Monday, October 31, 2011

Trick or Treat?

Halloween in the US is about having fun and American trick or treating.  On this day of October 31st kids and grown-ups alike dress up in Halloween costumes.  Schools look like huge party halls full of princesses and knights, witches and ghosts, walking pumpkins and winged fairies.

After school children, usually accompanied by parents, go trick or tricking.  Of course in costumes, quite often different from those they wore in the morning.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Halloween Goes to America

Halloween in America was popularized by Irish immigrants in the mid 1800’s  (eighteen hundreds).
The traditional turnip used for carving scary ghost faces was replaced by American pumpkin, which was plentiful and easier to work with.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

American Halloween or All Hallows E'en

You probably know the story of Jack O’ Lantern.

Did you know, though, that the Halloween tradition is much, much longer and started as a Celtic celebration of Hallow E’en or All Hallows Eve’s?  Hallow is another word for holy or saint.

Some historians believe that the origins of Halloween can be traced even further in distance and farther back in time – as far as to the Roman Empire.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Did You Go Pumpkin Picking?

With only one week left to Halloween it is time to start carving pumpkins for Halloween.

Pumpkin is a truly American vegetable.  Well, technically it is a fruit.  Just like tomato.  It belongs to the same family with cucumbers, melons and squash.  Americans Indians used it as one of their staple foods.  Pumpkins were planted together with corn and beans in self sustaining, self supporting and self enhancing micro ecological cultivation systems called the “Three Sisters”.

Friday, October 21, 2011

University of Illinois

The City of Chicago, Illinois has a reputation of being the most Polish city in the United States of America.

The State of Illinois also hosts one of the largest and best public universities in the country.  The University of Illinois has three major locations: 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Apple Picking

Picking up your own fruit (PYOF) by whole families is another great modern American tradition.  First half of the month of October is a great time for apple picking.  The weather is still quite warm and usually very sunny.  Combined with beautiful autumn foliage, it is just inviting to “go out there and do something”.

The history of the apple including the native American Crabapple is told by the University of Illinois Extension.  Here you can also find information on this fruit’s nutrition, stories and legends, cider, orchards, festivals and other “apple” facts.

Monday, October 17, 2011

American English – First Changes from British English

Since the first British reached America in 1497, they came in contact with people who did not speak English.
The first successful English settlers arrived in Jamestown, Virginia in 1607 where they were greeted and treated by Virginia Indians who spoke Algonquian.  On the way to the New Continent, the travelers had stopped at Puerto Rico, where they dealt with Caribbean Spanish, which had already developed from its European mother tongue just the way American English would, with time branch off from British English.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Columbus Day

Christopher Columbus discovered America on Friday October 12th, 1492.

First Landing of Columbus on the Shores of the New World was described by countless authors and depicted by numerous painters.
Columbus Day is celebrated not only in the USA, but also in a number of other countries.

The anniversary of the landing had been commemorated since the early days, before it was formalized.  Colorado was the first state to recognize Columbus Day as an official holiday in 1906.  It became a federal holiday in 1937.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Columbus Day Sales

What originated as a holiday commemorating the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus has turned into a “get a deal” weekend.
Most holidays in the USA are floating holidays.  They are observed on a specific weekday as opposed to a fixed date.  Even though officially Columbus Day falls on October 12th, it is celebrated on the
second Monday of the month, regardless of the date.  Many other US holidays are set up in a similar manner.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Steve Jobs – Dare To Think Different

This week Mr. Steve Jobs passed away at the age of 56 (fifty six).  He was the creator, the visionary and the genius behind Apple Computers.

"I was lucky I found what I loved to do, early in life"
"Keep looking, don’t settle"

"Have the courage to follow your inner voice and intuition"
- Steve Jobs

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Schools In the USA

The most noticeable difference American schools display and offer in comparison to, I guess the rest of the World, is the freedom of choice.
Starting in elementary schools in about fourth grade students, as a rule, can choose one of three advancement levels in a particular subject.  Average - is the starting point and the level where most
students are placed or prefer to stay. 

Monday, October 3, 2011

Fall Foliage

October is traditionally the month of “going to the country”.
The weather gets cooler, kids are back to school after summer vacation and beaches are too cold to go to.  Apples are ripe and ready to be picked up from the trees.  Pumpkins are growing big.  Leaves start changing colors from green to all shades of yellow, orange and red.  The scenery is spectacular and
breathtaking especially in hilly areas like the Adirondacks, NY or in the mountains of the State of Vermont.