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Global Explorers Blog: Holidays

Halloween in Iceland?

Halloween is primarily a Western tradition that is observed in some parts of Europe, the United States and Canada.  Its origins come from the Celtic Feast of the Samhain, a harvest time festival during which it was believed that the souls of the dead mingled with those of the living.  Iceland is one of many parts of the world that does not traditionally celebrate Halloween.  Yet, costumes DO play an important role in other traditions around the world.  Öskudagur, for example, is an Icelandic Holiday taking place on Ash Wednesday when children dress up and sing songs for candy. 

Posted by David Shurna  ·  October 31, 2010  ·  holidays

Thanksgiving as a Pilgrim

In 1620, the pilgrims set sail across the ocean, leaving everything they knew and loved behind them.  Built upon hopes and dreams, they delved into an adventure of the unknown.  In 2009, I set out on my own pilgrimage into the unknown.  I crossed the ocean, leaving everything I knew behind me, and landed in a new land that I knew very little about.  

Four months had past since my maiden journey and I was settling into my new life in Hanoi, Vietnam.  I lived on a friendly street, where the local Vietnamese quickly welcomed me into their homes, as their friend, and as a part of their family.  Although the language barrier divided us, we managed to share stories, laughs and customs. 

While the heat persisted, I knew that back home in Colorado, the leaves had fallen and the cold frosts of winter had taken full effect.  Thanksgiving had arrived.  I missed my family and I yearned for a good, old–fashioned American meal.  I joined my Vietnamese friends that evening and attempted to explain to them the importance of the day and what it entailed.  Through picture books and my broken Vietnamese, the message had somehow vaguely gotten across, at least the important points.  An extravagant meal was in order, and as my new family, they insisted on taking me out for my special holiday.

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Posted by Danielle Thuringer  ·  November 23, 2010  ·  holidays, thanksgiving, vietnam, xan ran

Fry Me!

As the holidays approach, you may be experiencing feelings of increased stress at the thought of all the holiday preparation, sadness at the onslaught of winter and 4pm darkness and/or downright anger at the fact that you’ve already been bombarded with holiday music and advertisements since mid-August.  I’m here to ease your tension with a tried and true way to ensure all members of your respective families have a great time---vegetarians and vegans do not apply!

From my perspective, one of the most difficult aspects of the holiday season is the stress involved with hosting a large group of people at your home.  Family dynamics and tensions aside, it’s quite honestly a ton of work getting your dwelling ready for the holidays.  Decorations, cleaning and more cleaning take time and energy that many of us don’t have and the strain this causes on others in our abodes often leads to arguments and irritation.  I don’t have a cure all for this, but cleaning services do help.  Additionally, realizing that everything need not be perfect and that being together is what’s important is a good policy although it’s easier said than done.  However, I digress.  I’m talking about the other primary obstacle for enjoying these holiday gatherings and that’s……cooking a turkey.

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Posted by Ed Shurna  ·  November 24, 2010  ·  holidays, thanksgiving

New Year, New (Greener) You!

As our holiday season starts to come to an end and the New Year is swiftly approaching, our minds are crammed with a plethora of possibilities for what our New Year’s resolutions will be.  Too often, we immediately resort to the typical resolution of nixing one of our bad habits; which often lasts all of about 3 weeks, if not 3 hours, into the New Year.  This year, how about trying a resolution to do something for someone else – or better yet – everyone else, including yourself.

At GEx, we try to be as green as possible.  Our office is adorned with cork floors, recycled carpet squares and Forest Stewardship Council-certified desks. Our walls are coated with low VOC paint and every room is cleverly illuminated with energy efficient lighting.  We are active recyclers and when the weather is nice enough (or maybe even when it is snowing in the dead of winter), we walk and ride our bikes to work.

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Posted by Jessica McConnellogue  ·  December 29, 2010  ·  green, holidays