Friday, February 24, 2017

White Month (Tsagaan Sar)

COME CELEBRATE Tsagaan Sar (Mongolian Lunar New Year) at the Downtown Campus on Tuesday, February 28th, from 5:00 to 6:00 pm!

Mongolians celebrate Tsagaan Sar, the Lunar New Year, in January or February each year. In 2017, Tsagaan Sar will be celebrated February 27–March 1, 2017, beginning the Year of the Fire Chicken.

The family hides a coin in one buuz (mutton dumpling). The person who bites into that buuz will be prosperous in the new year. Discovering the buuz filled with rice foretells a year with plenty to eat. Bituun, Tsagaan Sar Eve, is a day of preparation. The family cleans the ger (nomadic home) and makes sure that everything starts the new year full: piles of firewood, containers of flour, and, with the evening feast, everyone's stomachs.

Greet everyone on Tsagaan Sar, except your spouse. Married couples become one person when married, and thus have no need to greet each other. On Shiniin Negen, the first day of Tsagaan Sar, families rise early to greet the year's first sunrise. People greet each other in a tradition called zolgolt, in which the younger person holds the older person's arms in a symbol of respect.

During Tsagaan Sar, families often play with shagai, sheep ankle bones. An ankle bone's four sides represent sheep, goats, camels and horses.After greeting family on Shiniin Negen, Mongolians visit friends and coworkers' families on the following days of Tsagaan Sar. The fifteenth day of the lunar year is particularly auspicious. Even months after Tsagaan Sar, Mongolians greet each other with zolgolt on their first meeting of the lunar year.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Holiday Trip

On Feb 20th, 10 of us students from LSI Downtown used our holiday to go wine tasting at two Santa Barbara wineries led by teacher John. 

We were from Japan, Korea, Thailand, Mongolia, and Russia. First, we visited Rusack Winery, and tasted two delicious whites and four red wines. 

Using John's 20% discount, we all were excited about buying some of the wines we tasted, the newly released Rose', as well as wine glasses and bottle-topper spouts. 

After buying lunch at a local deli, we took it over to Babcock Winery, where we enjoyed eating while tasting the six wines on their menu. 

John also bought a Babcock Cab, Sauv Blanc, and one of their famous Pinots for us to drink with the rest of our lunch. 

Even though it was raining outside, we were very comfortable in their roomy, living room-style tasting room. It was so much fun!! 

Many of us thought that this was the best wine we have ever tasted, and the scenery around the wineries was so beautiful. 

I can't wait for the next holiday so we can go again!!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Hollywood Sign Hike

On Sunday, February 12th, Teacher Caroline got together a large group of LSI students and friends to hike up the iconic Hollywood Sign. 

They hiked a total of 6.5 miles. The weather was absolutely gorgeous that day and there were plenty of breathtaking views along the way.

Once they reached the top, they had a perfect sight of the Los Angeles skyline, the Griffith Park Observatory to their right and of course the entire back of the Hollywood sign. 

For some students, it was a once in a lifetime experience! And honestly, one of the coolest things you can do in Los Angeles. 

If you haven't been there yet, it's an absolute must!

By Caroline, Teacher at DTLA  

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is typically celebrated with your romantic partner, your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, or wife. The standard "date night" includes a card, flowers, chocolates, and dinner at a nice restaurant. There may be some other gifts exchanged as well. Some couples even fight because someone forgot or didn't plan some grand romantic gesture. These days, many people are going against these traditions and are creating their own ways to celebrate Valentine's Day because they may not be in a romantic relationship, or it's simply more fun to include family and friends! Anti-Valentine's Day parties have become popular, too. Lots of young people are finding it difficult to find a suitable romantic partner and are rejecting the idea of Valentine's Day altogether. 

At Language Systems South Bay, we celebrated Valentine's Day with a couple of traditional practices, and some non-traditional ones. 

Chocolates are a MUST! Students were able to buy a small box of chocolates and have it delivered to their friend, sweetheart, classmate, or teacher in another class with a sweet note or Valentine message. 

Many students (and teachers!) were so surprised to receive a box a chocolates from a secret, or not-so-secret admirer. 

Others were a little embarrassed, but for sure, everyone was happy to have chocolates. 

Another MUST for Valentine's Day is Valentine's cards. We had a craft table set up for students to design and create their own custom Valentine's Day cards. 

Our students can be true artists when it comes to expressing their love! 

Students created cards for their teachers, classmates,and friends using construction paper, glitter paint, foam shapes, pipe cleaners, and crayons. 

Lastly, Language Systems South Bay celebrated with SWEETS! Cupcakes to be exact. Each class had cupcakes delivered by Sylvia, the PC. 

The students and teachers enjoyed a sweet treat (and a break from studying!) We had chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry flavored cupcakes with sweet, sweet icing and sprinkles on top. 

Maybe February 15th can be "national make a dentist appointment day" because there were just so many sugary snacks!

So remember, Valentine's Day celebrations can be different depending on where you are and who will celebrate with you. 

There is no right or wrong way to do it, but any Valentine's Day celebration will include the colors red and pink, hearts, and sweets. Hopefully LOTS of sweets!

 By Sylvia Sunada, Program Coordinator at SB 

Wildlife Learning Center

Saturday Jan 29th we met at LSI to carpool together deep into the San Fernando Valley!

The Wildlife Learning Center it's not a zoo. It's a non-profit sanctuary for animals that for a variety of reasons cannot return to nature. 

The Wildlife Learning Center provides these "orphans" a forever home and strives to educate the public about these special creatures. 

A trained guide gave us a hands-on experience, getting to interact with exotic and unique animals. 

We got to meet a friendly fox, an inquisitive armadillo, an adorable porcupine, and hold a huge python. 

We were also taken on a stroll through the sanctuary grounds where we got to see many more animals while our ever informative guide answered all our questions.

Upon returning to LSI, we enjoyed a Saudi Arabian feast together, swapping stories and sharing pics.

A great day was had by all!

By Sarah Katin, teacher at DTLA

Thursday, February 2, 2017

A Taste of OC

Today a group of teachers and students participated in our monthly activity called "A Taste of OC."

The purpose of this activity is to give our Language Systems students the chance to taste some of the amazing ethnic foods we have here in Southern California. 

Today we went to the Thai-Lao Market in Anaheim, which has a restaurant connected to the market. Both the market and restaurant are run by the same family. It's a true mom & pop hole-in-the-wall type of restaurant. 

Today's activity had students from Thailand, China, Taiwan, Chile, Peru, and Japan. For most of them, it was their very first time to try Thai food. It was really delicious, yet inexpensive.

A combo plate with rice and 2 items was just $5.95. Most of the food was spicy, but that is to be expected from real Thai food. 

We had a great time hanging out. Next month we'll be hitting a local Korean restaurant. We'll keep you posted!

 By Ty Mussack, Program Coordinator at OC