Hi, everybody! I hope that you’re having a fabulous month of February, just like the other Arc Participants and me. February is one of my favorite months to be at The Arc. We have so many things to be happy about and to celebrate. I especially have a very special date to celebrate. February is the anniversary month of the first day that I started attending The Arc of San Antonio nine years ago in 2006.
On Friday, January 30th, when I arrived at The Arc, I received a great and wonderful surprise. I met a group of very smart fifth graders and their teacher from the Saint Thomas Episcopal School. They came to The Arc to take a tour of the classrooms. The fifth graders and their teacher told me that they really enjoy reading my blog. I would to thank the group of the fifth graders and their teacher for giving me a fantastic way to start my day at The Arc of San Antonio.
On Friday, February 13th, we had our annual Valentine’s Day Dance where some of the Participants wore red and pink clothing. I wore my Valentine’s Day purple heart antennas that bop around when I move my head. Also, The Arc’s Participants made Valentine’s Day inspired arts and crafts such as, Heart shaped Rice Krispies Treats and Valentine’s Day Origami. The Participants had a fabulous time dancing and celebrating Valentine’s Day with our friends. I want to give special acknowledgement to Arc Staff Member, Tiffany V. (A Life Enrichment Instructor) for making such wonderful and beautiful sashes for the King and Queen of Hearts Participants. To my classmates who helped to decorate the crowns for the King and Queen of Hearts Participants. Also, to Ms. Bernardine K. (Director of Curriculum) for helping me with getting decoration supplies. It filed my heart with such joy when my friends were crowned. I have never seen them smile so big before.
On Tuesday, February 17th, some of The Arc Participants and I made colorful masks and wore gold, purple, and green clothing and necklaces to celebrate this year’s Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Participants also learned that the Mardi Gras is the French words meaning “Fat Tuesday,” referring to the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season, which begins on Ash Wednesday. Festivities begin at the beginning of February, leading up to Mardi Gras day, and consist of parades, dancing in the street, costumes and masked balls. The modern Carnival tradition developed in Europe in the middle ages, and is celebrated mainly in Roman Catholic communities in Europe and the Americas today. Some of the most famous celebrations are held in Nice, France, Cologne. Germany and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I really enjoy celebrating Mardi Gras because I get to dress up in my favorite colors which are, purple and gold. This year, I even made my own Mardi Gras mask and picked out a really spectacular picture border to put around the picture of myself wearing my mask. I also watched the 2009 Disney animated feature, “The Princess and the Frog” (which is one of my favorite animated movie) to the celebrate the Mardi Gras parades. The other Arc Participants and I had a magnifique (the French word for “grand”) time having their own Mardi Gras festivities.
Also in the month of February, some of The other Arc Participants and I made Chinese lanterns and hand fans arts and crafts to celebrate the start of the Chinese New Year of 2015 (which started on Thursday, February 19th.) The year of 2015 is the Year of the Sheep / Goat. We learned that the Chinese calendar is based on the lunar year, so the date of Chinese New Year changes every year. The Chinese calendar follows a twelve year pattern with each year named after an animal. The story that explains this is that the Jade Emperor invited all of the animals to join him for a New Year celebration, but only twelve animals turned up. To reward the animals that did come, Buddha named a year after each of them in the order that they arrived, starting with the Rat, followed by the Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig. I learned that I was born in The Year of the Pig. Unlike in our culture, pigs are thought to be diligent, compassionate, and generous. In the western culture, it’s believed that pigs have great concentration; once they set a goal, they will devote all their energy to achieving it. Though Pigs rarely seek help from others, they will not refuse to give others a hand.
As San Antonio residents, during the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo, the other Participants and I had a great time celebrating The Year of the Sheep / Goat. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.