25 November, 2010

Thanksgiving - 25th November

NCV is home to students from all over the world, including quite a few from the United States of America and Canada. At Thanksgiving time, a group of our American residents (led by Anetra Moore and Jaye Del Rosario) put together a traditional Thanksgiving Dinner for the NCV community. This was of great interest to the local residents, as in Australia there is no Thanksgiving celebration. In fact, such was the dearth of Thanksgiving-related products in Australia that many of the decorations were ordered in from the United States! The dinner had all the Thanksgiving essentials: turkey, cranberry sauce, roast vegetables, sweet potato, pumpkin and apple pie.

During dinner Anetra gave a short presentation about the origins of the Thanksgiving, which dates back to 1621.  There were also a number of interesting “Thanksgiving Facts” presented:  we learnt that Minnesota is the top Turkey-producing state of the US, while Wisconsin, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington lead the way on cranberry production.  Residents also learnt about the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Black Friday shopping specials and the host of football games that fall on Thanksgiving.  Anetra and Dino then showed a short clip of the Presidential Turkey Pardon, one of the more unusual Thanksgiving traditions.  Thanksgiving at NCV gave some fantastic glimpses into American culture – yet another benefit of living in a diverse and enriching community.


18 November, 2010

Carols by Candlelight - 18th November

Unlike the in Northern Hemisphere, in Australia Christmas time falls in summer. Instead of snow, Christmas is associated with warm sunny days, long daylight hours, and the long school holidays. As a result, many activities around Christmas will be held outside.  Families enjoy barbecues together, play some outdoor games, go to the beach and generally enjoy the fantastic Sydney weather.

One activity which is held in communities all around Australia is “Carols By Candlelight”.  At “Carols By Candlelight” people gather outdoors around dusk and sing Christmas songs together. To help them see the lyrics, people hold candles as they sing.  “Carols By Candlelight” events are generally organized by churches, groups of churches or local councils.  A typical event might also include a talk about the birth of Jesus, a visit by Santa Claus, fireworks or a performance by a local band or well-known singer.  The two most famous examples of “Carols By Candlelight” are those held in The Domain in Sydney on the Saturday before Christmas Day, and at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne on Christmas Eve.

In 2010 NCV held its own “Carols By Candlelight” for the first time.  A talented group of NCV musicians prepared a program of Christmas songs including “The 12 Days of Christmas”, “Silver Bells”, “O Holy Night”, “O Come All Ye Faithful”, “Hark The Herald Angels Sing” and “Silent Night”, to name but a small selection of the songs sung. Candles were distributed and people enjoyed a warm, late spring evening singing traditional songs and hymns about Christmas.  Midway through the evening the program paused so that students could enjoy some food a drink together.  After this the band were then kind enough to take requests, singing some resident’s favorite songs late into the evening.


15 November, 2010

November Drinks & Canapes

To finish off the year in style the NCV community gathered after the final exams for a Drinks and Canap├ęs Evening in the Main Common Room.  Of course, being a postgraduate community one of the unique features of life at NCV is that it never really stops – there is no “end” per se to the year’s events. That said, for the significant number of NCV residents doing coursework programs the exams had finished on 15th November and so there were plenty of reasons to celebrate!

Students enjoyed a couple of drinks and a host of delicious short eats: spring rolls, cheese and spinach triangles, falafels, Cajun prawns, vol au vents, sausage rolls, vegetable sticks, corn chips and dips. The Dean of NCV Dr John Quinn made a few short remarks about the great year which NCV had enjoyed.  Dr Quinn posed the question “what makes for a great year?” and answered it with three key ingredients:  great events, great staff and great residents.  Dr Quinn paid special tribute to the Academic Tutors, Senior Residents, office staff and maintenance staff for all the great work they did responding to the various needs of the community.

The night continued on until about 9:30 pm, when the lights suddenly went up and the piano was opened. A group of residents gathered to rehearse for the next NCV event – Carols By Candlelight.  So much for “the end of the year”!! As noted above community life continues at NCV the whole year around.