October 21, 2016

2016-17 Rotary Theme

This Friday’s Program:
This Friday (October 28th) will be our last Final Friday Foundation Auction of 2016! Bring your checkbook and be ready to bid!

RISE Calendar … “Rotary Involvement Strengthens Everyone
October 29 – Adopt-A-Highway Opportunity! Meet at the Coastal Nature Center at 9:30 am.
November 17A Taste of the Holidays! Our Fall Favorite Fundraiser returns to help kick off another festive holiday season!
March 11, 2017 – The RCAS Spring Fundraiser! Put it on your calendar now (or as soon as you purchase a 2017 calendar)!!
May 12-14, 2017 – The District 5130 Conference at the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort in Incline Village, Nevada

Sunrise Moments

  • Last Friday, our Acting President was Former District Governor Terri Clark. Terri is also our Foundation Chair, so she was encouraging us to contribute to the Rotary Foundation, so we would have additional opportunities to win one of the raffle prizes at the Rotary Fandango that took place last Sunday. If you were a little slow, no worries – our own Final Friday Foundation Auction is taking place at this Friday’s meeting!
  • Taste of the Holidays Co-Chair Ray Noggle reported that preparations for the fundraiser are going well. He said that we are trying to add a few vendors for the event this year, so if you know of any foodie entrepreneurs who would like a great showcase for their wares, let Ray know.
  • Carol Vander Meer reminded us we have an Adopt-A-Highway cleanup this Saturday (October 29th). Meet at the Coastal Nature Center at 9:30 am. After the work, there will be a semi-liquid lunch at Rita’s.
  • We had a good Sunriser turnout for the Rocky Horror Show a couple of Sundays ago. Ian Schatz was there, and he said that it was a “fantastically humorous and very wrong show”.
  • Rebecca Crow reported that the RCAS Cross Country Championships – held the day before our meeting – were a great success. There were quite a few Sunrisers there, and members of the AHS Interact Club were also there to help out. Due to inclement weather, the event was held at the Arcata Marsh. Rebecca said that she wasn’t sure how many runners participated, but over 250 were expected. President Terri asked Rebecca how many snickerdoodles she baked for the event – she said that she made over 400 cookies to hand out to race participants!

The Judy Report – Expanded Edition!

Judy (sometimes known as Chen Yi-Ting) is our Exchange Student from Taiwan, and she gave a great presentation about herself and her home. She told us that she plays piano and clarinet, and she enjoys dance. Her family consists of her parents, and three sisters. Her father works for the government and her mother is a manager.

Judy is a student at the National Lan-Yang Girls’ Senior High School. She said that many of the high schools in Taiwan are either girls’ or boys’ schools. School runs each weekday from 7:30 am to 5 pm, with nine periods, which is “kind of hard”. Judy said that they have fun, however. She said they have opportunities to participate in folk dancing and choir. In addition, the school holds fun contests regularly, and there is an annual celebration of the school’s birthday.

Chen Yi Ting - Better Known as Judy!
Chen Yi Ting – Better Known as Judy!

There are seven Rotary Districts in Taiwan, and Judy was sponsored by the Rotary Club of Ilan East, a member of District 3490. Judy said that the Club celebrates all types of special days – such as Fathers Day and Mothers Day. She said that they sometimes make flower arrangements, which is “kind of boring, but I like it”! The Club also promotes blood donations and participates in beach cleanups. “This year,” Judy told us, “our District sent 64 Exchange Students to everywhere.”

Next came a brief geography lesson, with Judy noting that Taiwan is an island off the coast of Mainland China, shaped somewhat like a potato. She also said that some people get Taiwan confused with Thailand. But the language is different (Mandarin vs. Thai); Taiwan’s  climate is not as hot as that of Thailand; and the Taiwanese drive on the left side of the road, not the right as in Thailand. The Taiwanese flag is red with a blue rectangle in the upper left corner. Inside that blue field is a stylized white sun, with twelve rays, which symbolize the twelve months of the year. Two-thirds of Taiwan is mountainous, and the majority of the population lives on the lowlands near the ocean, mostly on the west coast. The capital city of Taipei is on the northern tip of the island, and it is very cosmopolitan. The two main religions practiced in Taiwan are Taoism (about 40% of the population) and Buddhism (about 30%). Judy said that this is why there are many temples throughout the country.

Judy said that there are many festivals celebrated in Taiwan, with the most ancient and important being Chinese New Year. She said that there is a week-long break and everyone celebrates in their homes, and there is a tradition of giving money in red envelopes. They also post red paper “couplets” on doors. On New Year’s Eve, there is a feast and the family stays up to celebrate the arrival of the New Year with firecrackers. On the first day of the New Year, people go to visit their relatives, wishing them a prosperous year to come. Finally, Judy said, everyone goes home to sleep!

On the fifth day of the fifth lunar month, the Dragon Boat Festival is celebrated to commemorate the life and death of poet Chu Yuan. Judy showed this video about him:

The Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated with outdoor barbecues> Judy said that people even set up their barbecues “in the middle of roads”! She said that this festival is also known as the Moon Festival.

Judy then told us about how Chinese writing developed. Most of the characters derive from pictures, and have been simplified into representational symbols. She showed some graphics that illustrated how the pictures evolved over time into characters.

She told us that the food is different in Taiwan. “For breakfast,” she said, “we eat soup or noodles and maybe some hamburger.” She said that she likes beef noodles, especially with her mother’s secret sauce. Another common food is congee, which is made by cooking rice for a long time, until it is very soft. It is seasoned, and vegetables or other ingredients are added – “whatever you want”, Judy says. And Taiwanese hamburgers are “different from McDonald’s hamburgers”. They are made with various meats, and are often eaten for breakfast, as indicated earlier. We ran out of time before we could hear about “bubble milk tea” and “stinky tofu”, but we hope to learn about those delicacies very soon!

Home from Italy  – We Hear From Trula!

Outbound Exchange Student Trula Rael spent the last school year in Trieste, Italy. “It was a really incredible experience,” she told us. Trieste is “a town of about a third of a million people, in northeastern Italy.” It is situated near Italy’s borders with Croatia and Slovenia. She said that she lived “right on the border with Slovenia – a ten minute drive away”. She said that people would drive to Slovenia to get gas much as people who live close to the Oregon border might cross it to go shopping. Trieste has the largest sea-facing plaza in the world, and Trula said that the city is beautiful.

Trula said that living with a host family was “one of the most difficult, but most rewarding parts the Exchange Year”. She told us that it was a challenge to be where she “wasn’t quite comfortable and I wasn’t quite used to what was going on, and on top of that, I didn’t speak the language”. It was difficult to have normal interactions with people due to the language barrier. However, she said that her first host family provided a great introduction to the culture and they helped her learn Italian. She feels lucky to have met them and to bond with them.

Trula Rael
Trula Rael

Unfortunately, the situation with her second host family did not work out well, which led to Trula having a third host family. “It was not exactly scheduled,” she told us, “but I’m really happy that happened.” And although the two months with the second family was a difficult time, Trula said, “I honestly learned the most during that period of time.” By that time, she fluent enough to be able to talk with her friends and others about the situation, and the problem-solving helped her grow. Having the support from Rotarians in Italy and in the US made it fixable, and she was thankful for that. During that time, she learned a lot about herself and helped shape how she will interact with others in the future.

Trula said that her school ran from 8 am to about 1 or 2 in the afternoon, without a lunch break, so you go home right after school to eat. Schools are in session five or six days a week (she had a five-day week). And she said that students do not change classes for different subjects. Trula said that this allowed her to get to know the other students better, but it was true that “I am not used to sitting in one classroom for six hours”. She noted that it is difficult if a student doesn’t get along with his or her class, because they are together for the five years that they attend that school. Trula said that her school was very accommodating – “They let me skip out on Spanish, Law, and Economy”. During those times, she would help other classes that were learning English, including a second-year class filled with younger students and a fifth-year class. This allowed her to meet and interact with more people.

Trula was able to participate in several activities with other Rotary Exchange Students. These included hiking in the Alps, exploring Venice, having a Christmas dinner together, participating in the District Conference, and even forming a human bridge! They would meet about once a month, and they became very good friends. “To have a group of friends from all over the world,” she declared, “is an incredible opportunity, and it made me appreciate and understand the world so much more.” She gained a much deeper sense of understanding and empathy. When the terrorist attacks in France occurred during her Exchange Year, she felt sick to her stomach. She now had friends in France or who had family there, and the impact was much more personal. It gave her a real sense that we are one people.

Traveling was a big part of Trula’s Exchange. She got to travel with her host families and with Rotary. Her favorite places in Italy included Verona, Milan, Puglia, Naples, and Venice, and she also was able to visit nearby Slovenia. At the end of the year, many Exchange Students participated in the two-week Eurotour (similar to the Western Safari Tour that most of our Inbound Exchangers have been on). It was great fun, and it gave Trula a look at many cities in a short time. She got ideas as to where she might want to travel in the future. They visited Innsbruck, Vienna, Prague, Munich, Strasbourg, Paris, and Leon. “It was a whirlwind,” Trula said, “but it was wonderful.”

Trula told us that she knew that she had a wonderful life here before, but now that she has returned from Italy, she realized that she will never return to that life. She understands that she has ties here, in Italy, and with others around the world. To that end, I’ll let Trula close this edition of the Sunrise Spirit: