedish holidays and traditions as well as making new connections with people who share similar backgrounds.
Last year I had an exciting opportunity to represent Sweden in the International Festival Queen competition. The winner would act as an ambassador of goodwill for the Nationalities Council of Indiana (NCI). There were eight countries represented.
The contestants were judged on four areas: Traditional Dress, Talent, Evening Gown and Public Speaking. For the talent portion of the Queen Contest I played piano and sang a duet with my youngest sister who accompanied me on guitar.
Other talents were national dances, playing an instrument and singing.
It was inspiring to see each contestant express themselves and showcase their gifts and talents. I felt very blessed to meet other focused and like-minded women and most of us have maintained a friendship. Although it was a competition, it felt more like a wonderful opportunity to bring different countries and cultures together to celebrate their differences as well as their similarities.