Friday, November 18, 2016


As the first semester draws slowly to an end, holiday traditions start to creep out. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, there is much to celebrate, and generous amounts of time to spend with family and friends. Traditions vary from country to country, state to state, and even from household to household. Many people do not celebrate Thanksgiving nor Christmas, but rather Hanukah, Diwali, or Kwanzaa. There is also New Years' Eve, and Chinese New Year.

Most holidays were founded on either the celebration of our ancestors, or showing gratitude for their actions. Many people across the globe think of Christmas as a holiday where you exchange gifts, tell stories about Santa Claus, and have a large meal with family and friends. However, Christmas has a great importance to Christians, and has a deeper meaning to along with it. This is true with many other religious holidays.

There are multiple religions in the world. I will talk about three that are the most popular around the world : Christianity, Hinduism, and Islam. Christians celebrate Christmas. They celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, their savior. Traditionally a Christian family would go to Church on Christmas Eve, and listen to a special mass unique to that day. Christmas Eve is on December 24th, and Christmas Day is December 25th.  Hindus celebrate Diwali. Diwali is a five-day festival often called The Festival of Lights. It celebrated the victory of good over evil, light over dark. This usually takes place in October, or November. In 2016 it took place on the week of October 20th. Muslims do not celebrate Christmas or Diwali because it goes against their beliefs. They do not have a holiday of religious importance in this particular season, but they do have one in the summer. It is called Ramadan. The specific time of this holiday varies as it is based on the Islamic calendar. It is meant to celebrate the month when the Prophet Mohammed received the disclosure on which the Muslim Holy Book is founded upon. The Muslims would fast during this month because they believe if they do so their soul will be purified, and this would show respect to the Prophet.

As you have read holidays bring many new and contrasting traditions worldwide, and can symbolize many different things. In my opinion, it is important to learn about them all not only for interest but also so that we can understand one another as people.

Sunday, November 6, 2016


My favorite thing about traveling is being able to temporarily live in a different place. I love this because all of the things that attribute to the overall feel of that place, and are not available to me otherwise, I am able to use. For example, when I visit the beach I love being able to spend the days sunbathing, swimming, and relaxing. In the city, I am not able to lie down on a deck chair by the ocean, and stay there as the day goes on. On the other hand, when visiting large cities such as New York, it is exciting to have all of these shows, museums, and many other activities at your disposal. The lights, screens, and sights are all extraordinary to me as I am not used to seeing them very often at all, but to someone who lives in New York, this is just a normal part of life.
Have you ever been somewhere and wished you could call it home? If not, have you ever traveled to a place that you never wanted to leave? I have. When I am on holiday I love to spend time with my friends and family that I do not see regularly, and do all the things that I never get the chance to do. It could be something as little as sipping tropical fruit punch as you watch the waves, or something as exciting as going to see the latest Broadway musical that makes the whole trip worth it. You might not always recognize what it was that made you so happy, but it will help you remember and embrace the good time you had. The majority of people refer to these distant destinations as place they went to on holiday, and although I do not object to them being referred to this way, I prefer to remember them as temporary homes. I say this because if you travel somewhere, and all you think about is the amount of time you are spending, and how quickly the trip is going to be over, you will not be able to focus on all of the good cultural aspects of that place. It is important, in my opinion, to be open-minded, and to ignore all of the cultural imperfections. If you do not, you will not be able to live life in these  places to their highest standards.

Friday, November 4, 2016


I could not live without my piano. I know you are probably thinking that I am just saying this, but I honestly think that an instrument can be a crucial part of growing up. There are many things in this world that we do not realize how dependent we are on them, one of them is music. Could you imagine a life without it? Pianos are instruments with an aptitude to express emotion. The style in which you are playing can show the people listening what you are feeling. For example, when you are frustrated you will most likely bang heavily on the keys and play loudly, when you are sad you can play in a minor key and press the right pedal to achieve a sorrowful, gloomy effect. An instrument helps people to gain peace and collect themselves in times of stress. The piano can also be used to convey happiness when you are playing for friends and family.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Over Population

Have you seen the starving children in Africa? Or people in poor countries that do not have clean water? The world's population is growing so rapidly that it is predicted we will run out of resource in only a few decades!

The world is constantly changing. Humans have been able to fight almost every disease or illness that nature has thrown at them. Ebola, malaria, and multiple types of cancers are just a few of the thousands of sicknesses that scientists and medics have found possible cures to. Due to extensive research and practices, the death rate has gone down considerably, and the birth rate has shot up. This has many positive sides, but with good comes bad. The population in the last few decades has expanded extensively, and there are more and more people coming into the world every day. The birth rate is approximately twice as large as the death rate with four babies being born per second, and two people dying every second as an approximation.  If we keep this up, soon, there will be no more resources left!

There are hundreds of thousands of people in Africa that are in famine. Most of the Somalian population are nomads and have to depend on their livestock for food. If their herd dies, or they cannot trade their animals at markets, they do not have anything to go on. I think that the people fortunate enough to have all the resources at hand should find a way to make them more accessible to others. This can be done through donating money, and recycling.

We should also find alternatives. Fossil fuels are running low, and are polluting our air. No fuel means nothing to run cars on, nothing to run heating and air conditioning on, and no electricity.We should try to switch to better alternatives such as solar, the wind, or hydro power, use bio-fuels, and recycle our waste products more efficiently. These different methods would supply us with fuel in a way that is much better for the environment.  If we do not do this soon animals will die, deforestation will increase, and all of our resources will begin to decrease. Plants let out oxygen, without them we will no be able to breath. Humans are spread across the globe, but there are many places we have not inhabited because the conditions are too harsh. Antarctica and parts of Australia are examples of places we have not settled in. If we keep this yearly population expansion, and do not change our ways, generations to come will have a very difficult life. This is the most important thing I know about the world, and what you must have in mind when travelling.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

I Wonder

Sometimes I wonder if the cultures of the world will ever understand each other. There are so many wars and so many people afraid of differences.

There are many, many different cultures around the world, all have particular aspects that make them unique and special in their own way. Aspects of one will seem like a way of life for some, and obscure to others. For example, in the Roman Catholic Church, you receive Holy Communion. The Holy Communion represents the body of Jesus Christ, and the idea is that when you take communion Jesus becomes alive within you. People who follow the beliefs of Catholicism understand the symbolic importance of this tradition, and perform this action with reverence. On the other hand, people who are unfamiliar with Christianity will not understand this custom, and often find it strange.

I am from three very different, and not so different, places: England, Belgium, and Trinidad.  These three destinations compare and contrast in many different ways. Two islands, one big one small, two old world and two new world nations, two speak English, one speaks French, Dutch and German.

There are some obvious differences such as Trinidad is in a warmer climate zone, and, therefore,  does not experience the same seasons as the people in England and Belgium, but rather a rainy season and a dry season.  Trinidad hosts this one big carnival every year in February. Everyone goes out onto the streets in fantastic costumes and dances the day away. In European countries, and England, the timing of this celebration is bizarre. In February it is often cold, rainy, and miserable. Hardly the weather to wear short costumes and parade along the streets. Europeans eat pancakes on Carnival Tuesday, a very poor celebration to a Trinidadian! There are many other ways the countries contrast. London is a big city. Always busy and bustling. You can walk everywhere. From Big Ben to the Millennium Bridge you can walk all over the city. I loved the idea that anywhere I wanted to go could be reached on foot, everything is connected.  Like when I went to Stomp, after the performance was finished, my family walked to Covent Garden. The bright Christmas lights strung over the streets, cold air blowing in your face, and the background noise of the voices of the people in the square. This atmosphere is not present in Belgium or Trinidad.  While you can walk in the capitals of Brussels and Port of Spain, the buzz, the excitement of the big city is not there. Family holidays in Brussels are very traditional. Everyone goes to Church, and then once the mass has come to an end, the family goes back home for a large meal. This is different from the variety of traditions that take place all year in multicultural, cosmopolitan London, and the party attitude of the people in the Caribbean, Christmas is a season which lasts until Carnival picks up the baton.

There are many ways in which they are similar as well. Trinidad and London are both mixes of many cultures, Belgium and Trinidad are both small countries with strong family ties and social structures, Brussels and London are both Northern European cities, where the rhythms of life follow the seasons and the often grey weather. They are all great to spend time in with your family and friends. In London, you can see theatrical performances, visit art galleries, or go to see major tourist attractions such as the Houses of Parliament.  In Belgium, you can go to La Grand Place in the spring and see the square covered in flowers, pay a visit to Mannequin Pis, or you can see the remainders of old castles that still belong to many families. Trinidad hosts many parties, you could go to the beach, or see some of the wildlife reserves in the swampy regions of the island.

Very different places all with many good things, many things that I love and many things that I do not understand in each. And... they are all home.

Maybe someday people from the variety of different cultures all over the world will see that different can be good, and that as well as differences there are similarities; that with effort we can all understand or accept each other.

Sunday, October 2, 2016



             It is so cool when you see music being played, and performed, in a way you had never even thought of. When I lived in London I went to a musical performance called Stomp, for my birthday. The main idea was to show the audience how music could be played using everyday objects. For example, the performers would combine the sound of a broom sweeping the floor with the sound of bin lids clashing together. They would both be played to a simultaneous beat, and the rhythmic patterns would blend together, and create a musical sound. I found it remarkable that the producers found a way to make the clashing of objects sound more than just a noise.

            My favorite performance was when all the lights were turned off, and the musicians stood in a line downstage. Every person, on stage, held lighter in their hands. At the beginning, the center person's lighter was lit and held to his face. It was completely silent as the audience anticipated what would happen next. Then the soft sound of brooms sweeping the floor filled the room. A quiet metallic object was being tapped gently upon, what it was I am not sure. As the melody started each person lit their lighter in a sudden rush. After this there was a swift series of lit and unlit lighters; their faces were lit one second, and disappeared into the darkness the next. What fascinated me about this particular segment was the ability to do so much with so little.

             There were many other performance. One that stood out from the rest was when they participants were clashing and clanging bin lids together, while others bending themselves into acrobatic position, and another juggling fire. The idea that such a powerful performance could be displayed  by the use of percussion is incredible. I encourage everyone watch!!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

I wish......

Image result for collage musicalI wish that everyone was exposed to the world of music. There are many people in the world that have not had the pleasure of watching  musical performances as an audience member. Many people disregard music, as it often not considered as not important or irrelevant. I, however, have a different viewpoint.
Although music may not be essential in the sense of food and drink,  it plays a significant mental role. There are frequent occasions where academic results are increased after listening to classical music, and there are some people who listen to music because it helps them focus. If you go to the gym regularly you will notice that people bring headphones. This is because while on the treadmill, or when doing any other type of exercise that requires constant activity, music can allow you to evade the stress from your life by almost captivating your mind so that all that you think about is the music. Coming home from a busy day at work, turning on the radio and just taking a minute or two to sit down and listen can relax your mind.
From a more practical point of view, modern pop artist such as Justin Bieber and Katy Perry live off the money their music makes . Great composers from long ago did the same, and gave pleasure to their audience. There have been, and still are, so many astounding composers and record artists, that I feel that we should at least try to understand how they have been so successful, and why they were drawn to the field of music in the first place. An awareness should be roused, and people should recognize the effect music has on people across the globe. I understand that many people cannot afford to go to musical performances, and if that is the case then I simply ask that they go to a public event, or just turn on the radio. The world of music should be accessible to everyone and anyone, no matter who they are, or where they are from.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Charlotte's Way Around the World

Where in the World?

Welcome to Charlotte's Way Around the World. What facets of Zambian culture contrast from those of the Americans? How is music portrayed in Romania?  What is the customary form of dance in Australia? How many countries can you name around the world? If you are searching for answers this is the place to start.

Who am I?

My name is Charlotte. I am currently a student at The Village School. I have always held a certain fascination for exotic places around the world. I play the piano, and participate in my school choir. Every year there is a special choir organised by the Texas Private School Music Educators Association,  TPSMEA Children's Honor Choir, for which you have to audition. Every school following the TPSMEA program is encouraged to join with a certain percentage of their choir. Last year, as there were more students willing to perform than were allowed, auditions were held. I, fortunately, was chosen to sing in the choir. I thoroughly enjoyed this experience, and  intend to audition again this year. I take great pleasure in listening and playing music. Equal to my passion for music is my passion for geography; and I hope, through this blog, I will be able to share the joy of learning these two subjects with you. I am originally from London, therefore there are aspects of American culture that I do not fathom.  For example, gun culture appeals to thousands of Americans worldwide, but I can barely tell the difference between the types of firearms, beyond the fact that one is substantially larger than the other. Due to this, I have decided to focus on popular culture.

What Will You Find?

This blog is going be about different places around the world. I will talk about contrasting cultures, distant destinations, and upcoming global events. I truly hope that I can allocate my love for learning about foreign concepts and customs through this blog and that you shall be compelled to read it.