I am not loyal to the United States. This makes me a super adaptable sports fan. So when I got the opportunity to partake in Russia’s hockey season, to become one with the crowd as a SKA (St. Petersburg’s hockey team) fan, I couldn’t pass it up.
The SKA arena is situated in the southeast area of the city. It is appropriately named “The Ice Palace”. The stadium is in decent shape; it’s the typical donut layout you’d find in arenas all over the United States. In fact, the place felt so similar I occasionally forgot that I was in Russia. And then the cheer section shouting Russian slangs, cheers, rants, and curses would warp me back to the USSR.
It was SKA versus Kazan, a supposedly formidable opponent. But maybe they weren’t so formidable. We won five to two. ...continue reading "Russian Hockey for an American"
So being an International Affairs major has its perks and pitfalls. I can pretty much study whatever I want: security, development, the Middle East, Turkish, Russian, Chinese, diplomacy, history, the US and every other government. I can study abroad three semesters with no problem. I can afford to take more art classes than an art major without stressing. I can learn from the best and the brightest professors that GWU has to offer.
But. ...continue reading "Oh Where Oh Where is my Stagiaire?"
A few weeks ago my host brother, Lucas, invited me to take a peek at his record collection. Among the pile of 80’s gold, I found an LP that really stuck out. It was one I had never seen before, with a drawing of a wacky mustached character (pictured). The drawing was of an Argentine musician called Astor Piazzolla (1921-1992), who I had never heard of. And the weirder thing was, that it was signed.
I gave Lucas the “what is this all about” look, to which he replied “no conoces a el!”. He put on some of Astor Piazzolla's tunes, and I was blown away. I had heard tango before, but not like this. Piazzolla was a classically trained composer and bandoneón tango player (the bandoneón is an accordion-like instrument). However, he broke away from the norm of Argentina at the time and fused the classical tango sounds with some elements of Jazz, and the result is beautiful.
...continue reading "Astor Piazzolla ; Where Tango Meets Jazz"
I had the opportunity to hear the song Gangnam Style in August. It was extremely popular amongst some of the local students at NUS. I heard it while in my theatre class and was taught the dance. I personally like the song because of its beat and fun dance moves.While this song is not sung by a Singaporean, it still is played numerous times throughout the day on the radio. Gangnam style, for those not familiar with the song, is written by a Korean rapper who goes by the name Psy. It is accompanied by a distinct set of dance moves. The lyrics of the song basically are talking about the Gangnam district of South Korea, where apparently people who live there have lavish lifestyles. The video to this song can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bZkp7q19f0 ...continue reading "Oppan Gangnam Style!"
A favorite weekend pastime of students in Egypt is taking out feluccas on the Nile. Feluccas are small boats with bright lights and floors of varying durability. We walk down the river to the docks, negotiate a price, and have them for a few hours. Besides the river view and the good company, music is the best part of a felucca excursion. Either one of the Americans plugs in their iPod and we sing along to our familiar favorites, or we get an Egyptian playlist. I don’t know quite enough of the songs to sing along, but they’re great to dance to and great for learning Amiyya. The only downside of all this musical immersion is that I can never find out the songs' titles or singers. ...continue reading "I’m On a Boat (On the Nile)"
I’ll be perfectly honest with you; I’m not much of a team player. I’m the guy who’d rather build his own diorama of the Pantheon. I’m that guy to wander away from the guided group tour. I’m that guy who, against all recommendation, likes to travel completely on his own. Wandering the world alone lost in audiobook, armed with nothing but a map and a canteen full of water, I am at my happiest.
You might call me antisocial. I wouldn’t necessarily disagree with you, though I prefer to think of myself as “independent.” There’s something to be said for exploring on one’s own whileabroad. We’ve all seen those groups of students taking “cute” pictures with the Queen’s Guard, or beneath the Eifel Tower. That’s well and good, but I always find myself wondering whether these people are really experiencing their surroundings. There’s nothing quite like frantically navigating your way across a strange and foreign city in an attempt to catch the last train back to your hostel at 2A.M.
...continue reading "Solo Sessions"
British kids are proud of their music and they should be. Their music revolutions turn into our music revolutions from pop to goth to punk and a little bit of soul. Then of course there are The Beatles, four boys who made this country and are always hanging around London in advertisement and art.
Before I came to London I was terribly concerned with being cool. I’m giving up now and embracing my full on lameness. There is just no competing. The kids here play David Bowie at parties and Radiohead when they get home. In America we play vain songs from vainer artists. Walk through my freshman dorm and you can hear The Libertines, Florence and the Machine and Mumford & Sons who are every British kid’s patron saints since the release of their newest album.
I can’t pick a song that I love here because there are just too many. So here are a few of my favorites old and new. ...continue reading "British Beats"
Oh dear. With the realization that this week marks the point at which I am exactly halfway through my time here in Nepal, and just past halfway through the semester, I guess this means I've settled in to life as a student in Nepal. This mostly mean's I've found my niche and accepted my identity here: I hang out at the mid-level integrated Western cafes, where it's mostly white people and monks but you order the lemon ginger honey tea to go with your spinach crepes and no one's using the wifi. I say I'm studying here for a semester and try not to claim that I live in Kathmandu, as it's rather obvious I'm not from around here and don't have the cultural capital of the long-term ex-pats. It's a nice balance as some of the truly local joints are beyond my abilities both linguistically and in terms of limits on my dhal consumption. I take public transit if there's a direct line, but as soon as transfers get involved I know to give up and grab a cab. I've bought local traditional fabrics to have tailored into an outfit, but it'll be western style not a chupa because... there are many things I just can't pull off. ...continue reading "Around Kathmandu"
Some days are moche. Other days are exellente. As I last wrote my stage, or internship, with Medecins Sans Frontieres isn’t going ideally. But this Wedenesday last, I got lucky.
So I’ve been trying this new thing called “networking”. I don’t really like people too much so for years this is something I’ve been trying to avoid. Under the scrutinizing pressure of my awesome German-American boyfriend, who now has more friends in Geneva after living there for two weeks than I probably will throughout the duration of this lifetime—and the next—I gave the whole networking trend a try. ...continue reading "The Whole “Networking” Thing."
As I mentioned in my last post, I am volunteering teaching English at the Mubarrat Um El Hossain in Amman, Jordan. I just got back from class-whew! I am tired. It's a far trip from my house, but it is such a rewarding experience.
I teach ten girls, who range from high school age to mid-20s. They all have different reasons for wanting to learn English. Some of the reasons they have told me have been to further their educational career or because they love to learn new languages. The class is a conversational English class, so it is important to always engage the students in conversation. Students in Jordan are mandated to take English class in school, but this usually means that they learn grammar. It can be hard to practice speaking conversational English, so these girls have a good opportunity to practice speaking with a native - me! ...continue reading "First two weeks at the Mubarrat"