Some of us here at Mango have dressed up to wish everyone a very fun-filled and happy Halloween!
Around the World
Last week, I spent an amazing five days in Calgary, Canada, for the Netspeed Alberta Library Show. We are so excited that the entire Province of Alberta is now part of the Mango family. I was able to meet and train public and academic libraries on the Mango system, introduce the new iPhone app and share additional products like Little Pim.
We met some raving fans of Mango:
I encountered many interesting people and even cultural nuances and experiences. Growing up in Detroit, Canada doesn’t feel very foreign. I guess it is because we used to be able to drive across the border in about 20 minutes with our Michigan Drivers License. I remember as a kid buying candy there and getting double what I could get in the U.S. as the dollar was so strong.
Flying to Calgary was different. Customs was much stricter and, as I travel often, it felt much more like going to Europe or South America to me. Once I arrived I found several things were different. Yes, they speak English but with a few differences. Lots of long vowels, but we have that in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, too. More importantly they say things like Parkade instead of parking garage and they ask for their bill instead of their check. And many words are spelled like the British, for example favour instead of favor.
What I can say is Calgary has some of the nicest and hospitable people around. I know I missed the Calgary Stampede but I did visit Fort Calgary and realized how much history Michigan and Calgary have in common. On top of all of that I visited Banff, and the Canadian Rockies are gorgeous! Go! You won’t regret it! Oh Canada, I already miss you!
When planning a trip, it’s easy to get caught up in all of the excitement. Thoughts of what sights to see, what clothes to bring, where to stay, and (in my case) where to eat, flood your mind, and suddenly the “minute” details such as passports, visas, and currency fall by the wayside. Before you find yourself without money or stuck in a foreign country with no way home (I would say without speaking the language, but I know you would be wise enough to prepare yourself with Mango Languages before you go), be sure to follow these tips for traveling abroad from the U.S. Department of State:
2. Leave copies of itinerary and passport data page with a trusted person at home
3. Check your overseas medical insurance coverage
4. Familiarize yourself with local conditions and laws
5. Take precautions to avoid being a target of crime
6. Know your emergency contacts, both at home and abroad (U.S. Embassies and Consulates)
These tips are not meant to scare you or deter you from traveling abroad. They are simply to keep you in the know and provide you with the tools to ensure a safe, stress free vacation. For further information on any of the above items, please visit the official U.S. Department of state website. So be sure to plan ahead, prep with Mango, and most importantly of all, HAVE FUN!
What are some of your best travel tips when prepping for a vacation, either domestic or international?
Today’s post comes from an avid Mango user, Betsy Talbot. Betsy and her husband Warren quit their jobs and sold everything they owned to travel the world in 2010. Their new digital guide Dream Save Do: The Step-by-Step Blueprint for Amassing the Cash to Live Your Dream does just what it says. You can learn more about living the good life at their blog, Married with Luggage.
When we first started planning our round-the-world adventure three years ago, we knew the key to saving the money and actually taking off was to act on our plan right away, even though we didn’t have all the answers. We made mistakes, but mostly we learned and moved closer to our goal, reaching it faster than we imagined possible.
We’ve now been traveling for one year, and we’ve discovered that learning a new language requires the same level of action and fearlessness about making mistakes.
Traveling can expand your knowledge, give you a different perspective, and allow you to appreciate the beauty and diversity in the world around you. It can make you feel really smart when you figure something out, engage with people very different from you, or test yourself in ways you never could back home.
Traveling can also make you feel like an idiot, cobbling together sentences like a toddler, and using your hands and facial expressions to get your meaning across. Worse yet, using the wrong word, or the wrong tone with the word, can change the meaning entirely, possibly insulting your new friend or making him laugh hysterically.
- You wanted an egg for breakfast, but you asked for a whole chicken (Thai).
- Instead of telling your new friend you are married, you instead say you are tired (Spanish).
- Not understanding measurements or numbers in the language might get you a full bottle of wine instead of the small carafe – and the bill that goes along with it (French).
Many people hesitate when trying out their new language skills on a trip, fearing they will make a mistake. We have made these and many more, and what we’ve found is that people are generally delighted when you try to speak their language, even if you do it poorly.
As we immerse ourselves in a new culture, we stumble along like 2-year-olds, receiving correction from the locals and repeating the words back to them until we get it right. It is embarrassing at first, but it often turns into a way to better know the people and customs of an area.
We use Mango Languages to help us prepare for arriving in a new country. We can’t always learn the language, but we can always learn the basic words to get by – please, thank you, may I have, where is, excuse me, hello, goodbye. If you make an effort to be part of the local culture, the local people will be much more inclined to interact with you, even if they speak English.
So don’t wait. Take your language lessons before you go, and then dive right in when you get there. Sure, you’ll mess up, but you’ll also learn a lot and possibly even make a new friend.
And don’t forget to learn to say “I’m sorry” in the local language, just in case you accidentally tell someone you are going to kill him. (Spanish)
Have you ever had an experience where something you or someone else said was completely lost in translation? Tell us about it!
I’m not sure which is funnier: hearing someone attempt a tough tongue twister or thinking about their actual meaning!
This Finnish one looks tough:
“Kokko! Kokookko kokoon koko kokon? Koko kokonko? Koko kokon.”
Kokko (a first name)! Would you gather up a bonfire? The entire bonfire? The entire bonfire.
In the video, Fred from Montreal (at 1:38) said this French one:
“Les chemises de l’archi-duchesse, sont-elles sèches ou archi-sèches?”
The shirts of the duchess, are they dry or extra-dry?
How about this Welsh one:
“Pesychwch fel y pesychasoch gynt.”
Cough like you coughed earlier.
Do you have a favorite foreign language tongue twister?
Most college-aged girls getting ready to study abroad indulge themselves in fantasies of a whirlwind romance with a local, leading to a “happily ever after” in a foreign land. Well, my time abroad did, indeed, yield a whirlwind romance, however it was not with a local and did not require me to stay thousands of miles from my home (much to my mother’s delight). No, this was a romance of a different kind. My European love is actually an American: Rick Steves. Many of you may know of this travel expert from his famous European guide books, or maybe from his PBS television series Rick Steves’ Europe. Before I started traveling, I thought travel books were a waste of money and that I could easily discover a city by simply chatting with the locals. While some of this may be true, it is not always that easy to simply “chat with the locals,” due to many different factors. What I like about Rick Steves’ books is the fact that he takes travelers off the beaten path. He knows the importance of visiting historical sites, yet is able to retain an authenticity to your travels.
Though I studied in France, we used Rick Steves’ travel books in Italy, Spain, and France, at the very least. My favorite part of his books is, by far, the walking tours. Traveling throughout Europe is expensive, and he is cognizant of this. Steves gives step by step directions on totally free walking tours throughout most of the cities in his books, allowing you to see all that there is to see without breaking the bank. One of the most memorable is the “Night Walk” in Rome. Though probably intended as a romantic night stroll, I participated in this guided tour with a group of about 6 travel companions. And let me tell you, the magic was not lost. The tour takes you through Rome at night, glowing under the streetlights. Notable stops include the Piazza Navona, Campo dei Fiori, Trevi Fountain, and a dramatic finish on the Spanish Steps. What I find most fascinating about Steves’ tours is the way in which he gives directions. Rather than instructing with street names, he gives direction by landmarks. For instance, instead of telling you to follow a specific road for 40 meters, he will tell you to follow the road you are on until you see the man on the corner selling roses. Then, turn right. And sure enough, after walking a few paces, you will see the man on the corner selling roses and know that you have reached your destination. It is clear that he is well traveled in these areas and it instills a sense of trust in all those who use his books.
On our last day as students in Aix-en-Provence, France, my friends and I decided to take a look at the Rick Steves book detailing the south of France. Sure enough, we found a walking tour of our beloved city and decided to spoil ourselves with the sights and sounds one last time before returning home to the good ole U S of A. Imagine our shock and awe when we discovered that Rick Steves (affectionately dubbed Rick James by this point, due to his all-around awesome-ness) recounted our daily walk to class. If that didn’t put the past 6 months into perspective, nothing could.
While I do appreciate the value of discovering things on your own (mostly by accident) and utilizing the expertise of locals to create a well-balanced vacation, a little help from time to time can’t hurt. To anyone looking for a nudge in the right direction, I highly recommend one of Rick Steves’ travel guides. So here’s to you, Rick! Thanks for the tips! And if you ever need an apprentice that loves language, culture, and travel, I’m your girl.
What are your favorite travel books? Have you ever had a great guided experience abroad? Tell us about it!
During his rule, the people of Korea were often unable to express themselves because understanding of the Chinese language was reserved for the elite. By inventing Hangul and making it accessible to all, King Sejong made it possible for the masses to better communicate and feel a sense of unity around the language.
Take a look at the language in these creative representations of the alphabet from all around the world!
The name “Chong Yang” in Chinese actually means “double Yang,” and while that might be reminiscent of Chris Farley’s explanation of El Nino, the Yang in this case actually comes from the Chinese concept Yin and Yang. In a nutshell, Yin and Yang represent the positive and negative sides of everything. Yin is considered to be the negative side, while Yang was dubbed positive. This concept was applied to numbers: even numbers belong Yin, and odd ones to Yang. Since nine is an odd number, it belongs to Yang, and since this is a double nine: Double Yang. Also noteworthy, since nine is the largest odd number, putting two nines together symbolizes longevity. Often, there is a focus on the elderly during this celebration.
So how is Chong Yang celebrated? Well, legend has it that a man named Huan Jing was told about a terrible event that would happen on the ninth day of the ninth month, and that he had to rush home and take his family to the top of a mountain, spray dogwood on his bags, and drink chrysanthemum wine to escape their plight. Long story short, they climbed the mountain, sprayed their bags, and drank the wine. This is the tradition that continues today, and the fall weather is perfect for doing this. Many people head outdoors and either hike or climb in the country, and this is generally the last time in the year that people have a chance to do this before winter.
Well, Barbie has done it again. As if the trendy clothes, Dream House, hot pink convertible, hunky boyfriend, and wide array of over 125 careers weren’t enough, Barbie has fans everywhere jealous of her latest feat: Paris fashion week! Boasting about her world travels via her Facebook page, Barbie announces she “Just arrived in Paris for Fashion Week… I’m such a lucky doll!” and “Dior, Lanvin, Chanel, and Celine! Feeling so lucky to be in the fashion capital of the world.”
Before she arrived in Paris, she and Ken made a quick stop in Milan for the Dolce & Gabbana Spring 2012 show. Some dolls have all the luck! Aside from being a fashionista, Barbie takes time to appreciate the culture and history of these iconic cities (in true Mango fashion). She reports she is “Taking advantage of everything Milan has to offer and sightseeing with Ken for the day.” She even asks fans for suggestions on things to see and do in Milan. Sounds like she should check out the Mango Languages Facebook page, non? Or maybe check out Mango Passport to brush up on her French and Italian before hob-nobbing with designers
Barbie is no stranger to foreign lands, as her doll pals come from all ends of the Earth. Hopefully they have taught her more about their native countries than simply fashion. With Barbie’s influence over her gaggle of young followers, she has the opportunity to instill in them a sense of wonderment and travel. While I must say that globetrotting to world renowned fashion hubs to see the latest trends from some of the biggest designers sounds grand, what sounds even better is discovering the rich culture of these cities (donning the runway looks, bien sûr)! Imagine traipsing through Milan on your way to the duomo (in a flowy summer maxi dress and embellished sandals) or taking a night stroll in Paris to see the sparkly light show at the Eiffel Tower (sporting a structured trench coat and Parisian scarf). Traveling is about breaking outside of your comfort zone and discovering what makes each city unique. Barbie has always been an appreciator of these things, and we are excited to see where they take her next!
Cheers to Barbie on 52 years of fabulosity and here’s to (at least) another 52 more! Santé!
Barbie is an iconic figure for American youth. What are some other Barbie-like personas from around the world?
Rosh Hashanah symbolizes a time of reflection called the aseret yamei teshuva, ten days of penitence. Jews believe that while they can find forgiveness for sins committed against the Boss, it is left to them to seek out and apologize to people they feel they have wronged in the previous year. The aseret yamei teshuva end on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Many Jews go to Synagogues for Rosh Hashanah, asking for forgiveness and pray to be inscribed in the “Book of Life” for a sweet and healthy New Year.
The most famous symbol of the holiday, the Shofar, is sounded in synagogues on Rosh Hashanah, and is critical to the obligations on Rosh Hashanah. The Shofar is fashioned from a ram’s horn. Yonah Bookstein, from the Washington Post, says, “The blasts of the Shofar are likened both to the wordless cries of the humanity speaking to God and a wake-up call to the soul which transcends rational explanation.”
“Some other cherished customs include: dipping challah and apples into honey and eating honey cake to symbolize our wish for a sweet new year; consuming huge meals with too many courses, calories, and cousins; tossing bread crumbs into living waters during a ceremony called ‘Tashlich‘ to symbolically cast away our sins; and renewing synagogue memberships.” Rosh Hashanah brings the whole family together to celebrate the New Year.
A typical greeting is שנה טובה (shaNAH toVAH) meaning “Happy New Year.” Shana means “year” and tovah means “good.” Another common greeting is שנה טובה ומתוקה (shaNAH toVAH ve metooKAH) meaning “Happy and Sweet New Year.” Metookah means “sweet.”
Wishing you all a happy, healthy and sweet New Year! Shanah Tovah!