Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Love was in the Air...

1 Universe, 8 Planets
196 Countries, 5 Oceans, Countless Islands
and I had the privilege to meet you. 

Love was in the air last week as students and tutors gathered together to make Valentines for friends and loved ones.  A melange of art supplies was generously provided by Ken and everybody was encouraged to unleash their creativity.  It was fun getting to share this tradition with our students.  Thanks to all who participated!

As our session comes to a close and students prepare to graduate and go forth into the world, I'd like to say on behalf of all the tutors here at the ELI that it truly has been a privilege to meet each and every one of you.  Thanks for sharing your culture with us and helping to make the ELI the great school that it is.  Best wishes to you all!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Valentine's the Wolf-Day

Most of you probably know about Valentine's Day, a celebration of chocolate, flowers, etc for boyfriends and girlfriends. Few people, however, know the strange history of the holiday.

In ancient Roman times, February 14th was Lupercalia, the wolf-festival. Lupercalia involved priests (called Februa-->February) in wolf-costumes, a race around the city, and the sacrifice of a dog. The purpose was to cleanse the city of evil spirits and ensure fertility for the coming year. As Rome became Christianized, this holiday was done away with.

The origin of our modern Valentine's Day occurred in the early 19th century. Printers began to manufacture "Paper Valentine's"--greeting cards made with lace and ribbon and embroidered with sentimental love poetry. The popularity of these cards eventually led to our modern holiday.

Valentine's Day is celebrated in many other countries, but, in Asian cultures November 11th is often more popular. 11/11 is "Singles Day" and is celebrated, ironically, by exchanging chocolates and flowers.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Ancient Grammar Police

Here's a little grammar humor for you on this fine Wednesday afternoon.  The cartoon above made me chuckle.  Do you have any grammar jokes?  Feel free to post in the comments!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Nursery Rhymes

I had a discussion this morning with a student of mine about English nursery rhymes. A nursery rhyme is a short poem or song for children. Here is an example of one of my favorite nursery rhymes:

All around the mulberry bush
The monkey chased the weasel;
The monkey thought it was all in fun.
Pop! Goes the weasel.

A weasel is a small, squirrel-like animal. A mulberry bush is an American fruit bush. The story doesn't make a lot of sense, but there is a lively melody. In fact the melody for "Pop Goes the Weasel" is often played by ice cream trucks and carousels in the United States.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

ELI Game Night

Last Friday, we had "Game Night" here at the ELI. Students, teachers, and tutors played card and table games including Jenga, Spoons, Mastermind, Boggle, Trivial Pursuit, Blurt, Bananagrams, Scrabble, Checkers, Chess, and--my own childhood favorite--Connect 4 (see above). The event not only let students have a good time with their friends but also taught them about games that have been a big part of American leisure for many years.

Personally, I enjoyed game night but wish I could have done better. I made it to the last round of the Jenga tournament but faltered when one of Ken's witticisms distracted me, and the tower came tumbling down. I also had an (unlucky) stint as a Tarot reader, and got gollywopped (beaten badly) in a game of Spoons.

Oh well, better luck next time.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Welcome Back!

As a new ELI session gets underway, this week I would like to welcome back returning ELI students and give a warm welcome to all our newcomers from countries diverse as Uzbekistan, Brazil, Kuwait, China, and Saudi Arabia.

New students can check the map below to see important ELI locations.

View Important Eli Places in a larger map