Okay so some pretext to this post. At the beginning of the year I signed up for OU cousins and beyond excited to be paired up with an international student. The first problem arose when there was a problem with in info meeting (which was required) I attended but something went wrong with the system and a few people were not counted, including me. I was able to prove I was there but because of me being put in the system later I was not matched with a cousin. Okay, now fast forward to the week of Thanksgiving I receive and email saying that I am not match with an OU cousin and get his number. Now Ram works a lot and is only free usually when I am busy, so a week goes by and we just can not meet up and then dead week and finals come up on us and meeting is just nearly impossible, nearly. So finally on the last Wednesday of the semester we are able to go do something together. We find out we both love movies, especially cult films and in general connect very well. I am very excited to spend more time with Ram next semester and depending on how much room my family has this break he may be able to visit my hometown of Pawhuska over break and I will be able to show him the lesser known Oklahoma.
On my last trip to an event I attended an interest meeting for the International Students Speakers Bureau on Friday the ninth of December. Although I was a little late and only caught the end of one presentation I learned a little about Slovak culture. Mostly facts about the country as well as a few facts on Slovakian immigrants and famous people of Slovakian heritage or descent.
As always I tested out the cuisine provided, this time around it was a lot more informal and mostly on the snake side of the food spectrum. That being said it was festive time no doubt with warm apple cider, hot chocolate, sugar cookies, and apples. I was happy being they handed my a box cookies and said they had gotten to much, I am always happy to take home leftovers.
Before I could leave, I begin to talk to a few the members about their organization and such, before I knew it I had been there an extra hour. It was the presenter from the Slovak presentation, she had peaked my interest when she begin to speak about the troubles from her homeland. Such atrocities as relocation, assimilation, and alienation from the government. I was surprised to finding this things out, I knew life was not good every where but as she pointed out you have to have a particular interest in Slovakia to learn about Slovakia so I never knew about it more than just the name.
I always feel a hunger when learning about new things, cultural, and people and this interaction has made me famished. I find it very important to learn the history from both sides of the story. And at this event I feel as heard the more commonly less known story, I was left with more questions than answers and to me that is the sign of a successful interest meeting.
On the night of the second in December I attended the spectacle that was the Arabic Flagship Fall Talent Show. This event like many other I went to the group hosting it would translate most pieces but in all was mostly spoken in Arabic. I admire this type of immersion and I can why the program is so successful with the learning rate of the language and culture.
Of course I need to address the highlight of the event for me personal, which was the dinner provided. This meal was catered by OU and absolutely delectable. Main course was extremely pleasing and I quite liked the rice and humus provided. Another favorite of mine was the hot tea, I do believe I had around four or five cups as I am avid tea drinker and the tea served was of the highest caliber.
Besides the food, the event on a whole was marvelous consisting of poems, videos, and performances. I especially liked the videos and could see the effort put in to them, when they were trying to be funny it translated very well and made the experience a memorable one. Not to forget the performances, mostly the performances were belly dancers and this was exciting to watch especially knowing that the performers had been practicing all semester and the work had really played off. I found it fun to clap along with music as it made the experience a little more lively and enjoyable. Although my favorite piece of the night was a short film “The Lord of the Homework”, the film itself was a parody of the Lord of the Rings movies. I really found this one to extremely funny as they hit some the original films classic scenes and was able to put a twist on to fit their story.
I was tremendously impressed with the program on a whole, within the program I could see a type of close community that made the event special in my eyes. When I first heard of the event I really did not know what to expect, I mean whenever I told people where I was going there was a look of curiosity and interest. I believe the fact that to me and my knowledge of the global community I could guess what to expect, but I kept an open mind, but I really had no context to go on. Now I believe I been shown this whole new culture and has sparked more interest, with this interest I would like to research more with culture or at very least attend next years talent show as well.
The Society of Petroleum Engineers(SPE) hosted a mixer on the 2nd of December, in the Sarkeys Energy Center, room N202. The flyer promised Hideaway pizza, drinks, and fun games. A few things to note beforehand, I did have an interest in engineering and received their event invites and went to a few club meetings as well, but the main point I want to get across is that I am not trying stereotype engineers in any way. That being said I really did not know what to expect, except some food and games.
When I was a Sophomore in highschool I attended an engineering camp here at OU for multicultural students and for the most part everyone had about the same personality even though we had all come from diverse backgrounds. We talked ‘nerd’ stuff, played with legos (late into the night), and on a few occasions we even talked to girl campers. The mixer was pretty close to that, I tried to enter a few card games with some students but they were standoffish so I just mingled around. Another thing to note was the event started at 5, I arrived at 5ish, and in the beginning there was a large group but after fifteen minutes the bulk had gotten what they came for, Hideaway. The ones who had stayed were either officers in SPE or friends with them and were just using this time to spend time with each other. I was able to talk to a few international students and they all said about the same thing, “OU is good in engineering and that is why I am here.” Now I can not recall exactly was said so long at camp but I am pretty sure that was the main reason for most of the campers spending their summer doing math.
So I was able to leave with wider eyes, understanding that just because someone is from a different culture or country it does not mean necessarily they are different. In fact the time I have spent here at OU and exploring the international community I found that we as people have more things in common than not and it is the not that makes us seem foreign.
On November 30th I attended the first annual Persian Poetry Night, which was hosted by the Center for Iranian and Persian Gulf Studies. The night was going to consist of the students in the Persian language class reciting some pieces of poetry. While I walked to the event I thought about what I knew about Persian culture and poetry, after a quick analysis I understood I knew very little. What I knew about the culture was only a few things here and there through media and I held no accountability too, although I knew the basics about poetry and that was mostly from school. Either way I was excited to experience something new and completely foreign to me.
Upon arrival, as I walked into the packed hall I could smell sweet tea and a few other foreign smells that I could not distinguish. After some questioning and tasting I had discovered two new foods that I had never heard of. Stuffed Grape Leaves was my first discovery which I could only describe as a wrap with rice, beef, and assorted veggies which seemed to be cooked in different oils, IT WAS AWESOME by the way. It reminded me of a lettuce wrap but without the lettuce, if that makes sense? Second, was an absolutely delectable pastry with a flakey texture and a crunchy sweet center, this was all topped off with some hot tea.
After finding a seat,I began chatting to a couple next to me, after some small talk they told me their daughter was reading some poetry tonight. Expressing that she had worked very hard on this and so had the other students and that I should be excited because I was in for a treat. Then it began, around 30 or so students were reading tonight so it mostly back to back and in two different groups. The first group was the students who had not lived in or had a Farsi speaking household or background, the second were those who had these attributes. Of course the poetry was in Persian but was followed with a translation, which I have been told and from what I could feel did not give it justice. The first group was mostly what I expected from non-native speakers, but not to lower them in any way at all in fact was very captivating and moving. Oh but the teacher of the class who was in charge of the event was really excited with for second group and kept expressing that this was the real deal. It was with this group that I could really hear how the words just seem to merge and sound like a melody the words and sounds just flowed in a way that I was okay with the fact I could not understand.
Overall, I now know more about the culture and have a newfound respect for the Persian language and poetry. AND FOOD.
What’s up my dudes my name is Lance Harden and I guess you’re some what interested in me cause you’re here at my blog where I’ll be telling stories about my life here at OU, aboard, past, present, and the future.
First off, a little about me. I don’t know where to start so I’ll start from the beginning. I was born on January 7th 1998 in New Mexico at the Santa Fe Indian Hospital which means it did not cost a dime for me to come into the world (even more I was born during a blizzard.) Now I was my Mom’s second child (of her six) and the largest, coming out at a light 10lbs and 6 oz. I was named after my dad (so, yeah I’m a junior.) I can’t remember much of my early childhood but I do remember the feeling, a sense of warmth and bliss. That all ended very soon. Not really much to mention about the next few years, but here’s the rundown; parents split up so I lived with my Dad in NM for a few years, then with my Mom in VA, then back at my Dad’s, and then again with my Mom in OK and that’s where I stayed. Why? Oklahoma is where I lived the longest and where I feel like I belong. Oklahoma is Indian country and where my tribe is located in Osage county. So if you guessed that my tribe is the Osage you’d be right (I know what you’re thinking “but your blog is called Ho-Chunk Warrior” but that’s a story for another day.) Now something you should know about me is I take pride in my native heritage and practice it as much as I can. As soon as I could walk I’ve danced in my native ways. When I was young, I danced northern style, but as I aged, I began to appreciate the traditional style of the southern Straight dance, which I still dance to this day.
Now, let’s move on to why I have a blog; is it because a scholarship depends on it, or is it because I love to write (notice the sarcasm), or could it be that I have a story to tell? I don’t know but how about we find out together.