October 2010 Archives

BACK TO CHILDHOOD DURING A WEEKEND

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 This last weekend, I tried out a celebration that we don't really have in France: Halloween! When I was young, the only celebration in costume in France was Mardi- Gras which started on Ash Wednesday. It was a good occasion to eat a lot candies and crepes during my school fair. With the globalization, countries are sharing more and more their tradition; that's why, contrary to 10 years ago, now, in Europe, you can see more and more kids in the streets knocking at the doors, asking for candies and Halloween parties in bars and clubs.

Miniature de l'image pour Miniature de l'image pour halloween.jpg                                                                                 Halloween in Disneyland Paris. Picture from.disneylandparis.com

Let's come back to my first real Halloween, here, in IUP.

Like a kid, I was so excited to find my costume. I was surprised to see that I wasn't the only one. During the week before, the Wal-Mart's costume department and the Costume Shop were full of people. I thought that only kids liked wearing costumes during Halloween but I understood why adults liked it too; their costumes are very different from kids' ones or I should rather say they are sexier than theirs. The cute 7-years-old princess becomes a sexy nurse, Lady Gaga or policeman when she is 19.

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Lady Gaga and nurse costume. Pictures from Google imagesI thought yesterdays party went really well, there were alot of people dressed in costumes. which is what halloween is about for children its a time for them 2 get 2 dress up as something that they find interesteing and getting candy, while in college or older adults we enjoy being able 2 dress up & have a party, and celebrate with our friends

 

 

I like getting candy on halloween, what i dislike is that girl costumes become worse eahc yrI was really surprised to see that every student played the game of wearing a costume to go to bars and clubs. I finally dressed up as a ballerina. I would like to show you a picture but it's not professional.

 

For my first Halloween I went to a party organized by the club, the Underground. It took place in the Indiana Theater in Philadelphia Street. It was full of people and the stage was overcrowded but the good thing when a party takes place in a theater is that there is enough places to sit and you can dance everywhere in the auditorium. During the night, I saw very tiny costumes and some others very funny. There was a good ambiance. I really enjoyed myself with my friends and other IUP's students.

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The last one is my favorite. The guy was dressed up as Tiger Wood. Pictures taken by Laurie Ajavon in the Indiana's streets, Saturday night.

 

 

I asked two IUP students, there during the party what did they think about Halloween and the party.

 

"The party went really well.", said Brooke McDaniel, 21, an English major student dressed up as a cowgirl. "There were a lot of people dressed in costumes like when we were kids. Halloween is, for children, a time to get dress up in something they dream to be and to get candies, while in college and for older adults, it's a time to enjoy being able to dress up, have a party and celebrate with their friends. I liked getting candy on Halloween when I was young, what I dislike now is that girls' costumes become worse each year."I thought yesterdays party went really well, there were alot of people dressed in costumes. which is what halloween is about for children its a time for them 2 get 2 dress up as something that they find interesteing and getting candy, while in college or older adults we enjoy being able 2 dress up & have a party, and celebrate with our friendsI like getting candy on halloween, what i dislike is that girl costumes become worse eahc yr.

 

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                                                                                Halloween party at the Underground. Picture By Laurie Ajavon

 

"The party was fun because my friend were with me and I got to dress up.", said Antonette Acosta, 18, a Sports administration major student and dressed as Lara Croft. "Halloween is for me a day when you can express yourself however you want without being ridiculous" I thought yesterdays party went really well, there were alot of people dressed in costumes. which is what halloween is about for children its a time for them 2 get 2 dress up as something that they find interesteing and getting candy, while in college or older adults we enjoy being able 2 dress up & have a party, and celebrate with our friends

 

 

lady gaga2.jpglady gaga2.jpglady gaga2.jpglady gaga2.jpgstriper.jpgI like getting candy on halloween, what i dislike is that girl costumes become worse eahc yr.

I really liked my first Halloween: To see all these decorations in front of the houses and in stores 'windows, people don't take themselves too seriously and just enjoy together. I'm already thinking about my next year's costume.

My only regret is that I didn't get any candy...

 

And you, what did you do for Halloween?

What was your costume?

Tell me what the most incredible costume you have seen was.

 

 

I thought yesterdays party went really well, there were alot of people dressed in costumes. which is what halloween is about for children its a time for them 2 get 2 dress up as something that they find interesteing and getting candy, while in college or older adults we enjoy being able 2 dress up & have a party, and celebrate with our friends

I like getting candy on halloween, what i dislike is that girl costumes become worse eahc yr.

I thought yesterdays party went really well, there were alot of people dressed in costumes. which is what halloween is about for children its a time for them 2 get 2 dress up as something that they find interesteing and getting candy, while in college or older adults we enjoy being able 2 dress up & have a party, and celebrate with our friends

I like getting candy on halloween, what i dislike is that girl costumes become worse ea

I thought yesterdays party went really well, there were alot of people dressed in costumes. which is what halloween is about for children its a time for them 2 get 2 dress up as something that they find interesteing and getting candy, while in college or older adults we enjoy being able 2 dress up & have a party, and celebrate with our friends

I like getting candy on halloween, what i dislike is that girl costumes become worse eahc yr. lol

 

 

¡Azúcar!

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During my first semester, I didn't go to any cultural event in IUP, so,  I decided to make it up for it this semester. Thanks to one of my Facebook's friend and the Hispanic Heritage Council's page, I found the perfect event. ¡Azúcar!, the famous Cuban singer, Celia Cruz's battle cry is the perfect  expression to describe the mood of the night I spent Saturday, October 16th during The Noche Latina in the almost full HUB's Ohio Room. To celebrate the end of Hispanic month Heritage, the IUP Hispanic Heritage Council thought this night to share with us their culture. Food, music, students and teachers' performances, everything was there to enjoy that Noche.

 

Hosting by the dynamic Jovana Ramos, student in IUP, this evening plunged us into the Hispanic's culture through its music, its dance and its poem. Dr. Marjorie Zambrano-Paff from the Spanish department introduced us the birth of new rhythm and the fusion of African instruments through clips and bits. Some IUP students in costumes came to illustrate different dances from Mexico.  These dance representations were interrupted by Spanish poem declamations with a translation on a screen for people, like me, who doesn't speak Spanish.

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                                                                                                                                                              Dr. Peter Broad reciting a Spanish poem. Picture by Courtney Ra

The intermission, the moment that everybody was secretly waiting for, was the moment to discover Hispanic culture through its food. I had to sacrifice myself to be a good reporter. Rice, Red beans, pineapple, pastries...  My plates, like everybody's ones, was full of these delicious dishes.

 The second half started with a vibrant homage to Salsa and its figurehead, Celia Cruz. We could watch a video and a dance tribute from the Ritmo Latino Dance Group.

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Miniature de l'image pour Miniature de l'image pour mexicain.bmp                                                           Folklore Suramericano by Ritmo Latino Dance Group And Jalisco Mexican Folklore. Pictures by Courtney Ra

We could also watch the Hispanic influence in Hollywood films with filmmakers and actors like Guillermo Del Toro, Javier Bardem or Pedro Almodovar. The Damage Dolls, a modeling troupe was on the Runways of Hispanic Flavor and Dr. Carmy Carranza from the Developmental Studies Department and her husband, Dr. Jose Carranza, retired from the Spanish Department introduced us a frenzied and sensual tango.

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                                                                                                                                                        Tango Dance: Dr. Carmy and Dr. Jose Carranza. Picture by Courtney Ra

The night ended with a beautiful tribute to Hispanics in the US with the Gloria Estefan's song "Mi terra" singing with passion by Dr. Zambrano-Paff. All the performers were on the stage, dancing in unison.  It was a great night to learn and at the same time enjoy, and also a good way to underline the Hispanic Heritage Month.

 

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Damage Dolls group with Dr. Zambrano/  Perfomers with Jovana Ramos (in green) during the final. Picture by Courtney Ra

 

And you, if you were there, what did you think about this event?

I really enjoy this night, so if you are aware of other events on campus, leave me a comment.

BON APPÉTIT!*

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Last time, I was in the Foster building's cafeteria eating French fries and a hamburger when I started daydreaming about croissants, gratin dauphinois, saucissons, baguette, crepes... You don't know what it is? Just watch.

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Bread,Chocolate crepes, Viennese pastries, cooked meals, gratin "dauphinois" and cakes taken from Google images

France is known worldwide for its gastronomy, its wines, its chefs and its famous restaurants. The United States are, as my French Facebook contacts reminded me when I asked, mostly known for their fast foods, donuts and their hotdogs. So I think you can understand how I can miss French food, the fact to go to the bakery between my courses or to buy a nutella crepe while chilling in Paris' streets with my friends during the weekend.

Miniature de l'image pour Miniature de l'image pour crepes.jpg                                                                                        My favorite sin. Picture from Simon Lau's blog

 

I asked a lot of Americans what they thought about when I say "French food". I heard frog, snail, oyster and inevitably French fries. I thought it was a good occasion to break some cliché about France and food. Yes, in France we eat frogs and snails but it's only few people and it's not a daily course. Like you, eating snail makes me sick. I tried oyster and, honestly, it tastes like seawater. I didn't try frog but one of my friends told me it tastes good; it's just meat. You also have to know that originally, French fries are not a French specialty. They come from Belgium. And the last but not the least cliché is the one I saw in most of the movies about France or with a French character. Sorry, but we don't always wear a beret even when we go to the bakery! And nobody play accordion in the streets- ok, for the last one, it happened sometimes, during the weekend, down below the building where I used to live.

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                                                                         The French redneck with his baguette, his cigarette and his beret by google images.

 

I didn't know if it was a good idea to see of these pictures and to talk about food since, I was just more frustrated!  So I searched French restaurants and bakeries in Indiana. The only one  which catch up the most with a French restaurant was The Grapevine in Wayne Avenue which proposes some French gratinee, so I searched in the whole Pennsylvania's state.  These are, for me, the best addresses I could find:

-Pari Café Creperie in Philadelphia  

-La Gourmandine in Pittsburgh

-Le café de Amis in Sewickley

 

If you don't want go to these places- because you don't have enough money or because it's to far- but you want to discover French food, I found the perfect blog for you on About.com: French food. Rebecca Franklin will be your French food guide and give you the best recipes.

 

So, if you go to these places before me,

if you have already eaten there

or if you know others French restaurants or bakery, please leave me a comment because, now JAI FAIM!!! (I'm hungry). 

You can also tell me if you tried these recipes.

I'm definitely going to make some.

Bon appétit!!*

*French expression to wish a great meal to a person who is going to eat.

"Dad, Mum, don't worry, I'm ok!"

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This is what I would have said after to my parents if I would have told them what how my homecoming weekend was.

But you need to know why. Just after I come here, a report entitled "Alcohol, Pompom girls, hazin: the American campus' secrets" was broadcasted on French television. It explained that alcoholism rates were very high in the US campus and that students partied every night. My parents called me the day after to tell me to not drink too much, always keep an eye on my glass and to not try to be in a sorority because they would try to make drink a lot... I know, it is cliché, but it's the image that foreigners have of American universities. Now that I'm here, I can say that it's not true; students don't spend their time partying and drinking and streets are not full of drunk people during the weekend... except during homecoming weekend.                                                            

I'm going to tell you my first Homecoming in IUP.

 

Everybody was overexcited by this weekend. A lot of former students, students' families and friends will come just for this weekend. A lot of my friends on Facebook have put a comment about it. The only ones who didn't really care about Homecoming were teachers. Yeah, I say that because it's like they all decided to bother us by putting mid-term exams the week after. So I had to organize myself and think about what I will skip over. I decided to do my homework all the Saturday morning and be ready for the football. So, yes, I missed the parade as I missed Jason Derulo's concert the night before for the same reason -but I have to admit that both of them were not really my thing.

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                                                                                                                                                                                       Jason Derulo's concert in IUP by Shannon Furdack    

 

So, at 2 pm, I went to watch the football game. The weather was just perfect and everybody was in the stadium to enjoy the day. It' was a great game- ok I don't really understand the rules but I know that IUP team played very well. Unfortunately we lost by a point, but it didn't seem to change the mood of all the people there.

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 IUP football game, IUP cheerleaders during the game, Fans with Norm.  Pictures by Laurie Ajavon  

 

The game over, I went grab free food at brotherhood' stands and it was time to go to the HUB for the show "Rock the mic".  After a long wait, in front of the door of Ohio Room and then a long wait in Ohio room- this time it was more pleasant because it was punctuated by a very good DJ-, the fashion "Pre-Show" started. I could see the ugliest tatoo's contest-the laureate won $100- and the funniest reincarnation of the rapper Queen Latifah.  After another long wait, we could finally laugh at the Comedy Central comic, Deon Cole's jokes. I have to admit that it was a black people targeted show- 90 percent of the audience there- but everybody can laugh about everything. The funniest thing was to see two white girls at the first row really serious all the show long as if they were bored.

Even Cole tried to understand why they stayed there if they didn't like the show and make them laugh...but it was a failure.

At midnight, I and my friends decided to go to the Underground, a club in Philadelphia streets. The street was just overcrowded. In front of every bar, there were lines; no exception for the Underground. The half of people in the street was drunk. It was a party mood and at the same time, I could feel that it didn't take much to provoke a fight.                 

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                                                                                                                                               Dean Cole at the HUB. Picture from jazz and jokes.com

I met a lot of people that I see every day on campus who came talk to me for the first time, asking me if I was a student of IUP. Alcohol and its effects... Since we were not there to drink and even less to fight, we decided to find some food and walk back. There was a line even in front of Sheetz. I was speaking about fight, no? During the wait, I witnessed a fight which finally became a guy getting a beating by three others and a pursuit race on foot with the police. We grab our food and finally thought that it was time for us to go back in our house.

You understand now why I can tell this story to my parents?

And you, could you tell your parents what you did during homecoming?

 

 

 

 

"The best way to understand something is to ask questions." ThiMiniature de l'image pour Miniature de l'image pour Miniature de l'image pour Miniature de l'image pour Miniature de l'image pour Miniature de l'image pour Miniature de l'image pour Liz Tepsic high jumps is my journalistic motto. So, in a way to better understand American people's sportsmanship, competitive spirit and, as usual, make you know a IUP student, I interviewed one of my teammates. Her name is Elizabeth "Liz" Tepsic. She is 21 and her major is Finance. She practices Track and Field for five years. I chose her because she is the one among us who does the hardest workouts since she is heptathlete (she does seven Track and field events).

 

Why did you choose to practice Track and Field?

I played basketball for 12 years of my life and I already knew my potential in it.  Track was new to me and for as little time I spent with it, I was curious to see how well I could do. I like that your performance is solely based upon you, unless you participate in a relay.  Also, being a heptathlete, I have had the opportunity to learn a little bit about each event in track. Track is very diverse and that's what makes it exciting.

What are your goals for this year and after you graduate?

I am currently finishing up my senior year in track.  My goals are to win Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSACs) in the pentathlon-five events- and heptathlon. I would also like to take a trip to the national's championships. I currently have no future plans with track and field other than maybe to one day help coach. I'm not sure that I will practice after I graduate, however I do wish to run on my own and pass on my knowledge in the sport to other athletes.

What does being an athlete mean to you?

I love being an athlete. It brings a sense of pride and accomplishment to my life.  I have learned hard work, competitiveness, patience, courage, determination, team work, and many other traits along the way.  These all apply in real life situations and give me an edge on other people. I have learned great communication, teamwork, and time management skills. I have also learned how to maintain a healthy life style.

What do mean, for you, shirts entitled "Go Hard or Go Home"?

It means you either work hard, practice hard or compete hard or you might as well just go home. I feel the only way to win or get any better is to constantly work hard. Otherwise, you are not living up to your full potential.  Making shirts like these let other people know that you are serious and are planning to bring your "A" game.

Why should people do a sport?

 It is character building and teaches you to work with other people as well as learning time management.

What can you say to people who don't do a sport?

 Try it out. You never know if you can be good enough until you try.  If it is not your thing, try to get involved through clubs and organizations on campus.  In the meantime, go to the gym a few days a week and work out to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

*Picture of Liz Tepzic high jumping during the Pennsylvania championship (PSACS). Picture from PSAC's photographer.

 

        For me, these words look like General's words to his troops but they are actually an American's sport motto. Since I am here, I have noticed that the Americans vowed a real worship to sport. Here, sport is everywhere. We can see commercials about it and people doing it. They run in the streets or go into lifting rooms as if they don't have to. We can see all types of people doing sport; the office worker who does fitness during lunch time or just after work to stay in shape and to relax, the 15-years-old teenager who goes to the lifting room because he wants to have the same body as a football player, the girl who does Zumba dance to have a nice butt and beautiful abs for the beach this summer or this couple which runs together almost everyday because they have always loved sport and don't want to become weak. Yes, sport is a part of the United States' identity; it's a part of your culture. Doing sport, watching it on television or going to stadium and support your favorite team or sportsmen are just parts of the everyday habits for most of the Americans.

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                                                                                                                       IUP  Football games; Mercuryst team by Laurie Ajavon.

But why is sport so into your lives? What are you one of- if it's not THE- best nation for sport? What does make difference with other countries?

This is the question that a lot of countries ask themselves and the same one that I asked myself before I come here. But now, I have the answer:  YOU LIVE IN IT SINCE YOU ARE YOUNG! From primary school to the university, you are encouraged to do sport. Sport and athlete formation are integrated into your school curriculum. Your school schedules are made so that you can have time for leisure and especially for sport. In France, our schedules are full, from the primary school to high school. We have between seven to nine hours of class per day, so no afternoon off for us. Yes, we are one of the countries with the fullest school schedules in the world. At the university, the schedules include more free time but also more homework. Although , from elementary school to high school, we have between four to six hours of sport per week, these numbers tend to decrease year after year because of politic reforms. Unfortunately, sport is not considered as very important in child education. For politicians, it is not as necessary as math, geography or French. So, to do sport apart from school, the students really need willpower and have to have a real passion for sport because it's absolutely not easy to combine both, class and sport.

I practice Track and field since the third year in primary school. Between practices, courses, homework and trying to have some leisure and some rest to be in shape for classes and track meets, I can tell you; it wasn't easy. In High school, I used to have about 31 hours of class per day, from 9 am to 6 pm sometimes. I had to go to practice then. To get there, I had to take a bus during almost an hour. After practice, I had to go back home, take a shower, eat and start to do my homework... at 11pm after a long day. I sacrificed a lot of parties, jobs and boyfriends possibilities by passion but I will never regret all these year; I met a lot of people who became my friends, I traveled everywhere in France and in Spain. I think it's a good experience for a child.

 

  Privileges and competitive spirit

 University sport in the United States is almost more important than professional sport, so, everything is made to help students- athletes. As IUP's student, you have a free access to lifting room, pool or locker rooms. As IUP's student- athlete, you get all these privileges and you can also go and see the trainers or the nutritionist for free. If you are good enough, you can get a grant which will pay your schooling, your food and your housing. In France, we don't really have sport teams in High school and university. If you really want to do sport you have to be a member of a club apart from school and pay a subscription each year. According to the sport you do and your level, you can be either pro or amateur. For example, if you are a good soccer or tennis player, as if you are 17, you can already be a pro, play for big teams or take part to international tournament and earn a lot of money. For Track and Field, it's different. There is no real professional status for athletes in France. Most of them have to work as if they participate to Olympic Games and win a medal. Track doesn't allow them to earn enough money to live or good profitable work prospects. If you need a real sport management, you have to be very good because it has a cost. There are some training centres for different sports. Teenagers can sleep and practice there and at the same time go to school with flexible schedule, but as I said, it's expensive. If you are good enough, your club can pay for you. These conditions make that, around 23 years old, a lot of people quit their sport because it's time to work and earn money and it's difficult to find a boss who would leave you leave your job early because you have practice.

For me, it's easier to be good in sport in the United States than in France; all the conditions are there for you to succeed. I think it's the reason why talented people have more chance to be discovered here. go hard or go hard.jpgDoing sport from childhood creates in you a big competitive spirit and creates a solid mental.  But sometimes, this competitive spirit can be transformed in arrogance and in a lack of sportsmanship. Foreigners are often chocked by this attitude. When I came, I was surprised to see a these shirt with written "Go hard or Go home" or "I'm bust mine so I can kick yours" and others. The worst I saw is maybe the one I saw during a track meet:    

"The good: Slippery Rock

 The bad: Lock Haven

 The Ugly: IUP"

wearing by a Slippery Rock's athlete. I found that so puerile. For me, if you are good, you have worked hard and you know that you're going to beat everybody, don't say it, SHOW IT! I also saw bad attitude from coaches and teammates which appeared so weird to me, like indifference toward a teammate when he fails or get hurt or a coach from another school being consciously delighted about one of my teammates failure or distress.

 

I can understand that sport can be a passion since practicing Track and Field is mine but I have some trouble to understand certain attitude too much passionate. Sport is not supposed to teach you to give the best of yourself as well physically as mentally?

 

*Pictures:  Man with shirt "Go hard or Go home" from Google image.

 

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