Eve of Nations is the largest cultural event in Oklahoma that takes place annually at the Loyd Noble Center. There is a fashion show, dinner, group dances, guest dances, and other performances showcasing different talents pertaining to different cultures. For this years Eve of Nations, the them was Imagine.
I walked for Ecuador in the talent show. I got to wear a colorful skirt and white blouse representing the traditional dress of Ecuadorians. I was paired with Brasil, and grouped with the Americas. At the end of the Americas, we did limbo’d to Daddy Yankee’s famous latin hit ‘Limbo’. Everyone wore a sash with the name of their country, much like a Mrs. Universe pageant. There were so many people in the fashion show! Swaziland by far had the coolest outfits though there were so many unique and pretty ones.
I was able to meet quite a few new people. One girl told me about her home country Cameroon. Apparently, they have really awesome seafood that they eat with their feet dangling in the water watching the sunset! It sounded super perfect. Another guy from Scotland, with the lfull blown kilt outfit, played the bagpipes on stage. The dances were all super good. Though I found it a tad too long and thought it could use a little more work in the production area, I would consider the event a success.
On Friday the Bolivian Student Association hosted a Bolivian Culture Night in the caf. I went with my Brazilian friends and met up with my OU cousin there(Wara- who is FROM Bolivia!). They had decorations with the colors of the Bolivian flag, which was green, yellow, and red. They had a short video about Bolivia and then a performance. A few Bolivians danced a traditional Bolivian Carnaval dance in very pretty, colorful costumes. It sort of resembled the Brazilian Carnaval dances. Afterwards, they served some DELICIOUS food. They served juicy pork(not sure) and sausage and a creamy rice thing (forgot the name). It was similar to Ecuadorian food and the Brazilians told me they had it in Brasil too. My Portugues is audibly improving, as I spend a few hours a week in the language lab doing Rosetta Stone. It’s so cool to be able to talk to them in a foreign language(very limited conversation). The hardest part about it is not confusing it with Italian. I’ve decided the best way to learn both languages at the same time, is to choose only one to actively learn. I chose Portuguese for now. For Italian, I passively learn it by listening to Italian radio every day and watching Italian Tarzoon cartoons on Youtube.
It turns out that basically the entire foreign student population knows each other; I was able to meet a few internationals through the internationals I already knew. After the Bolivian Culture Night, many of the people at Bolivian Culture Night headed over to the Union for HASA’s Salsa Ball. The Salsa Ball was really fun; I was able to use what I learned in my Ballroom Dancing Class. My Ecuadorian friend Rob was a really good dancer and he taught me a bit. There were some very impressive dancers there and two performances by a couple of dance teams. The latin dance team killed it, and another group who’s name slips past me also were great. For the second performance, the guys put blindfolds on the girls half-way through and they still didn’t mess up! Overall it was a great night where my inner latina got to come out and dance.
Sorry, can’t figure out how to make this upright:/
Last Saturday was a beautiful day with absolutely gorgeous weather. In other words, a day to be spent outside. Lake Thunderbird is about 15 minutes away from the OU campus where we decided to go. We walked around the lake for a while; some of us barefoot. We played frisbee and just had a really good time. The water was bitter cold, so like the genius college kids we are, I made a bet with a friend to see who would go farthest into the lake. I’m pretty strong-willed so I was not about to lose the bet. The only problem was that my friend was also not going to accept defeat. We decided that whoever went in deepest relative to their size woould win. Well, we both ended up completely submerging ourselves under water before we agreed that it was a tie. Luckily I had brought extra clothes to change into. As it got darker we decided to build a campfire. We roasted sausages and I toasted some bread. We had a good ole time sittin round the campfire just talking. It was great that my OU Cousin was able to tag along too. She seemed to enjoy it; it was the first time we got to hang out so I got to know a little bit more about her. When we got back to campus I smelled like I had just escaped a forest fire because the smoke kept following me at the fire. I also had ash on my face which completed the look. I hope for more days like that one in the future!
On Saturday, I participated in Bangladesh Culture Night. I randomly volunteered to be a dancer for it a couple of weeks ago and am super glad I did. We had various rehearsals for it where I got to know some people from different cultures. The people I danced with were not even mostly Bangladesh. My partner, Tony, was actually from Kenya. There were some people from India too. They were all super nice and fun.
Dancing was fantastic and I loved my outfit. The girls wore a dress-like thing called a saree. All of the sarees were super colorful and pretty. When I was getting ready for the show, one of the ladies put a dot on my head with nail polish to complete the look. We got to dance barefoot in Meacham; It was the first time I had performed in front of that many people. It went super well with no wardrobe errors!
At the event there was dancing, singing, and a fashion show. Afterwards, there was dinner provided in Jim Thorpe. It was cool to be able to celebrate another culture and make new friends doing so.
Yesterday I clicked the confirm button on my study abroad application for Italy- I’m officially going to Italy fall semester! I am incredibly excited and have started learning Italian on my own. Iv’e heard it’s beautiful and I can’t wait to get there even though I love it at OU. I hope to stay with a host family so I can get the full cultural experience and become fluent by the end of the year. It sounds like a far stretch but Italian is so similar to Spanish it’s very easy to pick up. I am also looking into doing an internship while I am overseas. There aren’t too many class offerings, so I will have to give up May and June to do 2 summer classes but I think it’ll be totally worth it.
I am also planning on taking the month of July to tour Europe before I start with school in Italy. Places I’m gonna visit are Croatia, Slovenia, Budapeset, Vienna, Krakow, Berlin, Bratislava, Amsterdam, and Dresden, I can’t wait for the adventures headed my way!
In the meantime, I am thoroughly enjoying OU this semester. Ballroom dancing is seriously one of the most fun classes ever and I’m really enjoying my Introduction to Computer Programming class. The only thing that isn’t great is the weather, but at least it’s not below zero.
At the OU Cousins Bingo night I was matched with a new cousin! Her name is Wara and she is from Bolivia. There were a few other girls who seemed super nice but I wanted to be paired with Wara because she spoke Spanish and any latinamerican country reminds me of Ecuador. And she seemed pretty cool. I hope we can have a Bolivian/Ecuadorian cuisine night in the future as well as other fun things.
I didn’t win anything at the Bingo night, unfortunately, but I did meet a lot of people. That is the main reason why I enjoy OU Cousins-everyone seems eager to meet each other. I did however, get a free T-shirt.
After a month long Christmas Break, I am finally glad to be back in Norman. Except for the weather and the decrepit piano in the bottom of Walker that doesn’t play the F key.
Apparently my meal plan was activated so I had to blow all 10 exchanges in one night- by treating upper classmen and buying unneeded Canes t-shirts since Crossroads was closed. Speaking of meals, I gave up junk food, fried food, and thirds for New Years. Sounds incredibly difficult? I gave up bread last year and succeeded so I had to up the level of difficulty. Call me crazy, I probably am. This means no pizza (again), chips, crackers, goldfish, Cane’s, etc.. With the help of the 10 meals a week at the caf, it’s feasible. I considered going vegan till I learned that most soups contain non-vegan broth. I really like soup, so that went out the window.
Other challenges for the year include: taking 18 hours this semester. 2 of them are ballroom dancing, so that should be really fun!
After not doing anything incredibly noteworthy for a month, I’m ready for things to speed up and get into the gear of college again!
So I was walking through Kauffman when I saw a girl with a seeing eye dog. I was feeling very social so I sat down next to her and started talking while petting her dog (named Stalker?). She immediately introduced herself as Laurel and was super friendly. I realized afterwards that for some reason I had a subconscious preconception that people with disabilities like blindness or deafness would be socially… undeveloped? Completely wrong. If I had a blindfold on I wouldn’t have been able to tell she was any different. She told me she was studying Arabic and Russian. She also knew some Spanish when I relayed to her my intent to get a minor in Spanish. Our conversation was cut short by the necessity of attending class, but it was still a cool encounter. I had never talked to a blind person before.
Anyways, later a thought occurred to me… how would blindness effect learning a foreign language? In language classes, the written words/grammer are an integral part in learning the language. Vocabulary is paired with pictures and reading the language is more helpful to me than hearing it (in the learning stages). I doubt OU has Arabic 101 in Braille so I’m kind of curious as to how much harder it would be to learn a foreign language without the visuals, much less two at the same time.
I’ve heard that when one area of the brain is not used, other parts become stronger. Maybe this was the case for Laurel; not being able to see so she has an extremely acute sense of hearing or memory. Arabic and Russian seem very hard to learn and she seemed to know at least Russian fairly well (she said a few things in Russian). I tried researching the topic and found that there were very differing conclusions as to what the effects of blindness were on learning a language. So, I’m going to try to find more information and possibly post my findings later. However, I did come across a few interesting things:
75-85% of information for sighted people is learned visually.
Helen Keller studied French, Latin, and German
Blind children, on average, are delayed 8 months in the onset of words
Across the globe, being bilingual is the norm.
One page in black ink will be about three pages in Braille
Some very premature babies are born with their eyes fused shut
A white cane with a red tip is the international symbol for blindness
Although I am all of the sudden deeply interested in how blindness affects life in general and will probably ask/talk to Laurel about it next time I see her, I still view her as a new friend and not just a case to pique my curiosity.
Seeing the purpose of this website pertains to global engagement, I think it appropriate to post travel related things. Thus, here is a list of places I have on my bucket list I’d love to travel to and some specific things I’d want to do there. It’ll keep growing and hopefully I’ll get to see all of them! Not in any order:
Rio de Janeiro Brazil – see Carnaval
Great Wall of China
Dubai-palm islands, dune buggying in the desert
Surigao del Sur-Enchanted River
Alaska-see Aurora Borealis
Big Four Mountain, Washington
Thailand- Yee Peng Festival
South Africa-safari tour
Venezuela- snorkeling in Los roques Archipelago
Australia- Great Barrier Reef, surf, pet a kangaroo
Brazil is a country I am really looking forward to visiting. I´ve met some international students from there and always ask them about how it is. I am friends with them and occasionally grab a bite to eat with them, even though some of their accents are hard to understand.
Food is really important to me, which is why I liked this prompt. The main staple foods of Brazil is feijão, or black beans, farofa(some fried flour substance) and white rice. The white rice seems rather plain to me but I really like beans so I would be excited to eat them. As far as farofa goes, it looks quite close to Ecuadorian food which is quite tasty so I would definitely try it. I once ate a guinea pig, so that shows the extent to which im down to trying new foods. Brazilians also eat a lot of fish, which I love fish so that would be a perfect match.