Category Archives: Jennifer Battcher

The International Peace Garden – Canada and the USA – by Jennifer Battcher. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The International Peace Garden – Canada and the USA – by Jennifer Battcher. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

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On the border of Canada and the United States is a 2300-acre garden where visitors can cross between Canada and the USA with no restrictions. No documentation is needed to enter the garden, but one must pass through customs to re-enter either nation. A passport isn’t necessary to re-enter, birth certificates and proof of residency are also accepted.

The garden, built in 1932, sits in the Turtle Mountains on the border of North Dakota and Manitoba. It was constructed as a symbol of peace between the two nations. A cairn built of local stone welcomes visitors with a promise of peace where the two nations declare, “… as long as men shall live, we will not take up arms against one another.”

The park is brimming with gardens, lakes, trails and wildlife. A floral clock ticks away in a background of trickling water and quiet conversations. Bells gently chime from a clock tower dedicated to war veterans. Paths wind through many floral arrangements including the Canadian and United States flags made completely out of flowers.

The government of Japan presented the garden with Peace Poles inscribed with the phrase “May Peace Prevail” in 28 languages. One garden displays fragments of the World Trade Centers as a stark reminder of this need for peace.

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The only building that sits on both sides of the border is a peace chapel. Every inch of the limestone walls are etched with famous quotes about peace, making visible the efforts of people throughout history who tried to bring peace to the world. A small cafe serves soups, fruits, and sandwiches but the best treat is the refreshing purple Juneberry ice cream. The International Peace Gardens are an incredibly tranquil escape and a beautiful reminder of the peaceful relations between two nations.

Sources: ndtourism.com; peacegardens.com

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our abiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In three years we have published over 250 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our student editors and writers come from all parts of the campus, from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). This is done by an all volunteer staff. We have a frugal cash budget, and we donate much of our time and talent to this project. The North Star Reports is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica. Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, with generous support from The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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Minnesota, USA – “Now Bring Us Some Figgy Pudding” – by Jennifer Battcher. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

Minnesota, USA – “Now Bring Us Some Figgy Pudding” – by Jennifer Battcher. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

Fig Pudding

[Special thanks to Ms. Karen Paczkowski for the photo of the fig pudding.]

I had fig pudding at a restaurant once. It came to the table on fire in a grand display. It was spongy and dry and tasted like fruitcake. Which is probably the worst insult one can give to fig pudding. I was at the dinner with my classmates, and as I watched one after the other slightly push the plate away after one bite I was devastated. I was watching a tradition die.

Fig pudding, according to history.com, started in Medieval England and became The Christmas Pudding of the English. But, it wasn’t a tradition that carried over to North America with the immigrants. Not many people in the U.S. eat fig pudding over the holidays. But my family does. Somewhere in the chaos of human migration my Scandinavian ancestors picked up this English tradition.

My official passage into adulthood was marked by the acquisition of a copy of Great-Grandma Lillian’s original recipe where suet is still listed as an ingredient. (I’m told the current substitute is shortening). The task of preparing the pudding has not yet fallen on me, but when it does I am ready.

Fig Pudding Recipe

Fig pudding, in my childhood memories, is accompanied by aunts, uncles, and cousins all gathered at my Grandma Thissen’s house where the sounds of football and the smell of coffee permeate every room. Now that my siblings and I are adults, fig pudding is made by my mom and eaten a few hours after Christmas dinner when we’ve all made it home for the holidays.

The fig pudding of my ancestors is not the flamboyant production that arrived at the restaurant that day. Real fig pudding is not made in a bunt pan. Instead, it is boiled in tin coffee cylinders in a big kettle of water with sticks at the bottom to keep it from burning and a brick placed on top to keep the cylinders from floating. It is cut in perfect circles and served on Mom’s special Christmas dishes carefully pulled out of boxes from the closet because there just isn’t enough cupboard space in the kitchen. Real fig pudding is dense and succulent with a simple brown sugar sauce on top for sweetness. Some like it warm but those who like it cold, like me, really know how to enjoy it. But the best part about fig pudding is that it’s the perfect companion for a cup of coffee and a gathering of family. The same way the generations before me and hopefully those after me will enjoy it. “Now bring us some figgy pudding,” indeed.

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our abiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In five semesters we have published 200 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our student editors and writers come from all parts of the campus, from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). This is done by an all volunteer staff. We have a frugal cash budget, and we donate much of our time and talent to this project. We are sponsored by St. Scholastica’s Department of History and Politics and by the scholarly Middle Ground Journal: World History and Global Studies (http://theMiddleGroundJournal.org).

For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica.

Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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Meet Our NSR Student Editors — Jennifer Battcher, Senior Editor. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

Meet Our NSR Student Editors — Jennifer Battcher, Senior Editor. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

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My name is Jennifer Battcher. I graduated Concordia College – Moorhead in December of 2011, but I spent my freshman and sophomore years at the College of Saint Scholastica. I have a BA in history and a minor in Spanish.
I grew up on the southern Minnesota prairie and currently reside on the Great Plains of North Dakota with my husband and child. Some of my interests include: hiking, traveling, writing, gardening, and reading the comments sections of articles because I like to see ideas being discussed from various viewpoints. These viewpoints, from people both past and present, fascinate me. The way people interact with each other, the land we live on, family traditions, ancestors, and our environments all shape how we see ourselves in the world, and I enjoy studying these influences and how they mold people’s world-views.
I also love analyzing and writing about my own interactions with new people and places which is why I’m grateful for the opportunity to participate in the North Star Reports and it’s important mission. The North Star Reports gives students an outlet to write about and explore new experiences they have while traveling. It is so important to be able to reflect upon and share these experiences and ideas in order to foster empathy and understanding across the globe.

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our abiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In five semesters we have published 200 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our student editors and writers come from all parts of the campus, from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). This is done by an all volunteer staff. We have a frugal cash budget, and we donate much of our time and talent to this project. We are sponsored by St. Scholastica’s Department of History and Politics and by the scholarly Middle Ground Journal: World History and Global Studies (http://theMiddleGroundJournal.org).

For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica.

Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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Guatemala – Am I Really Helping? — The North Star Reports – by Jennifer Battcher. Sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and The Middle Ground Journal

Guatemala – Am I Really Helping? — The North Star Reports – by Jennifer Battcher. Sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and The Middle Ground Journal

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I went to Guatemala on a volunteer service trip. Our group provided help to the people of San Lucas Tolimán. We were free labor and extra hands. We sorted coffee beans, made concrete, planted trees and landscaped for a women’s center.

One day we went to the shop of a local store owner who sold hand crafted kitchen utensils. I was given a machete and a block of wood. On the wood was a sketch of a spatula with the handle curving into a beautiful Quetzal, the Guatemalan state bird. The directions were to carve the spatula out, then trade the machete for sand paper to file it down.

I began hacking away at the wood, the giant knife making clumsy splits. It wasn’t long before I chopped off the beak of the carefully drawn Quetzal. Unsure of how to continue, I brought the mangled spatula to the store owner, pointing at the deformed bird. That’s when I saw it.

It flashed across his face for only an instant before he regained his composure and told me to round it out into a bulb handle. But it was too late. I had already seen it. His face, for the briefest of moments, showed disappointment. Frustration. Exasperation. Perhaps annoyance that he had to waste his precious resources on a group of foreign volunteers with unskilled hands. Suddenly, I saw my volunteer trip in a new light.

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Eighteen years old and fresh out of high school, I was no craftsman. I wonder what it is like for the residents of these places. Foreigners show up wanting to help better the country, some with their own ideas of how things should be. The people have to find work for this group of volunteers, hopefully something that will actually benefit the community. The skill levels of these volunteers are so diverse and sometimes unknown to the people they are there to assist. To this day I look back on that trip, and all other trips I have taken as a volunteer in another country, and I wonder, “Am I really helping?”

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, The College of St. Scholastica and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal’s online learning community and outreach program with undergraduate and K-12 classes around the world. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at:

http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

The North Star Reports publishes edited essays from our students, particularly from those who are currently stationed, or will soon be stationed abroad. Students have reported from Mongolia, Southern China, Shanghai, Colombia, Norway, northeastern China, Nicaragua, Micronesia, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, El Salvador, England, Finland, Russia, Cyprus, and Haiti. We also publish student reviews of books, documentaries, and films, and analysis of current events from around the world. We will post their dispatches, and report on their interactions with the North Star Reports students and teachers. We thank The Department of History and Politics and the School of Arts and Letters of The College of St. Scholastica for their generous financial support for The North Star Reports and The Middle Ground Journal.

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica.

Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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Being Blonde in Mexico — The North Star Reports – by Jennifer Battcher. Sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and The Middle Ground Journal

Being Blonde in Mexico — The North Star Reports – by Jennifer Battcher. Sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and The Middle Ground Journal

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Living in the upper Midwest, I have never thought much about the relatively homogenous society in which I participate. Being pale in many aspects of my appearance has allowed me to fit right in with the majority of people in the surrounding areas. When I was in Mexico, I experienced what it feels like to look different from nearly everyone around. I had been in Mexico several days, paying absolutely no mind to the fact that I looked very different from most of the people there. It never even occurred to me how much I stood out from those within my group, but it certainly occurred to other people.

“Jenny, these guys want to talk to you because you’re blonde,” said a girl in my group while we were out one night. Because you are blonde. Suddenly, I felt so very noticeable and defined by this one glaring feature that set me apart from the rest. Another time, while my traveling group had dinner with a family from the area, the older ladies started to laugh and giggle as a teenage boy’s face turned red. It was translated to me that this boy was wondering if I would take a picture with him because of my blonde hair. As he stood next to me, embarrassed but defiant to get his picture, I felt very on display, again. Like my hair was shouting “I’m different from you! I’m different from you!” Not only were all the Mexican people staring as our picture was snapped, but so was every brown, black and red haired person from my group. They all stood grouped together watching me and my conspicuous hair with emotionless eyes.

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Suddenly my morning routine changed. As I brushed my hair I began to wonder if I should wear it up to hide the blondness or wear it down and embrace my peculiarity.

When I returned to my society of doppelgängers, I started to notice the few people who don’t camouflage in the snow and wonder if they feel as if a spot light shines on them and their features. Some features that stand out aren’t as easily hidden just by putting your hair up. I wonder what kind of comments and experiences they encounter, and if they ever feel like blending in with the crowd.

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, The College of St. Scholastica and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal’s online learning community and outreach program with undergraduate and K-12 classes around the world. The North Star Reports has flourished since 2012. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at:

http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

The North Star Reports publishes edited essays from our students, particularly from those who are currently stationed, or will soon be stationed abroad. Students have reported from Mongolia, Southern China, Shanghai, northeastern China, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, England, Finland, Russia, and Haiti. We also have students developing reviews of books, documentaries, and films, and analysis of current events from around the world. We will post their dispatches, and report on their interactions with the North Star Reports students and teachers. We thank The Department of History and Politics and the School of Arts and Letters of The College of St. Scholastica for their generous financial support for The North Star Reports and The Middle Ground Journal.

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, MN, USA

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org The NSR is sponsored by The Middle Ground Journal and The College of St. Scholastica. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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