New Years From Around the World

December 31, 2019

Here in the United States, we typically follow the Gregorian calendar.  December 31 marks the end of the old year, and January 1 is the beginning of the New Year.  We here in South Dakota are some of those people.  However, it seems that around the world, there are many different celebrations for New Year’s, sometimes on January 1 and sometimes not.

I explored some of the New Year’s customs around the world including Burma, Japan, Ukraine, Sudan, and Mexico.  Here are a few of the things that I found.

In Burma (Myanmar), people follow the Burmese calendar, a form of lunisolar calendar, and traditionally the New Year for Burma falls in April during the Thingyan Festival.  The festival lasts for 5 days and during the first 4 days, people try to douse each other in water.  This Buddhist festival corresponds with many New Year’s celebrations throughout Asia.

newyears1

Partaking of Water Dousing in Burma

 

According to Burmese belief, the water will cleanse the body, mind, and spirit from the previous year’s bad luck.  The people enjoy the refreshing water, too, as April is very hot in Burma.

 

In Japan, families end the year by eating toshikoshi (soba noodles).  The long buckwheat noodles are said to give longevity.  Noodles are served with fresh vegetables and tempura shrimp.  Just remember to finish all your noodles before midnight to avoid bad luck!

For those who are Buddhist in Japan, the Joya no Kane ritual is performed.  The Buddhist temples strike the temple bell 108 times on New Year’s Eve.  This symbolizes purification of the old year’s sins in preparation of the New Year.

In the morning, it is said to bring good luck if one watches the new rising sun and says a prayer.  Later that morning, toast with sake for good health, and then spend the day feasting, playing games, giving the children money, and having an overall great New Year!

 

 

In Ukraine, the Julian calendar was followed before the Gregorian calendar became popularized.  Because of this, many Ukrainians still follow the Julian calendar.  Jan 1 on the Julian calendar falls on January 14 in the Gregorian calendar.  Ukraine typically celebrates the New Year’s over a week’s period of time, January 7 to 14, with lots of music, festivals, plays, and outdoor activities in the snow including sleigh rides.

In Sudan where the Islamic religion is primary, the New Year’s is celebrated not in January but rather in August.  The actual date will vary each year according to the cycle of the moon, but the date ultimately corresponds to the prophet Mohammed fleeing from Mecca to Medina.  In 2020, New Year’s Day will be August 20.  Because New Year’s is linked to a religious event, it is considered a time to fast, pray, and be kind to each other by avoiding fights and other sins, and ultimately is a quiet time for reflection.

My Sudanese students have shared with me in the past that a typical meal for them on New Year’s was fresh ox with chili sauce.  Everyone from the village came together to slaughter the ox, eat, and celebrate the New Year together.

Interestingly, January 1 is an official holiday in Sudan as it is the Sudanese Independence Day; so many people will celebrate the day after all.

In Mexico, warm weather encourages people to celebrate New Year’s outdoor with barbeques and fireworks.  A typical traditional New Year’s meal starts around 8 p.m.  The family enjoys tamales and pozole (pork and bean stew) and drinks atole (a hot drink consisting of masa, cane sugar, cinnamon, and sometimes chocolate).  Afterwards, there are bonfires in the street and fireworks.

Some families like to hang a piñata, and the entire family from the youngest to the oldest try to break the piñata blindfolded until all the candy falls out.  Interestingly, the points on the piñata represent the 7 cardinal sins, and the candy represents the good that triumphs over evil.

So whatever you might plan on doing this year for New Year’s, consider adding in a new tradition…perhaps going outside in the freezing cold and throwing water at each other is not a good idea in South Dakota, but you surely you could ring a bell, eat tamales, and enjoy a good sleigh ride!

Happy New Year!  Here’s to 2020!

Written by Heather Glidewell | LSS Center for New Americans | Adult ESL Instructor

300 East 6th Street, Suite 100 | Sioux Falls, SD 57103

1-866-242-2447 toll free | 605-731-2059 fax

 


What we like about winter…

December 24, 2019

 

This past month we have been discussing seasons, especially winter as the snow has come to visit us in South Dakota.  Of course with this topic comes winter safety and winter driving and all the reasons we don’t like winter.  However, I asked my students to tell me three things they like about winter weather.  Here are a few of their answers:

 

christmas2019snow

The Beautiful View of the Big Sioux River in December

  • I like winter because my children love to play in the snow. They make snowmen and throw snowballs. They build snow forts every winter.  Snow can be a lot of fun.
  • I like winter because snow falls down. All places are very white. Some people don’t like snow because snow is too cold, but small kids need snow because they like sledding.
  • I like the snow. It is white. I like the winter.  My kids like it a lot and play.  My kids make snowmen, snow forts, and they like sledding.  For this reason, I like winter because my kids get excited to play in the snow.
  • I like cold because it’s good for my health. I like to play with my nephews outside because it’s so fun. In the season of winter, we celebrate Christmas and New Year’s.
  • I like wintertime because I get my tax return. I need money for my family. In wintertime, there are many holidays.  I like to be off and stay at home and rest from work.
  • Staying at home is good because I take time to relax and drink hot chocolate and watch movies.

 

christmas2019hotcoco

 

  • In winter, I like reading a book in front of the window, watching the snow fall down. It feels good. I like to take pictures to remember that I was frozen and it was fun!  I like to spend time at home with my family.  It feels comfortable and warm.
  • It is fun to see the white stuff fall from the sky. The ice and snow beautify the city.
  • I like winter because I can eat a lot of food. I like to sleep at night, but it is freezing cold!
  • I like winter because it is Christmas time and I can have fun with my family.
  • I stay home all day most of the time talking together with family. We make tea, coffee, and see the outside view. I like a white Christmas.  I want Christmas time to have a lot of snow.

 

Here is wishing you have time to appreciate the beautiful snow, build snowmen, have snowball fights, stay warm, and drink lots of hot chocolate this winter!

 

christmas2019

 

Have a wonderful Christmas

this week

from all of us

here at the

Center for New Americans! 

MERRY

CHRISTMAS!

 

Written by Heather Glidewell | LSS Center for New Americans | Adult ESL Instructor

300 East 6th Street, Suite 100 | Sioux Falls, SD 57103

1-866-242-2447 toll free | 605-731-2059 fax

 


Voices of Inspiration

December 17, 2019
voicesofinspiration1

Academic Words that Students Have Worked with this Past Semester

In my class at the Center for New Americans we work on academic vocabulary.  Recently we came across the word, “inspire.”  As we discussed this word and came up with examples, one student said, “Teacher, you inspire us to learn more.”  I have to admit, I did feel all warm and fuzzy after she told me this.  However, I feel it is I that is inspired by the students.  Their dedication and tenacity continues to amaze me.

 

Of note, at our most recent graduation ceremony, one of the speakers, a student from Guatemala, said, “I started out in class 1.  Now I am in class 4.  I knew only 7 words of English when I came to the United States.”  This accomplishment has involved years and years of study!  So very amazing!

voicesofinspiration2

Another student, a young man from Ethiopia, also addressed the students (as his adoring wife looked on and recorded his speech on her cell phone).  He was able to share, “I want to continue my education.  I want to be able to read and speak English well enough to continue onto college.  I want to help others.”  I wish him all the best in his endeavors!

 

Finally, a Bangladeshi woman also gave her fellow students advice, “If you don’t learn English, you are shut in at home.  One needs to learn English because it is important to get out of the house, important to get a job, important to communicate with schools about children, etc.  Learning English is a responsibility.”  Very well said and so very important to hear!

voicesofinspiration3

It is truly inspiring and a privilege to be a teacher of these wonderful students.  I can only hope to aspire to be even half as inspiring as they are!

 

Written by Heather Glidewell | LSS Center for New Americans | Adult ESL Instructor

300 East 6th Street, Suite 100 | Sioux Falls, SD 57103

1-866-242-2447 toll free | 605-731-2059 fax


What’s in a Name?

December 10, 2019

names1

It is a unique world that I teach in. On a typical day I have students from Eritrea, Somalia, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Congo, Burundi, China, Nepal, Bhutan, Burma, Ukraine…and a handful of other countries. I find that even what appears to be the simplest name may actually be a tongue twister for my American English tongue.

 
And yet, I am told, and firmly believe, that names show respect to people and help to create community and camaraderie. More importantly, as a teacher, it shows that I care when I try to pronounce a name correctly, even if I fail miserably.

 
And just What’s In a Name?

 
My obsession with names began long ago. I would spend hours as a child going over my grandmother’s name book and carefully pick out the best names with the best meanings for my future children…or a character in my most recent attempt at novel writing.
When I became an English instructor at LSS, my obsession with names continued. I found it fascinating to hear all the different names and pronunciations. I also found it intriguing that all my Nepalese women seemed to have the same middle name…Maya…and my Nepali men a common middle name…Bahadur. In fact I was so intrigued that I finally asked why? After a lengthy explanation, my students told me that Maya means “love” and Bahadur means “bravery.” They also informed me that first names, too, had meanings, such as Santi means “peace,” Chhabi means “key,” and Phul means “flower.”

names2
Recently I was able to discuss names with some of my other students from around the globe. We discussed: Who chose their name? Does their name have a special meaning? What is common practice with naming children in their home countries? Students were more than eager to share with me (and often laugh with me as I tried very hard to get the names right).

 
One interesting thing I learned was that a student from Sudan was named according to the day of the week. If a child was born on a Tuesday, the girls were all one name and the boys another, and then of course the other days had their own corresponding names. He said though that things have changed over the years, and this is not necessarily followed any more.

 
Additionally, another Sudanese student shared that children receive their own name plus the name of their father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. Thus a child could be named Aziza Mohammed Ali Osman (child-father-grandfather-great-grandfather’s names respectively) and this goes for either a boy or a girl.

 
My own name was always kind of an embarrassment for me as a child, and even today I have students calling me “Hi There,” “He There,” and “Heater.” Coincidentally a gentleman from Ethiopia shared that he, too, was always embarrassed about his name as a child as it is not a common name. In fact it was at the suggestion of a family friend that he received his moniker. Then one day he heard his name (at the refugee camp no less) and there was another with his name. He said he was so relieved to meet someone else with his name.

names3
Finally, for today, a student from China explained that their name means “Red Sun.” For him, this was a good name, to be named for the beautiful red sun in the sky. Certainly this was a name that he was proud of, just as my other students are proud of their names and their heritage…just as I am proud of my name and my heritage, too.

 

Written by Heather Glidewell | LSS Center for New Americans | Adult ESL Instructor
300 East 6th Street, Suite 100 | Sioux Falls, SD 57103
1-866-242-2447 toll free | 605-731-2059 fax


Why English? From the Mouth of a Student

July 9, 2019

Refugees-around-the-world

According to the Center for Immigration Studies, a total of 22,491 refugees came to the United States in 2018, and the largest number of refugees came from the countries of Congo, Myanmar, Ukraine, Bhutan, and Eritrea.  It goes without saying that the main languages of these countries are not English but rather Congolese, French, Kayah, Ukrainian, Russian, Tigrinya, Kunama, and a handful of other tribal languages.  For these grateful refugees, it becomes a matter of extreme importance to learn English once they reach the United States.  To simply navigate a grocery store or secure employment or pay a bill, refugees must have a basic working knowledge of English.  That’s where the instructors at LSS step in, providing a hand up to help get over the mountain.  We are so very proud of our students’ accomplishments and dedication.

Recently one such enthusiastic student spoke about the importance of learning the English language.  Here is what he passionately told all the other students here at the Center for New Americans:

“So this is my first time talking in public.  I’m nervous.  I’m pretty sure I will have too many mistakes, but that’s okay because that is the reason we are here.

We are here for to learn.  We are hear for to learn speak, for to learn write, for to learn read, for to learn listen.  There are four skills.  Everybody we need learn that.

I know it’s no easy.  But nothing is easy in this life.  So I think if you work hard, if you work with discipline and consistency, you can get it.

So almost everybody here in this room, we have something in common.  We are here to this beautiful country, finding something.  Finding a best life.  But we have a problem because this beautiful country have [a lot of] opportunities, but almost everybody speak English here.  So that is the main reason because we need to learn this language, everybody.  We need to work hard for get it good.  I think so.  No we need to work hard just for living.  We need to work hard for make difference.  We need to make difference and help another people, every day.  So for that we need dreams.  We need dreams, but no just dreams, we need dreams with goals because dreams without goals are just dreams.  We need to say life goals, yearly goals, monthly goals, daily goals, every day.  And we need work hard.  So I believe in everybody.  I believe in me.  I think so, you just, we need to keep going and get it.  So I think so, that’s it.”

 

Written by Heather Glidewell, ESL Instructor


Home Remedies from Around the World Part 1

May 7, 2019

This past month we have been talking about health care with our students. In my upper level English class, we discussed some home remedies that my students use. I learned so much from them!

 

Home Burn Remedies

stacked tomatoes onions and potatoes

From cooking mishaps to fun in the summer sun, we all have burns sometimes.  Here are a few of the responses I received from my students on the best ways to take care of them.

El Salvador ~ When I get a burn, I use aloe vera on my burn. I put tomato on it and then I feel better. I put cold water on the burn. I use honey and put on the burn.
Iraq ~ When I burn my hand, I will put tomato paste on a burn.
Venezuela ~ When I have a burn, I put onion on it, I rinse in a lot of cold water, or I put a slice of potato on it.

a jar of honey
So naturally I had to look up the benefits of putting a tomato slice on a burn, and sure enough there is a chemical called lycopene in tomatoes that reduces the heat from a burn and helps relieve the pain. Additionally honey has antiseptic properties for burns, and potato slices, especially the peel of a potato, will hold a lot of water and keep a burn from drying out too fast. Finally onion juice, too, has natural pain relievers.

 

Home Cough Remedies

 

artful pic of honey paste with garlic
The cold season is finally winding down, but allergy season is making its presence known, so my students gladly gave me ideas to help with coughing.

Guatemala ~ When I have cough, I drink hot water with honey and ginger.
Ukraine ~ When I have a cough, I drink tea with honey, ginger, and lemon.
Ethiopia ~ I drink milk with honey and garlic. I mix garlic and milk together. I boil for a few minutes and after that drink I feel better.
Eritrea ~ When I have a cough, I drink warm water. I drink lemon with tea. I take vitamin C; for example, lemon, tomatoes, or an orange. We have to drink hot water early in the morning.

 

artful pic of milk and garlic
The remedy that surprised me most here was the garlic and honey milk. Although both garlic and honey are said to have benefits for colds and coughs, I do not know if I could stomach warm garlic milk. I might have to stick to the other suggestions.

 

woman contemplating drinking a glass of milk

 

Catch me next time when I discuss even more home remedies!

Written by Heather Glidewell, ESL Instructor


5 Reasons You Should Become a Classroom Assistant

October 14, 2016

Today, we share 5 reasons why you should become a classroom volunteer and help the new students!

Reason 1 – Travel the world! (while staying in Sioux Falls) – In our classrooms, we have students from across the globe learning together. One moment you may be sitting next to a former doctor from Russia, the next reading with a farmer from Ethiopia. You’ll be able to see and learn about the culture of other countries without paying the cost of travelling or feeling the effects of jet lag – could it be easier?

Level 4 Students learning about US Universities

Level 4 Students learning about US Universities

Reason 2 – Make new friends – The students see our volunteers as both teachers and friends. While you’re here be prepared to hear choruses of “Teacher, Teacher! Guess what?” and “Teacher, my sister is coming to Sioux Falls; I bring her to meet you!” and even “Teacher, I made this cake for you.”

Reason 3 – Help fulfill dreams – Many of our students were unable to attend school in their homeland as a child due to war and violence. Now that they are here, they have the chance to. You can help by practicing flashcards and having conversations with them!

Reason 4 – Learn something new! – Not only can you learn about other cultures but you might learn more about America too. As one volunteer said, “I couldn’t believe what they have to know [for citizenship]! I couldn’t answer any of their questions!” Volunteering in a citizenship class is great way to brush up on your civics knowledge. Stun your friends with all the information you have!

Teaching gets physical when learning action words like "unconscious"

Teaching gets physical when learning action words like “unconscious”

Reason 5 – It’s fun and easy – You don’t have to be an expert to volunteer. We’re just looking for encouraging and welcoming individuals to help our students learn English. We laugh and joke while we teach in our classrooms. Just try not to smile while you’re here!

So if you’re looking to have fun, give back, and learn more about the world, become a classroom assistant! Sign up today to begin volunteering or call 605-731-2009 for more information!

 

Kristyne Walth, Volunteer Coordinator, Center for New Americans


The World is Here – in Sioux Falls

November 2, 2015

Hello! I am very pleased to begin my blog journey today with the Center for New Americans.

You will start seeing my name pop up here about once a week as I share stories from the variety of education classes we offer – English, job readiness, citizenship, and computers – as well as the large variety of immigration, case management, and interpreting services we provide.

Perhaps before I begin these stories, however, it is appropriate to share a few things about myself.

I ought to begin with the fact that I am from Florida – and I must say that it is COLD here in Sioux Falls! I will try not to refer too often to the weather, but you can forgive me if comments about the COLD show up every now and then, especially as the COLD season is upon us!  (Did I really see SNOW in October??  I’m sure it was an illusion, right? : ) )

While I grew up in Florida and have been living the past seven years in coastal Georgia, I have also spent a great deal of time living outside the U.S.  I have lived (in chronological order) in England, Slovakia, Kazakhstan, France, and Senegal.

In England, I was studying abroad. In Slovakia and Kazakhstan, I was teaching English, and in Senegal, I was working for the ELCA Global Mission doing development work.

Slovakia in the springtime.

Slovakia in the Springtime with my husband, Robert.

During my time abroad, I became fascinated with other ways of being and other ways of doing.  To learn and understand that the American view toward life is only one way of seeing the world has perhaps been the single greatest thing I have ever learned in my travels.

There is no one right way to be and do.  And to open one’s mind to this comprehension is to open one’s self to the world.

It is always good to get out of one's comfort zone.

Hiking in Norway this summer.  It is always good to get out of one’s comfort zone.

I cannot tell you how thrilling it was for me to walk into the Center for New Americans for my job interview and see a room full people from all over the world – from Bhutan, Ethiopia, Chad, Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea, Burundi, Vietnam, Thailand, Guatemala, El Salvador, Mexico, Ukraine, Poland, Turkey, and Iraq.

I thought I had died and gone to heaven! : )

Every day now, as a new English and computer teacher, I get to come to the Center for New Americans and talk to, listen to, teach, and learn from these amazing people about their experiences. We laugh together and learn together.

You probably know that we are always happy to have new volunteers to help in our classes.

So as I begin this new blog journey and new teaching journey, come and join me as I join the world right here in Sioux Falls!  You can call Kristyne Walth at 731-2009 or email her at kristyne.walth@lsssd.org to get started volunteering!

I promise the office is warm – in many ways!

Julie Boutwell-Peterson

 


A Journey of 6,000 Miles, Then 2.2 More: Volunteer Prosper Zongo

April 2, 2013
Prosper Zongo

Prosper Zongo

When Prosper Zongo rides up on his bicycle to volunteer here at LSS, he’s traveled quite a journey . . . much longer than the 2.2 miles that Google Maps might suggest.

Prosper is about 6,000 miles from his original home in Cote D’Ivoire (The Ivory Coast). He came to study at Augustana College here in Sioux Falls through the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship.

“Augustana has been like a home for me,” he says. Read the rest of this entry »


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