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The leaves are falling as rain showers continue here in Durham, NC. And two gas stations near Duke University show a price of $0.00 in bright numbers. No, it’s not a dream world, but instead is due to the pipeline break further south. And life continues on…

Speaking of continuing on, our International Conversation Café gathering resumes its weekly run tomorrow. Join us in Griffith Board Room, Bryan Center main floor, at 12:30!

We recently hosted 10 participants whose homelands included Argentina, Brazil, Chile, China, and South Korea. We chatted about the Centerfest street fair and the Durham farmers market, held year round. Duke’s own farmers market came up as well, but that’s now wrapping up for the season.

Participants traded ideas about studios offering Pilates and yoga, then discussed several beach destinations (Wrightsville Beach, Topsail Island, the Outer Banks) to consider for coastal adventures. Other topics jumped in along the way.

Upcoming conversation gatherings: Thursdays, September 22 and 29th, then October 6 and 13. Duke University students, visiting scholars and researchers, staff, faculty, and spouses are welcome.  No registration is necessary. Griffith Board Room, Bryan Center main floor, 12:30 to 1:30.  Come join us!

Rene D. Caputo, Duke University ESL Specialist
Thompson Writing Program and Writing Studio

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The International Conversation Cafe reconvened today in the Bryan Center’s Griffith Board Room.  Our gathering included participants from China, Taiwan, Turkey, Ukraine, and the United States (me).  We started out by discussing current events,  including earthquakes (as Taiwan has had two recently), the political unrest in Ukraine, politics in Turkey, and finally, Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday), a cultural event.

From there, we explored what Mardi Gras events are happening in our area.  There is a Durham Mardi Gras parade next Tuesday that perhaps you might be interested in joining or watching.  Here are website links for that and related events:

Durham Mardi Gras: http://www.durhammardigras.com/
Parade on Tuesday March 4: http://www.durhammardigras.com/parade-details/
Music: http://www.durhammardigras.com/bands-2014/

Additional Mardi Gras events in the Triangle area begin this weekend.  You can read about some of those here:
http://www.wral.com/celebrate-mardi-gras-in-the-triangle/13424243/

In the midst of discussing Mardi Gras, the subject of Saint Patrick’s Day came up. Though it’s a bit early to delve far into that holiday, you might consider putting the Raleigh Saint Patrick’s Day parade on your calendar.  That will be held on March 15 starting at 10 a.m: http://www.raleighstpats.org/

Join us for one of our upcoming Thursday afternoon gatherings in the Bryan Center, 12:30 to 1:30: March 6, March 20, April 3. 

Wishing you an enjoyable Mardi Gras,
Rene Caputo
Duke ESL Specialist

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Our International Conversation cafe this week included participants from India, Nepal, China, and the United States (represented by me).  Among the things we talked about were:

Thanksgiving ~  What does the holiday mean in the United States?  And how do people celebrate?  Learn more here: http://www.history.com/topics/thanksgiving-facts

Turkeys ~ There are many ways to approach roasting a turkey. If you buy a frozen one, though, don’t forget to put it in the refrigerator several days before you want to cook it.  This website walks you through thawing and roasting a turkey: http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-cook-a-turkey-the-simplest-easiest-method-160905

The Macy’s Day Parade ~ You can watch this parade on television (NBC) on Thanksgiving morning at 9 am Eastern time: http://www.nbc.com/macys-thanksgiving-day-parade/.  One reporter reflects on the parade here (note that in the second paragraph, “jams” means “pajamas”):  http://www.courant.com/travel/hc-shopping-around-macys-thanksgiving-day-parade-20131117,0,6321186.story   Macy’s website for the parade: http://social.macys.com/parade/?cm_mmc=VanityUrl-_-parade-_-n-_-n

Black Friday ~ This is the crazy sales day that used to start early in the morning the day after Thanksgiving.  Each year, stores seem to compete to open the earliest.  Various websites tell you about the sales.  Here is one: http://blackfriday.com/

Cyber Monday ~ Monday after Thanksgiving is a big day for online sales and here’s a site that shares some information on those: http://www.cybermonday.com/

An invention to help mothers and their babies ~ Our current events stories today included the new Harris Teeter grocery store that just opened near Duke’s east campus and a car mechanic’s invention to help with difficult births.  Perhaps the moral of this story is to pay attention to the wild ideas you have in your dreams?  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/14/health/new-tool-to-ease-difficult-births-a-plastic-bag.html?_r=0

Our conversation group continues its adventures for the semester on Thursdays, November 21 and December 5.  We meet in the Bryan Center (main floor) in the Griffith Meeting Room (formerly Meeting Room B) from 12:30 to 1:30.  All members of the Duke community, including students, staff, faculty, visiting scholars/researchers, and spouses are welcome to join us.

Enjoy the season,

Rene Caputo
Duke University ESL Specialist

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Some participants in our international conversation group asked about activities at Duke.  Here are some events for you to consider:

 A. Spectator sports
http://www.goduke.com/

B. Films

Freewater films
Free for Duke students, $1 for Duke faculty, $2 for the public.  http://duuke.org/movies/calendar/

Screen/Society films
http://ami.duke.edu/screensociety
Printable schedule:http://ami.duke.edu/uploads/media_items/screen-society-chronological-schedule-for-fall-2013-pdf.original.pdf

French Film Festival (through October 28)
http://ami.duke.edu/uploads/media_items/2013-french-film-series-pdf-flyer.original.pdf

Latin American Film Festival (through October 15)
Hosted by Duke and UNC-Chapel Hill
http://latinamericancaribbean.duke.edu/outreach/film-festival/2013-nc-latin-american-film-festival

 You can also find movies in the Duke Events calendar
http://calendar.duke.edu/events/index?cf[]=Movie%2FFilm

C. Music

Jazz
http://studentaffairs.duke.edu/mlw/programs-services/jazz

Duke Performances
http://dukeperformances.duke.edu/

Duke Coffeehouse
http://dukecoffeehouse.org/post/60810225718

D. Plays
http://theaterstudies.duke.edu/productions

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We’re back!  Last week was our inaugural gathering for this semester.  And if you had joined us, you would have met people from China, Turkey, New Zealand, and the United States.  Perhaps, though, you were there.  Either way, feel free to join us ~ and bring a friend.

We are meeting in the new and improved Meeting Room B (Bryan Center, main level) this semester, just up the walkway from Au Bon Pain.  Drop on by to talk with people from around the world about culture, world events, and more.  Thursdays from 12:30 -1:30.

See you there!
Rene Caputo
Duke ESL Specialist
Thompson Writing Program and Writing Studio

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I hope that your semester has gotten off to a good start!  The summer has flown by as always….and we’re back.

International Conversation Café 

Join us in the new and improved Meeting Room B (Bryan Center, main level) this semester.  Talk with people from around the world about culture, world events, and more.  Thursdays from 12:30 -1:30. 

Writing Workshops

Both the Undergraduate and the ESL workshop series begin this month. Read about them here to see which workshops might interest you:
http://twp.duke.edu/writing-studio/workshops

We hope you will participate in the above in addition to making Writing Studio tutoring appointments.

All the best,
Rene Caputo
Duke ESL Specialist

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Happy New Year ~ and spring semester!  We hope you had an enjoyable winter break.

Our International Conversation Café returns to Duke’s Bryan Center on Thursday, January 17.  As usual, we will gather in Meeting Room B from 12:30 to 1:30.  Join us for casual conversation in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.  All members of the Duke University community, including undergraduate and graduate students, post-doc fellows and visiting scholars, faculty and staff, and spouses are welcome to join us.

Our weekly Thursday afternoon gatherings will continue throughout the semester (except on March 14, which falls during spring break), ending on April 11.

In other news, the Writing Studio opens for appointments on January 22nd.  Here’s the webpage through which undergraduate students and international graduate students may make appointments: http://twp.duke.edu/writing-studio/appointments

We look forward to seeing you this semester!

All the best,

Rene Caputo
ESL specialist
Thompson Writing Program and Writing Studio

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