Thursday, September 22, 2016

Moon Festival in Vietnam

Hello everyone! 

I wonder if anyone knows that Moon Festival (Mid-Autumn Festival was on last week珞. For people who don’t know what this festival is about, “The Mid-Autumn festival is named "Tết Trung Thu" in Vietnamese. It is also known as Children's Festival because of the event's emphasis on children. In olden times, the Vietnamese believed that children, being innocent and pure, had the closest connection to the sacred and natural world. Being close to children was seen as a way to connect with animist spirits and deities.” (Wikipedia)

In Vietnam, children participate in parades in the dark under the full moon with lanterns of various forms, shapes, and colors. What I found most interesting about this festival is that it has a special folk tale to go with. It is about the legend of Cuội, whose wife accidentally urinated on a sacred banyan tree.
The tree began to float towards the moon, and Cuội, trying to pull it back down to earth, floated to the moon with it, leaving him stranded there. And that’s why every year, during the Mid-Autumn Festival, children light lanterns and participate in a procession to show Cuội the way back to Earth.

Making and sharing mooncakes is one of the hallmark traditions of this festival. Mooncake has a round shape that symbolizes completeness and reunion. Thus, the sharing and eating of round mooncakes among family members during the week of the festival signify the completeness and unity of families.

Food offerings made to deities are placed on an altar set up in the courtyard, including apples, pears, peaches, grapes, pomegranates, melons, oranges, and pomelos. In Vietnam, cakes and fruits are not only consumed, but elaborately prepared as food displays. For example, glutinous rice flour and rice paste are molded into familiar animals. Villagers of Xuân La, just south of Hanoi, produce tò he, figurines made from rice paste and colored with natural food dyes.

Me with roomie and our friends, Camille

I miss the holiday so much since it’s been 3 years I’m not in Vietnam to celebrate it. But spending time last week with friends and eating mooncakes were such a precious moment here in the US and at PLU. Next year, Moon Festival will be on October 4 next year so put it on calendar and celebrate with your families and friends! 

Friday, September 9, 2016

Top 10 Lute-tips 

Hey Lutes! Whether you are right off the plane or have been here for some time, these tips will apply to you. I am writing from my own experience and the goal is to give you the best college experience you can possibly have. These tips have helped me conquer the world of college life with all that comes with it. From academics to having fun, college is a great time. I believe these ten tips will increase your productivity so you can both nail the classes and see the newest episode on Netflix. I wish you all the best for the upcoming semester. Let`s rock and roll, we can do this Lutes! 

This is me doing a prime tourist selfie in San Francisco over Spring Break Last Year for those who are curious. P.S: travelling is lots of fun! 
This is me in Garibaldi Lake, Canada for those who want to like to Hike/visit new countries. 

(That was a little bit about me, if you want to know more see my other post on this site)

Here are my Top 10 Lute-tips: 
  1. Get to know your school
    • There is always an event on campus! Check calendars and be a part of newsletters to see when fun stuff are going on. Flourish in the academic realm of lutes. Engage with teachers and classmates who want to help you be the best you can be here. 
  2. Get to know the area 
    • Parkland and Tacoma offers diversity and an unique opportunity to get different experiences and learn from people from others cultures like yourself. A lot of people want to talk to you so emerge in our area and embrace diversity within Tacoma, from food to music and art. 
  3. Get to know your classmates 
    • Engage in activities at school and in the area and make PLU yours. A big component to making PLU home and feeling at ease with Lutetown is to make it your own, do what you like to do and engage with the club or group of your choice. College is so much fun and you have began your journey as a Lute. Start a club if you don't see your niche or interest taken care of or join or rigorous variety of clubs on campus. 
  4. Grow as a leader
    • A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way. PLU has numerous ways to be a leader, at a club, in class or in talks with friends. A leader is within all of us so show your inner leadership here at PLU and have others do the same. 
  5. Don`t be afraid to be different
    • Often times you feel like you need to be different than you are to fit in, but be yourself and that is more than enough. Be yourself because everyone and every story is unique and everyone will respect someone who are confident in themselves and that they are good enough. If you have an idea at a club, say it, don't be afraid. 
  6. Dream big 
    • PLU is what you make it, so don't be afraid to dream big and make goals on what you want to get our of school here. Setting realistic goals is important but also goals that brings the very best out of you. 
  7. Master your schedule 
    • There is a lot of activities going on at college and a lot of people who want to engage with you. To succeed in various things, plan things and stay on top of your schedule to have the most fun. An example for me is doing homework in weekdays and then travel on weekends. I have done this thus far and have felt I have plenty of time to both succeed in academics, be part of clubs, work and emerge in fun travel experiences. 
  8. Control your expenses
    • It is important to budget and spend your money sustainably. The currency for a lot of you guys can be tough now, it is at least for me as a Norwegian. I need to budget food, fun, necessities and so on. Setting up a monthly budget is a great way to get the most out of your money. 
  9. Take care of yourself 
    • You are in a new country and it can be overwhelming. A good priority is to take care of yourself health-wise. I took the flu shot to avoid being sick for a week as I was my first semester here. Also, eat well and exercise. Food may not be the same that you are used to. Sleep is also quintessential. Though it is fun staying up late sometimes, do what you need to do to be at your best. Taking care of your body is crucial to being able to balance everything and to enjoy yourself to the fullest here in the states. 
  10. Foster teamwork
      • This is the summary of all the others. We here at ISS and other PLU workers want to help you succeed and to feel at home here at PLU and in the USA. We are here for you and want to have a good teamwork. Take part of our activities because they are really fun and don't be afraid to talk to us about anything. We are all together here, we all want to succeed, do well and have fun and enriching life experiences. Share your dreams and ideas on how to make PLU better and engage with others to help this come true.
    • Harald F. A. Overå  `18 Business Major - Feda, Norway 

    Thursday, May 12, 2016

    Who are the international students?

    Mt. Rainier from the plane
    "Sit back, relax with some popcorn and follow along because this is about you! 
    Yes you right there. You at a college around the world, you are one of them. You are one of the few, the privileged. You are an international student. 
    You have left your home to travel the world and to experience a new place, new cultures and new people. You are different, wanting to stand out from the rest of your friends at home and do well. Do well in school, do well in life. You have landed. You have landed to a college where you are pursuing your dream, exploring the world while building the foundation of your future life. 
    You are on an adventure, you are experiencing what many believe to be the best time of your life - College. Ramen noodles, long nights talking to your friends without knowing what time it is, volleyball in the sun, barbecue in the park at midnight cooking S`mores, binge-watching 18 episodes of that new series on Netflix and then figuring out you need to study a little bit for that big test tomorrow. That girl or guy you saw in class and then again at the dining hall, ask him or her out! Go outside of your comfort zone. Be who you are. Make the most of it. This is college, make the most of it, make the most of your world experience! 
    Do your best at school, but also enjoy your friends and the areas around you. Please enjoy yourself, you will not regret it. 
    We are those, the few, the privileged. We are the risk takers, we are those who left home to experience more of the world we are living in. We are adventurous, we are explorers building bridges, we are all of this. We are international students!
    By: Harald Overa

    Surfer at California Beach

    Zion National Park

    Monterey, CA

    Garibaldi Lake, Canada

    Kerry Park Seattle

    Saturday, May 7, 2016

    A Musical Revue: POWERless

    ~ Hello everyone   

    It’s the first week of May, also is my birthday month  Our school year will end soon along with my first-year in college, time really flies.. Anyway, my post this time is about the musical revue Powerless in the Cave on May 6th and 7th (go check it out if you can!!) at 8PM. I first heard of this show because of my friends who are featured dancers in it. 珞 It was so impressive that it would be a waste if you can’t make it (the tickets are free for PLU students!). All the songs were beautifully sang and the dancers were amazing  Since I cannot describe it myself with words, I hope the video I took is capable of doing it. Enjoy the video 

    Wednesday, April 27, 2016

    The Very Last Semester

    The campus is filled with blossoms. The flowers are flourishing. People are full of laughter. The sun is shining. It is spring an unusual one, but wonderful. Foss field is cramped. Everyone is trying to catch some Vitamin-D before the clouds move back in. One group is missing. Where are the seniors? Well, I can tell you.

    Without doubt the last semester has been the hardest one. Not because of school. School is fine. Even if one’s upper level classes complemented by the Capstone project keep one busy, it is most likely not the main concern of a senior. Next to one’s girlfriend, social activities and sports, which seem to take second priority during the senior year, one task is of significant priority. Resolving uncertainty. What will I do after graduation? Work, travel, or simply chill? Whereas the latter is unlikely, the other two sound tempting. Finding a job is a challenging pathway with ups and downs and many rocks on the way. Keep your head up! Do not give up! Commit to those principles and you WILL find a job. 

    The grass on the other side is always greener. For many it is the switching point between academia and the business world. How fast does the switch have to be made? I sincerely believe that traveling is another viable option after graduation to find oneself and prepare for the job world. Of course some funds would be helpful. However, traveling is not a pleasure reserved for the wealthy. Travel and work become another attractive options to those who do not fall into this category. Widen one’s horizon, create a feeling for different cultures, and develop an understanding that the world is bigger than all of us are essential life lessons to learn. Maybe your education is not done yet…

    Whatever you decide to do after college, stay true to yourself, and be a Lute: take our principles and inject them into the world! Do something great with your life, you only got one.