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Archive for September, 2010

For anyone who is looking for an internationally-oriented event tomorrow, the Hispanic Apostolate of the Diocese of Baton Rouge is hosting their 24th annual Latin Festival on Brightside Drive (near the Louisiana School for the Deaf). The festivities begin at 10:30am and continue until 6:30pm with lots of food, music, and fun.

As long as the rain holds out, this should be a great event. See you there!

LATIN FESTIVAL 2010 SCHEDULE
10:30 a.m.    Opening prayer with the Rev. Rafae Juantorena, Lazaro Avila and Rosa Eads
10:45 a.m.    Music with D.J. Santos
12:15 p.m.    Food booths, interviews with Memo Castro
12:45 p.m.    Grupo Mestizo
1:10 p.m.    Introduction, Latin Ballet of Virginia
1:15 p.m.    Latin Ballet of Virginia
2 p.m.          Introduction of Candidates to Queen of the Latin Festival by Marissa y Azucena
2:15 p.m.    Karaoke Contest with Marissa y Azucena
2:45 p.m.    Latin Ballet of Virginia
3:30 p.m.    Crowning of the Queen of the Latin Festival
4 p.m.           Banda Blanca Group (from Honduras)
5 p.m.          Raffle
5:15 p.m.    Banda Blanca Group (from Honduras)
6:30 p.m.    Closing

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On the Inside

Did you know that English is not the official language of the U.S.? In fact, we don’t have an official language, period. As a life-long American, I never knew this until I started teaching an ESL night class through Catholic Charities, and we went over questions for the U.S. Citizenship test.

There are a lot of things I learned in school (and throughout life) about my native country. But sometimes it takes an “outsider” to make you realize integral things about your world that you never noticed. That’s one reason why I enjoy hanging out with international crowds so much. It’s like seeing the world in a fresh, new light, as a child would see it. Everything is unique and interesting, exciting.

In the spirit of trying to change things up a bit in my life and become a more involved American, I decided to become an election commissioner. It’s a simple process really. I called my Clerk of Court’s office, signed up to attend a 2-hour training class, sat through the class and passed the 15 question test afterward. Then they showed us how to open and close the fancy (new), electronic polling machines. Who knows when (or if) I’ll get called to work an election, but at least I’m in the running now, and I can make a bit of cash while helping fellow citizens excercize their right to vote. It was a simple decision, but one that I feel quite happy about.  I’ll get to experience the polls from a different perspective, and it will give me one more reminder not to take the priveledges I was born with for granted!

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Since getting back from France, reconnecting with various communities in Louisiana has been one of my major goals. And I can happily say that not only am I finding joy in revisiting familiar people and activities around town, but I’m also discovering a wealth of additional resources and untapped international pockets. Spanish progress is moving along well, and though I still find it difficult to hold up my end of the conversation without my brain resorting to French or English, I am understanding a lot more than before. I’m also gaining opportunities to partake in the Latin culture here from special empanada get-togethers to learning about important Catholic feast days in Latin America. And the more people I meet, the more I discover that we are already connected in some way (whether we have a common acquaintance, have both volunteered for the same organization, etc.).

This past Sunday I partook in a tasty community dinner after Spanish mass and I met a whole table of women (and a few men) from Peru (several who recognized me from my work with the Baton Rouge Center for World Affairs). Even though I could understand less than half of what they were saying, I still had so much fun! Does that make me a nerd? 😉

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