College Culture Night

After many hours of prep work, I pulled off my university’s culture night. And oh boy, it was more work than I ever imagined! I asked the participants, I helped them think of an idea for a performance, I wrote bios for each performer, I wrote the script for the emcee, I arranged the facility, and I advertised. Shew! I’m tired all over again from just typing that!

I desperately wanted to give our international students a chance to showcase their culture and their talents, and I wanted to give our American students a chance to learn about their classmates. We had students from Japan, Guatemala, the Philipines, Puerto Rico, Taiwan, and America  perform. They all did an excellent job, and I do believe that all involved had a great time. I hope to make this event a yearly thing!

Japanese culture

Masa and Shin doing kendo fighting

Filipino student

Mara singing in Tagalog, a dialect of the Philipines

Japanese student

Hikari bowing in her kimono after her piano performance

Japanese kimono

Masa writing Japanese calligraphy

Puerto Rican student

Orgen rapping in Spanish

traditional Chinese dress

Minmin introducing a video about dating in Taiwan

Puerto Rican musician

Orgen, from Puerto Rico, playing the bongos

culture night

Culture Night Participants (I’m 2nd from the left in the front row)

Thanks to our school photographer, Derek, for the great photos.

If You Don’t Love NSYNC….

Man, I must be getting old.

I am officially 10 years older than the college freshmen I now teach. I am really starting to notice the age gap too.

Today in class, a student was talking about how a mom in North Carolina is going to court for allowing her 11 year old son to get a tattoo. I asked my student how old he thinks a person should be before being allowed to get a tattoo. He said he was 16 when he got his first one, but people need to be able to make a mature, informed decision. I went on to say that it was a good thing that I didn’t get a tattoo when I was a 11, because I would have been sporting an NSYNC tattoo on my arm today. My comment was met with blank stares. Are you kidding me? Do my students not know who NSYNC is?!

Apparently not.

boy bands

Image courtesy of Google

This got me thinking about some other things that make me feel old when it comes to daily interactions with college students.

– I don’t like skinny jeans.

– I like Facebook more than Twitter.

-I don’t get all the Pokemon references.

– I know what the floppy disc icon on Microsoft Word stands for.

But, it goes the other way around too. I work with a lot of people who are a great deal older than me. The other day at lunch, a lady I work with was talking about how it was her 28th wedding anniversary, and that she was married in 1984. I quietly snuck this jewel in- “That was the year I was born…” So, I probably made her feel the way my students make me feel. What a vicious cycle.

But to sum it all up, if you don’t like NSYNC, we can’t be friends.

Gangnam Style Remixed

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, I’m sure you’ve heard the crazy hit song Gangnam Style by PSY. Have you been wondering what the song is about like I have been? Gangnam is a rich neighborhood in Seoul, and PSY is basically just poking fun at it. Turns out I visited that area of Seoul this summer when I was in Korea, so now I’m even more excited about the song.

And while I like the original version of the song, I REALLY like another version by a University of California, Berkley band called Ra-On. It has over 2.3 million views on YouTube! Check it out!

I’m also loving the Pentatonix version! Wonder if they even got close with the words. They’re too funny in this video too!

Not Your Normal Chik-Fil-A Post

Tonight I feel the need to diverge from my normal talk of travel and teaching in order to talk about a current issue.

Social media is awash with chicken. On Facebook, on Twitter, on blogs. Chicken. I am tired of chicken. All day long I saw pictures of the lines at Chik-Fil-A or people arguing about the issue on Facebook.

It may be sad but true that I hear a great deal of my news for the day on Facebook or other social media sites. For example, when Abe Lincoln died, the first place I heard it was on Facebook. Or was that Whitney Houston? Uh, anyway…Today no one was talking about anything else. How was I supposed to find out about the issues happening in the world?! (The news broadcast on television? A news website? Ssh!)

Luckily, I did hear about this gem:

On a recent trip to Jamaica, the hip hop super star Snoop Dogg changed his name to Snoop Lion. As if Snoop D-O-double-G wasn’t strange enough already! He will no longer rap about guns and drugs but will instead make reggae albums that his “children and grandparents can listen to”. This all happens only a month after Snoop Dogg Snoop Lion was caught trying to bring a small stash of marijuana into Norway and is now barred from entering the country for two years. The new and improved Rastafarian Snoop feels a connection with the deceased Bob Marley and even claims to be his reincarnation. I know I’ll be waiting eagerly to hear this new album. Why isn’t anyone talking about this piece of news? You. Are. Welcome.

Even though I don’t think Snoop Lion will drop it like it’s hot much anymore, I want to leave you with this video.

Dubby Dub Dub

I love dubstep! A few months ago, I wouldn’t have even been able to tell you what that word meant, so let me tell you how I made this discovery….

Don’t tell anyone, but I am in love with the show “The Sing Off”! From the very first episode this season when they sang Katy Perry’s song “E.T.”, I became obsessed with the group Pentatonix. Here they are singing “Your Love is My Drug” by Kesha (which I normally hate, by the way). Be on the look out at about 1:20 into the song for the break-down. They do some dubstep.



I wasn’t sure what it was about them, but I just knew I loved the beats they made in the songs and the original way they arranged them. Then, I figured it out. I like dubstep! I have been hearing about dubstep a lot lately. It really has only been around since about 1999, but didn’t start getting really big until about 2010. It started in London and has made its way around the world. It’s characterized by the uniqueness of the drums and bass, with the bass having a sort of “wobble”.

Not only do I love this dubstep remix to “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster the People, but this dude’s dancing is sick!

Skrillex is really great. Here is their song “Kyoto”.

Now, just about everyone is incorporating dubstep into their songs from Rihanna to Britney Spears. Ok, I have to go find some glow sticks! I’ll be back!

Karmin-My Newest Obsession

My newest musical obsession is the new Youtube sensation Karmin. They are an engaged couple from Boston who do lots of amazing covers. The first video I ever saw was their rendition of the Chris Brown song “Look at Me Now.” That song has some realllllly fast rap, but she does it perfectly! She also cracks me up with the faces she makes while she raps. 

Apparently, they’ve become so popular they were on The Ellen Show and Ryan Seacrest’s radio program as well. They always switch up the song to make it their own. Another one I love is “Forget You” by Cee Lo, which they made jazzy. 

I’m not much of a Lady Gaga fan, but they do an amazing rendition of her song “Born This Way”.

If you’re friends with me, I’ve probably already made you watch these videos. If this is your first time hearing them, I hope you dig it.