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Galway and Good Friday – by Victoria Hansen. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

Galway and Good Friday – by Victoria Hansen. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

It is no secret that Ireland is a very Catholic country. In fact, about 86% of the population is Catholic, so it should come as no surprise that they take the Easter Holiday very seriously. The Wednesday before Easter three friends and I traveled to the college town of Galway to spend our Easter Break. We figured that nothing would be open on Sunday because of Easter but we didn’t even consider what Good Friday would do to normal business hours of all the pubs that Galway is known for.

[The first stop on our pub crawl]

Wednesday had been a long travel day so I was tired and ended up having a relaxing night in the hostel. When Thursday morning came, I was ready to explore. Right when we began walking around Galway I noticed that it seemed different from when our entire study abroad group visited it back in February. It was still very busy but oddly quieter. It took me a long time to realize that the reason it was so quiet was because all of the university students had already headed home to begin their Easter breaks. The streets were packed with tourists from all over the world, not their usual student crowd.

At the end of the main street that goes through the shops of Galway, a food festival was being set up. I assume it was scheduled for that very same weekend to distract people from the fact that Good Friday meant no night life. After walking around all day, we headed back to our hostel to see if they had any planned events for the night. The reception desk had a sign encouraging people to join them on the free pub crawl that would take place at 9:30 PM. Since we had nothing else to do for the night, we all agreed that would be a fun time.

[The band at The Kings Head]

The pub crawl began in the lobby of our hostel. We were supposed to mix and mingle with the other guests setting out on this adventure with us. Two of my friends struck up a conversation with a Canadian from Vancouver but other than that, we mostly just talked to each other until it was finally time to set out to the first pub. By the time we left, it was already past ten o’clock. The first place we went to was called Garvey’s. They had a small band playing live music and apparently, an entire soccer team from Manchester happened to be there. After dancing along to the band for about forty-five minutes, we headed to a pub called the Kings Heads.

As we walked to the pub, I noticed the streets were oddly bare. It was only 11 O’clock but some of the pubs had already shut down for the night. When we got into the next pub, the leader of our group told us that in a half an hour the pub would stop selling alcohol. That seemed odd to us because we had never heard of a pub not serving any kind of drinks. Later we found out they do this because it is actually illegal to sell alcohol on Good Friday and Good Friday begins right when the clock strikes midnight. Our group made the mistake of leaving the Kings Heads to go to another popular pub down the street called The Quay’s. Even though there was still half an hour before Thursday became Friday, all the pubs were no longer letting people in.

[One of the most popular pubs in Galway all locked up on Good Friday]

Defeated, we decided to head back to the hostel. We were walking down the street when an odd group of clearly intoxicated boys formed in the middle of the street. They lifted one of the boys up and he led the group in a traditional Irish drinking song. The rest of the group joined in when they knew the words but otherwise it was mostly just the boy crowd surfing singing. It was quite the sight to see.

The next morning when we walked through the town all the pubs were closed and pad locked behind their gates. The only pubs that were open only served food until a certain time in the evening and then they too had to close their gate. It was odd walking through a city that is known for all of its pubs and having all of those pubs closed down. It was clear that many of the tourist were disappointed by the closing of the pubs. They, like us, probably hadn’t even thought about the effect that Good Friday would have on their trip to Galway.


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. Eleni Birhane and Matthew Breeze, Assistant Managing Editors, 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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Ireland – Irish Set Dancing – by Victoria Hansen. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

Ireland – Irish Set Dancing – by Victoria Hansen. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

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[Arden dancing with a local while the instructor (the man behind her) reminds the group of the next steps]

When we first got to Ireland, we were told that every Thursday night there was the opportunity to partake in dance lessons. As someone who spent fifteen years of their life dancing, hearing this made my ears perk up. We were told that we had the option to attend something called Irish set dancing. I had never heard of that and wasn’t really sure what I had signed myself up for when I walked through the doors to the Derrylahan Thursday night.

Being that it was our groups first time attending the dance lessons we were uninformed of the fact that the instructor comes at 8:30 not 8 o’clock as we originally had been led to believe. This left us sitting in a pub waiting for a half an hour but the time went by quickly as I talked with other students about where they planned on traveling over different school breaks. One of the other students, a boy named Zach, had only gone to the pub to eat dinner, but of course he ended up being dragged along to the dance class. Before we knew it we were being ushered into a room connected to the pub by a hallway.

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[Zach and Allie dancing with two women from Luisburgh]

The room had all wood floor with chairs facing a dance floor just waiting for us to begin. A thin curtain separated the room in half. On the side, opposite of the side we were on several tables and a bar were all set up. It looked like the kind of place where wedding receptions or banquets were held. Although the heaters were all on high, the room still had a sharp chill to it.

Most of us students choose to keep our coats on to begin. The instructor told us each to pair up and form two circles, each circle having four “couples”. Because the majority of the class was older women, some women had to take the place of the man in the dances. The instructor slowly went through the first set step by step. My partner happened to be my good friend Allie. Because Allie is much taller than I am, the instructor suggested she take the lead position.

Allie and I struggled through the first set because neither one of us had ever been taught how to waltz and there were several times throughout the first set where waltzing was required. After being led step by step through the first set, we were all warm enough to shed our jackets. The instructor played the music for us before we began. Allie and I looked nervously at each other because of the fast beat of the music. We both know that if we messed up we would mess everyone else up too. Luckily for us, we both turned out to be a quick study.

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[The circle moves in and out as a part of the set]

After the first run through of the set we began to allow ourselves to relax and enjoy the dancing. It was so fast paced that it turned out to be more than just a dance, it became a work out. As time went on, more people joined the class, which was a good thing because after dancing a couple times in a row, a water break was much needed. Throughout the remainder of the class, we learned two more sets. Each one slightly more difficult.

Sometimes Allie and I would split up and be partners with the locals which was always a fun little treat. You could definitely tell who attends class regularly and who doesn’t. Those who attend class regularly are often great leads. They always spin you of into the right direction and the don’t hesitate to tell you when you have missed or added an extra step.

On one of the short breaks that I got from dancing, I looked around and for the first time I saw what was really going on. All the other students, as well as the majority of the locals, had smiles on their face and sweat seeping through their clothes. When someone would mess up it was often noted but brushed of quickly with a laugh. The enjoyment of the activity by everyone participating was clear to anyone with eyes. It was official: Irish set dance lessons was going to become a Thursday night routine.

[Video caption: Everyone dancing the first part of the set]



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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A Foreign Sporting Experience – Gaelic Football – by Allison Brennhofer. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

A Foreign Sporting Experience – Gaelic Football – by Allison Brennhofer. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

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[Part of the crowd watching the match. I wish I had been smart enough to have brought a hat with me to Ireland]

I would like to preface this entire piece by saying I am not an avid sports fan. I will watch baseball (my favorite, by far, of the sports my family watches) when it’s on. I’ve even gone to quite a few baseball games. Other sports are where my attention begins to wane. Soccer interests me, but I couldn’t care less about American football. All information collected in this piece is put together by myself and a few other students in Ireland with me, who also know very little about Gaelic football.

Our wonderful bus driver, Owen, apparently knows everyone in Ireland or at least in County Mayo, in which we are located. He managed to talk his way into getting us tickets for the match between Maigh v Muineachain (their Gaelic names) or counties Mayo v Monaghan. We had our pick of seats in the stadium because he had the foresight to arrive an hour and fifteen minutes early. He led us up the bleachers till we were midfield, close to the top of the stadium. I quickly lost my Minnesota cred by bundling up under a scratchy wool blanket that are standard issue in our cottages. The stands filled within half an hour of us arriving and we were able to sit there smug because of Owen’s knowledge, as others milled around looking for open seats. I heard later that there had been 10,000 people at the match, which seems very incredible to me for a team that isn’t even professionally paid. It’s taken very seriously here.

Owen had tried to explain the basics of Gaelic football to us on the bus, but it’s difficult to remember everything about a brand new sport so I had resigned myself to watching the match completely confused. Luckily, in the row behind me, there were two younger children. The little girl was sitting next to two other students in our group and she quickly noticed their befuddlement. She was gracious enough to explain everything that was happening on the field and answered all of our questions. Her younger brother was quick to interject what he considered crucial information that she had skipped over, amid him flipping a water bottle over and over and some incredible dabbing. I was the only one watching him while the rest of us listened to his sister, so every time he succeeded with the water bottle flip he would grin at me and then kindly offered me a turn which I turned down.

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[Some of the fans who swarmed the field after the match had ended]

The best description I can come up with of Gaelic football is that it’s a mixture of soccer and rugby. The game is split into two thirty-five minute halves. The essence of the game is similar to soccer, players do their best to get the round ball down the field to their opponent’s goal. However, in addition to kicking it, they can hold and throw it to their teammates. They are only allowed three steps before they must either pass the ball or ‘dribble’, bounce it off of their foot. It also seemed slightly less rough than rugby. Players are allowed to shove and tackle each other. The caveat there is that if the tackle is too rough in between certain lines (our young teacher was less clear about which lines she was gesturing to) the player can get in trouble and the other player is awarded a free shot. They also use yellow, red, and black cards. A player is issued a yellow card when they do anything the ref decides is worth disciplining. If a player is issued two yellow cards or a yellow and a black card, it is considered a red card and they are taken off the field and cannot be replaced by another player.

The woman seated next to me found our lessons with the girl behind us hilarious and when she noticed my accent, she was very interested in where we were from. She and her husband actually knew where Minnesota was and I had to shamefacedly admit that yes, it was very cold back home, and yes, I was cold right there. She told me her son was on the Monaghan team, which made cheering for Mayo a little awkward but there did not seem to be the bitter rivalry we would have seen in the states.

Mayo trailed Monaghan by a few points the whole match. The point system was a little different than soccer and rugby. Three points are scored if they get the ball in the goal. There are two posts on the goal, which I found similar to field goal posts. If the ball makes it between the posts, above the bar that separates the goal from the space above it, it is one point. This was how both teams made the majority of their points. Mayo never scored a goal, Monaghan got one. The final score was 12-14, or 0:12 to 1:11. They keep the goals separate from the points, so the 12 that Mayo got is just 12 but the 1 for Monaghan represents a goal and is actually 3 points. They add those to the points for a total of 14.

The Monaghan fans who had made the three and a half hour trek to Castlebar erupted in cheers when the game was called and Monaghan won, including the couple next to me. Many people swarmed onto the field as soon as the match was over. Despite the majority of people being Mayo fans, everything remained civil and the fans quickly disbursed.

The next day, we were in a local pub for the Super Bowl and many people assured us that Mayo should have won the match. It’s still early in their season, so the team had been trying out some different players. If they had put in the best players, I was told they would have definitely won.

My only question after the match: Will l be allowed to return to the US if I admit I liked Gaelic football a million times better than American football? ….

[A short video clip I took of the match. Mayo was in possession of the ball at the moment. You can see the player dribble the ball off of his foot every few steps]

Allison serves as an editor for The North Star Reports.

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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Photo Essay and Video – The Dolomites, Italy – by Donovan Chock. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

Photo Essay and Video – The Dolomites, Italy – by Donovan Chock. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

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If you go far enough north in Italy, you won’t find the rolling vineyards, wineries, and olive trees like you would in Tuscany. There isn’t a colorful Amalfi coast for you to cruise along in your swim suit or ancient grounds that have been run over by tourists. Instead, you will find a harsher landscape, mountains, Italians who speak better German than they do Italian, and a unique culture. In northern Italy you will find The Dolomites.

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One weekend, some friends and I got an Airbnb in a village called Völs am Schlern in the Dolomites. Schlern is a region in the Dolomites with a very heavy German influence. Few people spoke English so it was fun being able use my German skills to get a round and out of some sticky situations. Völs has an elevation of 880 m (2890 ft) and we hiked from there to a refuge at the top of the mountain which is at about 2457 m (8061 ft). The hike took about 5 hours to go about 10 miles and it got colder and colder as we ascended. Along the way up we came across some cows and alpine shepherds. They were taking the herd down for the winter when one of the cows strayed off away from the pack.

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It was green all the way up. At the top, we came across a refugee called Schlernhaus, but didn’t have a reservation. The refuge we booked was about another two-hour hike away on another peak and we were tired and two group members had altitude sickness. Thus, we put on our puppy dog faces and knocked on the door. To our luck, they had one bed left open that fit seven people (the size of our group) and dinner was on from six to nine. At Schlernhaus, we enjoyed warm goulash soup, bratwursts, German beer, Italian grappa, and a bed to sleep in. It was nice to change into dry clothes too.

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The next morning, we were all frozen to the bed and we could see our breaths. However, when we looked out the window, it felt like Christmas morning. There was a fresh 2-inch blanket of snow on the mountain. I peaked (literally and figuratively). We started our trek down the mountain after filling up on breakfast (mainly prosciutto and coffee) and witnessed an even more picturesque sight as we transitioned from white to green. We found ourselves in a town called Kompatsch and then made our way to Seis, then back to Völs. After careful consideration, we decided to unofficially declare the region as GermItaly because that’s exactly what it felt like.

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For a brief video clip, see

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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A Semester in Italy – Wine Making! – by Sara Desrocher. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

A Semester in Italy – Wine Making! – by Sara Desrocher. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

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Ciao ragazzi! I am staying in the Tuscany region, which is in central Italy. The area is known for the beautiful landscape, including hills full of vineyards and olive orchards. It makes sense that it is known for it’s exquisite wine. Last week I had the privilege of touring three different styles of vineyards. I was also able to learn about the different steps in the wine making process as I worked with the grapes in vineyards.

Each vineyard is organic and focused on sustainability. The first was smaller, family run vineyard. The family focuses on complete sustainability by using six solar panels, producing enough electricity to power their home and any machines used to press and store the grapes. I enjoyed this vineyard because it was small but very beautiful. The owner said that the Mona Lisa was painted only about a mile or two from the property! It was apparent that the farmer felt much pride in his grapes and wine, which I have found at all of the vineyards that I have been to so far. He talked about how nobody else’s wine could taste exactly like his own because these grapes were grown in a specific climate and location. Nobody could replicate this authentic taste. We were also taught how to correctly taste wine, who knew that wine has legs?

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The next vineyard that my class visited was a large scale wine producer. The vineyards covered land as far as the eye could see, producing enough grapes for 300,000 bottles of wine to be sold yearly. These farms have all gotten the organic label, which takes three years of this type of farming before it can put ‘organic’ on the label. However, this does not stop many of the farms in the Tuscany area. ‘Organic’ simply means grown without excess chemicals sprayed onto the plants. These local farmers use copper if they need to help the plants grow.

The last place that I visited is on the residence that I am living on. It is family owned and consists of vineyards and olive orchards. This week I spent two days working in the vineyards pruning and harvesting grapes. I also spent a few half-days laying grapes out to dry. Pruning the grapes means that we pull off the leaves that are blocking the sunlight from reaching the grapes. More sunlight for the grapes means more sugar in them, it also starts to dry out the grapes. After the grapes have been exposed to the sun for a good amount of time and reach a certain age, they are removed from their vines. When we harvest the grapes we simply cut the bunch off of the vine and place them into buckets. Once we have filled the trailer with our buckets of grapes, they are either laid out to dry or squished right away depending on the quality of the grape.

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When we lay out grapes we go through the buckets for a selective process. The grapes that not too small, broken or bunchy are laid gently on mats to be dried out. We fill as many mats as we can fit onto wooden structures. Then lift the mats up to the top of these structures so that we can fill every row. This process is not very common anymore because it takes patience and space. The entire top floor of the castle is designated to the grapes so that they can dry with natural air flow through the windows. This job can be tedious but the students made the best of it by singing songs while we worked! These grapes will be dried for a few months, until they are taste tested and determined to be dry enough to continue the wine-making process. It is interesting how this process is very much reliant on the human behind the wine, a worker even mentioned that the grapes are never finished drying at the same time. The month, week and day that the grapes are removed from the mats is strategically chosen to make the best wine possible. So much thought is put into this process, it is easy to understand why people here value their wine so much!

See video:

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About our special correspondent Sara: I am a junior at St. Scholastica majoring in Computer Science with a concentration of Software Engineering. I am staying in a small town about 25 minutes outside of Florence, Italy with a HECUA program. My current studies are focused on Agriculture and Sustainability, which is very interesting to learn about in Europe. I chose this program because Italy has always been a place that I wanted to visit, mainly due to the fact that my great-grandfather came here from southern Italy. This is my first time in Europe and it has been quite the experience so far. I am excited for even more experiences as I gain a better understanding of the community!

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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