How to Say Hello in 15 Languages

One of my goals in life is to be able to greet someone in 15 different languages. So here is my list on how to say hello in 15 different languages:

  1. Hello/Hi-English
  2. Hola-Spanish
  3. Olá-Portuguese
  4. Bonjour-French
  5. Hallo/Guten Tag/Servus-German
  6. Hej/Goddag-Danish
  7. Ciao-Italian
  8. 你好 (nĭ hăo)-Mandarin Chinese
  9. こんにちは (konnichiwa)-Japanese
  10. 안녕하세요 (anyeonghaseyo)-Korean
  11. नमस्ते (namaste)-Hindi
  12. Salve-Latin
  13. привет (privet)-Russian
  14. Merhaba-Turkish
  15. مرحبا (marhaba)-Arabic


Cibus romanus

For my Latin final, I decided to do a presentation on cibus romanus otherwise known as Ancient Roman cuisine. So let me enlighten you once again..

The main staple of ancient Roman cuisine was wheat. It was used to make breads and porridge. Meals were centered around grains, oil, and wine. Food was eaten with fingers and cut with knives made from anter, wood, or bronze with an iron blade. Spoons were only used for eggs and liquids, and the spoons were made from bronze, silver, or bone.  The spoons had pointed handles, which were used to extract shellfish and snails from their shells. Most food was cooked over an open hearth, (either by means of cauldrons suspended from chains or cooking vessels set on gridirons) where the smoke could escape out a small hole in the ceiling through a wall vent (if the Roman had a culina-kitchen).  Cooking was also known to be done outside by using communal ovens.

Bread in the ancient Roman times varied widely depending on the type of flour used. The best bread was made from wheat flour, while the worst bread was made from bran. Some types of breads were libae, panis primus, panis plebeius, panis rusticus, and siligineus. Libae were smaller rolls, panis primus was a cheap, coarse grain bread, panis plebeius was bread made of coarse wheat flour, panis rusticus was bread made out of bran, and siligineus was white bread. And sometimes, legumes such as beans green peas, and lentils were added to bread. Breads as well as pastries were baked in a circular domed oven.

Figs, apples, grapes, pears, plums, and pomegranates were some of the types of fruits they had back then. The Romans rarely ate berries. Fruits were eaten raw, dried, preserved, and cooked. They were dried or preserved to eat them later for the winter.

Some of the vegetables they had during the Ancient Roman time were artichokes, asparagus, beans, beets, broccoli, cabbages, cucumbers, garlic, leeks, lentils, lettuce, mushrooms, olives, onions, peas, radishes, and turnips. Beans and peas were important to the diets of the lower class, and they were sold dried or sold hot by street vendors. The Romans believed cabbage prevented drunkenness, cured paralysis, and protected people from the plague. They also believed that garlic gave soldiers courage and that lettuce was a laxative.

The different types of meat the Romans consumed were beef, veal, pork, dormice, goat, hare, lamb, and mutton. The different types of poultry they consumed were chicken, crane, dove, duck, flamingo, goose, ostrich, pigeon, thrushes, and peacock. The poor rarely bought meat, since it was so expensive to buy. Back then, meat was boiled more often than it was roasted. And pork and stuffed dormice were considered delicacies.

There were many types of seafood then. Some of these includes carp, catfish, clams, crab, eel, flounder, lobster, mackerel, swordfish, trout, mussels, octopus, oysters, prawns, rays, sardines, tuna, and shark.

If you were not rich in the Ancient Roman time, food could be rather bland. So the Romans had sauces to spice up their food. Some of these sauces include garum and defrutum. Garum, also known as liquamen, was a fish sauce made from fish entrails and squished into a paste, layered with salt and spices, and fermented for twenty to thirty days. It was poured over eggs, meat, and vegetables, or spread on bread. Defrutum was a concentrated wine used to preserve and sweeten wine and it was also added to fruit and meat dishes. Other sauces made from vinegar, honey, pepper, herbs and spices were also popularly used.
The Romans loved to drink wine. However, they drank wine that was watered down, spiced, and heated. Drinking undiluted wine or beer was considered to be barbaric. Some other drinks the Romans drank were calda, mulsum, and posca. Calda was typically a  winter drink made of warm water and wine with spices. Mulsum was a drink made of a mixture of boiled wine and honey. Posca was a drink popular among the lower class. It was made from a diluted wine that was similar to vinegar.
Some foods and drinks unknown to the Romans are bananas, chili peppers, chocolate, buttered corn, peanuts, potatoes, rice, tomatoes, coffee, sugar, and tea. It’s not that the Romans did not like these foods and drinks, but rather these were not introduced to humans until later on in time.
The Romans usually ate one large meal per day. At first, the meals of ordinary Romans were the ientaculum (breakfast), cena (dinner), and vesperna (a light supper). Later on, however, cena was eaten during the evening and prandium (lunch) was added. Ientaculum was at sunrise or the first hour. Breakfast was a light meal, usually a slice of bread or a cup of  water. However, foods that could be served at breakfast were wheat pancake biscuits; bread dipped in wine; bread flavored with a little cheese, dried fruits or honey; or bread with salt, honey, dates, or olives. Breakfast was followed by prandium at 11 a.m. Lunch usually consisted of a light meal of eggs with bread, cheese, and possibly some meat. Cena was the largest meal of the day, eaten around late afternoon or early evening. At a household, if the master of the house had no guests-dinner could last an hour. If the master of the house did have guests-dinner could last up to four hours. 
Meals, however, differed between the poor and the wealthy. Meals for the poor usually consisted of porridge or bread with vegetables or meat, if they could afford it.
Meals for the wealthy were divided into 3 courses: appetizer, prima mensa (main course), and secunda mensa (dessert). Some foods served as appetizers were salads, radishes, mushrooms, eggs, oysters, and sardines. The main course consisted of a seafood dish, meat dish, and/or poultry dish. And honey-sweetened cakes and fruit were eaten for dessert. Some popular desserts included stuffed dates, honeyed bread, and itrion-honey biscuits with sesame seeds.
It’s interesting how much food, meals, and utensils have evolved since then..

Memento Mori

In my Honors English class, my classmates and I are reading A Room With A View. Recently, we had to do a presentation on something related to the Victorian Era. We were given a list of topics, and I picked memento mori thinking it had to do with somebody named Mori..Boy, was I wrong. It is about death and photography…So, let’s learn a little bit about the Victorian era.

*If the thought of death or seeing pictures of the deceased disturbs you, do NOT read on.

Mortality rates were high during the Victorian era due to diseases, poor hygiene, and the lack of medicine and vaccines.

Photography was expensive during its infancy in the Victorian era. At first, only the wealthy could afford photographs, but it later became more affordable to the middle class in the late 1800’s. Memento mori was a photograph taken to keep the memories of the deceased alive, and was often the only picture taken of the deceased because of the cost. Memento mori is Latin for “Remember you will die.” Memento moris were taken to remind the living that they would also die one day.


When a family member died, the surviving family members would take a photograph of the corpse in a pose as if they were still alive. The deceased would be arranged in his/her own natural setting. A baby would be positioned in a nursery. Children were posed as if they were playing with toys or sleeping in bed. Adults, however, were more commonly posed in a chair or sometimes braced on specifically designed frames. And often times, family members would be a part of the photograph. The corpse would be positioned with the other family members as if everything was normal.





Coffins were rarely shown in the picture, because the idea of the memento mori was to make the deceased person look alive-only sleeping or lost in thought. Sometimes the eyes would be propped open, pupils would be painted on to the picture, and/or a rosy tint would be added to the cheeks of the deceased.



The wealthy often times dressed up in odd clothing and pose in theatrical settings for their own entertainment.



You might think to yourself, “Wow, that is pretty weird!” In the Victorian era, this was perfectly normal. Someday in the future, the future generations will notice something that is perfectly normal to us as strange to them. It’s amazing how the world changes over time.

Habemus Papam

Habemus Papam! We have a pope! As everyone may or may not know, Pope Benedict XVI(16) retired on February 28, 2013 (fun fact: he was the first to retire in about 500 years). Afterwards, the papal conclave ordained Jorge Mario Bergoglio, an Argentine cardinal, as Pope. He selected the papal name Francis (Franciscus in Latin) in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi. Pope Francis is now the 266th pope, the first pope to be from Latin America (and the Americas in general), and also-the first Jesuit pope. He is known as a joyful and humble man, who is conversant in Spanish, Latin, Italian, English, German, and French.

Pope Francis bless

Pope Francis is a native of Buenos Aires, Argentina. He was born December 17, 1936 (now at the age of 76). He was first ordained as a priest in 1969, then served head of the society of Jesus 1973-1979, after that became the Archbishop of Buenos Aires in 1998, then became a cardinal in 2001, and finally-pope of the Catholic Church in 2013.

How was Pope Francis elected? After Pope Benedict XVI resignation on March 28, 2013, a group of 115 cardinal electors gathered on March 12, 2013 in the Sistine Chapel to begin the papal conclave. A cardinal is ineligible to become Pope if he is over the age of 80 before the day of papacy is vacant To be elected Pope, a cardinal needs 2/3 majority vote. If there is not a majority vote and no Pope at the end of the end, black smoke will pour out of the Sistine Chapel’s chimney. So at the end of Day One, March 12, after one ballot, black smoke poured out of the chimney. On Day Two, March 13, there were two morning ballots and black smoke poured out once again after the third ballot. (There can only be two smoke signals at most at the Sistine Chapel. At the fourth ballot, there was still not a 2/3 majority vote. After the fifth ballot, however, white smoke poured out of the Sistine Chapel’s chimney and bells started ringing at 19:06  (7:06 p.m.) local time. Habemus papam! We have a pope! 

Pope Francis

Latin really does come in handy sometimes. When I saw the headline, “Habemus papam” on one of the newspapers I saw, it automatically clicked in my head. This year, I’ve been taking Latin in school and it’s very interesting. If you’re in school and you’re school offers Latin, definitely take it. Latin is the basis of all languages. Latin can help you with vocabulary on the SATs or just vocabulary in general. There are some words in English and Spanish I was able to recognize just because of the Latin I learned. For example, I was able to to recognize the English word laudable (deserving praise or commendation). Laud comes from laudare, which means to praise.

Ides of March

Today is the Ides of March or Idus Martii in Latin. March 15. The day Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 B.C. In the Julian calendar in which we use, March is the third month. March in the old Roman calendar, however, is the first month. The old Roman calendar has its own way of counting the days, which is somewhat complicated. The Romans did not count the days like we do, instead they count backwards from three points of the month: the Kalends (the first day of the month), the Nones (the fifth (the other months) or seventh day (only in March, May, July, August) of the month), and the Ides (the thirteenth (the other months) or fifteenth (only in March, May, July, August) of the month).

Anyways, let’s get back to Julius Caesar. Julius Caesar was stabbed to death (28 times) at the Senate by as many as 30 conspirators (the number varies). This assassination was led by Brutus and Cassius. Earlier that morning/day, his wife, Calpurnia, begged him not to go to the Senate because of the dreams she had about him (concerning his death). He was advised not to go, but he did not listen. “Beware the Ides of March.”

After his assassination, Caesar’s heir (his great-nephew-Octavian which he adopted to become the heir)) became the first Roman emperor. He later became known as Augustus Caesar. On the fourth year anniversary of the death of his great-uncle, Julius Caesar, Augustus Caesar had 300 senators who were involved with the assassination and also allying with Lucius (long story-google it) executed.


Löwendenkmal is a lion monument in Luzern, Schweiz (Lucerne, Switzerland). In June of 2012, I was fortunate enough to visit this monument. So let me tell you the history of Löwendenkmal…Image

History: This monument is a dying lion, designed to commemorate the fallen Swiss guards who lost their lives in the French Revolution serving King Louis XVI. These Swiss guard were massacred in 1792 when they were protecting the royal family from revolutionaries attack on the Tuileres Palace (approximately 760 died). One of the guards on leave, Karl Pfyffer von Altishofen, wanted to create a monument to commemorate his fellow guards. He started to save money in 1818, and Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvalsen designed the lion monument. The monument was hewn in 1820-1821 by German stone mason Lucas Ahorn in sandstone rock. The lion is impaled by a spear and covering a shield. Next to the lion is another shield bearing the Swiss coat of arms. The latin inscription above the lion reads, “Helvetorium fedai ac Virtuti.” This translate to, “To the loyalty and bravery of the Swiss.” Below the lion, is the inscription of the soldiers names and the number of fallen and surviving soldiers. Fallen-DCCLX(760). Survived-CCL(350).

If you are ever in Switzerland, das Löwendenkmal is definitely a worthy sight to see. Mark Twain praised this particular monument as, “the most mournful and moving piece of stone in the world.”