Volume XII, Issue 9: September 7, 2012

Good Morning, Fa!
Last Friday our Exchange Student From Thailand, Fa Sillapajarn, told us that the previous week had been a busy one. She started at Arcata High School and attended our Club’s beach party in her honor. Fa said that her classes include PE, Photography, and US History. Right now, she’s finding it a bit difficult to understand the teachers, but we expect that to change soon.

Coming Events
Rotary District 5130 Governor Michael Juric will be with us in a couple of weeks for his official visit. On Thursday, September 20th, Michael will meet with our Board of Directors, committee chairs, and any other interested Sunrisers for a dinner meeting. His presentation to the Club will take place the next morning.

We will hold this month’s Fourth Friday Foundation Auction on the following Friday (September 28th). Bring a raffle prize and/or your checkbook. (Cash is also accepted!)

Kahuna Kavinta

The Mighty Kahuna Kavinta (aka President George) says it’s not too early to be thinking about Thursday, November 15th. That is, of course, the date for this year’s Taste of the Holidays. It’s one of our two major fundraisers each year, and it’s one of our few “all hands” events. Be thinking about your donations for the raffle and auctions.

The Kahuna also reminded us that our next “Fifth Friday Fellowship” event is also scheduled to take place in November. Since that’s a busy time, with the Taste of the Holidays and Thanksgiving crammed in there, we’re looking for an idea for the event. If you have one, please let George know.

The Lost Coast Rotaract originally scheduled a softball game/tournament/event for Labor Day weekend, but they have rescheduled for a (hopefully) more convenient date – September 30th. The event will be held at Newberg Park in Fortuna. If you’re interested in playing, contact the Kahuna.

Special Day
Last week, we had only one special day to celebrate, but it was a good ‘un. Laura Montagna’s birthday was held on August 29th, and she took the day off. Good thing, too, because all three of her kids were here to spend a day on the river with her.

Speaking of Laura …
We were able to see the Recorded Recognitions that Laura put together. The audio was a bit week, but the video was great, and Laura narrated for us. Unfortunately, Your Editor failed to contact Laura to get a copy of the video before going to press. I’ll try to snag it and put it up on the Spirit blog next week.

Orrin Plocher had Good News last Friday – he and Cristina “survived our trip to Russia”. While there, they were able to spend three days with Alexander, the boy they are trying to adopt. Orrin promised to keep us updated on the adoption situation.

Laura asked Amy Bohner about a recent Design Commission award received by Alchemy Construction. Amy said that the award was recent (and appreciated), but the project was completed six years prior. It was for the design and construction of Cafe Brio on the Plaza. 

The commission also presented an award to Murphy’s Sunnybrae Market for its facade remodel. Donnie Rosebrook of Murphy’s noted that the remodel took place eight years ago. But they were pleased to receive the award, which was printed on “recycled embossed paper”, according to City Manager Randy Mendosa.

“The Power of a Smile”
Last week, our featured speaker was Jasmine Schatz, an Inbound Rotary Exchange Student. Jasmine spent the last school year in Sicily, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Old Town Eureka. She is also the daughter of Sunriser Ian Schatz.

Jasmine told us that the island of Sicily is as far south as you can go in Italy, and her Exchange was in the city of Ragusa, which is in southern Sicily. She said that she took over 10,000 photos during her stay, and she shared many of them with us.

Jasmine Schatz

She noted that Sicily boasts a remarkable number of architectural styles. She showed a photo of an ancient Greek temple as evidence. She also said that the streets are very narrow, with no sidewalks. Fortunately, Jasmine said that the cars are also small, “which helped.” The insides of all the churches she visited were “spectacular”, each containing “a ton of ancient art”.

Sicily is known for its desserts, and Jasmine showed some mouth-watering photos of marzipan, gelato, crepes, and cannoli. She noted that the city of Ragusa is known for its chocolate. Jasmine also enjoyed other culinary delights including pizza and locally-grown oranges and lemons. 

Jasmine enjoyed her host family. They were caretakers of a large house that frequently had visitors. One of her host “sisters” was on an exchange to San Diego. Jasmine did not meet her, but Ian and the rest of the family did. 

She was very enthusiastic about her school and her classmates. She said that, unlike US high school,  the classes stay in their rooms at the end of a subject, and the teachers rotate in and out. During her Exchange year, the school administration was looking to increase class sizes, and there were many protests against the proposal.

Jasmine provided this Sicilian cultural note: “If you’re supposed to be somewhere at 7:00,” she said, “nobody gets there until 7:30.”

Celebrations are an important part of Sicilian life. “It’s a huge thing, because they have Saints’ Days.” The Patron Saint of Ragusa Ibla is St. George, and the celebrations involve fireworks and music.

Jasmine went to Carnival in a “city famous for its Carnival floats”. I believe this is the city of Acireale. As she walked through the crowds, she was sprinkled with confetti and silly string.

 Most Rotary Exchange Students travel a lot during their years abroad, and Jasmine was no exception. She went to Pisa and saw the famous Leaning Tower. She did note that “that’s all there is to see there”. Her visit to Florence (Firenze) was more exciting for her. “It was interesting seeing buildings that I had seen in my art history books.” She walked a lot when she was in Rome, and she saw the Coliseum and other attractions. Of her visit to Venice, Jasmine noted, “All the streets are water.” She said that public transportation in Italy was amazing. 

What did Jasmine learn from her Exchange Year? 

  • “The power of a smile is incredible.”
  • “You realize that people are really the same all over the world.”
  • “Friendship is universal.”


Jasmine with the Sicilian Flag