Category Archives: Worldly Events

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

Break Out the Lederhosen

The original Oktoberfest starts in just 9 days but here in OKC, we’ve already eaten our bratwurst, danced the polka, and emptied our steins. When some new friends invited us to go to Oktoberfest in Choctaw, OK, Hubby and I were excited to join them. The nine-day festival is put on by Old Germany, a traditional German restaurant located in small city outside of OKC. Although we were drenched by the monsoon-of-a-storm that came through, the music was great, the food was delicious, and the beverages were tasty.

If you cannot find your own Oktoberfest to attend, I would highly recommend visiting the Oktoberfest website. I spent a good hour looking through the Bavarian dictionary, reading the detailed descriptions on each of the tents, and scanning through pictures of costumes. It definitely makes me want to go someday to the real deal.

Hubby and me trying a German brew 

Bratwursts and potato cakes with apple sauce…yum

Loved these guys! They were more than willing to have their picture taken.

Steins ranged in price from $50 to several hundred

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Remembering

Eleven years ago today I was sitting in my international politics class when the first plane crashed into the World Trade Center. My professor kept lecturing thinking it wasn’t anything to stop for until the second plane hit. With the Center for Disease Control located on our campus in Atlanta, all classes were canceled. Some of the residence halls were evacuated. The skyscraper I worked in was closed for two days. Even hundreds of miles away from New York City, we still felt the resounding boom of those buildings collapsing as our lives changed forever.

On the anniversary of that tragic day, I remember the ones our nation lost, the heroes who put their lives on the line, the outpouring of love that was felt from around the world, and the goodness that prevailed over the evil that was done.

PLNU remembers the victims of that tragic day with flags for each life lost.

Qixi Festival i.e. Chinese Valentine’s Day

Today (August 23rd) is the Chinese Qixi Festival. When I read about the festival earlier this week, I knew I wanted to participate but there wasn’t a scheduled festival here in OKC so I had to make my own.

The Qixi Festival is held each year on the 7th day of the 7th lunar month to celebrate the reuniting of the seventh daughter of the Queen of Heaven, Zhinü to her mortal cow-herding husband Niulang. The folklore says that Zhinü came to earth to bathe and while she was in the water, Niulang’s bull told him that if he stole Zhinü’s clothes she would marry him. (Romatic, right?) The two fell in love, married, and had twins. While they were living happily, the Queen of Heaven found out that her daughter had married a mortal, so she kidnapped her and forced her back to the sky. Now Zhinü and Niulang are the stars Vega and Altair and are only allowed to meet once a year.

The festival is one of romance. Traditionally, the young women go to the temple of the match maker to make a wish for a mate or if newly married, they pray to get pregnant. The festival is also an opportunity to display their handiwork, where melon carving and embroidery are some of the more popular displays. But since the 1990s, the festival has also taken on a commercialized feel now being called Chinese Valentine’s Day.

For my own celebration of Qixi, I participated in several of the traditions, both old and new.

First I headed the to Asian District to do some grocery shopping. Unfortunately no one was celebrating the festival.

Embroidery was a craft once celebrated at the Qixi Festival.

At the festival, young women would try to float an embroidery needle. If it floated, they were considered a skilled artist. Mine sunk so I guess I’m not very skilled.

Hmmm…which to choose for Hubby? I think I’ll stick with the fortune cookie.

No melon carving for me today but Hubby did at least get the benefit of a good Asian-inspired meal last night.

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: