Category Archives: Worldly Events

Finds posts on international holidays, festivals, traditions, and other fun events with a global theme.

Spontaneity and 25 Cent Cookies

Close your eyes. Oh wait, then you can’t read this. Ok, open your eyes but pretend you are in Tokyo or Paris or Buenos Aires. You are walking along off to one of the famous sights when something catches your attention – a street performer, a one-day sale at an interesting shop, discounted tickets to a matinee play that starts in 20 minutes. You put off your plans to see the Eiffel Tower until tomorrow and grasp spontaneity. The Eiffel Tower will be there tomorrow.

The thing is when I’m abroad, I have no problem with being spontaneous. I can easily change plans, fit in a spur-of-the-moment opportunity, or if something isn’t meeting my expectations, change directions and find something else. But when I’m at home, this doesn’t seem to be my norm. I make plans and stick to them. I have a calendar that I follow daily.

Saturday night Hubby and I had a plan. I had found a blues and arts festival in the events section of the newspaper and we had decided to go. It started at 6pm so we left our apartment at 5:30 knowing it was at a park in Langston, OK. We got on Old Highway 33 and started looking for the park but suddenly we were at the end of Old 33. So we turned around and drove it again. All of the sudden we saw two small canopies and a few cars parked on the side of the road. What we expected to be a blues festival consisted of one man playing the clarinet and two tables with jewelry. The funny part was we had to pay to get in. So we threw that idea out the window and spontaneity had to kick in (especially because we had no cell phone service in Langston, OK).

We drove down the road to another small town called Guthrie, OK, parked in the historic downtown and started walking. We found a BBQ restaurant full of people with cowboy hats (it must be good, right?) and then discovered there was a bluegrass concert around the corner. After having some delicious baby back ribs and mac-n-cheese, we walked a block to Byron Berline’s Double Stop Fiddle Shop & Music Hall, home of  bluegrass champions, the Byron Berline Band. We walked in at 7:30 and for two hours were delighted with great music, humorous banter between the band, and the cheapest cookies and coffee we have ever seen.

Morale of the story: Spontaneity is not just for travel. While I was abroad, I learned to be flexible and go with the flow but I don’t practice those skills enough. Perhaps if I did, I would have more evenings filled with great music and 25 cent cookies.

 

The historic downtown of Guthrie, OK

You’ll see plenty of cowboy hats at Boneyard BBQ

Byron’s Double Stop Fiddle Shop sell fiddles as well as teaches lessons

The Music Hall is decorated with t-shirts on the ceiling but it packs out regularly with over 200 bluegrass lovers

We loved the concession stand at intermission! 2 cookies and 2 coffees for $1.50

 

 

Hygge at Home

On my last day in San Diego, a good friend returned home after working in Europe with a study abroad program for the summer. Most of her time was spent in the Netherlands but she was also able to go back to Denmark, where she had studied abroad several years ago. When I picked her up from the airport, not only was I the beneficiary of some great tales (falling off bikes, strange roommates, and watching the American Olympic basketball team in Spain), but also of two handmade candle holders from the Danish harbor.

In her note that accompanied, she explained their significance.

In Denmark they use a lot of little candles in the homes, esp. in the cold dark winters months. When I was studying there, I really treasured coming home, sitting around with all the lights & talking the night away with my host family. This cozy atmosphere is called “hygge” in Danish.

Hygge is a word that really doesn’t translate in English. But in addition to my friend’s explanation, I did find some Danes’ interpretations of hygge.

As I sit in our cookie-cutter apartment with rented furniture and dishes, I am ever so thankful for these two little candles. They remind me of San Diego and all the good friends and wonderful conversations I had there. They also give me hope that soon OKC will feel that way too.  Thanks, KE, for sending a little hygge with me.

Whether you are at home or abroad, I hope all of you, dear readers, find a little hygge in your day.

Dear London Olympics

Dear London Olympics,

You have met all my expectations, entertaining and amazing me every night. I have been utterly addicted watching swimming, basketball, trampoline, soccer/football, gymnastics, water polo, handball, diving, archery, rhythmic gymnastics, wrestling, synchronized swimming, fencing, and track and field. Thank you for hosting a incredible competition of endurance, perseverance, speed, strength, and passion.

You have welcomed the world with proper manners, many cups of tea, and fairly formidable weather.  Personally, I think you did a jam-up job and I’m going to miss you on Monday morning. But like Dr. Seuss and Michael Phelps said, “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” Here are all your moments that made me smile.

Cheers to you and long live the Queen!

Global from Home

The Canadian team were told not to wear these swim caps but they decided to do it anyways. I LOVED them. Their routine was one of the most fun I’ve ever seen.

Olympic style nails were all the fashion this year. These are sported by Columbia’s swimmer, Carolina Colorad Henao.

This picture just makes me happy. These children are Congolese refugees in a center in Rwanda.

There is no doubt winning a gold medal is an emotional experience. Yang Sun of China let it all out when we won the 1500m freestyle.

Fashion has not escaped Olympic influence as seen on this board posted by CovetedClassics.com. I want it all.

What a great facial expression!

The Opening Ceremonies may have received some criticism but no one can deny that this is beautiful.

I always like to know what an athlete is thinking when they cross the finish line. Usain Bolt had love on the brain as he crossed the line and his team broke the WR on the 4×100 relay.

And maybe more than anything, these Olympics proved that anyone can reach their goals as long as they put forth the effort and keep dreaming.

Friday’s Olympian to Watch: Guor Marial

When I think of Olympic athletes, I think of individuals who have given up a great deal to be extremely good at their sport. In exchange for athletic excellence, they’ve given up pop culture, time with family, and other hobbies and interests to focus on one thing. So when an athlete comes to the Olympics who has also faced great challenge in addition to the discipline of their sport, I am utterly amazed. Guor Marial, who will be running under the Olympic flag on Saturday in the Marathon, is one such athlete.

At the age of 8 years old Guor, was kidnapped during the Sudanese Civil War and thrown into a labor camp. But he was the lucky one. As the forces killed 28 members of his family, he was able to escape to Egypt and then to the US. Guor is now a permanent resident in the U.S. and was All-American at Iowa State.

However when he qualified for the Olympic Marathon, the U.S. was not able to add him to our team. Without U.S. citizenship and South Sudan (the newest country in the world) without an Olympic Committee, Guor’s only option was to run under the Sudanese flag. However, he immediately rejected their offer saying, “If I ran for Sudan, I would be betraying my people. I would be dishonoring the two million people who died for our freedom.”

After appealing to the IOC, Guor was just accepted to run under the Olympic flag on July 20th. He was unable to get the paperwork in time to participate in the Opening Ceremonies but he is now in London preparing for his race tomorrow and being swarmed by the media. Guor will probably not win tomorrow but he is thankful for the opportunity. “The most amazing part, the best part, is just that I’m here,” he says. “It feels like the entire world brought me here.” And at the very least, he hopes that his run tomorrow helps set up South Sudan for success in 2016.

Olympic Sport: Marathon

Hometown: Panrieng, South Sudan

Birthdate: April 15, 1984 (age 28)

Height: 5’11” (12 inches tall than me)

Weight: 130 lbs.

Read more about Guor Marial at these sites:

Hubby’s Olympic Style

While watching the 1500 meter qualifying heats on Friday night on the plane, I realized Hubby has picked up some global fashion. He has been looking for new running shoes and took me with him last week to show me a few pair he liked. Surprising all the pairs were of the neon variety. After more online research, we went back and bought him the Nike Air Pegasus 29, or what I like to call the Highlighters. It just so happens that the international running community has picked up the same fashion. Now Hubby can glow in the dark while running with the best of them.

These are Hubby’s “Highlighters”

Seven Olympians in the first 1500m trial heat sport neon yellow shoes.                  Photo courtesy of Zimbio.

Look at those “Highlighters” go! Photo courtesy of BET.

Friday’s Olympian to Watch: Viktoria Komova

You’ve probably already seen the tiny Russian gymnast Viktoria Komova win the silver in the all-around individual gymnastics competition just yesterday. As I watched the duel between her and American Gabby Douglas, I could only imagine what was going through her head. But after reading more about her, it seems that besides gymnastics, she is a typical 17 year-old girl. Vika, as she is known by friends, loves the Twilight series, pizza, drawing, and has a Shi Tzu puppy named  Kutya.

The daughter of two gymnasts, the ability to fly through the air runs in Vika’s family. Her mother introduced her to the sport at the age of 5 and she immediately excelled. Now she practices three times a day for six days a week. The loss yesterday was definitely a difficult one, but Vika seemed to be taking it in stride. “I am proud about what I have done today,” Komova said. “I’m a bit disappointed I didn’t get gold. (Douglas) is very strong. She performed beautifully today.”

Viktoria still has a few more events on Sunday including her best event – the uneven bars. Be sure to listen for her signature move – an inside-salter on the low bar with a half-turn catch to the high bar. It should be an exciting match up!

Olympic Sport: Gymnastics

Hometown: Voronehz, Russia

Birthdate: January 30, 1995 (age 17)

Height: 4’11” (she’s my height exactly…these are my people)

Weight: 82 lbs. (she is not my weight exactly)

Read more about Viktoria Komova at the following sites:

Singing Her Praises

As the medals start coming in, I’ve been trying to pay attention to the anthems as the Olympians take the podium. After the Italian team beat my Americans in men’s archery, I realized this weekend that I had never really heard (or maybe just never paid attention to) the Italian anthem before. So thanks to YouTube, I found a version with both Italian and English subtitles.

As I read the words of “Il Canto degli Italiani”, I realized a commonality between many of the European and American anthems. In our American “Star Spangled Banner” we sing of our flag still standing as we defeated the Brits and achieved freedom. In the U.K. “God Save the Queen” describes crushing the Scots. For the French in “La Marseillaise”, they call their citizens to bear arms and stand up against tyrants. And for the Italians, they claim victory as their personal slave and promise to die for Rome and country. It seems that our anthem writers were all pretty obsessed with our war-time wins and liked to sing our praises.

Reading through the national songs made me wonder, if we were to re-write our national anthem in 2012, how would it be different? Although I can’t speak for every country, I feel pretty confident to say that the Americans would definitely change it up. We would sing of the American dream, equality for all, and patriotic pride. In fact, if it were up for a vote, we may just adopt “I’m Proud to be an American” and call it a day.

But yet, as Missy Franklin took the podium the other day and they played the “Star Spangled Banner” over the aquatic center, my last thought was of changing the anthem, but rather pure pride in my fellow countrywoman. And from the looks of things, “God Save the Queen”, “La Marseillaise”, and “Il Canto degli Italiani” are invoking the same feelings. I suppose its best not to fix what’s broke but I’m curious to hear other’s opinion.

Happy Olympics!

Friday’s Olympian(s) to Watch: Sarah Attar and Wodjan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahkhani

CNN has been doing a series on the athletes of the Arab Spring. I was on their site this week and found a clip about Saudi Arabia’s Olympic Team, which you may have heard will include women for the very first time. After great pressure from the Olympic Committee, Sarah Attar and Wodjan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani will represent their country in the 800 meter and judo respectively. Although Olympians, the Saudi government has set strict rules for the two women. They must dress appropriately for Sharia law at all times (head covering included)and they must have a male guardian with them at all times when in public. Regardless, these women are to be admired and hopefully will be the start of allowing more women in Saudi Arabia participate in sports.

SARAH ATTAR

Olympic Sport: 800 meter

Hometown: Escondido, California, USA

Birthdate: August 27, 1992 (age 19)

Height: 5’4″ (a mere 5 inches taller than me)

Weight: unknown

WODJAN SHAHERKANI

Olympic Sport: Judo

Hometown: Makkah, Saudi Arabia

Birthdate: February 1, 1996 (age 16)

Height: unknown

Weight: 175 lbs.

Read more about these incredible women at the following:

Olympic Insider: Jane’s Olympic Blog

With the Olympics starting this week, I’ve been searching through Olympic tagged posts on WordPress to gear up! A few nights ago I came upon a blog that stuck out: Jane’s Olympic Blog. Jane is from Bromley, England and her blog is all about serving as an ambassador for Team London. She is a true Olympic insider! Jane was so kind to answer a few of my questions.

What Olympic sport are you most excited to see?

We’ve got tickets to see the table tennis, as hubby plays it (though not to Olympic level!), so that will be the most exciting, I think. Plus of course the athletics – I wonder how many records will be broken and how quick Usain Bolt will run?!

What is the most important thing they teach you in ambassador training?

Our ambassador training provided us with a lot of knowledge about what we’ll be doing – welcoming people to London and providing them with information on places nearby, how to get to where they want to go and what else is going on nearby.

As an ambassador for London, what restaurant would you recommend a visitor to try?

We can’t recommend specific restaurants as there are so many and it depends where we’ll be based, and on individual taste. I will be in the ‘Flying Squad’ which means I’ll get to travel about and provide cover at different Ambassador stations each day. For anyone coming to London, the best place to look for restaurants and read their reviews is http://www.timeout.com/london/.

Definitely check out Jane’s blog for the inside scoop on the London Olympics.

Friday’s Olympian to Watch: Guillermo Pérez Sandoval

On our last full day in Mexico, I thought it would be appropriate to highlight one of their star athletes for this week’s Olympian to Watch. After asking around and doing some research, I was surprised to find out that Mexico excels in Taekwondo. In fact, in the 2008 Olympics they took home two gold medals in the sport. One of those medalists was Guillermo Pérez Sandoval, who will be returning to Olympic Games this year in London.

Guillermo started his career in Taekwondo at the young age of 5, inspired by Bruce Lee movies. His successes came early with his first big win at age 10 which threw him into the international competition circuit. With his win in the 2008 Olympics, Guillermo became a national hero. With only 55 medals in the country’s history, he has become one of the elite athletes and has gained a great deal of notoriety. Upon his Olympic win, Guillermo told interviewers that the Mexican president called him and said he was the pride of their country. The president of Mexico’s World Taekwondo Federation also credits Guillermo and Maria Espinoza’s Olympic wins for the growing popularity of the sport in Mexico. There are now over 1.5 million people who practice the sport.

Olympic Sport: Taekwondo

Hometown: Uruapan, Mexico

Birthdate: October 14, 1979 (age 32)

Height: 5’7″ (8 inches taller than me)

Weight: 127 lbs.

Read more about Guillermo Pérez Sandoval at: