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Thursday, April 24, 2014

UAFS Choral Ensembles

UAFS Choral Ensembles

Mon, 2014/04/28 - 7:30pm
At the Arkansas Best Performing Arts Center (Fort Smith Convention Center).
The best of choral literature requires the best of choral talent – as in the University Chorale, a 60-member auditioned ensemble, and the UAFS Women’s Chorus, both directed by faculty member Rager H. Moore.  The ensembles will join forces in two Season of Entertainment concerts and give voice to a broad repertoire of songs from the Renaissance to the present.
For tickets go to or call the UAFS Box Office at 788-7300.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Sant Jordi: International Book Day

Today I am kind of sad, because it is April 23rd and I am not in Barcelona. Random, right? Not really.

April 23rd is the International Book Day, and Cataluña has a particular way of celebrating it. It is called Sant Jordi. All day long, book stores invade the avenues of cities and towns, holding a sale where you can find your favorite authors or maybe discover new ones. Due to the good spring weather, people just go out and enjoy walking through culture. This tradition dates back to the 15th century!

In the streets you will find stalls with books but also stalls with red roses. Why is that? The tradition dictates that women should give a book to their men, and men should offer a red rose to their significant other. This rose is often accompanied by a branch of wheat. This gift symbolizes exclusivity of his love for her, since it is just one rose and not a bouquet. It also symbolizes passion, for its color is red; and the wheat symbolizes fertility.

Some people also dress up as dragons, knights or princesses, since Sant Jordi is a catalan hero who saved a princess from a dragon in the 11th century. People celebrate fantasy and the triumph of the good over the evil.

And this is me last year, enjoying my rose. I miss this day so much! Let's celebrate it in Fort Smith! Who is going to give me a rose? I would also appreciate a book! ;)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Final Week!

It is that time of the year again. The flower are blooming, the weather is becoming warmer, the swim suits are on the racks of every store, the TV has some new shows, etc.. Hold it right there, i am not talking about Summer. I am talking about finals week. That week when sleep is a luxury of the past, coffee is a life saver in any diet, and normally rational students inexplicably lose their mind.
So, now what is the survival strategy?

Well first of all, you have got to accept it. Finals are horrible, long and exhausting. The sooner you accept this fact, the better you will be able to prepare for them. Do not try to pull an all-niter during that week. Believe it or not, although it might seem kind of pointless then, sleep is very important. Staying rested will help you with your focus and will really make a difference when you are cramming an entire semester worth of material.
Try having some fun, eat healthy and take care of yourself. A poor diet and sleepless nights would lower your immune system.
Turn off your social media just for a week. You can totally do it, and it won't kill you.
Leaving your room sometimes, a change in scenery or some breaks every now and then will help you cope with the stress.
Talk to your friends or family, sometimes you only need to talk and let things go. They will listen and you will feel better after that.
Take every final seriously; that doesn't mean that not acing a final will be the end of the world. Do your best that's all anyone can ask you.

Good Luck!

Welcome Back Spring!

Spring season, is my favorite time of the year, after summer of course. Every single thing about this season is appealing: the flowers blooming, the pollen in the air, this whole feeling of rebirth and regeneration.

The good thing about spring is also the fact that you don't really have to think really hard about what to wear. The different colors i see everywhere just make me happy. The sunshine and the warm weather on the other hand make me feel lazy and not want to go to class. I wish spring break was right now, so we can enjoy this weather.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter in Spain

Last weekend was Easter, and I saw many people hiding and seeking chocolate eggs, stores and houses decorated with bunnies... and I kept thinking how different Easter is in Spain.

In Spain, traditionally a catholic country, Easter is called Semana Santa (Holy Week) and we have vacation for a whole week, finishing on Resurrection Sunday. During that week, procesiones or processions are held each day, consisting on the carrying of tronos, heavy statues representing a passage of the Bible. These tronos are carried by volunteers as a penance.

Here you can see one of my good friends in her penance:

Each one of the so-called processions has its own meaning:

Palm Sunday: commemorates Jesus' entry into Jerusalem.

Holy Monday: commemorates the anointing at Lazarus' house.

Holy Tuesday: Jesus anticipates to his disciples Judas' betrayal.

Holy Wednesday: Judas conspires to betray Jesus.

Holy Thursday: Last Supper.

Holy Friday: Vía Crucis. Representations depicting Christ Carrying the Cross to his crucifixion.

Holy Saturday: Paschal Vigil or Great Vigil of Easter. Commemorates Jesus being in the sepulcher.

Resurrection Sunday: Easter, el Encuentro. Commemorates the reunion of Jesus and the Virgin Mary.

Some of the typical Semana Santa attires are very shocking for American visitors, but we have to take into account our histories are really different and the meanings of these clothes are completely disconnected from one another.

I am actually from one of the towns where la Semana Santa is more famous in Spain, Cartagena, since it is said to be really beautiful. Besides, we have an extra day of vacation the Monday after Easter Sunday, and we call it Lunes de Pascua or Día de la Mona. La mona is a sweet pastry we eat that Monday. Traditionally, families get together and spend the day in the countryside and eat it. And here is where we can compare our tradition a little bit with America's, since in the middle of the pastry you find an egg, although is not made of chocolate... is a hard boiled egg!

And here you have my cousin and his little son prepared to go on procession!

Is Easter celebrated in your country? If so, which are teh main differences?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Water everywhere!

I know many people, international and local, have told you Fort Smith has not much to offer. But that is simply not true, you just have to know how to take advantage of the multiple opportunities for leisure this town has. For example, many outdoor events such as the kayaking trip we took last Saturday.

Look at these pictures and tell me, isn't Arkansas beautiful?

You are not a sports person? Then you can stay on campus and enjoy fun activities too! Like the Song Kran we celebrated with ILC throwing water balloons!

Do you still think Fort Smith is boring? What can you tell then about the superstorm last Sunday? That was exciting! Scary exciting, but certainly not dull at all ;)

Everything can be boring, and everything can be fun. It always depends on who do you surround yourself with, and your attitude towards the opportunities that arise.