Posted in Holiday Joy, Savannah Joy

Oh My Golly! My First Diwali!

My new adjunct professorship at SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) in Language Studio/ESL comes with some very cool perks.  One is enjoying the beauty and history of SCAD’s many restored and repurposed buildings scattered across the Historic District of Savannah.  (Most of SCAD’s buildings are not new–more often than not, they were derelict or ready to be torn down before SCAD came to the rescue.)  My office, for example, is in Habersham Hall, part of the old Savannah jail.  (No more comments about finally being where I belong, please.)

Another perk is being exposed to so many unique cultural opportunities (for example, the Savannah Film Festival started this weekend).  On Friday night, I ventured over to the Habersham courtyard to celebrate Diwali, or the Indian “Festival of Lights.”  Diwali, or Deepavali, is a major Hindu festival that celebrates the triumph and victory of good over evil, specifically when the Hindu God Rama defeated the demon Ravana.  Celebrations incorporate the lighting of lamps and fireworks to symbolize hope, restoration and joy.  That’s right up my blog’s alley!

Turning the corner at the end of that mysteriously dark walk, I was amazed to see what looked like an Indian street festival in full swing.  Just look!

A large group of folks, many in traditional Indian garb, hovered around the food area.  And for good reason–the aromas were enticing.  The music was body-swaying.  Of course, I wanted to make a bee line directly to the grub, but I saw two of my students from ENGL 193 (Composition for International Students) and felt I had to pretend to be mature and say hello.  Here’s Kathrine and Stefanie:

But oh gosh, the food!  I can’t remember any of the specific names, except for naan (the bread), but here’s my plate:

 

After stuffing myself to an embarrassing degree, I finally came back to my other nongastronomic senses and saw on the other side of the courtyard in the stage area another of my students, Aakash Mani (aka Cash Money!  Really!).  I made my way toward him, stopping to say hi to some of these folks along the way:

I finally made it to Aakash …

… and discovered that he was one of the stars of the entertainment part of the evening!  Here he is dancing up a storm!

After the performance, I asked Aakash what made him happy about Diwali and the festival.  He explained that the festival itself, because of its recognition of the triumph of good, is reason to celebrate, that it’s all about happiness, and that the very smile on his face (which is almost ALWAYS present) is there because of the joy of life.  He also said that dance shows happiness.  (That sounds like an A+ answer to me.)

Other entertainers:

(Should I take up belly dancing?)

I was amazed at the beautiful orchestration of the evening.  So much fun!

I didn’t want to leave.

I love this place!

 

 

 

Posted in Life Experiences

Berry Rome-ing

I drove up to North Georgia last weekend to visit my undergraduate alma mater, Berry College and the city of Rome.

And look at this pretty Roman lady I ran into:

I hadn’t visited Rome in years, but I knew my first stop (since lunch time loomed) had to be the Partridge Restaurant on Broad Street downtown.

I loved this restautant as a student. (Would it still be as good???)

They serve up the southern cooking family style. Well actually Kyra Sedgwick from TNT’s The Closer does! Look!

Not only did she have the physical resemblance, but my incredible waitress sounded just like the Deputy Chief Brenda Johnson character, if not a tad more Southern. Her real name is Wilma Temples, and I LOVED her.  When she asked me if I liked the fried chicken,

(now that’s a piece of fried chicken)

and I told her that yes, it was delicious, she clapped her hands in delight.

What an incredibly tasty meal!

(Wait, look, there she is again, right behind me.)

But on to Berry College I stufflingly (for this post, let’s pretend that’s a word) went. Next stop: Oak Hill, the antebellum family home of Berry Founder Martha Berry.

And the backyard:

My childhood home doesn’t quite look like Martha’s:

What a wonderful feeling to drive through Berry’s main gate again, The Gate of Opportunity.  And at nearly 30,000 acres, Berry College boasts the world’s largest campus.

Ridiculously silly video introducing Dana Hall (toward the end I got distracted by students who yelled at me from their car):

I somehow managed to convince an RA to let me into my former dorm, Dana Hall and found my old room, #235.

I also tried to tell the kids about the cool Sock Hops we used to have, but they looked at me like I was from another century. (Just hush.)

Outside Dana Hall:

The Berry Chapel:

Pausing at Martha Berry’s gravesite. Yes, it’s right there next to Dana Hall beside the chapel.

And on to arguably the most beautiful section of campus, the Ford complex (Henry Ford funded this part of Berry).

I used to eat in the Ford Dining Hall below. (Also the site for yesteryear’s Sock Hops that those baby Berry students knew nothing about.)

Ah, the memories.

Finally, I drove about five miles (yes, still on Berry property) to the old Berry Academy part of campus to see my favorite spot of all, the Old Mill.

Believe it or not, we used to try to (illegally) climb that thing!

But not anymore. Nowadays these boots are just made for walking.  And sitting.

What a great Rome-ing day.

I have been so blessed to be a part of three beautiful and top-notch schools: Berry, Georgia Southern University and now SCAD (the Savannah College of Art and Design).

Other related posts and links:

My GSU Tour

GSU Retirement Post #1

GSU Retirement Post #2

SCAD-ing Outta Retirement

“My Berry”: