Sunday, February 10, 2013 Chinese New Year: Water Snake

Unlike the Western (Gregorian) Calendar where New Years begins at midnight on January 1st, the Chinese calendar starts its zodiac year on the first day of the lunar year. Every year the Chinese New Year is celebrated on a different date and it is assigned a Chinese Zodiac animal and element. This dates back more than 5000 year of history.

Similar to the Western Calendar where there calendar is divided into 12 parts each assigned celestial signed on corresponding month but the Chinese cycle is divided into years instead of months. There are 12 zodiac animals in the Chinese cycle which represent the 12 earthly branches in the order of Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit (cat), Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat (Sheep), Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig.

There are various versions of how the zodiac animal got there place in the cycle. Most stories agree on one thing the animals that make up the signs and appear due to an invitation. In this legend the 12 animals fought over the precedence of the animals in the cycle of years in the calendar, so the Chinese gods held a contest to determine the order. All the animals lined up on the bank of a river and were given the task of getting to the opposite shore. Their order in the calendar would be set by the order in which the animals managed to reach the other side. The cat wondered how he would get across if he was afraid of water. At the same time, the ox wondered how he would cross with his poor eyesight. The calculating rat suggested that he and the cat jump onto the ox’s back and guide him across. The ox was steady and hard-working so that he did not notice a commotion on his back. In the meanwhile, the rat sneaked up behind the unsuspecting cat and shoved him into the water. Just as the ox came ashore, the rat jumped off and finished the race first. The lazy pig came to the far shore in twelfth place. And so the rat got the first year named after him, the ox got the second year, and the pig ended up as the last year in the cycle. The cat finished too late to win any place in the calendar, and vowed to be the enemy of the rat forevermore.

The Chinese astrological signs assigned by year represent what others perceive you as being or how you present yourself. The Chinese philosophy is built around the belief in the five elements and their abilities to interact with and create relationships between natural phenomena. They are the balance of yin and yang and are linked to a particular direction and season, and a person’s life force.

Which brings me to 2013 Year of the Water Snake. To this point until the actual Chinese New Year begins I will post information on each zodiac animal let’s begin with the first animal the RAT.

1.) Rat
Year of the Rat + Element
2008(earth) 1996(fire)
1984(wood) 1972(water)
1960(metal) 1948(earth)
1936(fire) 1924(wood)

Metal Rats_1900 & 1960
Metal Rats are determined people who get what they want, regardless of the cost. Intensively emotional, their behavior can border on the extreme. Possessive feelings, envy, and rage can cause problems. Relationships can be problematic as Metal Rats are obstinate.

Water Rats_1912 & 1972
Water Rats are extremely influential people who are smart and insightful which makes them excellent at problem-solving. Practical and understanding, they interact well with and are liked by others.

Wood Rats_1924 & 1984
Wood Rats are not self-confident as they appear on the surface, they will never expose this vulnerability to others. They are successful despite their perpetual fear of flailing. Wood rats enjoy being with friends and family and fortunately for them, feelings of love and respect are mutual.

Fire Rats_1936 &1996
Fire Rats are spontaneous they like to travel and take on new tasks and will take on any new project or adventure to avoid any sense of routine and monotony. They are zestful, spirited, and giving individuals who are well-liked by others.

Earth Rats_1948 & 2008
Earth Rats are stable, grounded, and believe that slow and steady wins the race.

Good Career choices
Rats make great administrator, director, manager, entrepreneur, broadcaster, writer, musicians, stand-up comedian, politician, lawyer, researcher, and car driver.

Health
Rats are active people and generally in good health. They like to keep themselves in shape and fight off any sickness. They can become at times tense, aggressive, and full of nervous energy, conditions which can lead to stress. Regular exercise designed to calm will benefit rats.

Relationship
Because Rats are social people they like to go out and meet new people. But they are not good at breaking ties and anyone that has a relationship with a Rat must keep up with their vigorous lifestyle. Rats are compatible with a Dragon and Monkey and incompatible with a Horse and Rabbit.

For better results
Your color is warm ochre

Your flower is a daisy

Your fragrance is sandalwood

Your tree is oak

Your flavor is spicy

Your birthstone is emerald

Your lucky number is 11

The Rat is YIN

Favorite’s
food is sweetbread

animal is goose

drink is Bordeaux claret

spice is coriander

metal is bronze

herb is rosemary

musical instrument is violin

The Rat motto is ‘I rule’

The sunny-side
Rats are full of good advice, charming, honest; enjoy living for the moment, protective, compassionate, communicative, dynamic, domestic, prudent, skilled, clear-headed, upright, attractive, idealistic, wealthy, experimental, gifted, flexible, unbiased, entrepreneurs.

Your darker moments
Rats don’t like to share their troubles with other, may become aggressive, talkative, become possessive, fussy, defensive, excessive, addictive, fickle, stingy, bumptious, bossy, oppressive, nervous, confrontational, narrow-minded, arrogant and downright self-obsessed.

Till next time

zai jian

H-Town Summer’s around the corner(^-^)

I know its a bit early since the official first day of summer is when the sun is farthest south from the earth and this year it will be on June 20th or 21st at least here in the Northern Hemisphere.

Okay so summer is around the corner and soon people will be going on vacation, the kids will be out of school, and the days will feel longer and the weather very warmer and then hotter. But it’s Houston the weather changes every 5 minutes here…LOL…

So the deal is where do you go during the summer, what do you do, either with family, friends or by yourself!? Well, there is so much to do you just have to look around. When I first moved here I had no idea of how many adventures awaited me, how many places I could visit, some are free other affordable so the key word here is FUN!

Here are my top 10 places you must visit this summer in Houston.

  1. Downtown Tunnel System- I accidentally found this one when I was going to UHD I was taking my first freshman classes in the summer and I really didn’t want to eat cafeteria food at the university because it was lunch time and busy. So I decided to walk in downtown and went to what is now Macy’s and somehow got lost but found that it was buzzing with people, there were restaurants, shops, all underground and air conditioned it was a plus. I had found my oasis not to mention I was almost late for my science class.
  2. Downtown Aquarium- I went here with my nieces and nephews and it was amazing, white tigers, an underwater aquarium with marine life swimming around, Louisiana swamp exhibit, a restaurant and lot more.
  3. The Houston Museum of Natural Science- What can I say I love museums, especially if there are dinosaurs, a butterfly center, planetarium, and a Giant Screen theatre. A plus are the the traveling exhibits I just saw Warriors, tombs, and Temples and Titanic. There is so much to see. Funny thing when I was young I wanted to be like Indiana Jones and uncover ancient treasures this is as close as I will get of-course without the danger of loosing my life.
  4. The Houston Museum of Natural Science-Sugarland- Not many people know that there is a satellite location of The Houston Museum of Natural Science located in Sugarland, Texas and that right now they have animatronic dinosaurs that move and make noise. the best part to me was the live frogs exhibit and Science on the Sphere was very educational. I love their inflatable planetarium if there’s room I like to lay on my back and stare up at the dome.
  5. The Houston Museum of Fine Arts-What is there to say Fine Art! Walk through and see the beauty created by human hands and their imagination. From traditional to contemporary.
  6. The Houston Zoo- I love the Zoo, there are many animals from different parts of the world both indoor and outdoor and very kid friendly. The petting zoo is great too.
  7. Hermann Park- It is 425 Acres of land that has a reflecting pool close by it there are gushing water outlets that you can run by in your summer wear (please take extra clothing and sunblock), pedal boat rentals, Hermann Park Train, a Japanese Garden, an outdoor theatre, trail walking, or find a nice spot for a picnic.
  8. Space Center Houston-It’s the Space Center, we are space city! Need to say more.
  9. The Health Museum-This is an interactive learning center about YOU! To learn how your body works.
  10. The Children’s Museum-This is more geared for kids, hence The Children’s Museum, also interactive, role playing, and tons of activities that the kids will enjoy.

 

Feliz dia del la Independencia, Viva Mexico

Today Current Event Septiembre 16, 2011:

Yes to all you Mexicans you know what today is ” Viva Mexica, Viva la Independencia, Viva…” Ahh is makes you proud to be of Mexican descent when you go back through history and you hear a story that resembles that of David and Goliath, the underdog who overcomes a greater power and becomes independent.

This was the case 201 years ago. Yesterday evening Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon walked outside the National Palace balcony with his family by his side and shouted “El Grito” which start the festivities. There he stood waving the Mexican flag bold red, white,green with and eagle in the center on top of a cactus biting a serpent.

Still there was lots of caution considering the treat that the drug lords might come to ruin the festivities. Since 2006 the War on Drugslords has resulted in the death of over 41,000 death. There were many armed guards protecting the premises, streets, and president. Things went smoothly.

Here in Houston we also celebrated, mariachi,food, drinks, dress-up in traditional clothing,parades and like all Mexican we are still celebrating there is still the after, after party. Like they say “Smile be Happy and pass the Corona” Till next time!

“El Manco Garcia”

Getting close to September 15th which is Mexico’s Independence I remembered another story I heard growing up how accurate it is I’m not sure. The story begins when the Mexican War broke out and a group of rebels fought valiantly for independence against Spain. A hero rose whose favorite weapon was a whip that he used to set-up traps for his enemies.

The Spaniards expected any military tactic against them except for a whip! The speed of the whip was so fast that it could dismember the head of anyone like a guillotine. This Mexican hero was known as “El Manco Garcia”.

But on June 5th his luck ran out and while he and his men were sleeping the were attacked by General Garcia Conde. General Garcia Conde was en route to Valle de Santiago when this attack happened it is estimated that 150 of his friends and comrade were taken prisoners.

From Del Valle “El Manco Garcia” was moved to Celaya, where at that time Hidalgo was named General. “El Manco Garcia” was taken in chains to be executed. As he walked firmly with his head high the people saw their hero taken to be shot to death. After his death he was dismembered and his head was placed on a pick in Celaya.

That is how “El Manco Garcia” died for his country.

The Legend of “El Pipila”

Since September is the month of Mexico’s Independence I’ve decided to blog about some of Mexico’s legends, Myth, and Heros. This are stories that I’ve heard and grew up with and may change depending on the area or people. Once again this are stories based on actual accounts that have become legends and/or myths that have been handed down orally.

During the first battle of the Mexican War for Independence there is a legend of a modest miner from San Miguel de Allende who was working near a mineral mine in Mellando.

It is said that once Hidalgo discovered the conspiracy he united the people and arrived at Guanajuato [in the indigenous language it means " Place of frogs"] Hidalgo’s goal was to take control over Alhondiga de Granaditas where Mayor Ria~no became strong with the help of the soilders. In his pocessions he had amny treasures which included silver bars, cas, and Real Hacienda, food allthat was geared to survive a siege.

The fight was frightful and the acts of courage and heroism happened from left to right.

In this battle, the humble man nicked named ” El Pipila” placed a piece of slab on his back, an walked and dragged himself to get to the doorstep of Alhondiga, he greased with brea and lit the door on fire. The people inside wend wild with despair and many fell dead one on top of another. Some people stood their ground and remain in the courtyard with firearms but their fight was meaningless.

If this humble man had not done this Hidalgo would not have taken over Granaditas and the luck of the unsurrection would have been another.

“El Grito” 200 years later.


(This video is in Spanish)
Many people believe that El Cinco de Mayo (May 5th) is Mexico’s Independence day. You would be wrong. Cinco de Mayo also known as La Batalla de Puebla (The day of the Battle of Puebla) commemorates the spark of the Mexicans who wanted freedom and democracy during the first years of the American Civil War where the Mexican Army’s defeated the French forces under the General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguin. It is celebrated because is was unlikely for the Mexican Army to win for various reasons. One The French Army outnumbered the Mexican Army by 2 to one (French 8,000 men to Mexico 4,000 men). Secondly the French were better equipped with the latest weaponry during that time compared to the indigenous Mexicans. Mexican’s still won even though 1 year later they were defeted and under French rule.

Which brings me to ” El Grito” (The Cry) on the church steps in the town of Dolores Hidalgo, Father Miguel Hidalgo y Castilla read the Gritto de Hidalgo (or “Call of Hidalgo”) in 1810. This is the actual day of Mexico’s Independence. This year of 2011 commemorates their bicentennial Celebration. Mexican’s worldwide will celebrate with a Fiesta!

Brief History: That day, September 16 (Diez y Seis de Septiembre), Father Hidalgo launched the Mexican War of Independence against Spain. After the declaration, Hidalgo and his followers set out to spread the word to nearby San Miguel de Allende. Hidalgo affixed an image of the Virgin of Guadalupe to a staff, bringing the Virgin to symbolize the Mexican liberation movement.

The struggle against Spain centered around the rights of the Criollos (or “Creoles”) who were born in the New World with Spanish ancestry, but not given the privilege of those born in Europe. Following the war, those born in Europe were expelled from Mexico. This War lasted about 10 years.

Another important celebration which originated in Mexico and is observed extensively in Texas is the Fiesta of the Virgin of Guadalupe, held on December 12. The important religious holiday honors Juan Diego’s sighting of the Virgin in 1531 with processions, offerings and church services.

There are many stories that circulated from this event. there are heroes,myth, and legends one of which is about “El Pipila” which I will blog in more detail later.

Protect the Boss~Korean Drama~2011

Y1saturn is back… I know, I know, It’s been a very long time since I wrote any reviews on Asians dramas but recently I have fallen head over heals for “Protect the Boss” a 2011 korean drama who will become a classical romantic comedy and I’ve only watched about 6 out of 16 episodes. Here’s a short synopsis: there is a poor struggling unemployed girl, there is misunderstanding in the beginning between the lead actors, and to top it all off a love triangle with two rich guys! Who wouldn’t want to be in that predicament!* cough, cough* Omo, Omo Do you feel the L.O.V.E.

“Protect the Boss” leading actors and actresses are Choi Kang Hee(who plays No Eun Seol), Ji Sung(who plays Cha Ji Heon) , and Hero Jae Joong (who plays Cha Moo Won)[former member of South Korean boy band TVXQ aka DBSK & now a member of JYJ since 2010 with Yoochu and Junsu who were also part of TVXQ... ahh I'm such a fangirl I would definitely date him if he asked well, only in my dreams LOL].

The story revolves over No Eun Seol a girl who was a trouble-maker in her youth and has tried to turn over a new lease in life. She has been struggling with unemployment and finally landed a job as a secretary. Only to fall in love with her boss Cha Ji Heon son of a wealthy cheabol family. Her boss is an agoraphobic (fear of having a panic attack in public places where it may be difficult to leave or become embarrassed) childish and once he realizes that he loves his secretary he confesses his feelings only to be rejected. No Eun Seol likes him but wants to become a full-time employee and decides to not have a romantic relationship with him. Cha Ji Heon nevertheless decides he want her and is trying to open her eyes to his affection.  But of course there are triangles but in this case it’s a square. LOL :)

Add two more characters to the mix and make the story juicier…Seo Na Yoon (played by Wang Ji Hye)who was also raised by a chaebol family has her eyes set on Cha Ji Heon she is smart and rich but at the advice of her mother has been told to have her options open and also be available for Cha Moo Won the cousin of Cha Ji Heon. At this point the future of the who will run the business is between them and she would marry the owner. Even so her heart belongs to Cha Ji Heon they had a relationship before but broke up and now she is trying to start over with him. Unfortunately he no longer has feelings for her. At the same time Cha Moo Won has liked her and has his heart-broken by her. Cha Moo Won soon relizes that he will not have his heart played with and starts to have feelings for Seo Na Yoon and confesses his feelings for her. There is childish rivalry between this two cousins. The cousin moments are so hilarious, the way they fight is like seeing 9 year olds.

Oh but there is more drama on the side lines…take into account that there is a power struggle within the family. Cha Moo Won contrary to his cousin is very capable business person who wants to take over the family company and he will do anything even use the two women to get it. But he didn’t realize that this might cause an emotional attachment. Seo Na Yoon is the 5th wheel that no one wants around but she does have her moment she to me will become known as the “ice cream girl” once you start watching you will get it *wink, wink* Then of course you have the loveable characters grandma, dad, and the dad’s secretary. The are so funny even when they are trying to be serious. The dad really has no clue that his son is in love with the secretary and he is so violent in the beginning. Well, he was a boxer before he took over the family business. Grandma likes to keep a low profile until No Eun Seol accidentally finds out and at the same time is trying to protect No Eun Seol from the evil clutches of her daughter-in-law and the mother of Seo Na Yoon. Oh and the Dad’s male secretary is so funny always trying to protect his boss and hiding important information about what’s happening because his boss has a bad temper. He tries too hard that it’s hilarious.

Ah but my favorite scenes are in the elevators…You really have to watch to scene. Hero does exceptional, I did not expect him to do such a good job as an actor but he did great. I hope he comes out on more dramas :) Now this are my opinions.  There are about 16 episode airing on SBC Korean station.

This is one of the links I watch the shows on:

http://www.viki.com/channels/4407-last-female-secretary

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