Posts Tagged ‘Duke’

As you gathered with friends or family recently, perhaps vegetables, turkey, or fish graced your table. But lobster, seal, and swans? That trio played a role in our last international conversation gathering ~ because Pilgrims and native residents might have feasted on them back in 1621. That’s the view offered by history.com staff.

Did big turkeys and pumpkin pie play a part in the legendary meal? Likely not. We do know, though, that native guests brought deer to share and Pilgrims hunted for fowl. And that pie was likely missing from the menu given the lack of an oven or sugar to spare. Japanese maple

The day of mourning observed by some native Americans was also discussed. And I suggested participants consider attending the annual February powwow at NC School of Science and Mathematics. Mark your calendars for the 2nd of February.

Throughout our conversation, participants voiced opinions about current events. And some wondered how much snow the winter might bring us in NC. Accuweather is calling for “a very active winter” in the Southeast. Your thoughts?!
(photo by Rene D. Caputo)

Join us in our Duke International Conversation Café gathering this or next Thursday from 12:30 to 1:30 in Brodhead Center/West Union 248.

All the best to you and yours no matter the weather!
Rene D. Caputo
Duke University ESL Specialist


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Several celebratory days are coming up fast, so they had our attention during the International Conversation Café on Thursday. The first is Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) on February 13th.  Durham has its annual parade downtown. Perhaps you’ll come out and join in the fun?  Music starts around 6 pm, the parade runs from about 7 to 7:30 pm, and then there’s free music in several Durham venues. Scroll down on this page for details.

Valentine’s Day takes center stage on Wednesday. Our conversation participants mentioned seeing red hearts, chocolates, and flowers taking over grocery stores. One participant mentioned that this celebratory day is protested in some cultures, sometimes rather humorously (because love can be rather fickle) and sometimes violently. Wishing you a peaceful one whatever you do.

And then there’s Lunar New Year! Shows featuring Duke ASA LNY18music and dance to celebrate the year of the dog will be hosted by the Asian Student Association this week. If you have a Duke id, you can RSVP.

Our next International Conversation Café is Thursday, February 15 at 12:30. Come join us in Griffith Boardroom, the Bryan Center. Sponsored by the Thompson Writing Program & Studio.

Enjoy your celebrating ~ and see you soon!

Rene D. Caputo
Duke Lecturing fellow and ESL specialist

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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:

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

B. Films

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

Screen/Society films
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)

Latin American Film Festival (through October 15)
Hosted by Duke and UNC-Chapel Hill

 You can also find movies in the Duke Events calendar

C. Music


Duke Performances

Duke Coffeehouse

D. Plays

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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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