German Opportunities Fair

I remember it like it was yesterday (it was), a few of my friends and I were sitting outside the American Indian Student Association (AISA) office and were wondering what to do before our night classes and meetings. Most of us had around two hours to kill and did not want to go back home because we would have to turn around as soon as we got there to attend class or club meetings. In our desperation we began looking for events and free food, it was then I remembered that it was Germany Week. We were located in the Archie W. Dunham-Conoco Student Leadership Center a separate wing of the union (a very reclusive part of the union, most students have no idea where this is located) and lo and behold an opportunity to learn about study abroad, internships, and other opportunities regarding Germany and OU, as well as free food was just a four minute walk away.

We jumped at the chance to go and showed promptly at 5:34 pm just four minutes late, right on time. The pizza was good the speaker superb and the information invaluable, although I really only stopped at the study aboard booth I still learned a lot. After attending I believe I may have the interest to take one semester of German so that I could spend a summer in Germany, as the only requirement is the semester of the language. I would love to be immersed in the culture and it has always been my dream to spend an afternoon at an authentic German beer garden. I do see the immeasurable value of learning abroad and unforgettable experiences that could be had and I must say I have been tempted. I would say that it is now a personal goal to study or at the very least visit Germany and experience it to the fullest, if not today one day.

Signing Off,

Lance Harden

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A Beijing Birthday

Because few memorable Beijing days start with a low air quality index (AQI), here’s an unedited photo of what the view from my dorm window was like on that day

March 19, two months after we had arrived in Beijing, was Nate’s birthday. We took the opportunity to explore the city a little bit and do some things on our Beijing Bucket List.

I knew that starting the day with waffles, even in Beijing, was a prerequisite for a good birthday. So we took the bus to the hippest coffee spot in Beijing – Maan Coffee: Waffle and Toast. Even the name, although magnificent, couldn’t do justice to the two-storied, rustic, delectable food paradise that it adorned. Seriously, though – I have never had better waffles than these. In my life. I would fly back to China just to have these once more.

After waffles, we went to an international church we were trying out. We didn’t end up settling there, but it was nice to have a place to worship with other Christians again.

For lunch, we went to the cool part of Beijing – Sanlitun, where the parties go down. For us, the part was authentic Italian pizza – pricey, in China, but worth it since it was the first good Western food we’d had in 2 months.

Next stop, Beijing Zoo! We spent a long time at the Giant Panda exhibit – we connected on a deep emotional level with this fuzzy beast that pretty much just wanted to lie on its back and eat food without moving its head.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What a lovable lump.

 

 

Nate and me trying to really get into the mindset of that slouchy panda in the back

 

As it was quite late in the day, a lot of the exhibits were already closed. The upside of this was that, for a Beijing public attraction, the zoo really wasn’t that crowded.

 

The zoo also had some really incredible birds.

For dinner we went to a hutong, which is a narrow street that is historically filled with shops and restaurants. They still are, but now they’re more touristy and less quaint and traditional. We found a Peking Duck place and enjoyed Beijing’s most famous dish!

Finally, we went to a European restaurant called M for dessert. Little did I know when I looked it up online that it would be the fanciest restaurant I had ever been in. Because most of the desserts on the menu were upwards of USD $20, Nate and I split this tiny lemon pudding. It was very tasty, but we vowed never to return there until we’re rich.

We got to see so many different pieces of Beijing that day, and eat a lot of good food. On a related note, if anyone wants to fly me to Beijing to get Maan waffles for my birthday next year, you know I’m down.

At Maan with one of their teddy bear order holders!

Arezzo, Italy Summer 2018

Every year, PCS gets an opportunity to travel abroad to either Arezzo, Italy or Rio. PCS is a freshman organization that stands for President’s Community Scholars, which gives a scholarship to a small amount of freshman for their drive for service and community. It is an organization that spends a lot of its time working for the community. I applied for the travel abroad experience and I received both offers, however, I decided to just go to Arezzo. I also received the opportunity to stay an extended two weeks to volunteer at a kids English immersion camp, as a mentor. I am extremely excited to embark on this adventure next year, the summer of 2018. This is just the beginning of what my blogs will entail about this amazing journey. LIVE IT UP WITH ME IN AREZZO! (:

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Reading Notes: West Africa Folktales (A)

  • I always like the stories about tricksters! I love that they accomplish tasks in such an out of the box way. I think I’d like to write about a trickster who helps the hero, but the hero takes all the credit and everything falls apart when people find out that the hero is actually kind of incompetent
  • I like that the story of Anansi and Nothing ends with that little pun. I don’t know if it’s supposed to be funny, but I think that it is!
  • I’ve read another story similar to Thunder and Anansi before, with a magic pot, a magic stick and a magic purse, but I don’t remember much of it. It was a really cute story though
  • I liked Anansi in the first story, but now he seems like an awful character. In every story he is greedy and mean.

Bibliography: West African Folktales by William H. Barker and Cecilia Sinclair. Web source.

Image: West Africa by NASA. Source: Wikimedia

 

Reading Notes: West Africa Folktales (A)

  • I always like the stories about tricksters! I love that they accomplish tasks in such an out of the box way. I think I’d like to write about a trickster who helps the hero, but the hero takes all the credit and everything falls apart when people find out that the hero is actually kind of incompetent
  • I like that the story of Anansi and Nothing ends with that little pun. I don’t know if it’s supposed to be funny, but I think that it is!
  • I’ve read another story similar to Thunder and Anansi before, with a magic pot, a magic stick and a magic purse, but I don’t remember much of it. It was a really cute story though
  • I liked Anansi in the first story, but now he seems like an awful character. In every story he is greedy and mean.

Bibliography: West African Folktales by William H. Barker and Cecilia Sinclair. Web source.

Image: West Africa by NASA. Source: Wikimedia

 

Vagabound.

The leaves

Begin

To dispose themselves around my feet.

I feel the cold front,

Winter,

A metal barrel pressed against my chest.

Cold.

I remember: you are supposed to be happy

You are supposed

To be.

Be.

Do not forget the lights, the dusting, the warmth,

The pinecones, the sugar, the glow, the laughter,

The cold.

I am back to that one Christmas tree,

That eternal zero degree warmth

And the couch that held

You.

Back then

It was my greatest accomplishment to make you laugh

Back then;

Your laugh shimmered in Christmas lights

Reflected in one

Snowy

Peak.

We have all been weathered into loneliness.

I will be:

Weathered, away,

Here.

The leaves,

They take my breath away,

I think, coldly, warmly,

Elucidate me, leaves

I am falling

With

You.

Latinist Lunch with Dr. Paulo Moreira

Yesterday, I had the great opportunity to attend one of the Latinist lunches that are held often in Farzaneh Hall.  This one ran from 12:00pm – 1:15pm and it was entitled “Compulsive Memory: Contemporary Brazilian Cinema and the Military Dictatorship” and the talk was given by OU’s first full-time Portuguese instructor, Dr. Paulo Moreira.

This was taken during the lunch. Dr. Moreira can be seen in blue, leaning over to have a conversation with the lady to his left.

The talk centered around the genre of the Brazilian Dictatorship films (of which there are over 40 such movies) but it especially highlighted “4 Days in September” which is loosely based  off of a novel that describes the kidnapping of the American ambassador to Brazil. The ambassador is kidnapped by student revolutionaries who are protesting the recent government takeover by the military. Their plan was to exchange the ambassador with leftist political prisoners.

The movie has encountered some criticism as it is not as historically accurate as one would hope. There were some cases with the characters being the combination of several real people and another where a real women was split into two separate characters. One can imagine why this would cause outcry. The film also tried to humanize both sides of the conflict including the state torturers which really made some people who lost family under the regime quite upset.

However, it has been accepted that this is an important film genre for Brazil to have as it forces them to talk about horrible events that some had hoped would be forgotten. This phase in entertainment has been a catharsis for the people of Brazil who were around during that time and it has gotten young people more involved in Brazilian history.

Overall, I enjoyed the talk and the sandwiches were delightful as well!

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Latinist Lunch with Dr. Paulo Moreira

Yesterday, I had the great opportunity to attend one of the Latinist lunches that are held often in Farzaneh Hall.  This one ran from 12:00pm – 1:15pm and it was entitled “Compulsive Memory: Contemporary Brazilian Cinema and the Military Dictatorship” and the talk was given by OU’s first full-time Portuguese instructor, Dr. Paulo Moreira.

This was taken during the lunch. Dr. Moreira can be seen in blue, leaning over to have a conversation with the lady to his left.

The talk centered around the genre of the Brazilian Dictatorship films (of which there are over 40 such movies) but it especially highlighted “4 Days in September” which is loosely based  off of a novel that describes the kidnapping of the American ambassador to Brazil. The ambassador is kidnapped by student revolutionaries who are protesting the recent government takeover by the military. Their plan was to exchange the ambassador with leftist political prisoners.

The movie has encountered some criticism as it is not as historically accurate as one would hope. There were some cases with the characters being the combination of several real people and another where a real women was split into two separate characters. One can imagine why this would cause outcry. The film also tried to humanize both sides of the conflict including the state torturers which really made some people who lost family under the regime quite upset.

However, it has been accepted that this is an important film genre for Brazil to have as it forces them to talk about horrible events that some had hoped would be forgotten. This phase in entertainment has been a catharsis for the people of Brazil who were around during that time and it has gotten young people more involved in Brazilian history.

Overall, I enjoyed the talk and the sandwiches were delightful as well!

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International Prom

On the night of Friday, October 6th, the International Advisory Committee (IAC) held an International Prom with the theme of Hollywood Night. The appetizers were pretty good I believe it was chips and dip which was acceptable or typical of a prom. I believe the idea was to show a view of the American sub-culture of High School Proms, I do believe that they were pretty close in terms of environment. Although the vibe was much better instead of a mix of young adults and pre-teens it was a nice gathering of young adults of varied cultures and backgrounds. Which was really cool in my perspective because there was a good mix of American pop music with a conglomerate of foreign music. At times I was really out of my element because I did not know who to dance to the beat because I had never heard such rhythm. My only regret was that I had to leave before they announced who was Prom King & Queen because of prior commitments. Overall I really had fun, met some very interesting people, and was able to catch up with some friends I had not seen since last year.

You can definitely catch me at the next International Prom in 2k18!

Signing off,

Lance Harden

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International Event: Caribbean Musical Expression in Mexico

Here at OU we recently enjoyed Mexico Week, which was full of different events highlighting both the rich culture of Mexico and the study abroad opportunities available to students in Puebla, Mexico.

I attended a lecture titled Caribbean Musical Expression in Mexico, which was taught by Juan Gabaldón. The lecture was an overview of different styles of music that have traveled from the Caribbean and become popular and reinterpreted into Mexico. What made the lecture engaging was the inclusion of samples of these styles into the presentation. For example, Gabaldón discussed merengue as an example of a musical genre that entered Mexico from the Dominican and he also played part of a merengue song from the . My favorite part of the lecture came at the end when Gabaldón had one of his colleagues lead the students in a quick dance workshop. We learned a few steps that would help us fit in if we were to travel to Mexico.

The lecture was very fun and informative. I discovered some new musical genres and added some new songs to my Spotify playlists because I really think that learning and enjoying the music of a language you are learning is incredibly beneficial.