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English Language Institute
ELI STUDENT VOICES
Volume 2, Issue 2, Summer 1998
A Memorable Event in my Life
The day that I was admitted into the UEL was a significant day for me. I was 17 years old, and had finished high school. Then, I took the college entrance examination for 4 public colleges. I had studied very much, but the tests were very difficult. About 1 month later, the test results began to appear in the newspapers. The first one was the most difficult and I was not approved. Day after day the results came. I had not been approved in any university by a few points. But in the UEL (University State of Londrina), I was on the waiting list. If somebody renounced their admittance, I would be admitted. I called the university and the secretary told me to call back in 7 days. I dreamed of that day every waking moment.
Finally, the day had arrived. At 3:00pm, I called her and after a few minutes, she told me that I was admitted. I felt very, very happy. The objective of my 3 years of high school was realized and the doors for new dreams had opened. I could see myself working as a veterinarian. That one remains a memorable day in my life.
A Good Job, English, and Education
Luciana Vieiera is a new student at the ELI. She is from SÜo Paulo, Braxil, and arrived here in the USA seven days ago. She likes this city, Gainesville, very much.
She speaks only one language, Portuguese, but wants to learn to speak English too. She has a number of reasons for learning English, but the most important reason is to get a job. In her country, to get a good job, everyone must speak English.
In Brazil, there are some important holidays, such as the Carnival, in the first half of February; Tiradente's Day, on April 21, and others.
Luciana graduated last year, in 1997, from a university named UFSCar, in a city near her home. She enjoyed her university time very much. She graduated in production engineering. Finally, her plans are to finish her ELI education program in August and then try to get a Master's degree.
A Metallica Concert in Korea
Ho Suk Choi
April 24, 1998 was a day that I will never forget. It was the day I went to a heavy-metal music concert with my best friend. The name of the band is "Metallica", and it is the most famous heavy metal band in the world, as well as my most favorite band.
About 2 months before the concert, I heard the news about Metallica. The news was, they would give a performance in Korea. I couldn't believe it, but it was true, so I called my friend to let him know this great news. My friend also couldn't believe it. We were very happy and excited. As soon as the sales of the concert tickets began, I was the first man in line. I had arrived around 6am, and the sales began at 9am. The ticket was very expensive, but I didn't care about the price. So, I got the 2 tickets, then I just waited for April 24, the day of the concert.
On the morning of the concert, I woke up very early, even though it started at 7pm. Before going to the concert, I met my friend in the subway station, and we talked about the concert. My friend said, "This is a historic day of my life." I replied, "Me, too." Indeed, we were not alone in this sentiment. We arrived at the concert hall, and it was very crowded. We entered the hall, and I was anxiously looking forward to the start of the concert.
Finally, Metallica started the first song and we began screaming. It was really exciting and fantastic for me, and surely I will never forget this day.
Miami: A Very Exciting City
If somebody asks me, "Which city is best for you in the United States of America?" maybe I will answer, "I think it is Miami." Miami is a very exciting city because it has two different faces. First, Miami has beautiful beaches, rich hotels and great shopping plazas. People can swim, shop, take cruises, and stay in wonderful hotels. In addition, they can go to good restaurants and eat different kinds of foods. Second, as its other face, some people call Miami a Latin American Market because people speak Spanish in downtown and everywhere else. When I went to Eighth Street (Spanish people call it "Calle Ocho"), nobody spoke English. Probably, Miami has a lot of immigrants from Cuba and South America. Therefore, everybody speaks Spanish. Moreover, sometimes Miami is very dangerous. Our hotel manager told us, "Please don't go outside at night." However, Miami people are very kind and interesting to me. I think an exciting city is sometimes dangerous. I hope to go to Miami again, downtown included.
The Day When my Niece Was Born
I have many memorable days, but I remember one exactly. It was the day when my niece, Celeste, was born. When we arrived, my sister-in-law was waiting for my brother, but he wasn't there yet. She was ready because the baby was coming.
My mother and I were with her, and as soon as my brother took care of an emergency at work, he was coming. He wanted to be with his wife in the delivery room. I remember my mom and I gave her a kiss and we told her, "Good luck and God bless you." She was a little scared. We were waiting in another room and we didn't hear anything. I think she is very courageous because she never cried or shouted. Ten or fifteen minutes later, my brother arrived, and we helped him put on some protective clothes. Time passed very quickly, and soon he was in the delivery room. After only 2 or 3 minutes, ,we could hear my niece's first crying. At that moment we were very happy, and then the nurse showed us the baby. She was very big and she had her eyes big too, and I felt she saw me. It was very beautiful for me.
Today, she is prettier, smarter and she eats a lot. Already she has said the words for dad and mom.
She was on that day and will always be inside my heart.
English for the Future
Paula LeÜo is a 23-year-old from Brazil. She is unusually vivacious, but sometimes quiet. She arrived in Gainesville on February 15th. Now, she has returned to the ELI for the summer classes.
When she arrived in Gainesville, she spoke only Portuguese, but now she can understand and speak some words in Spanish.
In her country, some important holidays are: Christmas, New Year's, Carnival, Easter, Mother's Day and Father's Day.
Before she came to Gainesville, she was working and studying. She was working in an international supermarket company, in the department of marketing, and was studying in a market university in Recife. She really likes the humanities and is happy with her major, but in her studies and in her job it's very important to speak English. Therefore, she came to Gainesville to learn. In Brazil it is very difficult to find work because there aren't many jobs, and one must have a good curriculum vitae and know English.
When she returns to Brazil, she is going to take one more semester of courses in her university to finish. After that, she intends to finish her English education in her city.
Christmas and New Year in Japan
Most of Japanese are not Christian, but are Buddhist or Shinto. And almost all of them have both religions. For Japanese, Shinto means life and live and Buddhist means death and ceremonies for forefathers. They use properly each religion in different cases. When they have a baby, they go to Shinto temple, where the birth of babies is celebrated. When a member of the family dies, they go to a Buddhist temple and hold a ceremony for the dead person there. Every month, they have a ceremony in their house on the day when the person died. And they seem to be Christian at weddings and Christmas.
The meaning of Christmas for Japanese is an event for couples. At Christmas, every couple spends that time together and gives presents to each other. Most of them go to restaurants, which are expensive and romantic, like a French restaurant or an Italian restaurant. And some of them stay in a hotel on Christmas. But they don't go to church, because they are not Christian. Of course, Japanese families also celebrate Christmas together. They decorate with Christmas trees, and they put candles and a lot of lights in the house. Parents give their children some presents, but it is secret. Parents put presents beside children's bed, while they are sleeping on December 24th. When children wake up the next day and find presents, parents say they are from Santa Claus. Parents teach them that, if children's behavior is good, Santa Claus gives them presents. They eat a cake on this night. Everyone buys a cake on this day, so cake companies need to make a lot of cakes for Christmas. They begin to make Christmas cakes 1 or 2 months before Christmas. After Christmas, nobody wants to buy this kind of cake. That's why we call women who aren't married in middle age "Christmas cake".
Well, Christmas Day is not a holiday, so we must go to school or work on this day. We just have a big party on this day. Many teenagers want to have parties with their friends, not with their families. And parents don't force their children to stay at home on Christmas. In contrast, New Year's Day is different from Christmas. Parents want every member of the family to celebrate New Year's Day on January 1st. From January 1st to 3rd is a holiday, but companies and schools close from December 28th to January 5th or more. On December 31st we clean up the whole house and cook traditional Japanese food for the next day. On the night of December 31s we go to a Shinto temple and wish for something from god. If Japanese have some wishes, they are going to pray to Shinto.
On January 1st the Japanese family spends time together and has dinner. Children receive money from their parents or their relatives, instead of presents. Through Januare 3rd, they visit their relatives and their bosses. The New Year is the most important holiday for Japanese. It is a day for families and relatives. Japanese people value their relationships and try to help each other. And they should greet their bosses because most Japanese dont distinguish business from home. We have to respect older people and have a good relationship with everyone.
For Christians, Christmas is important for families. And for those who believe in Buddhism and Shintoism, New Year is important. Japanese tend to use any appropriate religion for their purpose. Christmas is for Japanese to have fun. And New Year is for wishing themselves and each other in the New Year, and it is a good chance for all extended family members to meet.
I want to tell you about something: Candy's Festival, which is a religious festival. Turkish people are Muslims, who belong to the religion of Islam. We celebrate the Candy's Festival every year.
People fast every day during fasting month which is Ramadan. The fasting starts in the morning with a call to pray, and finishes in the evening again with another call to prayer. Generally, the starting time is 5am, and the finishing time is at 5pm. People must not consume alcohol during the month. Muslims believe that God forgives them during this month. We invite our friends and relatives for dinner during the month, so we share happiness.
At the end of the month the Candy's Festival begins. It is 3 continuous days, and this is a nice holiday. We always cook Turkish desserts, which are baklava, lokum, kadayif, etc., for this festival. Parents buy new clothes for their children, and also buy gifts for their friends.
We visit our friends and relatives, so we eat desserts together, and also serve the candies to the guests. If we have offended somebody we have to make peace during this festival. During the festival's nights, people go downtown to watch fireworks. It makes the people feel closer to each other. Although everybody tries to spend this holiday in their hometown, some people go to the beach. Traditionally, eating the dinner at home is important on the first day of the festival. Old people who are cranky talk about old festivals which are nicer than today's. After three gorgeous days, children become sick, because of eating too much candy. And then life goes on. Candy is the most important thing in Festival. People connect just like links in chain, and pray to God.
Joan Manuel Fereira R.
A long time ago and Indian was walking around Maracaibo Lake when he saw a piece of wood floating in the water, then he picked it up and saw an image flashing. The image on the piece of wood was a Virgin. After he brought the wood to his friends, they called this Virgin "Chinita".
People say that was a miracle. Also, history has recorded that once the Venezuelan President tried to bring the image to Caracas, but no one could lift it up from a table because it was too heavy. After this, the President built a church called Chinita in Maracaibo because they realized that the image had to be there.
Since that happened, every November 18th in Maracaibo people celebrate Chinita's Festival. The parties begin on Thursday and finish on Sunday. Many people go to nightclubs and listen to typical music and dance a lot. Also, there are bullfights and some parades in the street. The most important activities are the daybreak "Gaitero" and the baseball game on Sunday. There are also religious activities like going to church to listen to the mass and to give thanks to the Virgin for some miracles. The people who celebrate this fair are Catholic, so the believe in God, but they also believe in Jesus Christ and Maria his mother.
Something negative about this big party is that many people have accidents and are robbed by muggers because a lot of people are on the street drunk, and usually the police are unable to do anything because the city is too big, and we don't have enough police agents.
In conclusion, thanks to that Indian who found the image on Maracaibo lake a long time ago, this city has a very important religious symbol bringing people from the whole country to Maracaibo to celebrate this fair.
Dragon Boat Holiday
I am from a small village in Taiwan. In my country we have many holidays which are different celebrations. Dragon Boat Day is different from the others.
Dragon Boat Day is a special day that is May 5th on the lunar calendar. It began a long time ago. People wanted to commemorate a person who was a good governor and who usually helped to ask the king to give their rights. Finally, he found his power couldn't give them a lot of help, so he jumped in the river and killed himself. Then people didnt want to fish to eat him, so they threw rice tamales in the river. Now we still keep this holiday tradition.
On this morning people worship at home or at temples. There are dragon boat races in different locations and we make dragon boats in advance. We paint them many colors, but we wait for this day to paint their eyes. Because people believe dragon is true if this day give them eyes it will be very lively. There are races all day and people eat rice tamales. Then in midday we try to stand an egg up on the floor, according to the custom. At night, some people wear special clothes and paint their faces to dance the dragon dances. There are parades and on the sidewalk people light fireworks until midnight.
I like this holiday because my family can get together, eat rice tamales that my mother cooked, and we can appreciate many different special dragon boat races in the river.
Every December 25th, many people in different countries observe Christmas. For them, whatever their religion is, Christmas is one of the most important holidays of the year. But not all countries celebrate this holiday in the same way. My country, Venezuela, and the USA do some things the same and others differently.
In both Venezuela and the USA, the houses are decorated with Christmas trees, colored lights and many figures of Santa Claus. It is really beautiful. In Venezuela, all people make in their houses a "Nacimiento", or Nativity Scene. However, in the USA, only Christians and Catholics, about 30% of all people in the USA, have a Nativity Scene in their home. The "Nacimiento" or Nativity Scene is a copy of the town where Jesus was born. In Venezuela, the people wait until December 24th at midnight to put the "Niøo Jesus" in his manger.
On December 24th, American children hang stockings by the chimney and leave milk and cookies for Santa Claus. However, almost all Venezuelan children put a show beside the "Nacimiento" or under the Christmas tree. On Christmas Day in the morning, the children go very excitedly to their shoe to take the gifts that the "Niøo Jesus" brought them.
Usually in both countries, families have a large dinner on Christmas Day; however, the food is different. American families traditionally eat roast turkey with cranberry sauce. On the other hand, Venezuelan families eat a typical Venezuelan food named "Hallacas" and also chicken salad, bread with jam and pork.
In conclusion, Christmas Day is wonderful because it is a time that people send gifts and cards to families and friends. In many countries, Christmas Day is a day of peace and love and enjoyment for the whole family. Although Christmas is different in each country, the spirit is the same.
Holiday in my Country
The Brazilian calendar has many holidays. Its holidays are generally of the types: family gatherings, special days, religious days and political days.
Carnival Day is the fist holiday in the Brazilian calendar. It is always in February, on Monday and on Tuesday, but it isn't always on the same date. It is always forty days before Good Friday. People always wear brilliant clothes if they will participate in the parade. It is the most famous Brazilian holiday in the world. Like Carnival in New Orleans, Brazilian Carival has people wear face paint, costumes and masks in the street. But Carnival in New Orleans is just a funny day, where people show interesting clothes. In contrast, Brazilian Carnival always has a serious competition among the different groups.
Good Friday is always in April, but it isn't also on the same date. It is a religious holiday. In this holiday, after people meet in front of the churches, they walk in the street praying and singing. Then, they return to the churches and have a special party named "Quermese". This party happens at the church's yard.
Mother's Day is always in May, but it isn't on the same date. It is on the second Sunday in May. Like in the US, on this day people usually buy the present for their mother or send special cards.
Independence Day is always on September 7. On this day in the downtown of Brazilian cities, there is a military parade and school parade. People seldom watch the parade. In contrast, they go to the beach, to the spring's park or they stay home and watch TV. While Americans celebrate this day their independence from the British, Brazilians celebrate their independence from Portugal.
Christmas Day is always on December 25. In Brazil, it is a religious holiday. They celebrate the date that Jesus Christ was born. But they also celebrate family reunions. Similar to the US, in Brazilian Christmas people send gifts and cards to family and friends.
Like Christmas, New Year's is a family gathering day. It is always on December 31 and on January 1. They have a gourmet dinner at home, at club or at the nightclub. Married people usually have this dinner at home with their parents, but they also celebrate in clubs or at the nightclub.
Come in! Happy New Year!
A Holiday in my Country
We have fourteen national holidays in Japan. New Year's Day is the most important celebration of the year. There is even a saying that the future year is reflected on New Year's Day.
From January first to the third is called "Shogatsu". During that time, everyone is on vacation. We prepare for the New Year from December 29th.
At home, we make special dishes called "Osechi-ryori". Osechi-ryori is a special Japanese dish for the New Year. It is preservable so that housewives don't have to work during Shogatsu. Osechi-ryori is packed in a nest of boxes. We also have decorations called "Kagami-moti", which are round rice cakes.
On New Year's Day we go to a shrine and pray for our happiness. In my case, I prayed for my achievements this year. Children receive New Year's money called "Otoshidama". I got otoshidama from my parents this year. All the family members come home for the New Year holidays. And adults visit their relatives and acquaintances to celebrate the holiday. In addition, we send out New Year's cards. They are like Christmas cards. Sometimes we put on kimonos on New Year's Day. We also watch special New Year TV programs. We play traditional New Year's games, such as kite-flying and a kind of shuttle-cock game like badminton, and a game of cards based on one hundred famous poems.
Both in my country and in the USA, New Year's Day is a holiday. Similar to the Japanese, American people give a party together on New Year's Day. The whole family gets together for dinner on New Year's Eve, and they start a big party from December 31st, 11:30pm. They count down from 12/31, 11:59:50pm. Like this: "ten, nine, eight, seven, etc." They sing a song called "Auld Lang Syne". It is a very famous New Year's Eve song. Everyone drinks champagne at midnight and kisses each other.
I think different cultures celebrate differently; however, people feel the same excitement on this holiday. People in both countries feel happy and jubilant on this holiday.
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