Author Archives: kosich

Rude Turkish Hand Gesture

--Informant Info--
Nationality: Turkish
Age: 20
Occupation: Business Student
Residence: Zurich, Switzerland
Date of Performance/Collection: 4/25/20
Primary Language: Turkish
Other Language(s): Swiss-German , English , French

Main Piece

The following is transcribed from a conversation with myself, GK, and the informant we will call, AT. 

AT: A gesture we have in Turkey that has a different meaning than in America is the “okay hand gesture”. This is when your index finger and thumb create a circle between them and your other three fingers are pointed straight into the sky. In Turkey, this gesture has a very negative meaning.

GK: What’s its Turkish meaning?

AT: In Turkish culture, it means “a**hole”. You usually give someone that gesture when you are in an argument with them. It is the equivalent of giving someone the middle finger in American culture.  

Background: The informant is originally from Istanbul and lived there for 13 years before moving to Zurich. He knows of this hand gesture through living in Turkish culture and says to have learned it from a friend at school. And the way he handles the gesture really depends on where he is. When he is at school in the U.S., he knows the gesture has a different meaning so he does not take it poorly. However, when he is back in Turkey for the summer, he has a much more negative reaction when someone gives him this gesture. 

Context: The informant and I discussed this over Face Time. 

My Thoughts: It is interesting to see a hand gesture take on different meanings depending on the country. The okay hand gesture in American culture has a positive annotation to it, and has even evolved into the “Circle Game” where you get punched if you see someone holding that gesture up. However, you’d get a much different response in Turkey, and also a number of other countries. This includes: Brazil, Mexico, and Russia. This shows you have to be very careful when going into other countries because something that seems normal to your culture can be very poorly received in another country. 

“Beerio Kart”

--Informant Info--
Nationality: American
Age: 19
Occupation: Pre-Med Student
Residence: Los Angeles
Date of Performance/Collection: 4/7/20
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s):

Main Piece

The following is transcribed from a conversation between my friend, identified as SK, and myself, identified as GK.

SK: I want to tell you about a game I have been playing with my buddies at college called “Beerio Kart”. It’s a drinking game that involves the video game “Mario Kart” and is super competitive. So the basic objective of the game is to be the first player to finish the race while at the same time finishing his/her beer. However the catch is that you must completely stop driving and drop your controller while you’re drinking the beer as it is illegal to drink and drive. So the game becomes pretty strategic because of this rule.

GK: So what’s the best strategy for this game?

SK: It really depends. I usually do all the driving first, so I know how much time I have to chug the beer. However, I have friends who will chug at the very beginning so they could play from behind the whole race and get the best items in the game because of it. There are also people who will take stops after each lap to drink the beer at a steady pace while keeping up with the other opponents in the Mario Kart race. I would say my strategy is the best, but to each their own. 

Background: The informant knows of this game from college. He says that his roommate during his freshman year taught him the game, and that they would often play with the other guys in his dorm. Due to the fact that the new Mario Kart is on the Nitendo Switch, up to eight people could play at once. The game serves as a fun way for the informant and his friends to compete with one another while drinking. 

Context: The informant and I discussed this game over Face Time. 

My Thoughts: This game, in my opinion, serves as a great way to compete with friends while at the same time expanding the entertainment of Mario Kart even further. The courses start to get boring after a while, so adding a whole new aspect to the game really spices things up. It also illustrates the rise in popularity that video games have taken amongst the college demographic. For the longest time, I always thought video games were mainly played by children, and when they were played by adults, that those people were weird. However, with the creation of platforms such as Twitch, video games being played by older people have become more acceptable in society. I also believe that the multiplayer aspect that the Nintendo Switch offers makes the game more appealing to college students living in a dorm because they can compete with one another easily. 

Nowruz (Persian New Year) Celebration

--Informant Info--
Nationality: American
Age: 19
Occupation: Pre-Med Student
Residence: Los Angeles
Date of Performance/Collection: 4/7/20
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s):

Main Piece

The following is transcribed from a conversation between the informant, identified as SK, and myself, GK.

SK: One unique holiday that I celebrate is Nowruz, which is known as Persian New Year. This year it fell on March 20, but the date changes each year.

GK: Why is that?

SK: This is because the holiday falls on the first day of Spring Equinox. So it depends on when exactly the sun crosses the celestial equator.

GK: How do you usually celebrate this holiday?

SK: Um, there’s a lot of things we do. One of the more intriguing events we partake in is called Chaharshanbe Suri. This is a tradition where you jump over the fire, as it serves as a way to purify yourself from all of the sin you’ve partaken in. We also usually have a big feast where we eat Kashke Bademjan (Eggplant Dip), and chicken soltani. 

GK: How long have you been celebrating this for?

SK: It’s been 16 years now. 

Background: The informant, who comes from Persian heritage, knows of this holiday due to the fact he has been celebrating it for the majority of his life. His father, was originally born in Iran, migrated to the U.S. when he was a kid. And with this move, he brought the many traditions and customs along with him. Those traditions have thus been passed on to his son, who deeply enjoys the holiday as it brings his whole family together throughout the start of spring. 

Context: The informant and I discussed this holiday over Facetime. 

My Thoughts: It was very intruiging to hear about the Persian New Year and how different their traditions are vs. our New Year traditions here in the United States. I feel like ours is more of a celebration, while there’s is more of a reflection and cleansing. You could see this through the Chaharshanbe Suri. Hearing about these traditions of the informants makes me want to be more reflective while celebrating New Year’s and think of what I can improve on for the next year. In addition, it was really interesting to hear about how this holiday is connected with the earth cycle. I’ve always wondered why some holidays change dates each year, and that answered my question.

Apple/Pear Cobbler Recipe

--Informant Info--
Nationality: American
Age: 54
Occupation: Film
Residence: Los Angeles
Date of Performance/Collection: 3/15/20
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s):

Main Piece:

Ingredients:

CobblerToppingWhipped Cream
– Butter or Crisco for Baking Dish
– 2 1/2 cups peeled, and sliced Granny Smith Apples
– 2 1/2 cups peeled, and sliced Bosc/Asian Pears
– 3/4 cup of Brown Sugar
– 2 tablespoons of All-Purpose Flour
– 1 tablespoon of Vanilla Extract
– 1/2 teaspoon of Cinnamon
– 1/2 teaspoon of Allspice
– 1/4 teaspoon of Salt
-4 tablespoons of Unsalted Butter
– 1/2 cup of Self-Rising Flour
– 1/2 cup of Sugar
– 1/4 teaspoon of Salt
– 2 tablespoons of Unsalted Butter (softened)
– 1 cup of Heavy Whipping Cream
– 1/2 cup of Sugar (Powdered Sugar is best)
– 1/2 teaspoon of Cinnamon

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (Fahrenheit). Prepare a 9×9 inch baking dish.
  2. Toss the apples, pears, sugar, flour, vanilla, cinnamon, allspice, salt, and 2 tablespoons of the butter together in a large bowl. Add to the baking dish and dot with the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. 
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the self-rising flour, sugar, salt, and egg. With a spoon, drop the topping onto the apples/pears and top with pats of butter. Bake until the topping is golden and the fruit is tender (about 40 to 45 minutes).
  4. Serve with special whipped cream!

Background: The informant is a 54 woman who loves to cook, as she often serves this apple cobbler at Thanksgiving. She originally came across this recipe from her mother, who used to cook the same dish for the holiday as well. She claims the recipe has been passed down generations, and because of that holds a special place in her heart. She will continue to cook the dish, and plans to pass the recipe down to her daughter when the time comes.  

Context: The informant showed me the recipe in person when I was at her house. 

My Thoughts: Although this recipe is nothing special, the fact that it has been passed along throughout the informant’s family makes it special to them. It is something they, as a family share with one another, and serves as a unique way for her to always remember her mom and grandma. They’ve all experienced cooking the same dish for Thanksgiving and having to deal with the pressure of it meeting their families expectation. In addition, I find it interesting to see if any of them made small changes to the recipe. The informant claims to have not. However, she did share with me that her mom added the whipped cream aspect to the dish. The dish has been served for over 60 years within the informants family, making it quite the staple for their Thanks Giving celebration!

Three Consecutive Days Riddle

--Informant Info--
Nationality: American
Age: 20
Occupation: Business Student
Residence: South Bend, Indiana
Date of Performance/Collection: 4/20/20
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s):

Main Piece:

The following is transcribed from a conversation between myself, GK, and the informant, CZ. 

CZ: Can you name three consecutive days without using the words: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

GK: I don’t know. How?

CZ: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow.

Background: The informant had heard this riddle from a camp counselor when he was 10 years old. He says it is his go-to riddle because the answer is so simple, yet so difficult to come to when proposed with the question for the first time. 

Context: The informant and I discussed this riddle over Face Time

My Thoughts: This riddle is very interesting, but its the way the informant came across it that catches my attention. I feel like it validates the fact that riddles are extremely popular within camp culture. This is the case because lots of camps do not allow kids to bring technology with them, and thus riddles serve as one of the best forms of entertainment during that time. This news was refreshing for me to hear, as it reminded me of my time at camp, and how much fun it was to be without technology for that portion of time. I also sometimes think about how riddles would be a lot more popular if technology wasn’t such a major part of our lives.

The Return of a Dead Friend?

--Informant Info--
Nationality: American
Age: 55
Occupation: Film
Residence: Los Angeles
Date of Performance/Collection: 2/7/20
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s):

Main Piece

The following is transcribed from a story told by the informant, DH.

DH – So when I was 16, I lost one of my best friends in car crash. And every time my friend and I would drive by the place of crash we would say “we love you (*name*)” and look up to sky. So a year had passed and it was the anniversary of his death. We were driving on that same road, and I had a cassette tape playing. It just so happened to be playing his favorite song. Right when we approached the exact spot of the crash, the favorite line of the song was playing. My friend and I said, “we love you (*name*)” and all of a sudden the tape made a static sound and the cassette popped out of the player.  We pulled over and looked at each other and started to cry. We also looked at the cassette tape, and there was no crease or anything that would have caused it to pop out of the cassette deck.  We put the tape back in and rewound it, and it played just fine.  We think this was definitely a sign from him, as everything had lined up perfectly.  The location, the song, the line from the song, and then the tape popping out.

Background: The informant of the story says to have experienced this first hand when she was 17 years old. She often tells it because it was the craziest occurrence in her life and often thinks about it when she returns to her hometown in northern California. She is also reminded of it when that song happens to play on the radio. 

Context: The informant had told me this story when we drove past the exact spot on our way home from the Bay Area. 

My Thoughts: Personally, this piece of lore creeps me out. I’m not sure wether I believe it or not, but yet again I don’t see why her or her friend would make it up. If anything, this story really makes me believe in ghosts, because there is no way this happened by coincidence. It also makes me wonder if only certain people are able to experience ghosts. This same informant has had many different occurrences like this, and I have another friend who has as well. I, however, have never experienced a paranormal activity like this before. It is also interesting to think about why ghosts would come back and show signs like that. Are they trying to pass a message? Why can’t they just talk? It is an interesting topic to think about for sure.