Una mezcla de informacion

SO, last weekend I was in California for my boyfriend’s brother’s wedding in Ventura. It was so beautiful! They got married on top of a hill overlooking the city and the ocean. There was a big cross at the top of the hill and tons of rose petals spread all around!!! So beautiful. And Lauren, the new Mrs. Houck, looked like a princess. Overall it was a great time! That being said, I didn’t write a blog last week, so I’m making up for it with a double dose of information.

The first thing I’d like to talk about is the weather! Here in Oswego, it’s starting to get a lot colder, forties in the day and thirties over night. We haven’t had snow yet, but I was sure we were going to this week. My parents said that it snowed a little down in the Southern Tier this past week. Soon enough, Oswegonians, we’ll get blasted.

I spent my freshmen year in the Adirondacks where it got down to -26 degrees some days, and we still had to go to class. That was brutal. When I transferred to Oswego the following year, I didn’t think that the winter could be worse than the Adirondacks. Well, the temperature here in Oswego hardly gets as low as negative 20s, but there are other factors that make it hard to handle. When it’s snowing and the wind’s blowing 20-30 mph and you have to walk to class in a blizzard, that’s pretty intense and hard to handle. Last year, more than once, I was lifted up by the wind up onto my toes and pushed by it. There are smaller girls who walk around and you can see them getting buffeted by the wind.

It’s pretty crazy, but there are some precautions you should take to weather the weather, if you will. When you go outside, wear a hat that covers your head, ears, neck, etc. You may not want to mess up your hair or look weird wearing a beanie, but trust me it’s definitely worth it. Next, wear a scarf! These things save so much heat by covering up the nape of your neck front and back. They can also double as mouth/cheek covers if you pull them up far enough.

Another thing you should invest in is a good pair of boots. I’m not talking about the fashionable high heel boots or Uggs that freeze your toes as soon as they hit the snow. Invest in a pair from Dick’s or something. They have cute, well-insulated boots for less than $40. I’d say risk the fashion faux pas by keeping your feet warm from frostbite. And boys, steel toe boots don’t cut it. Wear some hunting or hiking boots that have insulation in it to save your footsies. IF you don’t want to invest in high-end weather boots, invest in some wool socks. I have a pair of impractical but very cute boots that I love wearing, and I always wear my wool socks to keep my toes from freezing when I’m out walking around in the snow that gets blown onto the sidewalks.

And please, don’t wear just tights as pants! You’ll freeeeze! If you want to dress nice or have to for a practicum or presentation but you don’t want to freeze, put on some Long Johns (thermal underwear) under your dress slacks. Fashion doesn’t have to be a sacrifice! My overall advice for dealing with an Oswego winter is – dress for the weather and not the fashion, stay covered up, change your background on your computer to a beach scene to remind you of brighter days to come, and go out and play in the snow! We don’t want to get cabin fever do we?

Snow down by the lake

And now, for the second aspect of my blog. I’d like to add another tidbit of information on GHANA!!!
(the following information comes from The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture – Ghana by Ian Utley – 2009 – Kuperard – Random House)

In Ghana, it’s proper to greet someone when you see them anywhere, if you don’t it’s an insult (p 78). They’re more apt to hold grudges for one missed greeting than people in the U.S. would be. We’re more used to walking down a city block, not knowing anyone, and not even acknowledging other people’s presence. It’s an American thing that would fly in Ghana. It’s important to say it even before buying something. Utley writes that there is a difference between “Good morning. Please, do you sell cigarettes?” and “Please, do you sell cigarettes?” (p 79). There’s a good deal of respect inherent in conversations in Ghana that also is different than American culture. In the South, students still address teachers as Ma’am and Sir from time to time. It’d be the same in Ghana.

I also learned that you’re supposed to use your right hand to eat and greet and all that. It’s considered rude to use your left hand because what is implied is that you use your left hand for bathroom duties, so to use it to eat or shake hands, even if you washed or not, is considered more or less gross. That’ll be hard to get used to because I’m used to using both hands to eat, switching the utensils. SO, we’ll see how I fare at this!

That’s all for now… thanks for your patience! Take care and have a great weekend!

Campus Parking

So there has been a lot of talk on campus about parking issues and how there isn’t adequate parking for commuters. As being a commuter myself, I agree. We get the option to park on the outskirts of campus, if you will and it is our only option until 3 p.m.
The parking fee is not an issue, $118.80 is a decent price compared to other SUNY school parking fees AND freshmen are allowed to have cars. This fee goes toward the officer’s salary so it’s not like it is a useless and overpriced fee.
The real issue here is space and where the spaces are located. Yes, faculty should have designated parking spaces and lots specifically for them. However, as far as students, I feel as though all lots should be fair game: commuter and resident. We are all paying the same price for the parking fee so we should all get a fair chance at parking spaces and shouldn’t be penalized for parking in a resident lot. Most of the students who do live on campus don’t use their cars on a daily basis anyway; they just sit there taking up space. Yes, some students do use their cars daily but others don’t and in most parking lots, a lot of spaces are still open and are open the whole year and commuters still get punished for parking there, with a $20 ticket.
One way to help alleviate this problem would be allowing only sophomore, juniors and seniors the option to have cars on campus. That way it opens up some of the resident lots and that open space could be used for commuter students.
This is my first year as a commuter but I know that the winter is going to be a long walk from the commuter lot to classes. We are on lake Ontario so it’s obvious that there are going to be strong winds and a lot of lake effect snow.
Oswego Snow
Okay, just kidding the snow doesn’t get this bad. But we do get a lot.
There just has to be some solution to this issue or parking. It’s not fair to exclude commuters just because they don’t live on campus.
**This blog is purely opinion and is not meant to degrade SUNY Oswego in anyway shape or form. Every college campus has their issues. I am only expressing my opinion**

A New Day in the Old Town

It’s so hard to believe that we’re nearly halfway through the semester already. Tomorrow, well technically today, I suppose, I have to take my English 304 midterm, and I am very nervous about that, because I remain pretty confident that I am going to get a pretty terrible grade on it. I am just not used to this kid of English course. Ever since middle school, English classes did not involve actual assessments but instead portfolios which consisted of written work throughout the year, and now, I have to take an actual written assessment in the traditional sense, and I have a multitude of different terms that I need to know the meaning of as well as a multitude of different names that I need to associate with literary periods, and I am really stressing out.

Basically, this semester has really been pretty on and off for me; it’s been pretty bittersweet, in other words. A lot of goodness has come out of this semester, a great deal that is much different than my situation last year. For example, I have an awesome roommate who I am so happy I asked to room with last year; there have been absolutely no issues whatsoever thus far, and I don’t foresee any taking place. There’s a great deal of respect between us, and I definitely think that that is the main reason why this is really working out for us. So, anyway, I am really happy with my living situation, which is currently Waterbury, and apart from the ear-piercing fire alarm, I love everything about it.

Other than that, though, like I said, I’m kind of struggling to sync myself with this English class, and additionally, I am taking Biology, and I am having a really tough time with that as well. I got my first test back last week, and I remember leaving the class in which I had taken the test, thinking that I had managed to pull of a solid C grade, but no, I didn’t have any such luck. I failed it miserably. I was really upset the day that I found out, but not that I’m the type to blame other people for my mishaps, but in this case, I really do think it’s partly my professor that is at fault for this grade, because she flies through the slides, and when a student will ask for the slide to be brought back up, because he or she didn’t have enough time to get everything down, she will say, “All of this is in the book,” so what I’m wondering is why I’m wasting time coming to class then if all of my learning is to be done from the book.

I learn by taking notes in class, letting that sink in and then going over my notes and deciding on what I understand and what I don’t, and what I am not quite absorbing, I resort to the book for, and I am having trouble doing that now, because I’m not learning anything in class. She did say the other day in class that all of the notes are on Angel, so I might just have to go there to read up on the notes, because this really is pretty ridiculous if I may say so myself. I cannot allow myself to fail this class; I really want to put all of my general education courses behind me so that I can get into my major. I honestly do not understand general education requirements. I’ve never in my lifetime going to use anything that I am learning in Biology, for example.

Anyway, I went home this past weekend, and that was really nice. I love this weather; and I love this time of year and everything that it involves. I love the Autumn air, leaves, apple cider and Halloween, of course. The only thing that I don’t like about is that almost all of the things that I love about Autumn, with the obvious exception of Halloween, are indicators that winter is coming, and I hate winter. I can’t stand snow, and I can’t stand the cold, and yes, I chose to Oswego, but don’t ask me why. Everyone always asks me that when I declare my detestation of the winter time, “Why are you going to Oswego then?” Well, I suppose that’s about everything that I wanted to cover this time around. Hopefully, I will be writing a bit more often, but there is just always something occupying my time, and it’s usually not something I’m having too much fun doing. I hope to write again soon, though!

The wonderful things that happen in Paris, pictures included!

So I am offically finished my first week of university in Paris.  I will have to say it is better than I expected, and sitting in a class for three hours is proving to be easier than I originally thought it would be! 

 The most difficult class I am taking, Scolarisation des eleves non-francophone, is an undergraduate/graduate class.  Lucky me!  It was very interesting, and my education classes I have already taken in the States made it easier.  During class our professor asked the class what the definition of multiculturalism was, and after taking an education class that focused on multiculturalism, I immediately raised my hand.  I said that it was a mix of many cultures and my teacher responded by saying, “that is so anglophone of you, where are you from?”  I said New York State and she said, “Yes that is why you think that.”  I was so confused as she asked another student to answer the question.  Apparently different cultures have different definitions for words.  In Europe, all the cultures are essentially divided by the borders of their countries, so in Europe the definition of Multiculturalism is juxtaposing cultures or cultures side-by-side.  Since the United States is many cultures mixed together, it is obvious we would believe multiculturalism is various cultures in an given area.  I knew I was in France, but I never thought I would hear someone tell me, “ohh that was so anglophone of you!” 

The rest of my classes went well, although due to a minor conflict in classes, I switched from my grammer class to an Interculturality class.  I think that comparing French and American cultures will be more interesting than grammer anyway, so it all worked out fine.

Friday I had no classes, but it ended up being one of my busiest days of this week!  I have to go to the Office of Immigrations and have a medical appointment to get my Carte de Sejour that allows me to reenter France if I travel.  So I am hoping to start travelling very soon.  I know that I am going to spend Christmas in Germany with my “brother” Johannes.  Johannes was an exchange student who lived with me and my family while I was in high school.  I am very lucky to be able to spend Christmas with people I know while I am living in Europe.  I hope to visit some other friends I have in Europe as well, but we will see what time allows.  Speaking of travelling,  I booked a spot to go to Mont-Saint-Michel at the end of this month with my exchange program.  I had said before I even left to come to France that if I went anywhere while I was studying abroad it would be to Mont-Saint-Michel, so I am very very excited.

On Friday night I went out to dinner at a resturant near Boulevard Saint Germain.  I went with two of my French friends and it was a lot of fun.  We had some champagne, wine and we ate lots of French food!  For our appetizer we had a french dish that was an egg in a cream mushroom sauce.  It was very good.  For dinner I ate Boeuf Bourguignon, it is beef in a sauce with potatos and carrots.  I forgot the name of the dish my friends had but I tried it then they proceefed to tell me that I actually ate the bone marrow from a beef bone.  It was surprisingly good, but it was hardest to get over the fact that I had eaten bone marrow, I had assumed that the center of the bone had been stuffed with something, not that we were actually eating the marrow of the bone.  Oh well, cultural difference and I tried something new!  And of course for dessert we had creme brulee. 

Saturday I went to La Fete des Vendanges. 
fete des vendanges
It is the festival of grape harvesting, and there were lots of wine stands to buy local wine.  I saw a parade in the middle of Montmartre and it was a lot of fun.  In addition to a wide variety of wines, many of the regions of France had stands with their local cuisines and wines.  It was once again a festival celebrating the culture of France.  I have never seen a country so proud of their culture and heritage and I really enjoy all of the events that happen every weekend.  I have been here for a little over a month and there has already been 3 separate festivals and events celebrating culture!  

People in Montmartre at the Festival!
sacre coeur fdv

Later Saturday, I went to the Seine (The big river that runs through the center of Paris) to celebrate one of my friends birthday.  We sat on the edge of the river, drinking wine and eating lots of Prince cookies and bread with cheese.  It was a lot of fun and I loved watching all of the tour boats going by with their bright lights that shine on the shore.  It was so relaxing and peaceful!

Oh and this is and advertisement in the Metro for Orange Internet and I think it is hilarious so I am posting it!
ily i et i
(There is Internet…… and Internet, I love Mr. Potato Head!)

Paris has been so fun this week, if I stay this busy Iwill be it will be January before I know it.  I don’t know how time can seem so fast or slow!  But  am enjoying my time here while it lasts!  Hope you enjoyed my post this week!  ENJOY!!!!!

Toute a l’heure!

Owen does the Oswego Indie Series

The music scene is quiet around these parts. Unless you travel to Buffalo or Rochester, chances are you probably won’t find much live music. Thankfully, ARTSwego and WNYO college radio are teaming up to bring “The Indie Series” to Oswego State campus.

This month, the campus gets to indulge in the acoustic folk sounds of Owen. Hailing from Chicago, Illinois, Owen is the brainchild of singer/songwriter Mike Kinsella. Mike is a well-known name in the Chicago indie scene, to say the least. Owen manages to take the unpolished and raw acoustic style of an old-school Bright Eyes while utilizing the sweet sincerity of other stringed instruments like violin and even cello. Mike plays virtually every instrument on all nine of his EP’s and albums.

Owens lyrics are pretty down to Earth. He sings about things going on in his everyday life, sort of like an angelic, teen Bob Dylan with girl problems (and a lot more fluid melody). It doesn’t leave much to the imagination, but it’s calming and soothing. Owen is more of a band to sleep and reflect to than to get amped.

No matter what you choose to do with your Friday night on October 16th, just remember for $5, you can catch a decent show with a bunch of people looking for the same thing; some good music to listen to.