18 Jun This day in 1885

[caption id="attachment_2248" align="aligncenter" width="300"] There she is![/caption] This day (okay, technically yesterday) 130 years ago, a very important lady arrived in the United States: Lady Liberty. The United States’ most iconic monument was actually created in France. Designed by French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and constructed by Gustave Eiffel, the statue was completed in 1885 after roughly 11 years of work. Once completed, the 150 foot statue was disassembled into smaller fragments and shipped to New York from Rouen, France.   Edouard de Laboulaye, a prominent political thinker and supporter of democracy, conceptualized the project in 1865, with the end of the American Civil War. The passage of the 13th Amendment that abolished slavery in the United States, proved to Laboulaye, himself President of the French Anti-Slavery Society, that freedom and democracy was possible for all. “Liberty Enlightening the World” would be a gift to the United States to symbolize the French-American alliance, independence and liberty, and to inspire a return of democracy to France.   Today, France has its own replicas of the Statue of Liberty in multiple cities. For the World’s Fair of 1900, designer of the original, Auguste Bartholdi created a smaller model of the statue, which now stands at the entrance of the Musée d’Orsay. A second replica, located on the Ile aux Cygnes in the River Seine, bears the dates of both the Declaration of Independence and the French Revolution. Still other replicas can be found in Bordeaux, Barentin, Colmar...

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08 May Flowers speak foreign languages

[caption id="attachment_2275" align="aligncenter" width="225"] Flower markets in Amsterdam are just too enchanting.[/caption] Spring has FINALLY arrived here in Michigan. Trees have bloomed, birds are chirping, skies are blue, and flowers are popping up all over. All of this blooming and Mother’s Day (yes, it’s Sunday) got me thinking about flowers, which got me thinking about my mom’s favorite flower, which got me thinking about flowers in France, which got me thinking about traditions with flowers around the world. I personally find it fascinating how flowers have a universal quality to them. Mostly everywhere in the world they’re offered as a sign of love, apology, or appreciation; used as decor; carried by a bride; and adorn the graves of loved ones. But, as universal as flowers are, they also carry unique meaning and etiquette in different cultures. Let’s start with the Lilley of the Valley, since this is my *mom’s favorite flower and the thought of which started this whole thing. This flower has special significance in France. On the first of May, the country’s Labor Day, you’ll find florists and vendors on the street selling sprigs to passerby. The cultural significance of the May Lily dates back to 1560 when a notable Chevalier offered the flower, picked from his own garden, to a young King Charles IX. So enamored by the act, the King began the tradition of offering the flower to each Lady of the Court every spring. Of course the “fête...

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22 Apr Run around the world

The Boston Marathon that took place this past Monday, and my ever-approaching marathon in Traverse City, Michigan (for which I’ve barely trained) has had me thinking quite a bit about running. And what do I think about it? I don’t always love it while I’m doing it, but what I do always love is this: it’s free and you can do it anywhere, even while you’re abroad. I, for myself, did the most running while I lived in France, because I had so much time and the weather was always better than in Michigan (and therefore my two biggest excuses for not running really, truly, seriously had no merit). But what better way is there to explore a new park or get lost in the streets of a new town, or even participate in a local event? It doesn’t have to be a long-distance feat, there are plenty of short events to partake in that will make for a unique experience and interaction with a new place and culture. Take a look at some international races below! Midnight Sun Run, Reykjavik, Iceland The best time to visit Iceland is without doubt during the summer, when the weather is warm and the days are long- very long. Because Iceland is situated so far north, near the summer solstice (June 21) the sun is visible for a full 24 hours, setting around midnight and rising again around 3am. You can take in the colorful sunset...

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23 Mar When travel goes wrong, because sometimes it does

Let's face it, traveling doesn't always go as we expect, despite our best efforts to think ahead and plan our itinerary down to to the minute. Most of us can recall a situation when a train was late, we missed a flight (or in my case, didn't really have a flight and lived in the airport for three days - more on this later), or we just ended up in the wrong place, and these are only the most common of travel inconveniences. The best thing about travel misadventures? They're learning experiences, and they're part of the adventure itself, often making for great stories you'll find yourself telling over and over years later. Read about our very own travel-gone-wrong experiences from the Panrimo staff and how we survived to tell about them! Ellen Knuth - University Relations Manager, Kyoto, Japan   What was supposed to happen: I was supposed to have a nice night out with friends, which I did, but with a slight hiccup. What actually happened:  I was working in a rural area in Japan, but on a long weekend, traveled to the cultural capital of Kyoto to meet-up with some college buddies. After a very long, very late evening of revelry, everyone hugged goodbye and went back to their hotels. Everyone except me, of course. Because I hadn’t booked a hotel. Resolution: With another friend who had also neglected basic travel prep, I got a room. Not in a hostel or business hotel, but in a 24/7...

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24 Feb Nostalgic for Nancy

Nancy, France that is. An hour and 45 minute high speed train ride from Paris Gare de l’Est, and you’ll arrive in this beautiful, if underrated city in northeastern France. Stepping out of the train station, it feels quite like any other mid-sized city in France with its tramway, brasseries, bakeries, cafés, and shops lining the streets, but a few blocks into the city center, you’ll happen upon the real treasure of the city, Place Stanislas. Place Stan, as it’s known among locals, is the heart of Nancy and is a classified UNESCO World Heritage site. The square is almost fully enclosed by the facades of the City Hall, Opera, Grand Hotel and a few luxurious restaurants and night clubs. It’s the hosting place for community and cultural events, a common meeting place among friends, and in general, is the site to be seen. Go ahead, take a look! Place Stanislas is not only a visually stunning site, it was designed with a functional purpose in mind. The square was a project conceived of by Stanislaw Lesczynski, King of Poland and father in law of King Louis XV. It served to connect the old town of Nancy to the more modern part of the city, and walking through Place Stan today, the distinction between these two parts of town, is still quite marked. Cross through to the Vielle Ville (old town) and this is where you’ll find the tiny...

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27 Jan A Splash of Color

Around here in Michigan, things get pretty gray and dreary in January. While anxiously awaiting the arrival of spring and a little bit of sunshine, we’ve let our minds virtually escape to some more colorful places that we’d love to share. If you’re color deprived too and need a little boost- or if you’re not, and simply want a break, take a little mental get-away with us and travel to some vibrant spots across the Atlantic. It’s free! 1. Park Guell, Barcelona, Spain- When you’ve had your fill of basking in the sun on the sands of some of the world’s best beaches (according to National Geographic) take a break for a walk in one of the most colorful parks of Barcelona, Park Guell. The park, officially declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984, was designed by renowned Catalonian architect Antonin Guadi in the early 1900s. Inspired by shapes and colors occurring in nature, the park’s architecture boasts brightly colored tile mosaic walls, and soft, curved lines. [caption id="attachment_1417" align="alignnone" width="1280"] http://owtk.com/2012/04/away-no-more/gaudi-bench-in-park-guell/[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1418" align="alignnone" width="900"] http://vesping.com/blog/media/park-guell-5.jpg[/caption] 2. Holika Color Festival,  India- This traditional Hindu spring festival of love and color couldn't possibly do anything but brighten your spirits. As one Hindu legend has it, Krishna, an Indian diety, remarking that Goddess Radha had a fairer complexion than he, playfully smeared her cheeks with colored powders. The act resulted in a friendly battle of color throwing and has become a trademark of the...

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12 Jan Wish, Kiss, and Touch

The new year is here! 2015 is the year for travel and discovery, and all the personal wealth that comes with it. We’ve put together a list of places for you to go this year that are not only beautiful and entrenched in history, they will bring you good fortune. 1. Edinburgh, Scotland- Grayfriar Bobby Statue Meet the most famous and beloved terrier of Scotland, Grayfriars Bobby. His life-size statue stands near the main entrance of Greyfriar Kirkyard, a cemetery in Edinburgh’s Old Town. The statue was erected to memorialize the Skye Terrier who kept faithful watch over his master’s grave for 14 years until his own death in 1872. A tombstone marks his actual burial site in Kirkyard, where he rests eternally near the grave of his owner John Gray. The story has unfortunately been discredited by recent research, but tourists still enjoy rubbing the nose of the loyal pup for good fortune. City officials encourage you to pet gently, not because he bites, but because his nose has undergone some damage over the years from repeated touching. [caption id="attachment_1340" align="alignnone" width="189"] http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Greyfriars_Bobby_statue,_Edinburgh.JPG[/caption] So sweet. 2. Blarney, Co. Cork, Ireland- Blarney Castle Kiss it, it’s Irish! When you’re in Ireland, be sure to visit the Blarney Castle and kiss the Blarney Stone for the “gift of the gab.” According to legend, proprietor of the castle Cormac MacCarthy was being denied his land owning rights by Queen Elizabeth I. Feeling helpless to argue his case, he...

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10 Dec ‘Tis the Season to Sing in Different Languages

As we’re approaching the holidays, we’ve put together a list of jingles to bring you some cheer and help get you into the holiday spirit! Check out Panrimo’s top 7 (foreign language) Christmas carols! May you enjoy these videos and may the lyrics stick in your head. 1. Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer- Come on, don’t act like you don’t sing along to this song when it comes on the radio in your car (or your iTunes playlist). Did you know that the story of Rudolph was originally created for a coloring book in 1939? It wasn’t until ten years later that the story was adapted into a song. If you think it’s good in English, wait til you hear this Spanish rendition! [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FT7CqWb1PEU[/embed] 2. Frosty the Snowman- Now Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer had to be a tough act to follow, but “Frosty” couldn’t have been a better choice. Gene Autry, who recorded Rudolph, had arguably as much success with the release of this cheery tune a year later. The only thing better than the song is the animated film adaptation that followed, personifying the snowman and forever transforming him into everything that is Christmas nostalgia. As a treat, we’ve got a live recording in German! Frosty der Schneemann! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ctg9yHRTzGI 3. Silent Night- This classic carol was composed in 1818 in Austria and has since been translated into as many as 140 different languages. The song is reported to have been sung simultaneously by French, British,...

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01 Dec Warm Up, Buttercup

While it may not yet be calendar official, winter has certainly arrived. Warm up with Panrimo’s top 7 cozy winter warm-up drinks from around the world. 1. Irish Coffee- Why have coffee when you can have coffee with whisky? Coffee, sugar, whisky, and cream floated on top, to be exact. The drink is said to have originated to warm up a group of Americans after they arrived in Ireland in freezing cold weather. The bartender graciously added a shot of whisky to everyone’s coffee for an extra warming effect. So hospitable, those Irish! [caption id="attachment_1249" align="alignnone" width="260"] http://www.52kitchenadventures.com/2011/08/17/irish-coffee/[/caption] 2. Mulled Wine- Hot wine is not quite so common in the states as it is in Europe, though it is becoming more and more popular (yay!). Many variations of this warm winter drink exist, but it basically involves heating wine and adding spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and often orange or lemon peels. Hot, delicious, and festive. Tried and tested- it's good! [caption id="attachment_1248" align="alignnone" width="300"] http://tastygorgeous.com/2013/12/04/countdown-christmas-marvellous-mulled-wine/[/caption] 3. Caribou- Canadians know what cold is, so I trust that this is an effective way to combat winter chills. This cocktail of red wine, whisky, and maple syrup keeps les Quebecois nice and toasty, especially in the month of February when the Carnaval de Québec takes place in Quebec City. The winter festival draws throngs of people into the cold outdoors to watch winter sporting events, parades, and snow sculpture contests! [caption id="attachment_1247" align="alignnone" width="300"] http://www.pri.org/stories/2014-02-14/quebecs-secret-recipe-beating-cold-its-caribou Credit: Marcus Teply[/caption] 4. Hot...

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18 Nov The Third Thursday of November

We all know what the fourth Thursday of November means (turkey of course…just turkey), but how about the third Thursday of November? Admittedly, it’s not quite as celebrated here in the states as it is in France, but it is starting to catch on. This Thursday, November 20th at 12:01 am, is the official release of the Beaujolais Nouveau, a very young red wine with a short fermentation process from the Beaujolais region in eastern France. The wine is bottled only about six to eight weeks after being harvested, making it light and fruity in flavor, and generally disliked by the French. At least for the sophisticated pallet, the accelerated production process doesn’t make for a high-quality wine, but the tradition has nonetheless become a reason to celebrate! [caption id="attachment_1226" align="alignnone" width="300"] http://ufeseattle.wordpress.com/2014/09/30/beaujolais-nouveau-2014-avec-la-faccpnw/[/caption] Woooooo! The tradition dates back to the 19th century, where it began in Beaujolais as a local celebration, marking the end of the grape harvest. Over time, the festivities eventually spread to Paris and all across France- and with some brilliant marketing, across the Atlantic; the United States is now one of its largest importers, with Germany and Japan taking the lead. [caption id="attachment_1228" align="alignnone" width="300"] http://www.someecards.com/usercards/viewcard/dbe7d243a34cab5937bba4168a4aed9c88[/caption] Not exactly random. See below! Why the third Thursday of November? In the 1950s, French law dictated that wine could not be sold until December 15th of the year of its harvest. Because the point of the beaujolais is to drink it shortly after harvest, this...

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