Tag Archives: culture

#Shaolin Temple’s #Kungfu Monks

21 May

Henan is home to the Shaolin Temple – made famous in Jackie Chan’s films and the center of Chinese Kungfu or “Wushu.”  The monks did a performance for the Henan Tourism Festival!

#TeachingLols ~ That’s a lot of Kids!

6 Apr
😆
So I’m working with my international students (Mongolia, Indonesia, and India) and asked what they did this summer.
One girl goes off because she expected to have a vacation, but got stuck working. She starts listing all of her chores, complaining, and the other students are just nodding along commiserating.
She finally gets to the part where she had to babysit her siblings and cousins. The kids are like “yep, yep” right up until she goes “So, I just want to say that I’ve learned from this summer. I mean, I am totally not going to have more than 5 kids. That’s just more than enough.” Said completely sincerely with no inflection or emphasis at all.  You could see them start to nod again, stop, look at one another and turn in unison to stare at her. One girl goes “FIVE kids” with eyes real big. She goes “Yeah! I mean, I think stopping there is plenty.” They stare some more. I crack up secretly on the inside.
This in the country where 2 kids is only just now allowed universally and is still pretty rare in the cities. 

Ancient Murals Found in Chinese Tomb

18 Mar

“Ancient Tomb Decorated with Vibrant Murals Found in China”

by Owen Jarus via “LiveScience”

Male servant

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#Music I Love ~ “Fire of the Heart” OST of “The Journey of Flower” (Hua Qian Gu)

22 Feb

Happy Chinese Lantern Festival!

11 Feb

Happy Lantern Festival!  Tonight is the night (15 days after #ChineseNewYear ) when the Chinese light paper lanterns and send them up to the sky.  

My picture wasn’t very good 😭 I’ll post a better one later. But the #moon sure was pretty! Here in Zhengzhou, we have the highest smog records for the country, so the moon is a rare night.  Today was perfect for the festival! Clear skies, brisk air, and a good wind. 😄 

Wishing you all the best and a great upcoming year! 🍀

#China #travel #festival, #traditions #lifeabroad #international

Xin Nian Kuai Le!

27 Jan

Famed Ringling Bros. circus closing after more than 100 years

16 Jan

**Sadness! I never got to see the circus. This is completely the end of an era and a great loss. Also a sadness for the conservation center-hope they can find an alternative means of funding or what will happen to the poor elephants there.  Great shout-outs to all the great members of the circus group and all the joy they brought audiences for years. You were seriously a part of the American culture!

“Famed Ringling Bros. circus closing after more than 100 years”

by Tony Marco and Azadeh Ansari via “CNN”

Performers ride elephants during a live perfomance in 2007.

The Ringling Bros. circus is closing down after more than 100 years in operation, according to a press release from Feld Entertainment, which has owned the circus for the last 50 years.

“I have made the difficult business decision that Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® will hold its final performances in May of this year,” CEO Kenneth Feld said.
High operating costs and the decline of ticket sales “made the circus an unsustainable business for the company,” Feld said.
And after “the transition of the elephants off the road, we saw an even more dramatic drop” in ticket sales, Feld said.  Before taking the final bow, the Ringling Bros., will perform 30 shows across the United States between now and May.
For years, the elephants have been in the spotlight and their dance routines featured prominently in the shows. But due to mounting criticism from animal rights groups, the Ringling Bros. phased out the elephant acts entirely.
Off stage, the Ringling Bros. runs an elephant conservation center which sits on 200 acre of rural land in Florida, between Tampa and Orlando. Created in 1995 by Ringling, the facility focuses on the care and study of Asian elephants — an endangered species that it had used in its shows.

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This painting was looted by the Nazis, then seized from my living room

6 Dec

“This painting was looted by the Nazis, then seized from my living room”

by Craig Gilmore via “LA Times”

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Two agents from U.S. Homeland Security’s ICE unit arrived at my door in September looking for a Polish lady — not a person, but a painting: Melchior Geldorp’s “Portrait of a Lady.” She had, they informed me, been looted by the Nazis from the National Museum in Warsaw.

Unsure if these gentlemen were indeed who they claimed to be, I didn’t invite them in. But I knew exactly what they were seeking: My partner, David, and I had purchased this very portrait — ostensibly the work of a different artist — a decade earlier from a major auction house in New York. 

Upon their leaving, I stood dumbfounded, holding a packet of information about the alleged provenance of our painting. After calling David at work to drop this bombshell, I began a Googling frenzy, eventually bringing me to Poland’s Division for Looted Art website. Seconds later I was gawking at an old black-and-white photo of our beloved lady, a beautiful portrait painted on oak panel in 1628. Tears welled in my eyes with the realization that, without question, if this were true we needed to do our duty and get her safely home.

Being an opera singer, I was among a group of vocalists on a government-sponsored tour of Israel some years ago. During a visit to a community center for Holocaust survivors I was asked to sing. The emotion of being surrounded by people who had prevailed through such unimaginable horrors was overwhelming, and I found myself unable. Excusing myself, I attempted to make up for it by spinning several of the ladies around the dance floor — all the while trying not to look down at the numbers tattooed on their wrists. 

Now this memory flooded back to me, and I found myself once again in tears, hyper-aware of how Nazi atrocities affect us still to this day.

The toll of World War II in Poland — including the deaths of 6 million Poles, Jews, and other outcasts, including homosexuals — is unimaginable. Being gay men, David and I feel a personal connection with these losses and are conscious of how political shiftings can lead to vulnerability. This, added to the knowledge that Poland’s LGBTQ community is still in a struggle for its basic rights, has weighed heavily on our minds. 

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Steve McCurry Photography

1 Dec

Jumping Jacks (Wushu-Style)

25 Oct

Look carefully, and you’ll see the Chinese lanterns in the background – I thought this was a cool photo. These are performing Chinese students of Wushu from the Shaolin Temple during the biennial Wushu Festival.

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