le cahier de kev

le cahier de kev

adventures fresh off the press

Wishing you a Prosperous New Year

Another year has passed and in 2015 my site is going to be 3 years old.  I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and I just want to wish all of you a Happy and Prosperous New Year!

 

Christmas in New York, chocolates, and winter decorations

 

 

The holiday season went by quickly.  I think it's because it didn't snow this year.  In previous years we would have crazy weather around this time so it was a pleasant surprise to see that the weather didn't become severe.  It did snow in other parts of the United States though.  If not at this time, it usually will start to snow in January or February.

 

Christmas went very well.  I called my former advisor, Dr. Cowart, to wish her family and her a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  We laughed and shared stories about teaching and research.  She told me about changes to the college where they will move from our old building into the former law school building.  I told her about how Thanksgiving went and what I planned to cook for Christmas.  I joked with her about when she planned to relax and retire, and she laughed and told me that she would keep marching on for the time being.  I told her about my ESL work and thanked her for all of her help especially when working with different types of students and considering their learning styles.

 

Garfield summing up how Christmas with my family went

So much food!

 

 

Christmas was fun spending time together with the family.  We gathered at my parents' house and everyone was greeting each other in person and on the phone.  Throughout the morning we were responding to text messages and calling family and friends.  I made Boeuf Bourginon (beef, mushrooms, pearl onions, garlic, onions, bacon, carrots, and herbs simmered in red wine).

 

 

 

Boeuf Bourguignon for Christmas 2014

 

 

Family friends gave us sliced ham, cheeses, and desserts to add to the table.  We all gave blessings and enjoyed our meal of noodles, apple pie, spring rolls, ham, and other goodies.  It was festive and peaceful (maybe it was because of the food coma everyone was in! haha).  Everything was filling, and it was nice to actually sit down and catch up.  Usually things are hectic and fast paced even for something like lunch where we engulf our food and get back to our work.

 

Per tradition (which you may know from reading my blog), I played Garfield's Christmas for the little ones (but everyone enjoyed it too).  It's such a heartwarming cartoon, and I remember first watching it back in the late 80's on CBS and enjoying it.

 

In terms of reading, I'm finishing up a gift, a book written by Beth Kendrick called "The Week Before the Wedding."  Despite the book starting off slow, things really picked up as I read further.

 

 

 

 

The book did explore a lot of themes such as "the grass not always being greener on the other side" and how events in life change unexpectedly.  I actually found it interesting considering it's the end of the year and with the concept of "new year's resolutions," there are a lot of directions that we can take in our lives while considering the factors that are not under our control.

 

I don't want to spoil the details of the book (although if you read it, I'm pretty sure you'll be able to figure out the ending halfway through), but it does make you reevaluate decisions.  Are you doing something because that's what you "think" you have to do or do you sincerely want to do it?  To give a concrete example, are you making resolutions for the new year because it is considered a cultural tradition or do you genuinely want to make changes for the new year?

 

The book does touch upon this issue, and the main character has to handle her ambivalence throughout the story.  Her conflicting emotions in different situations are similar to what we experience especially as we transition to a new year.  Some people want to start off on a new slate while others want to continue what they've been doing in the previous year.  Whatever works for you, right?

 

The next book I'm reading is "The Tender Bar" by J.R. Moehringer.  I wrote about this in a previous entry (you can search for it by typing the book's title in the search box on the upper right of this page).  I got it back in 2013 so I'm looking forward to diving into it.

 

I've also started reading "Brazil: A Celebration of Contemporary Brazilian Culture."  The book provides a history of topics in Brazilian culture such as architecture, fashion, food, photography, and music.  It also profiles significant contributors in each section and discusses how they had shaped their fields in modern Brazilian culture.

 

 

I enjoyed how the authors moved from city to city as if you were on a road trip with them where they discussed the positives and negatives of each city.  One point which I am familiar with is the comparison of the cities of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.  If you've been to these cities, you will feel the fast paced, culturally diverse personalities in São Paulo while Rio has a more laid back atmosphere.  As with any place, each has their own personal charm.

 

The authors did a great job providing the reader with an intriguing narrative combined with colorful photographs to capture the essence of the topic.  Whether it is a beautifully plated dish of contrasting colors or depicting the people in their daily lives, the book provides a wonderful gateway to Brazilian culture.  I can't wait to dive more into it for the new year.

 

Also, the Winter 2015 schedule for New York Public Library's English Conversation Group is up on my ESL website.  For those of you interested, please come in and join!

 

I have to head out now so I'll see all of you in 2015!  Have a wonderful and prosperous new year to you and your loved ones!

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