Monday, May 18. 2015
This week’s entry represents our final “normal” blog. From here on in, the assignment requirements will change. I hope you love this one.
First, please read the following: Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front excerpt and Jay Caspian Kang’s Immigrant Misappropriations.
Next, please enjoy this week’s entry here: From This Soil We’ll Grow Together
This post is due to both Turnitin.com and the blog itself. Please submit your work to both sites no later than 11:59pm on Thursday, May 21st.
You are responsible for the following:
+ One main response, with a minimum length of three (3) seven-sentence paragraphs. You should only come in at the minimum if your response warrants it - i.e., if you're writing profoundly enough to say what you need to say beautifully and concisely.
+ Two feedback responses (due by11:59pm on Friday, May 22nd). Make sure these are genuine continuations of the conversation started by your peer's original post. You can spin off of one of their points, discuss something in greater detail, comment on aspects of the work itself, etc. Congratulate them, praise them, ask them questions...reach out! There’s no comment limit for this thread, so if you feel like talking to your peers, follow your instincts! (You can even do this for anonymous posters; they’ll be reading the thread to see how you respond.) Check your work to see if someone left feedback for you, and start conversations with your readers – and classmates!
+ Two nominations, with ample justification for each nomination, due by 11:59pm on Sunday, May 24th. You do not need to nominate the posts you replied to on the blog; you cannot nominate yourself; triangular trading is illegal. You can find the nomination form HERE!!!.
Please try to post insightful, specific, and polished pieces.
Punctuation, grammar, and mechanics all count towards your grade.
Compose your replies carefully, and always remember to build your credibility - use proof, not hypothetical statements. Write the why for every what!
As always, you are not required to respond to every question.
One more thing: as you develop as writers, your pieces should look more and more constructed. By that, I mean they should demonstrate not simply knowledge of writing as a craft, but an awareness of how to make your work truly profound. As we move through the semester, practice writing not simply as students, but as creators. Experiment with writing, in other words, as writers do.
As always, write well, think well…and good luck.
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Can I live with it?
“So... I lied. I cheated. I bribed men to cover the crimes of other men. I am an accessory to murder. But the most damning thing of all... I think I can live with it. And if I had to do it all over again - I would. Garak was right about one thing: a guilty conscience is a small price to pay for the safety of the Alpha Quadrant. So I will learn to live with it... Because I can live with it... I can live with it…”
-Captain Sisko “In the Pale Moonlight” (Star Trek)
For those who weren’t in first semester, this is a scene from a Star Trek scene Mr. Feraco showed us earlier in first semester. It showed the slow degradation of Captain Sisko’s character; a once loyal, honest, and kind-hearted captain of the Alpha Quadrant slowly made sacrifices of his own morals for “the greater good”. He turned to lying, stealing, and playing God in a sense that ultimately changed who he once was.
I’m not proud with what I’ve done, but I learned to live with it.
Growing up, my parents would always praise me for my trustworthiness and honesty. Yes, I was that kid who would feel so guilty that I would go up to them and tell them what I would do wrong. I had, in short, a strong guilty conscious that would always reign over any thought of lying. For example, I had a serious problem with eating way too much when I was younger and would sneak food. But maybe a few minutes later, I would go up to my parents and apologize for what I’ve done.
What have I done? Where did I go?
As I’ve grown up, I’d love to say that this piece of me stuck. Reluctantly, I soon began to grow and fall into the normal trap of wanting to avoid getting in trouble with my parents. I would lie in daring moments just to save myself from a lecture or an hour of yelling from my parents.
I lost sight of what was important to me.
Even during those times I lied to my parents or did something against my morals. I always tried to find a way to compensate for that guilty conscious. It’s as if I was suppressing it with reasons to weigh down the guilt from coming up. It’s as if I was trying to hold down my conscious under water when it needed air to breathe, but I just suffocated it. I needed to give myself reasons that I was doing it for the greater good; so I could live with it.
Far too often, I found myself stretching my morals so I could feel safe. I lied to my parents about who I would be going with because I knew they didn’t like some of my friends. I didn’t agree with them and thought they were wrong, so then I lied. The sad part is, once I started to do it and justified it...I kept doing it like it was okay.
Stop Before It’s Too Late
It was okay-I could live with it.
I see morals like a rubberband. We always like to make exceptions thinking we will stay the same. But if you think about it, the rubber band keeps getting stretched and stretched and soon enough, the rubber band will be too large, to the point where it’s unrecognizable.
The same goes with morals. I do believe that everyone changes and constantly grows everyday. But at the same time, there are always going to be those beliefs, those ideas that help create the basis of our identities. It’s the rock we can always go back to. But, if we make so many exceptions and learn to live life breaking them, soon enough you’ll lose yourself. That’s how I felt after lying so much, and in turn I told myself I could live with it
After awhile though, I realized I was in the dark and lost myself. But instead of being okay and “living with it”, I stopped and changed. I began telling the truth again and I felt this weight come off my shoulders. I felt like myself again; I finally found myself standing on the rock once again.
Morals are something we can’t ignore. They serve as a basis for identity. We are entering college soon and I’m sure that with everything such as peer pressure and expectations, our morals will get tried. Of course there will be some elasticity to our morals, but in a fair warning, don’t let the rubber band stretch so far that you can’t recognize it anymore.
I guess the real question we should all ask ourselves when considering to go against our morals is:
Can I live with it?
In all honesty Erika, I totally do not remember or entirely recall that one Star Trek episode that we saw in class. Now that you mentioned it in the blog, I can see or had the feeling of where you might have gone with your writing. I do stand by what you said quote on quote saying "you would lie in the moment" to escape something, I feel that is something we all have in all of us. We want to act like it doesn't matter, but it does because the manner of how you come across when you have to be decisive matters. I get the point where you say What have I done? Where did I go? I would like to point out that you are right on the level that morals are rubber-bands. They are very easy to snap and so tempting to break that you can't just eliminate the feeling of doing so. I feel the same way, but can I live with it? I am sure that I can, but how I respond speaks more than just simply saying, "Oh sorry, I can't do this" or "Good job". This maybe my head talking instead of my heart, but my heart does tell me that you wrote a strong blog. There is no question about that..
"Can we live with it?"
Such a simple question, and yet it's so daunting. How can you know that you're capable of living with it before you defy your moral foundations? If you do defy our morals, and you find in time that you regret it, or you feel bad, what can you do about it? You have to live with it. The rubberband may stretch, but I think at one point or another it will stretch beyond recognition.
And just as you do, we have to live with it. We have to underscore that so we can learn. After all, we're never done learning.
Wow! The title itself is so true and powerful. So many times we go against the morals which we set for ourselves not realizing that it would hurt us later in life. Sadly, though your question is so true, we never really live by it. I feel that this is a question I will be asking myself every time I am tempted to go against my morals. Very inspiring. Thank You Erika!
Erika, I agree with you, the real question we must ask ourselves is: Can I live with it? But, does this apply to everyone? What if this person is a sociopath and physically cannot feel? I'm sure they could live with it. I loved your interpretation of this topic and I think it really applies to us at this time in our lives.
Interesting point. I like where you are going with this. I agree with you. Good job on putting such effort into your blog!
Hey Erika! Wow, you're blog post this week was really moving! I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and I felt a connection with your writing. Great job this week!
Wow, I totally agree with you on the fact that we don't tell the truth to our parents with who we are going out with. Morals and beliefs are completely different from person to person. Once you start lying and becomes increasingly difficult to stop. Except you, you found yourself again. Great post!
Great post --- I liked how you referenced the Star Trek episode from last semester. I agree that we can't always bend our morals to fit the situation... if we keep doing that, we eventually lose sense of our identities. Good job overall!
I really liked that scene from Star Trek as well. I took this class for the Science Fiction aspect, however, we didn't get to experience those kinds of movies as much as I wanted. I liked how you incorporated that into your entry
A person's morality is vital to their existence. It's a huge part of what makes them who they are. They're so vital, yet so fragile. It's so easy to just subvert the very morals that we uphold. You're right about the importance of sticking to our morals. It's too important to forget.
The rubber band analogy is fantastic, because even though it seems as though it always comes back to it's original shape, it doesn't. It's always a little stretchier, a little weaker, till it turns into something altogether different.
The rubber band analogy is fantastic, because even though it seems as though it always comes back to it's original shape, it doesn't. It's always a little stretchier, a little weaker, till it turns into something altogether different.
Mini Universes Between Laced Fingers
And for every time we touched,
It felt like New York was still and quiet;
And Las Vegas had gone dark;
Big Ben down in London stopped ticking;
And the waters of Fallingwater seized;
Venice stopped sinking,
And Rome was resurrected;
The Great Wall was breached,
And the Colorado flooded the Grand Canyon;
The Duomo of Florence crumbled,
And Istanbul fell lackluster at the crossroads of worlds;
Banks Island was never a fragment,
And Siberia wasn’t deathly cold;
The Aleutian Islands weren’t so alone,
And the life of the Galapagos stormed the Americas;
Earth went dark, suspended in silence,
And a million billion stars bloomed,
Above and in our eyes.
A few of us consciously worry that we’re often not showing our true colors, and I suppose you could argue we’re really not. We’re always shedding a different light on every individual we meet: giving them a different shade of our personalities, our tastes, or our minds. We do it almost unconsciously based on prior assessments of the individual, and that’s an almost-impossible habit to break.
Only a handful of you are aware of this, but the above poem is my own. I had stayed up until an ungodly morning hour writing this because of two reasons: one, I felt inspired, and two, I love writing poetry, even if I’m not amazing at it.
I love writing poetry, even if some of the poems I write make me gag at how bad they sound.
I love how it’s one of the few things I find solace in: somewhere I can put the thoughts my lips don’t know the words to (not yet at least) on paper, and show no hesitance.
It’s something that truly defines me, I feel. A lot of the ideas and themes you see in my poems (even my blogs, I would say) are a means of channeling the world I perceive and the factors that have guided me in every which way. While these factors are often about the things I tackle with - be it physically, metaphysically, or emotionally - in channeling elements of my struggles into words, something that amounts to more manifests itself in between the lines.
Maybe some poems come out melodramatic.
Maybe some read as really gruesome and brutal.
Maybe some come off as offensive or very arrogant.
Maybe a handful are beautiful.
Whatever the case may be, they are an extension of my person.
Of my colors.
Of my cultures.
Of my values.
Of every face I’ve ever known.
Of my mind, heart, and soul.
I have the up most respect towards you Kenneth that you enjoy expressing your feelings through poems. I myself tend to express my feeling through sports and other sport related activities but I like how you just described your entire life to us in a poem!
Kenneth, that poem was awesome man. Beautifully written and i really enjoyed it. Actually, i enjoyed it so much that i began to continue writing a poem i started a couple of months ago. Seriously, poem was honestly beautiful. Thanks for writing that
Kenneth, I love and adore poems. I think that poems have so much power to change the atmosphere. As I read your poem, I seriously felt goosebumps. Yes, I do agree each one should do whatever defines them. Overall, your poem is magnificent, simple, yet moving. Never give up. Keep on writing.
Well first of all Ken, is that we are mini universes between laced figures. I know what you mean when you titled your blog that because I too, believe that in this big universe of ours we are small. Its one thing to think of yourself as an individual, so speaking, in a big school that wants to stand out. Its another thing to consider yourself "somebody" on this planet whether if you are rich or famous. But its something to consider all of our small, intertwining personal lives on this very planet in the vast universe. Humanity is just an element of our existence and I believe as Catholic from the heart, I believe in God and he created us to exist but also to find our meaning. That is my heart talking instead of my head, but let reiterate what you mean, "Of mind, heart and soul". I think you are trying to assess that those are the virtues we intend to demonstrate to the world and to prove to ourselves in the long run of who we are. The mind thinks, the heart feels, and the soul lives. The biggest question you should ask yourself, is which do you trust more? Which principle will you trust the most to live your life or understand something, your head, your heart, or your soul? Overall, though, this concept I took from your blog which I stand by saying a fantastic job, but for raising a question that I feel all of us need to consider. I would go as far to say that this might be your best blog of the year maybe my head is saying that because it is truly the "last normal" blog of the year. I do applaud your writing which I stand by my opinion
Wow, Kenneth! You have a very unique reply. I have never thought about writing a poem as a blog, but you totally rocked it! Way to go.
Hi! I really like you poem! I also like how you ends your blog it’s very unique. It is very beautiful and well-written blog/poem! Good job! I am looking forward to read more of your writing!
Hey Kenneth, I am really happy you incorporated your poem, it's really where your voice shines! I like all your ideas; they were masterfully created and worked together. Poetry has been somewhat lost within our culture and age, I'm glad you're bringing it back!
Hi Kenneth! I've always love reading your blogs because they always stand out and all the effort really shows in your writing! The poem was beautifully written and really ties in with your blog. Keep writing poetry because you're really good at it!
Hi Kenneth! I've always love reading your blogs because they always stand out and all the effort really shows in your writing! The poem was beautifully written and really ties in with your blog. Keep writing poetry because you're really good at it!
Hey Kenn, This blog was one of your best ones, I think it's because you were able to write about something that you love doing. I still wish the poem would've formatted correctly. Keep writing that poetry, and I'm sure you'll keep making gems like this one!
Your blog was so moving. It's amazing how you can do that while being concise. Your poem was powerful and intense and I liked how you talked about the importance of poetry to you shortly after. You really let the reader see a part of you that isn't always shown.
I really liked reading your blog! it's stood out to me how you wrote a poem it was very well written.
I am really glad you continue to do something that you love, that you have a passion towards. Keep doing what you love Kenneth, and keep inspiring others to follow your footsteps.
Hey Ken your blogs always are very good, but this once was very good. I like how you took the time to write a poem too. Also how you have no problem putting your feelings into your writing.
I really loved your poem. It was so good and creative, and I could't stop reading it. It's really cool how you are able to express yourself through poetry, and it allows you to open yourself up in ways that other people can't. That is a really great quality. Very Cool!
I really enjoyed your poetry. There's a lot of things that people want to say, but don't. There's a lot that I want to write, but just never can. You've managed to write something truly beautiful. I appreciate that.
+ What ties us together in our nation as Americans?
There are a lot of images that I can think of when I hear the word, "Americans". The three colors that pop in my head are red, white and blue. What usually comes to mind are simple logos that I feel symbolizing something more significant than what the organizations they stand for are. The first thing that comes to mind is the logo of the New England Patriots. The Patriots logo more than embodies Robert Kraft, Bill Belichick, and the great Quarterback Tom Brady. It’s a sport that we as a nation call Football. It is easy to see why they are called the New England Patriots not because of the geographic region, but because the patriot is a symbol for America and the founding times of when our nation was slowly being born onto a simple piece of paper. Massachusetts, Foxboro, Maine, and the Northeast was called "New England" when the Pilgrims arrived that was essentially, the birth of a nation. By our standards, a patriot is someone who vigorously supports their country and is prepared to defend it against enemies or detractors. Our service men and women are examples of what it means to pass the flying colors. The history behind the Patriots symbolize when America was born particularly when our nation believed in protecting our beliefs and most importantly, our future. America was envisioned and projected to be a brave new world (not to be confused with the book).
That is what their logo symbolizes, but the New England Patriots today remind Americans of the greatness and entertainment influence that sports has amongst our people. The biggest example is the Super Bowl, as this year they defeated the Seattle Seahawks 28-24 with Tom Brady as MVP. I consider the Patriots to be more of "America's Team" than the Dallas Cowboys in all honesty because of their numerous Super Bowl appearances which is why when I picture something patriotic (no pun intended) it is usually something related to sports or something of valor like an Eagle (not entirely the Philadelphia Eagles) or the Armed Forces. In this case, it’s the Patriots. When the Super Bowl airs, you may have noticed this but never really cared to think about it for a second. One could care less about the viewings or numbers of how many people across the nation/world chime in to watch the/one of the biggest event in sports. But that says or shows just how much our culture particularly American Football has on other people. Although they may not live in America, they are willing express pride and fervor towards the sport of football even if it is not towards the Patriots. It is a great interest. The Super Bowl allows us to escape the stresses of daily life and be able to sit on a sofa or in front of a television, and for once, forget our lives allowing us to cheer on the moment because it is history that we are watching on live television. This year's Super Bowl was history, and America benefits from sports greatly for watching individuals live "their" American Dream as an athlete. That brings us together to watch a single event that everyone can enjoy.
The same thing can be said about baseball which is often referred to as America's pastime. One of my favorite baseball teams that I am fan of is the New York Yankees. I love the Yankees because I take pride in recognizing and appreciating the great baseball hall of famers that ever took the field. The list of great Yankees is something of great interest to me as some of you baseball aficionados would instantly recognize their names on this list:
To me, the Yankees define America's Pastime as being the greatest baseball franchise to have ever taken the Diamond. Right now, the Yankees are very average compared to the rest of the teams they are playing against, they are not great though. I can guarantee that not everyone, but a general consensus of people recognize the names Babe Ruth or Lou Gehrig or just the New York Yankees in general even if they are not sports fanatics. Now am I saying that everyone is a sports fan or am I trying to say that we should all become Yankees or Patriots fans? No, but in my opinion, sports is a dominant American culture that brings many ethnic cultures together because we share that love and appreciation for the games of football of baseball.
My dad has shared with me his accounts of going to football or baseball games when he was a young man. My dad is a Miami Dolphins fan, and he remembers going to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum when the 1972 Miami Dolphins went undefeated and won the Super Bowl. The finished record was 17-0. He described as, "It was like a place where everyone showed smiles on their face and there it seemed, like everybody forgot about their lives. Cheers and thunderous applauses everywhere. I felt like one with the crowd as it was like the whole world on national television decided for once to drop their lives and witness history". I really wished I could have been there to see it as I can only see it in pictures. But those words speak volumes to me and what I took from my father is, history is being made every day regardless of what form it takes.
Sports is one way I look at it. Another big dominant culture that we as Americans use as entertainment that is spread throughout the world is the movies. I love the movies as I love watching them to understand concepts or simply out of enjoyment. The movies is an art, but it strikes messages into our hearts and minds about subjects either fictional or are based historically on the past maybe currently. Some movies try to paint a vision of what the future could end up being. We watch it and enjoy it. Today, the movies are accepted as forms of entertainment and ways for us to escape our daily lives. We want to enter a story or watch something awe-inspiring to feel good about life, if not embrace some emotions we do not harness that the movies try to provoke. The thing about movies is that most of everything is overdramatized and any historical references are sometimes changed to allow for a more entertainment spin. I understand this as a film buff that Hollywood looks to make its mark meaning that some messages a film entails may be perceived the misinformed or incorrect way. So movies that epitomize our nation as a great place are right, but they are also wrong because America isn’t perfect or not the promised land that we imagine or want it to be.
While those are debatable topics, sports and the movies are examples of our culture both currently and in the past. I think those are areas where we all share knowledge about and that attracts a mass majority to where, we sit in one stadium or we sit in one theater. But sitting in every seat, are different types of people that encompass the word, Americans. I am advocating to say that everyone has to love sports or the movies, but I am saying that in a bigger picture, it is easy to understand why we ingratiate it into our American History/Heritage.
I totally agree with you Garrisson that sports do play a huge role in American lives we all have some sort of connection towards sports. The prices for an NBA playoff game right now is just ridiculous. Sports really does bring the best out of all our money and time.
Personally, I am not a sport person. I rarely pay attention to those thing; however, I could sense your passion toward sport when you are introducing the team. Even though you spend a relatively huge portion talking about your favorite team, you did not forget to tie in those points with the topic. Great writing
I loved how you listed people on your blog. These people surely do represent American sports today. I recognize almost all the people you have down and I thought you did well haha. American baseball is known worldwide and it is a flagship form of entertainment that will last.
Hey Garrison!!! I really liked your blog and its not just cause I am a sporting fanatic. I also think that sports is what brings this country together, whether it be baseball, football, or basketball. I prefer baseball/softball of course. Sports can bring friends and family together and make amazing memories. Keep up the good work!
Hi Garrison. While I had always subconsciously known that sports play a huge role in American culture, your post really made me realize just how big a role they played. I especially liked your list of Yankees players. It really drove home the point that everyone knows these names - everyone is American.
Hi Garrisson. I was impress by your post. Your story about sport defined the spirit of the Americans.
Coming into this class at the beginning of second semester, I made an inconsiderable promise to myself: no matter what the prompt, never share some personal anecdote in my blogs for the entirety of all Mr. Feraco’s Sci Fi classes to see, comment on, or judge. I’ve never been the type to be completely onboard with showcasing very personal details of my life with anyone other than my dearest and closest amigos, but I’m oddly glad to be doing just that with this particular prompt.
I’m sure there are many other fellow classmates of mine who can relate to my story. I was born in a land far away from the so-called “bubble” known as Arcasia, land of the extremely smart and infinitely hardworking, chiefly Asian demographic: a city known as Cleveland, OH. For the next ten years of my life, I lived in a small suburb community next to the main city because my parents thought living in the actual city was too dangerous, which it probably was. Then, my family ended up moving to Rochester, MN and then to Boston, MA within the next few years. Although these three places I lived at had numerous differences among them—including wealth, crime, religion, and weather—there was always one thing that was kept constant:
I was always the only Asian kid in class.
Although I wouldn’t really categorize my experiences as “bullying”, there were many times in which I felt as if the whole world were out to get me. One instance was when a friend thought that joking about how I needed to sit in front of the class in order for my chinky eyes to see was cool; another was when my very own teacher asked if I could present my chopstick-using skills during the school talent show.
“As if the art of chopstick usage were an actual talent…besides, I can barely use chopsticks myself.”
As an elementary schooler, I thought nothing of it after that.
Flash forward to seventh grade, when I moved to Arcadia, CA and was introduced to a community completely parallel to what I had been used to. Everyone around looked like I did. For once I was not really a minority, but rather, the majority.
”Finally,” I thought, “I won’t stand out for once.”
Going into it, I assumed that coming to a place with the same cultural facets as my own, mostly the whole “study, udy, udy” part, as a blessing in disguise—a disguise that I no longer had to put forth now that I was with “my people”. Now, as I am about to leave this place and go back to Boston for college, I’m suddenly realizing just how much I have missed being different.
It may sound a bit ludicrous, but the very idea of being the only Asian for the longest time actually offered some beneficial aspects that I have only realized after no longer being all that different. Living in those three cities surely wasn’t easy. Nor was it particularly fun in many ways. However, I did feel a sense of pride in knowing that I had something that everyone didn’t. I was used to doing things a certain way, while everyone else did the opposite. I liked having the option of choosing between whether I wanted to eat “Chinese or American” for dinner. I liked getting to celebrate the normal (at least in America) holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, in addition to the traditional Chinese celebrations like New Year’s and Moon Festival. Extra gifts and more feasting. Who wouldn’t? Most importantly, I loved being able to stay over friends’ houses and experiencing how their families did things as a short break from my own vapid routines.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, embrace your culture and all that comes with it. No one should ever forget their distinct ways of doing things; if everyone acted and looked exactly the same, life would just be boring.
And no one wants that, I’m sure.
Having differences is what makes us human and not clones. The only way to better ourselves is to learn from others; that includes seeing the ways of another culture’s who may be doing things just a bit more effectively. Diversity is what keeps the world from a damned state of stagnation. But at the same time, we should be aware of how to approach these dissimilarities. That means being cautious as to not come off as if our own identities were somehow superior to another’s, which is one of our biggest issues that has yet to be solved today. Our generation has to realize that there is not only one way to do things or one god to believe in.
Keep in mind: there is a clear line between assimilation and amalgamation. Everyone loves a mixing pot filled with some glorious chowder, but when that chowder becomes mashed potatoes, it doesn’t appear as appetizing.
Hi Lily ! This is actually the first time I replied to your blog.
Great job this week! I remember when I first met you in 7th grade and we became friends almost instantly in PE:) I remember laughing so hard at your "Chopsticks for show and tell" story. But overall I totally agree about how we should embrace diversity. If we were all limited to our cultures, we wouldn't be blessed with amazing foods like sushi. Also I don't get your clam chowder example haha. Good job !
Hi, Lily! Impressive blog! Your experience as a only Asian in the class really interested me. I think the best part of your blog is the transition within your mind. Inspired by special experience, you finally conduct a wise conclusion. Thanks for sharing your personal story. It really make an impressive post.
I really liked your blog, it had a ton of insight. It's great that you embrace your racial identity.
Should we be trying to grow together in this shared soil? Or should we carve out our own spaces and guard them for our families?
The first thing that comes to our mind when people say the word America is the land of the free. Freedom always comes with a steep price we saw it through the civil war and it helped unified our nation as a whole. When my parents flew here they spoke very little English so they decided to just keep everything to themselves. It’s weird to believe that even after eighteen years my parents have never had a single conversation with one of our neighbors. Not a single word but just a simple gesture. It’s quite obvious that my parents are just going through the motions to pretend to be the neighbor that actually cares about your problems but in reality there just trying to live their lives that they chose for themselves. I always wondered why they’re so shy to talk to our neighbors, is it because they despise them, or is it that my parents only want to interact with fellow Asians. It could be just that as they always pretend to not know any English but in fact they actually can speak fluent English.
I’m a total different person than my father was I’m very opening minded and generally have a trend to make new friends and to start new relationships with people. If I were to move into a new community and I had my own family and children. I would understand why my parents didn’t bother to make any new friends with neighbors because of all the things they had to do with me. But I know for a fact that I would make friends with my new neighbors and just to hear there journey’s and how they got here from where they started is fascinating to me. Learning about different individual’s personal beliefs and culture in my opinion is a great way to start new friendships. I wouldn’t imagine myself ever being isolated without my friends. Life would suck there would be no incentive for me to go to work every week if I don’t have any friends to hang out with and to just have a social life. We have a beautiful earth and I plan on sharing it with other friends and family. We only live in the world once so we might as well enjoy the most of it.
Having a family legacy in my opinion is very important I wish that I had a brother that played sports with me but sadly things just never worked out. As we get older and most of us are already eighteen we have to start making important decisions that could cost us a court date or even worse. In my opinion you should always be social and kind to anyone you meet so I would have to agree that growing up here has impacted the way I view of things compared to a school which is less fortunate. Having a family is tough you have to take care of them up until they reach college. The world is big enough for everyone to share it just depends on yourself and how much free time you have. But I believe that the world was meant to be shared because we have so many people around the world that have a different story or journey to tell. Each individual is unique and ordinary. We all have our separate lives but at the end of the day we just have to make the best out of it.
Al, I love the motivation that you put in to make your life what you choose. You're right about the legacy part because I believe that everybody should strive to be known for something. Being social is a great thing because you can learn about different cultures that you are surrounded by and so on. I love your dedication that you have towards everything.
Alex, I totally agree with your final statements. I'm sorry that not everything worked out, and I'm glad you're trying to find a better, more suitable lifestyle for yourself when you grow up. I can't wait to see where you'd go in life. Nice entry!
I really liked what you wrote about on the importance of family. I too wish that i had a brother that i could bond with. I never realized your parents isolated themselves from our neighborhood.
Hey alex I enjoyed reading your blog this week. I like how you talked about your family and your relationship with them.
Hello, Alex! You are right. Our life is meant to be share and understand others. You use your life to make a perfect answer to the question and I appreciate it. This is a nice work. However, I think your parent should be understood by by you. How about have a talk with them. There should be reason behind.
Alex, I like how you describe the importance of family. you even mentioned that we should have a family legacy which draws my attention. You really did a great job !
I think that with any case, when anyone comes to a new country, some of their own cultural value wont be retained as much. Change is inevitable.
I’ve written before about how many friendships are formed out of convenience. It’s easier to become friends with your seat partner than to sit in awkward silence. I realize that this doesn't sound too positive, but it doesn’t make a relationship less meaningful. Perhaps instead of describing them as friendships of convenience, they can be described as friendships born out of perfect opportunities. Sitting next to someone in class is like being offered the chance to get to know someone you probably otherwise would not have talked to. It’s much easier than approaching them out of the blue with “hi, my names Miranda, you look like an interesting person, let’s be friends”. School, sports, church, and your neighbors are all opportunities that are ready to be taken, and also ready to be lost.
I’ve met some of my best friends through softball, and it’s unsettling to think of how easy it would have been to have missed out on our friendships. If I had chosen a different sport or decided not to play sports at all; if I had joined a different team; if I had lived in a different city; if I was born in a different year. So many things could have happened, but they didn’t, and now I know people who I’m so grateful to have in my life. However, this also works in the opposite way. These reasons are also why I’ve missed out on countless relationships that I’ll never know of. I’m not a believer in soul mates, but if they exist, I wouldn’t be surprised if nobody ever met theirs - simply because the opportunity never came (maybe soul mates are destined to meet, I’m not sure, but that’s a discussion for a different time).
Sadly, most friendships fade over time, no matter the circumstances under which they were made. The distance that grows between friends is both physical and emotional. Sometimes, the friendships that seem to burn the brightest burn out the quickest. Surprisingly, it’s not always the seemingly stronger friendships that survive physical distance. I’ve experienced this firsthand. We were incredibly close, confiding in each other things we hadn’t told anyone else. I talked to her almost every day, in person and online. When she left for a different school, it felt like we’d run out of things to say, and our conversations just weren’t like they used to be. Meeting up with her was slightly awkward and I kept trying to think of things to say - I don’t know if she also felt that way. In a different experience, I met someone my freshman year and we became friends. Not best friends or particularly close friends, but still close enough to have easy conversations. After the year was over, she moved, but we’ve still kept in touch and we’ve become closer. Since freshman year i’ve met up with her a few times each year. We only text a few times each year. But whenever we meet up it’s like we’ve never been apart. There is no need to warm up to each other, we just pick right up where we started, and I truly enjoy her company.
I have no idea what makes some friendships last and some fade. Since my relationship with friend #1 faded, I’ve avoided talking to anyone online or on the phone a lot. It might be irrational of me, but I’m scared that we’ll eventually run out of things to say to each other. It’s probably the lost relationship that has bothered me the most. On a more positive note, I’m grateful for all the friendships that have lasted. There was something there that helped us keep it going, and I’ll be forever thankful. Friend #2 is coming to our prom and I can’t wait to see her.
I agree with what you're saying. Some friendships are formed just because of convenience, and most friendships would never happen if everything didnt fall into place perfectly. I enjoyed reading what you had to say about friendships, and i genuinely agree with what you said about how just because you meet out of convenience (better than sitting in awkward silence) it doesnt mean the friendship means any less. Great post !
Miranda! I am very glad that we met at the perfect time in Mr. Woodin's class last year I completely agree with what you wrote especially how we meet certain people because of exact timing and if the timing were off by just a year everything would be different. Great writing Miranda!
I totally agree that sometimes it's easier to become friends if you a partners for something. And it is so sad to see friendships and bonds break over time. I hope that even if in college I am far away from many friends I still am pretty close to them, because some really mean so much to me
I just want to say that I can relate when you mention that most friendships fade over time. I'd like to think that friends come and go, but best friends stay with you forever. Great post!
Hey Miranda, I totally agree with you. Most of the time friends fade a way but the true ones last the longest. I also think some of my best friends have been created through softball. Great blog!!!
I agree that a lot of friendships are formed for convenience, especially in high school. It's a little sad to say, but once high school ends plenty of friendships end.
If tomorrow all the things were gone I'd worked for all my life,
And I had to start again with just my children and my wife.
I'd thank my lucky stars to be living here today,
‘Cause the flag still stands for freedom and they can't take that away.
I'm proud to be an American where at least I know I'm free.
And I won't forget the men who died, who gave that right to me.
And I'd gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today.
‘Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land God bless the U.S.A.
America is a land of opportunity. That’s what we fight for, what we bleed for, what we die for. The chance to be great and the chance to just have a chance. We are the land of the free and the home of the brave. We give anyone in the world a chance at a better life. The rest of the world looks up to us. To America. When there is a conflict or a natural disaster somewhere in the world, they don’t look to Russia, they don’t look to China, they look to America for help. We take care of the world, because we care about the world. We get involved so we can potentially give other people a chance to live a free life.
Americans are vastly different yet we are all connected. The beauty of America is the freedom, the unification of people, yet everyone is so unique and different. Drive across two states and see the people. Its such a different culture. The beauty of America is the friendliness, the hospitality, the love. In any other part of the world, small talk is frowned upon, considered rude. In America, it is embraced. I think the small things are what really make America beautiful. I think, perhaps, the most beautiful thing is that when you come to America, you are one of us. If you go live somewhere else you will never “be them”. If you live in Ireland, you will never be Irish. If you live in Russia, you will never be Russian. But when you move to America, you are American. That’s beautiful.
And I'd gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today.
Uniting as one is never a bad thing. Through all the criticism of America, complaining about how we aren’t truly a free market, or how we are a war mongering country, America is still the land of opportunity. There isn’t a single place on Earth that you can go to with so little, and make so much out of it. That’s what unites everyone, the chance to make something out what they are given. Americans are extremely patriotic because we are a proud country. We are proud citizens of an amazing country. Lee Greenwood wasn’t just making words up. I know I would, and I have no doubt that the people to my left and right would come together during a time of need. It’s happened before, through tragedy and hardship we come through together even stronger than before. Take a look at the U.S after 9/11, after Boston Bombing. We never came out weaker, we came out stronger. We were so adamant on bringing those who committed these acts to justice that we chased one of the masterminds for 10 years, just to nab him for what he did. Thats what unites us. The ability to care for one another, even if we don’t know each other, just because we live in the same country. That’s the most beautiful damn thing I’ve ever heard of.
I am glad that you have such a patriotic view of America. We need individuals like you especially with all the commotion and conflicts America has been facing. Nice blog entry always excited to read your material.
“Don’t forget to make today count!”
As my high school journey comes to an end I will always remember those six words that my dad spoke to me daily right as I was about to get out of the car and begin my day at school. While I might not say it to his face, my dad has been one of the biggest influences in my life when it comes to learning life lessons and making me the person I have become today. Throughout high school I always pushed away the help of my parents because I felt that I was capable of doing everything on my own, but when I got over the fact that I am an imperfect human, things seemed to settle into place. As we continue our journey to college, here are a couple things I was taught growing up that I will treasure for the rest of my life.
(*Lesson 1: Get over yourself. *)
While this may sound like a harsh lesson, it is one that we all need to learn from time to time. We get caught up in our own issues and difficult situations that we can’t see anyone but ourselves. During my loud rants about how much I hated school my dad was always, always there to remind me that there are bigger problems than my own and that while it is important to recognize your own issues, it is so much more important to recognize the struggles of others. When we get over the fact that we aren’t the most important thing in the world, we have time for others.
(*Lesson 2: Don’t sweat the small stuff*)
My dad gave me a book at the beginning of high school called Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff and I remember thinking about how dumb that book was and how every issue in there wasn’t in fact small at all. It took some maturing on my part to realize that all this time my dad really was right and when I look back, there really was no reason to sweat the small stuff. There are so many times in high school that I wish I could have gone back to and redone simply because I let small, insignificant things get in the way. Like how I let my fear of my bad hair day control who I talked to or the way I turned so that no one would see how my hair looked. I wish I had not cared what people thought of me way earlier because now that I come to think of it, no one’s rude thoughts have any effect on me because only I can control the way I think. In one year is that cyclops pimple in the middle of your forehead really going to matter?
(*Lesson 3: Learn to forgive others*)
This lesson was a lot harder for me to grasp than any other lesson I have ever been taught because it was one that I didn’t want to learn. I liked having the ability of staying mad at someone because of what they had done to me so that they could feel the same way I felt (selfish, I know). After holding about ten different grudges in my head against different people, I decided to finally take my dad’s advice and let it all go. The feeling of forgiving someone doesn’t always feel that great at the beginning, but when you realize that you no longer have to worry about being mad, such a large burden is lifted. But while it is good to forgive people, it is also important to know when to cut a person out of your life.
(*Lesson 4: It’s okay to cut off contact with certain people*)
Growing up, I never spoke up about how I felt and I always brushed off people being rude to me because I just saw it as them having a bad day and mistakenly taking it out on me. When I got to high school, I learned what it was like to have real friendships and what it was like to have friendships that were a mistake. I struggled with cutting people out of my life because I felt like instead of being the bigger person, I was being the immature one. But if you are in a friendship or relationship where you feel unhappy or mistreated, it’s okay to leave someone out of your life. My dad always told me that my happiness is what is most important and if you have to get rid of certain people to be happy, so be it.
That is such an important quote. And one way to do so is avoid procrastination. By procrastinating, you miss out on chances that you could've gotten and you will not make the most. I had an instance in which I procrastinated and made a mistake but i prefer if you guys message me about it if you want to know more about what happened. But yes, Making the most of the last few weeks is very important.
You also have some great lessons. I agree with you that some people are not worth having in your life, but some people who inspire or you communicate with and also have positive traits you like can be ones to keep in your life.
I liked how you formatted your blog this time!
Also, I do agree that we shouldn't feel obligated towards certain friendships. Nothing should be getting in the way of your happiness.
I like the way you chose to speak through experiences and turn them into lessons to share with us. It was clever and I really enjoyed your blog this week! I especially like lesson #4!
I liked the way you explained your experiences and the way you organized everything. Good job!
Such a sweet blog! I wonder how your dad would react. I think he gives great advice and you showed it in a creative way. Good job.
I love the way you formatted your blog! I think that all of these are really important lessons also. I used to hold grudges too, but now I will try to forgive people for the things they have done. It really does feel like getting rid of a burden when you decide not to be upset anymore. Great blog!
I hope that what my sister said isn’t true. If it is, then that means you’re the worst you’ve ever been. I was hoping that the move would somehow cure you-- that you’d somehow leave all of your problems behind in the states. But that was unlikely from the start, and I knew. It worries me that Japan strongly values traditional culture, and that they are not interested in experimental, western medical practices. But I still like to think that you’re getting the help you need.
How is your mother? Is she still sweet and gentle? Or did she change when you did? It must be one of the worst things in the world for a parent to see their kid gradually deteriorate. But more importantly, how is your brother? I remember you being his role model. He wanted to be just like you when he grew up-- musically and intellectually. But now he is grown up… How much is he like you? How much is he like the person he thought you to be? I hope what my sister said isn’t true.
But I assume that your father hasn’t changed. Do you hate him more or the same? You must tell him that the longer he waits, the worse you’ll get. Tell him that reading the Bible will not cure you. I hope he’s treating your mother okay, and drinking less.
I can’t believe how long it's been since we’ve been face to face. The last time I saw you was through a car window; your hair was long and you looked tired. I often wonder what you look like now because I’m starting to forget. Its been so long that my memories of you are beginning to fade and feel like old dreams.
A few months ago, I thought I saw you in a crowd. To tell you the truth, the sight completely paralyzed me. It was as if I had seen a ghost. I was worried that if we made eye contact, then we would have to acknowledge each other, and acknowledge our broken past. So I forced myself to look away. And when I looked back, I realized it wasn’t you. I felt the strongest sense of relief I’ve ever known. But at the same time, I was curious to know what would have happened if it was you.
My prom is coming up, and now, suddenly, I’m crying as I write this because I’m remembering when you promised to take me. “It’ll be the second best night of our lives-- after our wedding,” you joked. And I remember us anxiously waiting-- wanting prom to come faster, years and years before it ever would.
If our fate of being together was meant to be interrupted, then why did the universe ever let us meet in the first place? Our lives could have been so different-- so easy-- if you hadn’t ever asked me what kind of music I liked. But now, I understand why the suffering and the loss was necessary. As much as I hate to admit it, you’ve shaped me-- made me better. I couldn’t realize this at the time, though, because all I could feel was pain. But now I know. I know that I am better because of you.
Although I would have been worse off without you, I sometimes think that you would have been better off without me. Maybe you wouldn’t have gotten sick. Every once in awhile, I get into these panics, where I hate myself and wonder if what happened to you was my fault. Your father thinks it is. Do you?
So why didn’t I approach that boy in the crowd, and why won’t I ever send this letter that I’ve spent weeks writing? Well because, I’m terrified of you. I am terrified to see what you have become. Sending this letter would reopen the door to a past that I assured never to look back on. It would also provide you with the false hope that I may, perhaps, enter your life once again. However, I know that your life is difficult enough, and I wouldn’t want to be another disappointment.
I guess it was our fate to be unlucky. But I can’t help but feel that somewhere, somehow, we will meet again. But then I remind myself that this is impossible. So now I can only pray to love you in another life.
Nicole, this post was so beautifully written and it was so brave of you to write about something that is so personal in your life. This is one of the first posts I have read of yours and I am so glad I did. You did a really amazing job writing it
I love reading your writing! But this one was different; I could feel your emotions through the screen and just everything you said felt so...so real! It must be something you've held on to for awhile and I'm glad you shared it. I hope everything works out in the end, whether it be seeing j or not. I'm sure whatever happens or whatever happened, there's a reason and things will turn out okay in the end.
This post left me in tears. You write so beautifully, I always look forward to your posts. I love you are always so fearless in your writing. You are never afraid to seem vulnerable and I think that really shows strength.
Hi! Like what Julia said it was so brave of you to write about something that is so personal in your life! I really like your blog. The emotion through the blog seems so real! I hope everything is fine now. I am looking forward to read more post from you!
I'm glad I decided not to skim over your post because it was worth reading everything. I must say that this is one of the most touching and emotional blog posts I've ever read. I hope that you feel much better after expressing yourself, and if not, things will get better with time. Stay strong!
Woww! You made everything so personal and emotional. I hope you feel better after having expressing yourself so thoroughly. This was a real different, unique, and touching blog. I really liked it.
Hey Nicole. I really liked how sweet and thoughtful your post was. It immediately caught my attention and I found myself intently reading until the end. Good job!
Wow amazing blog post this week. I can tell how personal and touchy this subject is to you and I'm glad that you shared it with us. Great job and keep up the good work!
It seems extraordinarily important to complete at least four-year learning in a college or an university nowadays, for on almost all slides of educational requirements of various careers in recent senior project presentation, “possessing a bachelor degree” always appears at the top. Including me, who failed to avoiding saying “you must finish your college for four years in order to get the job” in the presentation, other my peers did so either. However, with such a common and acceptable perception, it looked like that no one could clearly explain why college life was so critical for a person that plenty of students keep striving for pieces of decorated paper that represented their graduation.
In fact, there are truly a number of articles on the Internet researching such a seemingly easy but also slightly embarrassing question. What is ironically interesting here is that after spending lots of time preparing standard test and studying for AP tests and writing personal statements painstakingly, college applicants might sadly find that their motivations, harvest, and progress are blurred and unclear. Or more tragically, after decently grabbing diplomas from an respectful administrator, students might ask what they really gain except such a representing paper. Fortunately, the answer can be ready at any time. Searching and exploring personal identities has become one of the most trustworthy reasons for attending a college, but what a personal identity really is subsequently forms another tricky question.
Identity in some degrees can be regarded as a symbol of special characteristic, and with the word “personal” combined with it the two possible means how to define oneself. It’s not appropriate to look up “personal identity” in Longman Advanced American Dictionary since it will damage unique interpretations from different individuals. Actually, if adding the word “culturally” things would be more interesting.
And as for me, an ordinary student in Arcadia High School, I am at the edge of childhood’s end, heading to search for my personal identity, or cultural definition of myself. My culture, literally, stems from oriental land. I am conservative and cautious, refusing to accept novel objects instantly; I am a little shy and introverted, the typical traits of Asians. Moreover, my style of clothing, my method of planning, my mother language, and even my posture of walking are more or less influenced by my culture. Maybe after staying in America for several years, I will be adjusted for some reasons, but the most important content of my personal culture data file never disappears.
Nevertheless, such a shallow explanation of culturally defining myself will not work well. It needs more individual stuff instead of broad summary of an ethnic group’s behavioral pattern. I think about my value of behaving or ethics, a serious topic. Despite my belief in agnostic, I buy into that there is always a pair of invisible eyes looking downwards us. More precisely, the eyes inspect our behaviors and determine our fate according to our performance. The karma is so powerful and formidable that it’s completely inevitable. I work hard, and the karma bestows me chance to enter an excellent college. I feel extremely jealous of someone who does better than I, so I have committed one of the seven deadly sins. The karma this time will punish me by using some unknown and insinuating methods. It might be one of my hapless concussion, or a totally ridiculous presentation. Therefore, I must keep my moral and conscience inviolate and behave myself to avoid potential punishment from the karma.
The karma theory is the deeper understanding of culturally defining myself. It focus more on identifying one’s moral code through self-contemplation and personal meditation. The code displays the culture of a person, and it also clearly show what kind of a person he or she is. However, something existing among our minds in depth cannot be explicated very well. It’s a kind of culture as well, just plus more depth. My father majored in engineering in college, and my mother majored in statistics while I currently find my interest on social science and literature. Although since when I was very young my parents constantly bought books to me without reservation, they hardly told or led me to be a constantly reader who paid more attention to American Asians issues and modern Chinese social ambition instead of matrix and linear geometry. There is something planted into my soul since the first day of my arrival in this world. The gardener might be God, but it could be someone else. Furthermore, I am not sure whether this mystical gardener inadvertently or not had planted the seed, but I ascertain that I had been arranged to dedicate into such a field. It’s not heritage because I cannot relate to my parents’ career and academic experience when considering my intended field.
So the three aspects or levels of my culture define me perfectly. My typical oriental traits were made up by a macro circumstance, and my ethics of moral and conscience were influenced by my parents’ admonishments. The seed in my soul should be a conundrum, but it is not unfavorable anyway. I do not have to force myself to pursue its genesis. That is me, a conservative, cautious, shy, ethics-obeying, and words-zealous person, and those are my cultures, comprising literal culture, figurative culture, and curious culture.
Hongyi! I really appreciate how you incorporated your personality into this. I agree that my culture has molded me into the way I act and overall who I am.
Thanks for commenting on my post. I agree with that, but as I said in my blog, the literal culture influence is just shallow and unclear.
It's interesting how you noted how Asians are shy. I always thought I was the only one who was shy actually and I felt a little bad about it
Communication Will Always Be Needed
It's one of the most crucial aspects of being alive really. Animals communicate, we communicate, and everyone communicates whether or not they want to. It's what helps us understand each other. It's what connects us together. Without it, you wouldn't be able to talk with your best friends, significant other, or your parents. Like that cliché phrase we always hear, "Communication is key."
“Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity. We can choose to use this force constructively with words of encouragement, or destructively using words of despair. Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate and to humble.” -Yehuda Berg
But why are people so eager to hurt, harm, and humiliate? It will always be a question where I get mixed opinions about. Even if many of us deny it, we all have a little Ruth in us, but she manifests herself in the words and sentences we decide to use everyday.
Biting Nails Till They Bleed
I was never the most talkative person in class. It never occurred to me that I would have to talk unless I was called on. Just the thought of thirty students in class staring at me was enough for me to panic and sweat profusely. Now don’t get me wrong, I do like to talk to people, but I’d prefer if it was more personal. Public speaking makes me anxious, presentations make me weak to the knees. By just having their beady eyes on me facing toward my direction, the silence was enough to overwhelm me. I was the awkward one in class, I didn't have any friends in that class...it felt foreign, and to this day, it still does.
Why me instead of someone else?
Why was I bad at communicating?
Regardless of what I do, it’s just impossible for me to do anything about it this late into the semester. I’ll just always be that girl that sits alone in the corner, while the chatter of students fills the room. I’ll endure it for a couple more weeks. Just those couple of weeks won’t kill me. I’ll be okay...maybe.
Room 101 won’t break me. It’ll be over soon.
The Internal Argument
"Why not? It shouldn't be too bad." a voice said.
"Don't do it. You'll make a fool of of yourself." another said.
"Do it. Become stronger at it." the first voice reasoned.
"No, that's silly. You won't be able to do it correctly." argued the second voice.
"You know the phrase,'Just do it.'" the first voice called out.
“But what if you crash and burn?” the second voice teased.
“But what if you don't?” the first voice was insistent.
“No, it’s a bad idea.” the second voice
To say or to not say was the bigger question. Do I decide to ask something that I was curious about, and be shot down? Or do I stay quiet, laying low with the crowd? What would you do?
A Small Gesture Never Gets Unnoticed
To the person who helped me today,
That white paper helped me. I could never thank him in person because of the reasons above, but I want to thank him here. I never expected it out of him, and I was surprised to see it from such a person. Thank you, from that small gesture, I was able to realize that I wasn’t alone. That I wasn’t wrong. That I was heard. That I wasn’t a fool. He supported me when I was falling, drowning in my own thoughts. He grabbed me and pulled me out before I descended any further. Without it, I would’ve imploded. Even now when I think about it, I’m glad I traveled down this road, we would’ve never met if I hadn’t. Some of my best memories of high school were created thanks to him...thanks to you. People like you have changed me, influenced me to become better, helped me find where I stand, and where I could climb if I wanted to. So, thank you again, you definitely made a change to my life overall.
Great blog! I really liked reading through the different sections in your blog! I felt that I could relate, in that I'm rather reserved in situations where I don't know anyone around me, but that I could talk to someone personally if I had to. The internal conversation that you described is one that I can agree with, that there is a struggle about whether I should take the risk or stay safe.
Hi Mintra! Very interesting article you have written. I like how you split it up into very distinct sections and made it clear what you were talking about. I especially enjoyed reading the last part about how small gestures don't go unnoticed. The reason I like this part so much is because it is the little things that make everything work. All the small gestures combined together, form a cause or a goal for us to accomplish.
Great post! As Kenny mentioned, the way you split up the sections was really unique. It's very Mr. Feraco-esque, and I like it! You presented your ideas in a way that kept me interested throughout the piece, alternating between ideas that are elaborated on and those that aren't. Thanks for sharing!
I also really like how you divided your post into sections. It stands out really well. I also like how you made references back to books we read. Great post this week!
America. The land of the free and home of the brave. That was the vision that the founding fathers had when they created this great nation. Countries look to our nation to “start fresh” or for “refuge.” Time changes everything and everything did change. It’s plain and simple and you witness it every day without protest. Freedom isn’t free anymore. Racism and inequality is all around us. You can no longer feel safe walking to that corner store down the street like you used to. Nobody knew exactly when this all changed, but it kept changing little by little and nobody stepped up to protect our rights…until now.
You think that this doesn’t affect you? Well with the ever-so-quick change in equality spreads like a disease. Maybe not in a year, maybe not in 5, but sooner or later this downwards fall of our society will affect not only you, but your kids too. The people who are a major part of this change just hides in plain sight. These are the people our hard earned tax money goes to. We are talking about the gangs that wear blue; the people, who are supposed to be protecting us, but in turn, sends a hailstorm of inequality and injustice upon us. If you didn’t guess it before I’m telling you now. We are talking about no other then the police. Over the past decade or more, police brutality has been rising more and more, and the media is only feeding the flame. Just because they have a badge and a gun does not grant them extra rights then the rest of us. What do you feel when you see a police cruiser pass by you when you’re driving or walking? You feel the need to slow down, and check to see if you are doing anything that might get you in trouble am I right? That is the complete wrong approach for this situation. In a free and just society, the officer is supposed to respect and be afraid of you.
You think just because you don’t see it happen in your city you think that it’s not happening at all, but you just need to open your eyes and travel. Explore different culture and cities and soon you will see a correlation of corruption with nobody to stop it. So back to the main topic on what I see when I see the American flag. What I see is a country of lies. A country where brave men and women fight for equality, but only to be used and discarded without accomplishing their goal. It’s sad almost on how the system works and if you look deep enough you will begin to see the cracks and flaws. We cannot be called “united” if we can’t even get past racial prejudice with equality for all.
Hi, Alexander! I actually wrote something very similar with yours. I also feel that America should be reformed in some aspects. I hope we can see the day when there is no crimes, no racism, and no bads!
I truly support your point of view about reforming the country we live in. We should not deny the existence of many ugly things happening around us, but we should not feel too worried about them either. Humanity has shown negative and shaded parts through years, and we cannot deny it. All we can do is behaving ourselves, refusing to do anything against morality, and trying to tell others not to do so. Maybe in the future one of our Feraco students will become a celebrity like Doctor King, but that is barely possible.
I was born in Mexico City. When I was a baby, me and my parents moved to Pittsburgh because my dad was studying there. We lived there for a year and then we returned to Mexico City, where I studied until 2nd grade. I started 3rd grade in another state named Oaxaca. I lived in Oaxaca for seven years and then I came back for 11th grade, that in Mexico is the first year of high school. I attended to a school named Tecnologico de Monterrey, where I studied for two years.
Almost a year ago, my parent got a job offer to work as minister in the Consulate of Mexico, in the cultural and educational areas for four years and a half. My dad was thinking about it, he said it was going to be difficult to leave his family again, his mom, his sisters… But he also was aware that I am about to go to college, and college in America is worldly recognized for the preparation they give to the students and he said it would be good for us to have a different experience. He decided to take the job. I remember when he told me I was really happy, because I knew that here, me and my two little brothers would have more opportunities for a better future. I was also happy because I was going to meet new people and living in a different place, but honestly, I was really afraid too. Even though the job was for a short time, since the beginning my parents told me and my brother that we should stay here when they move back; I would graduate here, and in three years my brother will be attending to college. This is one of the things that made the change harder. When we moved last year, I still couldn't believe the change and I couldn’t believe I was about to start a new life without my friends and my family. In a new place with different language, traditions, culture, rules, etc.
I am a person that enjoys culture, I enjoy learning things about my country and other countries. In Oaxaca I had the opportunity to work in two different museums and in the Center of Design, where I learned a lot about culture in that state and also in my country. I like talking with people about things I have seen in my country, about the places I have lived in, and the places I had visited. When I moved I was happy I was going to meet different people to tell them about my country. Of course it has bad things as all countries, but it is not as bad as movies and people makes it seem. It also has a lot of good things, such as culture, diversity, traditions and tourism. I can’t remember the amount of questions I have received from people when I tell them I am mexican that have made me realized how my country is seen. To be honest these questions don’t make me angry, but they make me sad. It makes me sad that a lot of people in America have a bad impression about my country, and I am sure that if you visit Mexico or even google how is life and culture in Mexico, your impression about my country will change. I would like to change people’s bad perception about Mexico, because as a mexican who loves her nation, I feel that is my job. I am proud about my country, my history and my culture, which makes me the person I am today. Even though I am going to live here for some years, I will never ever stop loving my country and I will do my best to prepare myself to do something to keep the good aspects it has, but also improve the bad aspects and the bad image that Mexico has.
I glad to see that you care so much about culture. I believe that one shouldn't be close-minded and should experience different cultures of the world to see how each culture live their lives. This way people won't be so fast to judge somebody by their first look. I also admire how you can stand up for your country like that. It takes a lot of dedication and courage.
Today, a girl sat in a small beige waiting room with blue chairs -- patterned so it was harder to see the years of wear on them. She sat surrounded by her friends and family, surrounded by people who love her. She sat and she wept. She wept for the time she would no longer get to spend with her father. Her father who lay still in bed down the hallway. It had been five days since his surgery and he was still in the ICU.
Two days before, he told her “I don’t want to leave you like this.” He didn’t want her to suffer the pain of losing him, so he suffered the pain of staying a little longer. The girls mother turned to her sister to her right and said “I got to kiss him and thank him for a great life.” Her sister faintly smiled in return.
Most people who sat with the family said nothing, because what can you say at a time like this. “I’m sorry” seems so empty but there’s really nothing else to say. So they just sit, their presence enough for the girl and her mother. They’re surrounded by the people they love most in this world as they say goodbye to someone who was their whole world.
I’m lucky that this girl wasn’t me -- I sat across the room from the family, tucked in a corner with my own group of people who didn’t know what to say. I kept my eyes downcast towards the cold, grey tile beneath my feet and listened to their heart broken cries and thought “I’m so lucky.”
I’ve always thought that, if something like this ever happened, I would be questioning God; why my family, why my dad? But the truth is, you’re too busy praying and begging for a happy ending to think about anything else. All I could do was sit and wait, just like everyone else who was busy pleading with their own God.
So, I sat and I waited for doctors to come tell me that the operation went well and the my dad would be fine. I didn’t wait for them to come tell me anything else because I wouldn’t let myself think for a second that they would have anything else to say. When they finally did come, even though they brought good news, I didn’t feel the immediate rush of relief I thought I would; I still felt numb.
After that they moved us to the waiting room where the girl sat with her family; a room that I’ve come to know much too well in the past couple years. I found my usual chair and sat and listened and thought about how lucky I was, how lucky we were. We got to have more time, more laughter, more life with my dad. I thought about how lucky I was to have people here to support my family fill every available space in that god-forsaken room. So many people that loved me and my family enough to sit in silence with us because they didn’t know what to say. I am lucky to have such great people leaving their marks on my life. They will never really know how much I appreciated their sitting and their silence.
That girl could have easily been me because after everything that makes us different, at the end of the day we are both still sitting in that beige room in the blue patterned chairs, waiting. Tragedy doesn’t discriminate against age, or race, or religion. At the end of the day, none of that matters because we are all, at our core, human; fragile and powerless to any force greater than ourselves.
Today, I was reminded that there are more important things in life than getting an A in my government class or getting accepted into an Ivy league school. There are more important things to live for. There are more important things to worry about.
“And if you’re still breathing, you’re the lucky ones.
‘Cause most of us are breathing through corrupted lungs.”
I was numb until I went to see my dad in the ICU. Seeing him covered in tubes and tape, fluids going into his veins and occasionally blood coming out from some unknown place deep in his chest, broke me.
But I am one of the lucky ones. I got my miracle.
Now, I sit in his room and watch him sleep, no tubes or tape to be seen. I sit and I’m finally able to breathe because there is no more waiting. Now there is just time and the long road ahead.
I forgot to cite my quote!
“And if you’re still breathing, you’re the lucky ones.
‘Cause most of us are breathing through corrupted lungs.”
Hi, Chelsie. This was a very touching story and I actually could relate myself to the story great work! I am very glad that he's getting healthier now!
Wow Chelsie this was amazing. You have been through so much and you are so strong. I am glad your father is home and getting better and I hope he continues to get well. Best wishes to you and your family!
P.S I only know that song because of orchesis and it is A+ haha
Hi I really liked your entry this week. It was very deep and touching. Your writing really spoke.
You Know Me, But You Don’t Know Me
If you are reading this blog post, you guys probably know me as this Asian American dude. Some of you know me because we meet every day in D101. Some may know me as this musician who is in the orchestra. Some of you guys know me because you guys probably see my YouTube Covers. Many of you know me because I just go to the same school with you. However, you guys probably do not know “me”.
I’ll start off telling about telling a little bit about my birthplace, ethnicity, and what I think of America. So I’m a Chinese American student who is in my last few weeks of my high school career in Arcadia High School. I am a full American Citizen born in Columbia, South Carolina in 1997, and having resided in this country since the day I was born, I have noticed that this country is not just Americans living here. I see many different types of people in our nation. Even though the USA is very diverse, one thing that remains in common, that makes this nation a great united country, is the fact that we have many opportunities (I mean, why did my parents emigrate from China to the United States). We have many freedoms that many other countries may not have (Unlike China, we can actually have more than one child, we can access many websites). We have many things in the US that make our live easier. With my living in this nation for years, I believe that USA is the diverse land of freedom and opportunities.
The fact I am a US citizen makes me different from many of my relatives. Many of my relatives are born and raised in China, and some in villages in the countryside (especially my grandparents). This is only one part that makes them different from me. There are many other things still. While I am able to speak Cantonese, Mandarin, and English, many of my relatives speak only Chinese, whether it is Mandarin, Cantonese, or some other dialect. Unlike my grandparents, I have the luxury to learn a lot of things they do not get to do, such as play piano or violin. One thing that does not seem to be different from my relatives and me is our STEM interests. Many of my relatives pursue in medical fields (which requires a lot of science), and though I do not plan to be working in Guangdong Provincial People’s Hospital (where my fraternal grandmother still works) diagnosing an ill child, I am definitely interested in helping people improve lives with technology. Pursing in science/technology is something I would keep myself.
Even if I want to work in a science/technology field, I do not see myself spending my whole day sitting in front of my Apple Air and writing codes to this software. I have hobbies, music and golf, that I want to pursue, even if I do not see myself as the next Rory Mcilroy or Sam Smith. However, I spend hours, days, and weeks to learn and improve. I understand I struggle a lot with my hobbies, whether is preventing the golf ball to curve sharply to the right, or learning a new piece of music, but I put in plenty of effort to improve. That is me, a persistent, hardworking person who has a number of hobbies and pursuits.
So here are the things I wanted to tell you guys about me. I hope you guys learned a lot about me.
Thanks for sharing your story, I did not know you were born in South Carolina! That is very interesting. Anyway, I think you could've gone a little more into detail about who you are. Good job
It was pretty cool to take a little peak into your personal life. Although our hobbies and interests are extremely different I still feel very relatable to many of your conflicts and obstacles.
thank you for letting me know more thing about you even I never met u before. And its make me know what kind of person you are.
Hey Willie! I'm glad you gave us some more info about yourself because I've always felt like you were hard to read. I'm glad I got to know more about you. Thanks for this blog post!
MSF Period: 2
21 May 2015
United Through Differences
The body, though has many parts, work in unity to keep the body functioning. The eye cannot do the job of the leg and the leg cannot do the job of the hand. However, even though the parts are distinctive, they work together in order for the body to function. If the parts were not distinctive, the body would not be able to stand. This is the same as a nation full of different people with different identities and different beliefs. They all contribute to parts of the society which another person cannot fulfill.
Every individual breathing on this Earth, has their own talents, morals, and beliefs to offer to this world. To give them up for the sake of a “common culture,” is not something we as a nation should pursue. My friends and I are completely distinctive in identity, beliefs, and morals. I put my faith in The God of Christianity, while they believe in another God or are simply Atheists. Though we are not similar when it comes down to beliefs, it is a strong and beautiful relationship because each one contributes to the relationship with a little part of themselves.
We all have different fingerprints. There is not a single person breathing on this earth that has the same fingerprint of another. That one person with that certain fingerprint can be offering poetry while the other person with their own fingerprint can be offering sports to our world. One person with their unique fingerprint may believe in God, while the other is an atheist. Just as our fingerprints are distinctive, we should also stay “culturally distinct from one another.”
This, however, does not mean we are not united as a nation. In fact. we are more united with our different beliefs, morals, talents and colors. The reason for this is because each one is able to contribute a little piece of themselves to build this nation up. If we are a common culture, we will be doing everything for the sake of common culture, rather than contributing a little piece of ourselves and connecting it to others.
Our world would be boring. If we were to be a common culture, fully agreeing on everything and having the same beliefs, morals or talents, this world would be boring. Imagine a person coloring an artistic work with only one color like green. This would not be an interesting picture. However, if the artist adds a variety of colors, the picture will be fascinating.
To be culturally distinctive is to be beautiful. Each one is their own person with their own talents, fingerprint and beliefs. By this, each individual contributes a little piece of their person to the world. A nation made up of such, is a true nation.
I like the introduction paragraph because it shows that one person cannot do all the actions, but together we are a fucntioning organism. Your blog entry is differemt than how you usally write and I like this blog very much!
You start off very strong. The comparison you made was familiar, memorable, and relatable. I highly agree that each of our cultures serves a different purpose. That is what makes us so great...our differences and diversity. "United Through Differences," I like that title. Sometimes we just live life not noticing it, but our cultural differences make our world exciting and interesting.
Great blog entry!
When one thinks of America or sees the stars and stripes rippling through the air, their initial thoughts include freedom, liberty and equality. Most think of America as the land of opportunity, in the past and even today America remains a country with the illusion of getting rich quick. Many immigrants have swarmed into America in search of jobs and opportunity, much like my grandparents did in the 70s. I believe that America lives up to its name, the land of opportunity because it has enabled my parents to provide a better life for me than they had in Mexico. This country is comprised of immigrants, yet everyday people are punished, bullied and shamed for being an immigrant. Being a land of immigrants should unite us, instead we ostracize the ones in search for a better life. I am truly grateful to be American, but this is a very negative part of American society and beliefs.
When Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence he stated that men have the right to pursue their own happiness. This single idea in my opinion represents what I think of when I think of America. In America we have the opportunity to find a good paying job and make money to support ourselves. We have the opportunity to go to school, get a great education and strive for a better future. In most cases we also get to be with the people we love, we have the freedom to have as many children as we want. Whether it be money, education or love, our lives are dedicated to bring happiness into our own lives and our families. Every person in America is in the pursuit of happiness even with different motives, we are all united by that one idea.
We are a country based off equality, the Declaration of Independence states “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal.” In the time of its creation, only white, landowning males applied to this document. Although we based our country off the belief of equality, even today I would not say we are all equal. Minorities, homosexuals and women are often struggling and fighting for equality. People are often left out of their right to be equal and therefore can not pursue their own happiness. I don’t think we can truly be united as a country until our prejudices are set aside and we are truly treated equal. Although our country is one of the greatest, I believe we have a long way to go until we are fully united.
I thought that it was very interesting on how you wrote about your past and your families immigration into the U.S. I too believe that America is a place to start anew and improve ones life. I don't think there will ever be equality in the world, let alone America.
I thought that it was very interesting on how you wrote about your past and your families immigration into the U.S. I too believe that America is a place to start anew and improve ones life. I don't think there will ever be equality in the world, let alone America.
I thought that it was very interesting on how you wrote about your past and your families immigration into the U.S. I too believe that America is a place to start anew and improve ones life. I don't think there will ever be equality in the world, let alone America.
Initiate. Imagine. Improve.
“Just one real connection is all it can take,
to show you the difference that being there can make.”
Initiate. Two years ago, I encountered a decision—
to sit with the flow, or to sit beside and listen
to the boy who didn’t seem to enjoy that particular day.
No one noticed him. No one cared.
“It is his life, not mine,” is all they can say.
Thus, I took the initiative, and introduced myself.
I wanted to show him he isn’t alone.
I genuinely wanted to alleviate this quite depressing tone.
Then, surprisingly, he asked with pleading eyes,
for comfort, for support, for desperate replies.
One real connection was all that it took
to make a lasting impression in both of our books.
Little does he know those years from then,
the difference he made in my life instead.
One simple decision, and everything changes. For some reason that day, I wasn’t mindlessly walking to classes like I had been doing. I spotted him sitting by himself with a familiar look. He reminded me of myself—lost and scared. Therefore, I took a gamble to start a conversation, hoping he would feel better. Soon I realized the roles had been reversed. He was the one helping me instead. I needed him more than he needed me. He opened thousands of doors, thousands of opportunities, and I got to see the world in a different light.
“But none of these times ever happened, you never had any of this,
When you’re too busy looking down, you don’t see the chances you miss.”
Imagine. If I hadn’t looked up and simply walked straight to the seat in the back of the classroom instead, I would never had met him. I wouldn’t have matured. I wouldn’t even be writing this blog, as I wouldn’t be in Mr. Feraco’s class.
There’s a domino effect—a chain reaction.
It’s frightening to see how easily this connection could’ve been missed.
“We have a finite existence, a set number of days.
Why waste all our time getting caught in the net,
as when the end comes, nothing’s worse than regret.”
Improve. Now that he is gone, and now that he moved on,
I am happy for him, yet initially that wasn’t the case.
I couldn’t continue as confidently on the same pace.
There seemed to be fog covering my path,
but that was my decision to create such illusion.
Now once in a while we would communicate, as we promised so,
And it surprises me how long this has sustained.
Thus, I regret not attempting to understand,
but now I changed my perception to explore new lands.
We should appreciate all our relationships and love how they develop. Love each phase. Love the new moments. Don’t get caught in the net. You will be surprised by how many relationships you can sustain.
Quotes: Look Up, Gary Turk
Hi Madeline! I'm definitely not surprised you used a story with a boy involved. Whether this is a true story or not, it was a nice story and you wrote it really well! I love how you bolded those three words and used them as crucial points in your story. It was a sad story, but I can relate to it in some ways. I agree that we should appreciate our relationships and how they developed because each of them are unique and are developed in their own distinct ways. It's always interesting to see how relationships develop and how they turn out to be.
Hello Maddie! I really enjoyed your blog this week, I understand that feeling when you help someone and it turns out they was doing the same and helping you as well. It's a beautiful thing. I really like that last part of your blog.
Hey Madeline! Your train of thought is very respectable; you are very thoughtful and considerate of others. Good to see that there are still people with such selfless thought. Great post!
爺爺 (Grandpa Dad’s side) :
With only a fifth grade education, you went to Hong Kong with twelve dollars in your pocket to look for a job, so that you can help great grandma pay for your siblings’ tuitions. You found a chef willing to teach you how to cook in exchange for your labor. You stayed in a small one-room apartment with twelve other men and every day you were the first to wake up and the last to go to sleep. With your dedication and hard work you quickly rose in the kitchen and became the youngest person to have become head chef in Hong Kong. You got job offers left and right from restaurants in Paris, Tokyo, New York, and Las Vegas. Despite your success, you never forgot about your roots. You always saved more than half of your salary to send back to your younger siblings in China to pay for their college tuition. You taught yourself how to read and write and you never stopped wanting to learn.
Thank you for teaching me that I’m not entitled to anything and opening my eyes to see that everything that I have is a luxury.
奶奶 (Grandma Dad’s side) :
You were married to 爺爺 when you were nineteen and he was twenty-eight. At the age of twenty, you gave birth to my dad. While your friends and other people your age got to pursue their hopes and dreams, you sacrificed all of that to start a family. Your twenties were robbed from you, but you never took a second glance. When your husband went to cook in different countries, you stayed back to take care of your four kids. You were his support; you were his pilar. You held down the roots, so he could go out and see the world. You never complained about him sending most of his salary to China to support his siblings. You never complained about not having enough money to spend. You never complained about living in a one-bedroom apartment. You never complained.
Thank you for teaching me how to sacrifice.
公公 (Grandpa Mom’s side) :
You were born into a very wealthy family in China and never had to worry about anything. In a time where education is a luxury that most people can’t afford, you graduated from college. Your parents arranged for you to marry a beautiful woman that you’ve never met before. One day your house was raided by the communist army under Mao Zedong and you and your family were kicked out of your house. You heard about people taking a boat to Taiwan, where Chiang Kai-shek was starting the Republic of China. You had to make a decision whether to stay with your family or to go to Taiwan with nothing, knowing that you may never be reunited with you family ever again. One night, you packed up all your valuable belongings and you and grandma moved to Taiwan. In Taiwan, you had nothing. No one knew who you were and nobody cared about you. You had to build from the bottom up and be able to provide for the family. You sold all your valuables and suits in exchange for money. From there, you bought a house and found a job. Life for you was never the same. In China you never had to work a day in your life, but in Taiwan, you never had a day off.
Thank you for teaching me that my life is fragile and that my world can change in a blink of an eye.
婆婆 (Grandma Mom’s side) :
At the age of seventeen, your parents arranged for you to marry a man who you’ve never met. In those times, your wealth was measured by how many qipaos (traditional chinese dress) that you had. You had hundreds. You wore twenty different dresses to your wedding and you always held yourself with poise and sophistication. A couple days after your wedding day, your husband tells you that you have to move to Taiwan with him and leave everything behind. You knew how the revolution headed and the communists were starting to go after the wealthy. You left everything and moved to Taiwan. Taiwan was a big difference from China. You had to sell all of your nicest qipaos in order to have enough money to buy a house. Although you didn’t have luxurious clothing and accessories anymore, you never lost the elegance that you carried yourself with in China. You walked with confidence and grace and held yourself up with poise up until your last breath.
Thank you for teaching me how to hold myself up even in times of despair and distraught.
Wow! I really enjoyed reading about your grandparents' individual stories, and how they pieced together to form those lessons. This goes to show just how much we can learn from our family members and their experiences, something I've never really gotten to doing. Great job this week!
I like your twist on this blog Roman! I understand how your grandparents challenges and experiences in the past were able to positively effect your present and future. As well as how you are indirectly stating how the past intertwines with the present.
nice blog! You must have good grandparents to care for you!
Nice blog Roman! I really like the way you set up your blog this week. With all of your grandparent's sides and their perspectives. It was a really enjoyable read. They seemed to have raise a good grandson! Keep it up Roman
I thought you did a really great job writing this entry! I liked the way you made the stories of your grandparents into something that has shaped you as a person.
Hello Roman. I really enjoy reading your post. You are writing in a very creative and interesting way. Good definition of culture.
Wow this post is really meaningful. It is important to be close with your family because they will always be there to love you no matter what happens. This post reminds me of my family and how I should learn from their experiences.
grandparents are always important to us. I feel so happy to you cause u can have time to stay with your grandparent ( father's side). My grandparent ( father's side) dead when I was 3 so I never talk with them.
Hi Roman, nice Blog Post. I lived with my grand parents when i was young and had some what a similar experience as you had. I feel familiar. I enjoyed very much reading your blog post.
Hi Roman, nice Blog Post. I lived with my grand parents when i was young and had some what a similar experience as you had. I feel familiar. I enjoyed very much reading your blog post.
Not sure if your going to see this Roman due to the fact it is a real late reply to this blog. But this was a very enjoyable blog to read in the sense that it was nice and light heart. Good to see that your family treats you nicely, like how you treat others. Keep doing you!
Something to live for
People say that from the inside we are all the same. They say that no matter how successful, smart, or important we are, at the end of the day we are just human beings. Whether it be Barack Obama, Leonardo DiCaprio, or Angela Merkel, it just doesn’t matter. That ideology seems to reserve some importance in real life, but not quite. Life is an eternal meaning and we aren’t here just to mess around. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, and to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” Human existence is still a mystery that can only be solved through finding something worth living for. In other words, finding a purpose to go with our lives. The biggest mistake that we make today is assuming that everyone lives by the same principles. There is so must beauty in this world that either goes unnoticed or is unappreciated. There is so much to learn and explore, yet we pretend that we live in jail cells with no way out. What is it that we are afraid of? Why are we not able to finally step outside of our comfort zone and just be ourselves? It is quite arousing to see many students in my own high school who do not appreciate their true identities. Many of our ancestors were of course immigrants. In a way we are tied to the past indirectly. Our path to be unique and successful has been in a sense modernized. We have in a sense forgotten who were and remember who are because many of us receive little to no influence to the culture of the so called outside world. We are still young and full of energy so why are we not utilizing it while we can?
Personally, I feel lucky to have experienced two types of lifestyles. I moved to San-Francisco from India for the first time in fifth grade. My first weeks in the states were not anything out of the ordinary, but they were different to me. I enjoyed learning new things and now here I am. I feel lucky to be a multi-cultural person today. My views regarding this topic are quite simple. My experiences are what made me who I am today. It is important that we realize that. What we accomplish in life is what defines us. The reason I am putting a major focus on experiences is because it is the only true source of knowledge. What we are and what we stand for play different roles in our lives, but without real life experiences, the show would never have a lead. It is a whole package in all of our encounters that distinguishes us from others. It includes culture, religion, groups, and languages. As the spiritual leader Sai Baba once said, “Man learns through experience, and the spiritual path is full of different kinds of experiences. He will encounter many difficulties and obstacles, and they are the very experiences he needs to encourage and complete the cleansing process.” I, myself, have changed beliefs and personality over the course of my life. If we never change or evolve, we are not really living. You are supposed to change, learn, and most importantly grow. I always have to keep in mind that I should let people hate me for who I am rather than have them like me for someone who I am not. That is what makes me, me.
As we spread our wings into the future, everything including us will change rapidly and some of us cannot handle that. Our ability to recover from all the avalanches is what determines who we are. I, myself, have failed at things multiple times in life and I have learnt from those failures. So what are we afraid of? Why is it that we forget to just open our eyes for once and just simply look around and appreciate what we have received?
“Look around and observe.”
“Appreciate the little things.”
“Never let go.”
“Hold on while you can.”
I really enjoyed your post in the way you fused different literary devices to make your point. By bringing up different prominent figures at helping us realize that they are in the end just people. The story of your different life experiences from India to San Francisco were very interesting. Having only lived in the United States, it was very enlightening reading about your experience. Keep up the good work.
Traditions that have always been there with us
During the Chinese New Year, firecrackers go up and families visit their relatives for dinner. Such a fun and loving atmosphere is a culture in China since the ancient times. We celebrate the completion of the previous year and prepare for the arrival of a new year. We often make statements of what to promise and wish in the next year. For example, I will try to do better in my academics next year or I promise I will workout in the new year.
"Wear red socks" said my mother because it is the ox year which matches my zodiac.
During this year, we wear red to protect ourselves from potential disasters that might happen. A culture may seem very natural because we don't think about it often since we are born into our culture. However, how do we define culture exactly?
Culture is inherited and passed on by generations and generations of people. We pass on culture because it is valuable and because we are accustomed to it. Culture can be defined as a way of acting and and thinking that shape a people's way of life. Culture is something we inherited from our parents and we don't even notice that we are integrated into our culture. Since little, we imitate our parents who learned from their parents about how to live and do things the way we are supposed to. I believe that culture is not determined by religion or race, but the way we act and think that makes us so similar.
My culture defines who I am because my thinking is influenced by it, and it affects my every decision. This is the reason why we are very similar to our relatives because we all live under the same common guidelines and we celebrate the same holidays. People are very alike to each other because we like to talk and share about our daily lives. People in the same culture usually have general similarities and minor differences. We're all under the same norms of the society and usually go on the road that leads to different results. I am who I am because of my culture and the way I think and act.
Hi Eileen, I liked reading about your perspective on culture and why we carry on certain traditions. However, I don't think all traditions from our cultures should be passed on. About one century ago, women did not have the right to vote and there was segregation in schools.
Your idea of culture is very similar to my own. I like how you stated that your culture affects the desicions one makes because that is exactly what I observe. I really like your blog post. Good job!
Hi Eileen, nice blog post! I feel very familiar about your culture, since ours are the same. However, I have very different standpoints. My culture does influence me, but I tend to escape from it. Although we have done it differently, i still enjoy your blog post very much.
There are some people in life that push you and want you to get better at something. This can be a friend, a partner, a parent, or a sibling. These individuals care for you and know that there are bigger things out there that you can reach. I am lucky to say that I have had two people who have scribbled in my margins, my mom and my first travel ball coach. They both gave up time and energy to shape me as I am today and I wouldn’t be pushing my limit if it weren’t for them.
My mom is the first person I give credit to because she has been the one who has always believed in me when others didn’t. I not only consider her my mom, but as a best friend. And this isn’t just cause I see her everyday at the highschool, its because my mom is the one that has taken me places and allowed me to dream when others would of said no. She never lets me give up and she is always there to pick me up when I am down. I wouldn’t be going to college if it weren’t for my mom and I know it will be hard for her to let me go. I have been in her birds nest for 18 years but I think she knows and I know it’s time for me to use my wings and soar in the open world.
The second person who I credit for my success in life but more importantly softball, is my first travel ball coach Arnold. He has not only taught me the game of softball but the game of life. He has never let me put my head down or let me be satisfied with the way I play. He keeps pushing me to be my best everyday on and off the softball field because he knows that after softball is over the true testament to yourself is if you can handle what life throws your way and make the best out of it. There was one point that I thought I wasn’t good enough to play travel softball. The team I was on, would always have me sit on the bench and warm up pitchers. There would be some tournaments I wouldn’t play in one game and after I would go home crying because I thought I was worthless. Arnold never felt that way about me. He cared as much for me has he cares for his daughters and I am glad to say I have a friend and coach in Arnold. Arnold saw the pain in my eyes and showed me the way to another travel team. If it weren’t him and his connections I would of never been committed to play softball at the collegiate level. I hope I make him proud in college because what he has done for me will never be forgotten.
As many of you may or may not know, my second passion after softball is Disneyland and Walt Disney. I have been a annual passholder for several years and everytime I go it gets better and better. I feel as if I was one of Walt’s daughters. Every time I hear Walt Disney’s story I can only imagine what I am capable of. One of my favorite quotes of his is “it’s kind of fun to do the impossible.” I feel as though I have already done the impossible by committing to play softball in college. My two main supporters of my dream were my parents and Coach Arnold but I feel that I have accomplished a feat that's only the beginning. My journey doesn’t stop here. It continues in the hopes that I can do the impossible with a smile on my face.
I feel that I am very lucky to be where I am today. My parents have done so much for my brothers and I because they wanted the best for us. They moved to Arcadia for the amazing schools and education. Do I feel lucky at times? Absolutely! I think that what determines one's luck is if you’re in the right place at the right time. I also feel that certain situations happen for a reason. I knew I had to get out of that travel team because they weren’t giving me anything. It’s the connection I made with Coach Arnold that allowed him to give me other opportunities that most would dream about. I want to have my own luck but if along the way I need other’s luck I will take it.
Never give up and you decide your own fate!!!
Hi Katelyn! As I was reading your blog I realized that the smallest things in life actually mean a lot when you think about it. I like how your blog was about how your fate was chosen and how you took the impossible and made it possible. Great Blog!!
Not even surprised that Disney is one of your inspirations I can definitely see how your mom and Coach Arnold influenced you, nice blog.
"Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right." - Isaac Asimov
Morals are the "unwritten rules" people set for themselves to help determine what is right and what is wrong. We use them to help us live righteously, retaining our sense of pride when we commit to an action or an idea. Our morals are shaped throughout the course of our lives and can be heavily influenced by even the most minor of things. I am entitled to believe everyone's morals are different because of the fact that people grow up in different environments. What I deem to be morally correct may not be appropriate in different cultures or areas of the world. Whether a set of morals are "socially acceptable" or not, people are still entitled to their own opinions and beliefs. However, with that being said, any rules or laws that come into conflict with a set of morals need to be respected.
If my beliefs did not match those of an immoral law, a question that would come to mind is:
Will it be worth it?
Will the cost of facing dire consequences, such as a hefty fine or time in jail, outweigh the benefit of preserving my own morals? There are times where my own morals blind me from seeing right from wrong. Just because I think something is right, does not automatically mean it is. After all, the laws exist to promote our safety; they are not meant to be broken.
Despite what is stated above, the rules are not designed to be perfect. They have their flaws and inconsistencies regardless of how effective they may appear to be. These inconsistencies are the exceptions that allow the rules to be bent. When a rule can be easily exploited, it then deserves subversion.
"When we can no longer change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves." - Viktor Frankl
Have you ever experienced a moment in your life where you felt like something was impossible to deal with?
Sometimes, it is not the problem itself, but rather, the people trying to take action. Under these circumstances where failure appears to be inevitable, people should start to handle the situation differently rather than trying to force the problem at hand.
For instance, there are many individuals that battle against grief after experiencing the loss of a loved one or a traumatic event. In times like these, where the events are already set in stone, people need to learn how to move on. Instead of holding onto the past, they need to be able to adapt for the sake of their health and future.
Hi Reynard, I think it is really interesting that you said our own morals blind us from seeing right from wrong. I believe it is very true since everyone have their own sets of morals and beliefs and only the law can promote the true justice and equality.
Your post gives an interesting take on morals. People often forget that what they think is right may not always be so.
I really admire the fact you said how morals are unspoken because they really are. I've never thought about writing them down; however, it would be an interesting thing to do.
Also, when you stated that when you think something is right, it just might not be. I think we all struggle with that and it has a lot to do with our past and views clouding our vision to what's right. But once we have a clear view, there's fair judgement.
I like how you structured your post this week. Moreover, I like the questions that you ask. Your ideas are really interesting, and you changed some of my perspective. Overall, great post this week.
Culture makes people understand each other better. And if they understand each other better in their soul, it is easier to overcome the economic and political barriers. But first they have to understand that their neighbor is, in the end, just like them, with the same problems, the same questions.
– Paulo Coelho
The greater Los Angeles area is totally unique. Unlike other major metropolitan areas that are often generically labeled as “melting pots,” Los Angeles possesses character through distinct ethnic hubs – something that we often take for granted. These enclaves span the whole spectrum of diversity; yet, they rarely fuse in the same neighborhoods. They are distinctly separate, and, as a result, we are able to explore numerous areas that each mirror their native lands: Little Tokyo, Chinatown, Little Armenia, etc. On a map, these areas are within only a couple of miles of one another. As a result, specific cultural distinctions that are often lost in “melting pots” are retained here in Los Angeles. If one was dropped into certain communities across the greater Los Angeles area, the only thing “American” one would be able to see are the street signs labeled in English. However, this is what makes our country truly great – that it is a collection of cultures. Though we are far from perfect, taking our vast population into account, the United States of America has proven to be the best place in the world for various cultures to coexist.
As long as different cultures are able to get along, retaining distinct values from culture to culture is a positive thing. Total assimilation would eliminate the aspects of culture that people have come to love: food, music, dance, religion, language, arts, recreation, etc. An attempt to create a common culture is faulty, because the act of remolding our society to fit a common culture would inevitably leave behind aspects of culture that many people cherish. As a result, original cultures – for lack of a better term – will become hybridized, if not totally subordinated.
The most dependent piece of the great Jenga tower that is these mix of cultures comes in the form of respect for other cultures. Without it, the whole puzzle collapses. However, as long as this piece is in play, the advantages of having distinct cultures greatly outweigh those of total assimilation. With these distinct cultures that all surround each other, we are able to get a feel and taste of different parts of the world – something we are unable to do in a world in which “melting pots” have distorted cultural distinctions. We have the incredible opportunity to sample in our neighborhoods.
As the world continues to globalize and cultural relationships become increasingly intertwined, cultures and traditions will naturally hybridize and create new forms. The future has the possibility to hold these new cultures, and, hopefully, “original” ones too. What an exciting possibility that is.
Hi Forrest! I really enjoyed reading your blog this week! I thought it was interesting how you talked about the different cultures in Los Angeles, then relating this area to United States' melting pot. The Jenga tower analogy was nicely written and you perfectly integrated it into your blog. Good job!
I thought your blog was really well written. I agree with how creating a common culture will be difficult, especially since each culture varies greatly from one another. Also your Jenga example was really fun to read and gave a great visual to what you were trying to say. Good job !
Hi Forrest. I really liked how you described culture because you made it interesting connection with Jenga. I could see how each culture can help understand each other better. Los Angeles is a really diverse place with many different cultures like a "melting pot." Great interpretation!
I like living in Los Angeles for that specific reason: cultural diversity. Having a strong sense of diversity is important for me; I really appreciate and value other cultures and traditions. It is quite exciting to think about what the future holds for these cultures. They will continue to expand and globalize.
I loved your blog and I thought it was really well composed. I really liked your Jenga example and thought it fit perfectly with how mixed in each and every culture is.
Yo Forrest not sure if your going to read this but if you do you have my thanks. Fun way of putting what culture meant to you. Also putting Los Angles as a topic was really cool just because I personally really like Los Angles, and the cultures that are present. Hope you get the chance to keep writing like this when you get in to college
I learned how to fold dumplings before I could tie my shoes.
In elementary school, I used to bring a thermos to lunch with four different compartments: one for stir fry noodles, one for hot and sour soup, another for fried rice, and another for steamed vegetables. The other kids would stare at me with their beady eyes while they devoured their peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I thought to myself, “Why would they bring sandwiches when they could bring a full meal?”
When my friends came over to my house, they’d hear my parents talking and ask, “Why are they yelling?” I’d have to explain over and over again, “They’re not yelling. That’s just how they talk.” But over time, I began to feel embarrassed. I began to feel the need to tell my parents to stop.
I was ashamed of them.
When I went over to my friends’ houses, I’d ask, “Your parents hug?” It was always a rare sight to see my own parents hugging, let alone even holding hands. Public displays of affection were never shown. It was hard to believe that my parents actually had romantic feelings for each other, and that they weren’t just roommates who happened to be married. From time to time, I’d question them. I’d ask them why they never touched.
I never got a real answer.
I’m eighteen years old now, and I realize that I’ve been ashamed of my culture and of my heritage when I was younger. Little by little, the culture I’ve been raised in has chipped away. It’s not as significant as it once was. I find myself speaking Chinese with an American accent and forgetting the words. It frightens me to know that I might not be able to teach my children how to speak the dialect of my family before me.
The way my parents raised me has opened my eyes to see what I want to pass on to my children and what I want to leave behind.
Hi Iris, I liked your blog post this week. I really resonated with leaving behind some things and keeping some. I think it's important to embrace the things our parents taught us but take the others with a grain of salt.
Aww, Iris, I really liked this blog of yours. It was creative to speak in the perspective of a young child's view on the difference in culture. I admired how you brought up the common lack of affection as an aspect of Asian culture. I find this, respectably, very interesting. It is also good that you have now, as a young adult, recognized your former embarrassment, and have come past it.
Hi Iris! I thought your post this week was very interesting. I think everyone is embarrassed by their parents at some point, and at some point we feel bad that we were ashamed of them. I think that it's all a part of growing up and maturing. I can relate to feeling like you're losing parts of what you learned as a child because I find myself forgetting little Japanese things that my mom had taught me. Nice work!
I really enjoyed reading your post. Something similar happened to me when I moved here. People kept asking me questions about my own country, that even though they were wrong ideas, made me feel ashamed about my culture. Now, I realized that that's just people's ideas, and that all countries are different. It's good that that made you realize what you would keep about your culture and what your parents taught you
I really like your blog this week. I thought that you did a great job conveying your message through your story. Your introduction caught my eye, as I thought that was pretty interesting. Overall, nice read.
I really enjoyed your Blog this week, it hit close to home. I agree with you when it comes to speaking Chinese with an English accent and it slowly starts to chip away. It didn't even occur to me that my kids and further generations down the line would loose my family's culture. That's scary.
I liked the story you incorporated to acknowledge how your culture is fading away from you. You have a strong voice and while keeping it short, you kept your blog meaningful. It's not easy to really say something without rambling on and on. Good job.
Hi Iris! I really liked your blog this way. At the beginning, I didn't know where you were going, but I was still curious on where you were going. It was an interesting way you set up your thread and I really enjoyed reading your post. Keep it up!
We had so many dreams as kids, the truth is that our childhood was bittersweet, but despite that it was full of inspiration and exploration. Remember all those museums and places we went, remember when we were young and you dreamed desperately of becoming a lawyer or joining the military. I hope one day you’ll develop the discipline and responsibility to carry out those exact dreams.
Sometimes it’s like our childhood dreams never even mattered or existed.
Our dreams slowly drained away, but occasionally the faucet still leaks.
The faucet keeps leaking and leaking,
making noise and wasting water.
One day I hope I’ll fix the leak.
When you speak it seems like those dreams are still alive and thriving, you seem confident with way your college education is going so far. Yet the truth is it’s always been easy for you to convince everyone everything’s alright, to put on a facade. I believed you were doing fine until I saw the way you were living. It’s easy to see you’re living a lie. It’s easy to tell everything’s not alright. On the other hand I could be completely wrong. Deep down I truly feel that one day you are going to clean up your act, but it’s easy to realize when someone’s wasted their potential.
You’re the reason I chose the hall with the kids who chose not to party in my dorm preferences. It’s also since I’ve always been a huge fan of peace and quiet. It’s not that I judge those who do party. I’m not some bitter introvert who bangs on the ceiling with a broom yelling at people to be quiet. See, when it comes to partying I respect those who are responsible about it. You can have fun with friends and go to parties, but at some point you need to befriend responsibility.
You were my older brother, I looked up to you. Now whenever I speak to you, I do not want be anything like you. Your actions have definitely impacted my choices for the future. I’m working on being responsible for myself, I’m working really hard on being considerate of the people who care about me. I’m determined to build a positive future for myself. It doesn’t matter how many times you scoff at my choice for an art career or bash on my beliefs. I have a right to those choices and beliefs. Nothing will prove that you’re superior for being going out all the time, you do all these “adult things” when really you’re acting like a child. The words I say are harsh, but it’s only because I care, I want to see you make your dreams come true. So the next time I see you, I’ll remind myself you are the reason I refuse to drink. I'll chose be straight edge like that punk band you listen to, Minor Threat.
One decision is all it takes.
For this boy, the decision to finally say something to the girl changed his whole life. If he had decided to just smile back without ever asking her for her name, he would have missed out on such a great relationship. He probably would have never gathered enough courage to make the first move after that opportunity to say something. It makes us think of all of our relationships and friendships that started just because someone finally decided to say “hello”. Not in our lifetime, but in another...in a parallel universe, we gave up these chances; we had different lives.
“Hello. I think you should…”
I used to be THAT annoying girl, at least to my closest band friends. Although I don’t remember myself, according to their first impressions, I criticized them before even introducing myself. I walked up to them during band sectionals and immediately started commenting on their clothing and musical skills. Each one of them thought I was annoying and rude; I was unaware. I threw my first impressions down the drain and automatically believed that they wouldn’t mind. We were all in the same section anyways. I would like to believe that all of my first impressions weren’t like that. Even I admit, I would’ve thought the same of myself - rude and full of herself.
It would’ve been so easy to simply ignore me. They didn’t have to choose to befriend me. But they did, even after my criticism. They let me in and I fixed my impressions. Looking back, that’s the beauty of friendship. Allowing someone to befriend you is allowing him or her to get to know your true self. The annoying girl? That’s not me. That’s a figment of my personality that I now try to keep controlled because sometimes, second chances aren’t available. Everyone deserves a second chance because it’s so easy to just mess up the first time around.
Make a bad decision? Don’t do it again. Second chance? Take it and prove you’re better than you were the first time. Sometimes all we need is...a second chance.
“What do you have?”
“Oh darn. I have a 94.5%. You know what? I’ll beat you.”
“Yeah? Let’s go.”
It was just a dumb competition. I didn’t even know him. Well, I knew of him. We were in band together, but we never really talked. It seemed pretty absurd that we were competing for the higher grade in Chinese. It meant more work and more studying, but I wanted to win. That’s just me. I fought for the win, the higher grade and...I lost (first semester).
After that first competition and losing, I could’ve left it at that. I didn’t have to demand a rematch but as the ambitious girl I am, I did. It was this second competition that kept us talking and even though I still worked for a high grade, we eventually left this competition behind. We no longer cared who had the higher grade because our friendship wasn’t just a competition anymore. It was more ad it has grown to be something truly meaningful. All due to a little friendly competition, this friendship turned out to be one of the most important ones to me.
Without that rematch, the friendship would’ve remained static. He might have only been just another band kid and stayed that way. There’s beauty to a little friendly competition.
I don’t like him. He’s immature, annoying, and cocky. He doesn’t deserve the leadership position, but if they must select him. Fine, I’ll prove myself and rise above the rest. They’ll regret.
I can say I was pretty competitive. If anyone got in my way, I would find some way or another to rise above. I always pushed myself to be better and sometimes, this persistence kept me from seeing the whole picture. This guy I mentioned? In the past, every time I saw him, anger and jealousy would rush through me. As I saw it, we weren’t friends. He was just an acquaintance and I meant to keep it that way. However, after a while, I didn’t dislike him. He wasn’t bad; he wasn’t bad at all. He was a good person and I let my jealousy get in the way of that.
We’re good friends now because I eventually let go. Not everything is about competition. First impressions change. Second chances are given and taken. Every choice counts.
Everything that happens in your control is a factor of choice. Friendships come and go because of seemingly minor decisions. We’re in control of what happens in our lifetime and we’ll lose chances if we don’t take them. Our lifetime is built as we make decisions and one different decision can change the life we live. We can’t chicken out. We can’t expect second chances. We can’t give up after losing. We can’t let jealousy get in the way. We won't.
Hi Kristie! Even as a fellow member of your section, I actually did not know too much about this part, the first impressions others had on you. I too have made mistakes usually bad decisions that have cost the possibilities of so many friendships in the past. I am glad that both of us have learned valuable lessons and have improved in similar ways. It is definitely nice to look back on our past selves as we are about to graduate and say yes, we have changed significantly for the better.
Hi Kristie! I really enjoyed reading your blog and I was attracted by the organization of your blog. The three-section style expresses your idea in a kind of divide and conquer strategy, and it works really well. Good job!
I really enjoyed reading your blog. It's amazing how so many things factor into our lives. There are so many parallel universes where just one little thing would be different. I agree with your point of view on this, if we can control what happens we absolutely shouldn't let people go.
I’ve come across a lot of people in my life. In fact, I have probably met at least 4,000 people. Out of those 4,000 people, I probably only had a decent conversation with 500 of them. Of the 500, I only ever had a real and emotional conversation with 30 of them. Some of these relationships I have built over the course of my life have caused me the greatest pain, but some have given me some of the best moments I could ever ask for. Needless to say, I have no regrets.
I still think about those late night conversations we had. The things we used to talk to about, all of the stupid little insignificant things. It wasn’t easy to talk to you. Every time I did, I felt as though every word was a little piece of me I tore off and gave to you, only you. I remember how I felt when I spoke to you for the first time. You were shy and mysterious and I hung on your every word. You made me feel seen and important, something I hadn’t felt in a long time. I promised my self that I wouldn’t let my heart get broken, not again. I really hoped that I wouldn’t fall for you. I mean, how could I? You had this crazy obsession with apple juice and silly YouTube videos about pigs, and on every subject we talked about, we were always on the other side of the argument. I guess we were destined to be doomed from the start, but at least we had our beautiful tragedy. Things were never easy, it was just the way I liked it. I loved the thrill, chasing and being chased. I knew, when it was 3 a.m. and we were still awake talking, that I was screwed.
“Always found my greatest moment, In the sound of your 'hello's'”-All Time Low.
It has been almost two years since we last talked. I still wonder what life would have been like if we kept going on. The sounds of our screams from our fights and arguments still ring in my head. The way you flared your nostrils, bulged your eyes, and stomped your foot into ground still gets me every time. That pain I felt my chest and the way the tears rolled off my hot my cheeks, some scars never go away. I guess we will always have that fountain, that crazy, stupid fountain on that crazy, stupid Sunday.
The statistics, an attention grabber. The parallelism, a perfector.
I really like your style of writing. As for the subject matter, though nostalgically sad, it’s bittersweet.
However, two years..it’s both great and amazing how you avoid regrets, and I wish you the best of luck.
i like your little attention grabber in the beginning! good way to start off a blog!
I really liked the 4000 people we meet, etc. It was a very nice opening sequence and hook to your post.
Arcadia High School isn’t exactly the most diverse high school. Whether it’s walking down the halls during passing period or just eating a sandwich during lunch, when you look up, a sea of black hair dominates the entire school population. Arcadia High School is pretty much like an international-American High school in asia. We’re all supposedly “American” but the unity of our ethnical backgrounds seems to evoke the embracing of our heritage.
It’s really strange how in Arcadia, being the term “fob” is thrown around as a tease or insult. I mean...essentially...if you’re an asian in America...you pretty much are a fob. Well, at least your ancestors were. Even though a simple term such acronym-ing “fresh off the boat” is really just literal and straightforward, it gets thrown around as if it were a disease or something most students at AHS don’t have anything to do with. I guess this is just an example of how people will reject their own culture to fit in or something. It’s almost as if the unity makes them want to break away and be different or something.
Another example wanting to break away from unity is very prevalent in Asia itself. There is a struggle of being asian in Asia...and that struggle is the struggle of wanting to be another asian. As korean or japanese trends fall and rise, an appreciation for different cultures is responded back in the area of fandom. I think this is a very good thing. It is most definitely cultivating bonds between different cultures and ethnicities. However, it is a problem if the one appreciating other cultures begins to reject their own. Back when I went to visit Taiwan over the years of summer, I would often hear people wishing they were korean or something and not Taiwanese. I find it really sad how people won't appreciate their own culture just because they find another culture more appealing. But then again, I guess that’s just the way cultures evolve. Cultures and countries evolve by being influenced by other cultures and countries. As we toss back and forth our cultural influences on each other, we kind of in a way are united again.
The way people treat different ethnicities here in the LA county is rather different than the way we are treated in different parts of the country. When I went to Boston this spring break, I saw basically no asians at all. And so, whenever my mother and I got on a taxi, people would take the opportunity to talk to these two special species of asia. What really ticked me off was when they asked where I was from. “We’re from Southern California”, I’d respond. They’d give us this strange look and ask again, “No, I mean where are you really from?”. Feeling annoyed of their lack of intelligence in his sentence formation, I’d reply and say, “I’m sorry, but I believe your question asking what ethnicity we are of”. It looks like many parts of America seem to still cant fathom the idea of diversity or how it’s been a “melting pot” for different ethnicities.
I really do hope that America will be more diverse in the future. I will, however, applaud congress for being at it’s most diverse state of time: 1 in 5 members of congress are not caucasian males! Hurray! Congrats America! We are so diverse.
Before I came to America, every single time when people mentioned the word “America”, immediately, the first key words popped into my mind; freedom, big, legal circumstances, having the rights to voice out one’s opinions,as well as to protest the things that people think it’s wrong. With the traditional image, everything in America seems bigger and it gives more freedom than the place where I came from. You can buy anything with a cheaper price and for a better quality. We are able to stand for ourselves because we have freedom to do everything legally. This is mostly because everyone is created equally without the concern of our skin color.
I think what ties Americans together is the American dream. As a country that has a lot of different immigrants from a different background, people pursue their dreams by making better salary and living a better life. As one of the immigrants I can totally relate with the word “American dream” Our parents try their best to support us with better life. Moved to here meeting with others’ with whole different background and lifestyle. Sometimes it’s really hard to pursue what we wish for. Just like F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, the green light mainly symbolizes Gatsby’s long last dream for Daisy to go back to him. People try their best and work hard to try to accomplish their dreams, but in reality it can be too hard for them to make their dreams come true.
As a country full of immigrants, people used to describe it as a melting pot. Everyone got along with each other and share their own traditions and customs. However, America is slowly people described as a salad bowl. All the vegetable mixed together, but never combine or interacting with each other. People come to America with the dreams they dream of, but sometimes in reality, it does not go along with the way they have dreamed of.
The American dream is partially attainable. Sometimes it depends on the person’s situation. The person may not know their limit and would set their goals too high so it is impossible for them to reach it.
Hi Samantha! I really like your blog and I can relate to you as an immigrant. Why does America have so many immigrants? The reason is because we all have the American Dream to do what we want and succeed. America provides us with many opportunities for many people to fulfill their dreams.
Hi Samantha, I like your blog, and I share the same opinion as you, as an immigrant I get to see what America represents in the world and how all immigrants come to pursuit the American dream.
Hi Samantha, I like your blog, and I share the same opinion as you, as an immigrant I get to see what America represents in the world and how all immigrants come to pursuit the American dream.
Hi Samantha, I like your blog, and I share the same opinion as you, as an immigrant I get to see what America represents in the world and how all immigrants come to pursuit the American dream.
Hi, Samantha, since we came from the same place, I know some of your traditional imagination about America. We think that we can have more future here. The parents gave us dreams but the reality gave us fact. You still have to work hard just like how Taiwanese kids work on there exam.
“I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.” - Isoroku Yamamoto’s words regarding the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.
Lets take a visual together. We’re all around the age of 17 or 18. Most of us have known of each other or gotten close with one another over the course of 4 years, or maybe longer. We have bonds with each other, where we care for each others well being and hardships.
And were off to war together, some of us drafted to war without a choice.
Erika , the out going, driven, and spirited, with so much ahead of her, is drafted.
Phoebe , the bubbly and innocent, soon leaves too.
And then so did I .
Close friends, who we have so much invested in, regarded as family even, drafted. Together we go through little amount of training, all of us handed one uniform, a gun, and a few hand grandees. We’re told we’re fighting for the future of our country, so it can stand independent. Running through the battle field, hiding in ditches filled with water, scared. Terrified, looking at the dead bodies, some we don’t recognize, probably don’t even speak the same language. Then some, we do. The familiar smile of a friend no longer across her face, but instead empty, open eyes and her spirit gone. Adrenaline and sadness overwhelms you as you know she isn’t the only friend who has fallen. Knowing the chances of you dying in that battle stack against you. Thinking back to the time you hugged your grandmother after she slaved over baking holiday cookies. Wondering how her family will react when they receive that telegram, how your family will react when they receive one about you. United as soldiers, fighting together, blood spilled across fields and unknown amount of lives lost. Families in unimaginable amount of pain and knowing your friends fell beside you in war. But the war was won and America stood strong. The three year old babies, who will be too young to remember, have the ability to have freedom and not live under the dictatorship of another power.
When September 11 hit, the whole nation fell silent. No one cared about the racial or cultural differences. All anyone cared about was his or her family member in the twin towers. And if someone did not have family there, they saw the pain and the horror across their neighbors face. Instantly, any difference is forgotten, and this nation stood strong for one another. There were no and, if, or buts. John F. Kennedy said it best, “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and success of liberty.” Together we stood. The United States has its flaws and its corruption, but when a threat falls against us, any opposition falls apart, and this nation instantly comes together to fight as one powerful power.
I really like your statement about how America is able to set aside flaws in times of distress. Instead of highlighting the cultural differences, you brought about how emotional ties conquers over physical differences. I thought your reference of September 11th was an appropriate example that fits into this week's theme and I thought that you connect this example with your argument well.
Cultural significance is how humans distinguish between groups, factions, and even individuals. Although cultural distinction is important to identifying people, society has a strong tendency to conform. People understand that individuality is an essential part of human interaction, but why is there still a lingering pull towards what is “cool” or “popular?” This is a widely understood contradiction that shows how much people love to hide behind mob mentality.
The fact that society glamorizes celebrities is a clear indication of how people need a trend-setter. People are scared of being judged, so they allow others to be judged before assimilating to the new accepted norm. This applies to fashion, behavior, and even cultural significance. Would Christmas really be that big of a deal if the entire population wasn’t adorning the holiday with positive thoughts, gifts, or even break from work/school? Cultures are perpetuated by what people perceive as significant, which eventually snowballs into a grand event or unanimous acceptance. So how does this relate to the individuals?
People can be very much like these cultural occurrences in that they identify with cultural behaviors and events. Along with external stimuli like family and friends, the individual’s cultural identification snowballs and eventually becomes their personality, beliefs, and identity.
Personally, I identify myself through the relationships I have with others. The core aspect of myself is not my ethnicity (but that does play a factor as to who I interact with), rather it is my environment. The people I socialize with and interact with meld me into who I am. Although I try not to, I still take how others perceive me into consideration when I act. My identity is culturally dependent on the social norm of my surroundings, in this case it is Arcadia. This seems quite riveting, but I still have the choice to choose the niche within the overall environment; I can siphon myself into groups that have the same interests like robotics, certain classes, etc.
Taking this to the next level, the environment is the United States. We hold ourselves under the title of “Americans.” Our sense of nationality and unity as a country is just a preliminary link of culture. There are still major conflicts within the country. In essence, culture is like the levels of organization in an ecosystem (biosphere, biome, ecosystem, community, population, and individual). Lets say for example, America is the biosphere, the state we reside in is the biome, the county is the ecosystem, the community is the city, the population is the people with similar interests, and the individual remains the same. Culture and behavior within each subcategory will have an effect on individuality and cultural identity; each with more influence than the other. In the end, it is the individual who will have final say as to identity. No matter how much people tend to assimilate and conform, each person will be fundamentally different down to the firing neurons within each brain.
I agree with you that environment is what mainly determines our culture. The people in our lives are important and shape us to become who we are. I like how you used the ecosystem to break down culture into categories. Great job on the blog this week!
Yes I agree with you that the surrounding environment needs to allow for the expansion of cultures. If the environment is hostile then how can people possibly coexist.
I may have been in born in Toledo, Ohio; however, I grew up in a Korean culture. I have a lot of pride in South Korea because I like the part that I am able to understand and fit in another culture. I know some Korean friends who are “white washed” meaning that their parents didn’t push their culture through them. Thus, I am really thankful that my parents let me experience the Korean culture through music, drama, food, and language. I may have gotten in trouble for watching too many Korean Dramas; however, I believed that it was a really good way to see Korean culture acted. Furthermore, I was able to learn aspects of Korea through the dramas. I don’t know how grateful I am to be able to experience my amazing culture even though I am not in South Korea.
Korea was always in my heart since my parents wanted me and my brothers to know our culture even though we live in America. If my parents came into America when they were in middle or high school, I am pretty sure that they wouldn’t have strongly spoken only Korean to us. They might know some aspects of English culture and language, but they are not fully able to speak it since their jobs don’t expect them to use English. Thus I learned to speak Korean fluently because I got the chance to live in a Korean atmosphere at home. When I walk into my house or my car, I live as a Korean who would have lived in Korea. I love my country and my culture.
My relatives live in South Korea, so having the Korean culture already in us makes it easier to get along with them. I would say that I would have no problem living in Korea because the only difference is that I am fluent in English. In Korea, Koreans speak highly of respecting older people, so it its very different from American culture. There is informal Korean when you speak with peers or younger people. Also there is formal Korean when you speak to adults and new people. Actually it is hard to explain Korean culture because I have always been used to speaking differently depending on the person. I love when I am able to speak and live in the culture that I was raised in because I can be using my skills in another language.
As I live I America, I want to be seen as a Korean person. I love being able to speak Korean with other people because I feel that I have something that defines me and it feels really good. I am totally going to keep my Korean culture even after I marry and have children. I want to pass down the Korean language, food, and culture, so that my children can be able to have their culture in themselves throughout their life. I want them to remember that they are a Korean no matter what and I would like them to be proud of it. Informal and formal gets confusing at times when I was young; however, I am happy that I can respect my elders and enjoy the language. I may have not liked things at times, but I am a Korean and I want my children to know that they are Korean.
I am a Korean who will live as a Korean with American aspects.
I loved reading your story, and probably the main reason is because we have same ethnicity and same consequences being 1/2 Korean 1/2 American. I hope you too success and stay happy being as half and belong to each of the country.
It was great to read yours.
Ah, the great renowned country named "America". I moved here when I was in the third grade. Before then, America was simply a dream. When my parents came back to China after briefly visiting this magical country, they told me that I would come along next time. I still remember that I was so happy that tears came to my eyes.
The Chinese people, at least those I know of, have a very high reputation for America. When I told my friends that I would be moving to America, they were shocked and filled with jealousy. Back when I was a young boy, "America" meant something new, exciting, and adventurous.
I fell in love with America. Not to be offensive to my Chinese friends, but in my opinion, everything is better in America. The people, the environment, the choices, the luxuries, the air, and even the music. My parents and grandparents, however, did not feel this way. They thought of America as strange, foreign, and different.
I remember once my parents asked me: "If you were a very good athlete, would you compete for America in the Olympics or China?"
I hesitated for a while, and murmured a faint "America".
Although they were not surprised, they knew what had happened. They realized that I do not appreciate China like they do anymore.
Now, America has the definition of home.
The definition of America not only changes as time passes by but also varies between different people. America to me may be very different from America to you or to my grandparents.
America is what you and your culture make of it.
I like the way you close your blog. I also moved from a different country, and even though there are some similaries, the advantages America has like the education, are way better than in my country. I like living here because of that. It is true that America has the meaning that we give it.
Clinging onto the swing, the acrobat prepped for her jump while eyeing her partner to see if he was ready.
One, two, three
As they jumped, each did flips mid air; she caught him right before he fell face down onto the ground. The stadium erupted into a vociferous roar, celebrating the acrobats’ successful performance and just as they exited the arena, a circus elephant entered and stood right in the middle. The circus master brought out the whip and in front of the whole audience, abused the elephant until he finally began his performance. After every act finished, the elephant finally returned home, or what his owner thought to be a home. It was more of a cage, fifteen feet high, ten feet long, ten feet wide. And this creature would sleep there, every night, and repeat this grueling routine. Every. Single. Day. But despite the fact that he didn’t like to perform or to be stuck in a cage, he was still content with his overall environment; the other performers were welcoming and despite a few obstacles, he was still able to enjoy himself and was keen to please others.
Sometimes, no matter how hard people try, they just can’t fit in and I have been this metaphoric “elephant” for a majority of my life. I honestly don’t know where to even start to define myself. Language? I speak broken Chinese, where the phrases start in Cantonese and somehow switch to English. Religion? Sometimes I don’t even know if there is a higher being to believe in. Culture? I barely know anything about the Asian holidays my family celebrates yearly and I still don’t understand the point of observing some of the American holidays. I’ve basically been living within this balancing act, between knowing who I am as a person, then questioning my existence.
My mother once told me that in the grand scheme of things, I’m worth less than a grain of sand and my brother told me that my problems are insignificant when viewed on a macro scale, so I just began to stop caring and trying to fit in. What makes me, me is that I am able to stop viewing each mistake as if it’s the end of the world and to learn from it. I’m not like the acrobats in my story where I can easily fit in with my surroundings; I’m the elephant who is just trying to get by. I don’t have a specific “culture” that I fit in with, nor have I went on an enlightening quest to find that so called “identity” that most juveniles so desperately look for, but I am someone who just wants to go through life with as little problems as possible. Even though sometimes my life is considered as dysfunctional as a circus, I am still able to continue on as if that type of environment is normal.
Hi Kelly. I was shocked at how similar your life story regarding fitting in is to mine. I used to think I had to do certain things to be "cool" and be able to fit in with others. It was over time that I realized I could just be myself and be friendly and the rest would come eventually. Life is so much easier when we do not have to stress about things that really do not matter in the long run.
When your morals and the rules come into conflict, I might follow the rules because people need to follow the rules. There has a lot of rule in our life which we need to follow and obey. It just like the soldier need to follow the orders, and the students need to follow the school’s rules. I would assert that follow the law even I believe it is immoral. In the fact, the law is a system of rules that are enforced through social institutions to govern behaviour which is made by the government, and protect people's rights. And laws are in everywhere such as country law, business law and even the school law. I think the laws are made by people who really care about it. The laws are not easy to make because it is a hard process. The top management people need to check the law is good or not for the people again and again. So I think the laws are good for people, and there is no law which is immoral.
Also, a rule deserves subversion, opposition, or bending when it hurts people’s right or it is useless. Sometimes, the rule is flawed so it may changed people to do the wrong thing. I do believe that the circumstances can change people’s behavior to shift because life will not be the same as you think. It always disappoint you, and sometimes will destroy you. So we need to be flexibility, just like Winston in the book “1984”. I think the best example is the book “1984” because the circumstances really change people. The party controlled the world in the “1984”. It is very powerful, and the leader is called “Bigbrother” which one is never shown in the story. The party brainwash the people, and let people believed whatever they told. At first, Winston was like always be himself, and he had his own opinion and soul. He liked to against the party, and took him time with Julie who is the Winston’s lover. He likes to writing journal but it does not allowed at that time so he might get killed. But he got catch by O’Brien who is a powerful member of the Inner Party. O’Brien tortured him so the circumstance has changed his mind from hate to love the “bigbrother”. Although this is a very difficult process, but he has been changed because O’Brien really gave him a hard time, and destroyed external and Internal.
People always want to protect themselves when they are faced the dangerous. I think people need to be flexibility just like Winston, and this is a good start. I would assert that life is more important than the behavior or our morals. In the fact, there is no more important thing than people’s life even the money. Some of people might think their life is filled with pain, suffering and struggles but they still need to hold on to their life. Just like the book “Never let me go”, the two main characters “Tommy” and “Kathy”, they still have to try live a few years together even their destiny has already been set. Sometimes, people have to face what they do not want to. But people should never give up on their life, no suicide intents or attempts, no death wishes.
I am first generation American. My mom came to this country with her parents and 10 years later married my dad, thus bringing my dad to America. Being first generation American is a little tough. First generation Americans sort of test the waters of the United States. We dip our toes while the waves push forward and back again. Also, I don’t feel completely confident because I have nobody to rely on. My parents don’t know how the school systems work or how life in general works. And I, being the older child, has to be more cautious and wary of my actions. Because my parents are learning as I go along, it has broughten us closer and they treat me like an adult, so that’s a plus.
I went to India over spring break and I have realized that I do not fit in with other Indian people my age. Yes, I can fully communicate with them, but there is so many aspects that are different. Our whole lives are different. I do not fully fit in with people in America that are not first generation American because they do not understand the “situation.” By “situation” I mean parents and the culture. So I have realized that people in America who are also first generation American are the ones that I feel comfortable around because they grew up the same way I did and understand the “situation.”
I have been told that I am American with an Indian mindset. It took me a while to understand what exactly that meant. It means that I am living in a Western country with an Eastern way of thinking. For example, I do not participate in class as much as I would like. It is seen in Eastern countries that if one is smart then he does not speak. He is seen as wise. It is very different here. In Western countries, people praise others who speak and participate and that is the way that people perceive intelligence. I think that is odd because if I was born and raised in America, shouldn’t I have the confidence to raise my hand in class?
It is no secret that Indian parents are strict. Luckily, my parents are more lenient on grades than other Indian parents. But they are strict when I want to go out with my friends, even if when I go “out,” I am actually just 5 minutes away at my friend’s (who is a girl) house. They start asking many different questions. How long are you going to be there for? Why are you going? What do her parents do? Does she have any siblings? How old are her siblings? What do her siblings do? Is your friend smart? There is just a whole interrogation conducted with me hanging out with my friend. I understand that my parent’s fear of me getting submerged in the western waters, but I would not interrogate my kids for hanging out with their friends.
Another thing, we (first generation Americans) do not get “grounded” or have “curfews” because we have been taught to “listen or else” and we do not go out often, so this aspect might be something I have to use in the future because I want my kids to feel like they have freedoms. Just like me, my kids will be exposed to western television, which consists of going out to hang out with friends, so I want to to take part of that.
Punjabi is my first language. I take pride in that I am bilingual and that I can switch between English and Punjabi fairly quickly. I want my kids first language to be Punjabi because that is the language of our ancestors. It is even more important for them to visit India and to experience where they come from. I love going to India because it is very different and I love seeing where my mother, father, and their parents were born. It is also very pleasing to hear your native language being spoken everywhere because it gives you a sense of happiness.
Being Indian living in America can have its challenges but it is worth living in a wealthy country and having a rich heritage. I have to best of both worlds.
These two words have been uttered by a majority of society in two significant times that I can remember. The biggest one, which actually occurs every four years, is the World Cup (which is soccer for those of you who don’t know). For me personally, I do not keep up with professional soccer or any form of soccer for that matter, but when the World Cup comes, I cannot keep myself from watching Team USA battle against other countries. It seems that each World Cup there is an abundant amount of people chanting “USA USA USA” and the slogan of “I BELIEVE THAT WE WILL WIN.” I join them in these chants, not because I feel secluded but I feel motivated and obliged to do so. Every four years during the summer, everyone has the opportunity to showcase their nationality and it is our opportunity to show the world that USA is the best country in the world. Not that there is any conflicts with most of the countries, it is just a competition to see our country do well.
The other time I clearly remember these chants was when it was announced that Osama Bin Laden was killed by US troops. The news spread rapidly and I happened to be watching a baseball game on ESPN when the news broke through. The fans in the stands checked their phones, finding out the new information and spreading it to those around them. Soon chants of “USA” began throughout the stadium even while the players were playing, who probably did not know why the fans were chanting USA at the time. It was amazing to see how passionate everyone was about our country, especially considering what Osama Bin Laden had done to our country (911 for those who don’t know). He damaged our country that day and having our troops take him down was so soothing because it was our revenge. The lives lost that day were not in vain.
So why do we have these chants during these situations? It's because USA is our identity. It's where we grew up and it has the people we grew up with. It's become who we are, the culture, our battles with other countries, and the struggles the country has been through piece the lives that we are all living now.
I can't say the same for other countries, but my country is definitely one of the best in the world. My life has benefited from being in the state and society that America is in, while other countries have authoritarian governments and have censorship on media. We’ve come to learn that our country is actually one of the best through our history classes, where many immigrants come to us and emigrate from others. We as a nation are united. Being united is a good thing. We don’t want a nation where many people are fighting because of their different nationalities.
Although we feel strongly about our country, it does not mean we have to support every move it makes and what goes on. We do not support these because we want the best for our nation and we want to make the outside perception of us as positive as possible. So when morals and rules come into conflict, we tend to side with morals because the rules aren’t always right, considering they were just made up by a couple individuals. Sometimes these rules were made because of the situation during the time, but times have changed and our society has changed dramatically.
If a law is deemed immoral, others will follow in the belief and protest it. It will be deemed immoral if it is dehumanizing and one historical example of this is “The Trail of Tears” where America forced Indians to walk a long distance without food or water. This event is something that Americans are still ashamed of and refuse to talk about it. When we would not want to be in the victims’ shoes, then that is when a decision has gone too far.
Yes we have great pride in the country that we live in and we want it to be successful, but that doesn’t mean that it is perfect. Our decisions have not been as bad as they used to be in the past and making those mistakes allowed us to learn from them, making sure we don’t do the same again. These mistakes come at the expense of the humanity of the individual victims and just because it comes from a high level position, doesn’t make it correct.
A belief that is supported by a majority is not necessarily correct and should be challenged, or else people can take over this world. Although I love my country, I don't have to agree with its decisions.
Hi, Anthony. I agree with you that what majority think is not always the right thing. I also admire the patriotism you expressed in your blog and how you wrote about both the good and the bad of our country. You proudly admitted the flaws instead of ignoring them.
In life, more often than not, rules and morals walk hand in like a happy couple who strolls on the beach, but every couple has their fights. Like those couples morals and rules do not always see eye to eye. We see this commonly in the debate between the use of the death penalty. Do we use it or not? The real question we should be asking is, “Do we act as God and take someone’s life away?” Though society would say, “do unto others as you would have done on to you,” or, “they deserved it.” we should not stoop to their levels. Killing them would only make us as much as a murderer or a criminal as they are. So I reiterate the question, do we use it or not?
Going back to my previous blog, I spoke about justifying our immoral acts and how as a society, we do not fight against these immoral actions that we say we live by. We are all hypocrites.
My morals are what make me who I am, they are the base for all of my beliefs; without my morals I would not be the same person. Certain rules, such as the death penalty, are rules that should be bent, we are not in China when people believed in an eye for an eye. This is not right on the moral standards of our society, yet it is still something that is done by law. What does it teach the person?
Because they are dead.
Have you ever considered the mind of a sociopath? They are physically incapable of feeling sympathy for others and is the most common reason for why they kill or harm others. They are incapable of feeling immorality. If we want to grow as a society, we need to instate moral values on people, not death and negative reinforcement. If we work towards helping them understand their issues, our world would be so different. But, then again, the argument of emotion comes into play here; how can I let someone live who harmed another person? The answer is: do not become who they are. Grieve but, don’t open the floodgates and allow your moral values to be compromised.
Phoebe, I completely agree with your last points in this post. While we all have the power to take someone's life, some use it without any remorse, and some use it with the justification of an excuse. However, in the end, it does not matter why a person kills, it only matters that they did. As you stated, instead of devolving down to the levels of a murder, we should aim to institute moral values. This would be the less-hypocritical approach.
Hi Phoebe! I agree that laws should be bent if needed and in the case of the death penalty, I don't agree with it either. I agree that it stoops us down to the murderers' level, but I also disagree with its usage because it gets the murderers off the hook. Instead of being confined in a jail cell for the rest of their lives, their lives end there and they aren't really punished in my opinion. I agree that morals should be put into their minds through their time at jails, but they are evil human beings who are a threat to society just by being alive.
America is mainly a cultural melting pot of different, ethnics, races, and backgrounds. People here are all a part of the United States of America. Everyone has distinct origins and preferences that they are known to be from. The American census from 2010 consists a total population of 308,745,538. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Americans are categorized under the six categories of “White, American Indian and Alaska Native, Black or African American, Asian, Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, and people of two or more races” even though people have different backgrounds ranging from Mexico, Russia, Canada, Israel, United Kingdom, Germany, France, China, Japan, Taiwan, and etc. Diverse in race, religion, beliefs, and cultures, most people who dwell in America only immigrated here within the last five centuries.
As a Taiwanese American, I was born in Houston, Texas on November twenty-second 1997. Personally, having lived in California the last seventeen years of my life, I found identity to be a barrier for most people. I call myself an American when I visit foreign countries like Taiwan and Japan, but on the outside, I look just like an Asian boy with glasses just like everyone around me. Being raised in the U.S, my accent and dialects differentiates me from the rest of my Taiwanese relatives and it helped them form the conclusion that I am American. While back in the States, the opposite can be found to be true.
Languages and religions are barriers most people have to overcome. The common language people speak here is English. It is a language most people are prone to understand. We are constantly thinking about the variety of accents, people have because most people are bilingual and their first language is usually not English.
I see my struggles with identity quite often. While schools are off during days like Thanksgiving, Chinese New Years a definite extreme part of my Taiwanese culture would never be recognize. Who and what am I to Americans and those people of foreign countries? The way I dress, drive, and purchase goods? Part of being American is getting assimilated into western society and culture. The majority of the people are influenced by western styles and innovations; therefore, there has and will always be a major impact on the rest of the world.
Religion has played another impressive piece of influence on the American life. Faith and rules controls the flow of one’s life. We constantly debate over God, Buddha...what’s real or not. But here in America, people accept all sorts of religions. The diversity continues to open a path that contributes to broader view points and greater beliefs. I recognize religion to be a part of my friends’ lives that cannot be left out. They would always spend time on church, buddhist retreats, and etc.Even though we have different religions as friends, we will always be together even under separate ideals and viewpoints.
The American Flag distinguishes itself from other flags in that all people are unified under this one particular symbol. It is an object that all chooses to cherish and protect as part of their identity. People respect flags because it represents who they truly are. Although people here are all Americans, they lead different lives.
Dictionary Definition of Luck –the force that operate for good or for ill a person’s as in shaping circumstances, events, or opportunities. Everyone goes through life once. People have always blamed luck or even put their faith in luck. It is not a cult or religion but an excuse that comes our way. Within that limited amount of time, we must never regret our actions. Luck is indeed a factor in our lives because humans do not have the choice to choose their parents, relatives, and other family members. We are all bound to our parent’s social classes when we are born. Poverty strikes with no mercy, but everyone adjusts to their environment.
How much would one possibly spend on their family? is how much we cherish our family. People can starve in a family and Opportunities come and go. Our family and those we grow up with shape our morals and ethics. From the basis of these morals, people eventually develop their own rules and boundaries they abide by. No one has the same decisions to make while going down a path. Initially, people struggle with what is in front of them but everyone pulls through eventually.
I believe that finding one's identity is a struggle for everyone in America. Everyone is so different and unique because of how diverse America is, that everyone has to find their true identity to feel any sense of fitting in. I liked your post and how you touched on some of the most crucial points such as religion and the sense of identity!
I would not say I am very culturally related to my relatives. Culture is such a huge topic to discuss and is everything from language and tradition. Starting with family that live with me, I would say I speak english a large majority of time although I speak Chiu Chow only to my Aunt as she does not speak or understand English. I only really speak English to those that understand even if we both speak Chiu Chow. This includes all my aunt and uncles and cousins as well. Enough of language, part of culture is the food and I cannot tell you any of the names to the dishes I eat. I can recognize the foods and know what they taste like If I have already ate it in the past. I don’t really know any of the traditions as Chiu Chow was a small province in China but many people moved to neighboring countries such as Cambodia and Vietnam. I consider myself a bit Cambodian because of the fact that a lot of traditions and foods we eat are from Cambodia.
My parents value a lot of things especially since they’re Asian. Sorry, its true, Asians value a lot of things. Possible the most important ones are money and education. Excluding those two, I think I would keep a lot of them actually. I would definitely value the things that shaped me. It is what makes me, well, me. For my children I would definitely value a lot of things other people value such as hard work, education, respect, etc. There is just so many characteristics that people value and also make people extraordinary.
Probably the most important one I would keep throughout my life would be hard work. They value this characteristic so much because they work hard. And I agree, they really do. As much as I tell them to hire more workers so they can take more time off, they disagree and would rather work. They want to make money and save it for me and my sister. I really appreciate that they trade their time for me and her. One thing I would change about some daily life scenarios is the fact that I do not know any of my aunt and uncle’s names. In my family we call each other the name for big aunt, middle aunt, small aunt, grandma etc. I think it’s important we know one another’s name. For one thing, it's kind of embarrassing not knowing your grandma’s name. I understand its for respect, but sometimes when I fill out paperwork and require a guardian like my aunt, I can’t fill it out myself.
Time is ticking...
Life flashes in a second and the next we're trying to reminisce what was in the past. We, or at least I, don't realize that everything happening all at once. Life just flashes past us and we don't make the best of it, or I don't make the best of it and always taking opportunities for granted.
Time isn't waiting for you.
There were many friendships I have made during all four years of high school. Many lasted a couple days, weeks,months, and occasionally,even years. How close I were to my friends depended on the duration of our connections. Some of my friends keep in contact with me every single day, some keep in contact with me every weeks and months. Whatever we talked about didn't really matter. What matter was that we kept that connection for so long.
Life is short and fast. Hurry up and make the map you sought to explore.
Unfortunately, many of the friendships I have made in the past weeks, months, including years, didn't seem to last long as I expected. Meeting one of my closest friend in my sophomore year ended up as a "one night stand". Our connections broke off as time went by. He was making new friends and getting popular day by day, and I only had him. The last time I talked to him was the end of junior year. Since then, I know he is probably doing fine without me because of the pictures he always post on his social media, showing him with his other friends having a good time.
Time is ticking too fast. Decide on a decision. Make it or Break it.
I have made many new friends this year, especially this one person I met this year. He was a guy who was always there for me. We talked forever and had many good memories together, or so that's what I thought, but this time I knew I was repeating the same mistake I once did in my sophomore year. He was a popular guy so I wasn't his only friend, he has other friends too. What was similar to both situation here and the one in my sophomore year was that an argument broke us apart. After having that one argument with that guy I knew that we wouldn't be friends for long. He forgave me and I also forgave him. It wasn't any of our fault that this whole argument was ignited.
It was a mistake. Time cannot be rewinded to fix mistakes. Go on, learn, adapt and don't repeat that same mistake. It's part of nature.
As I am typing here today, we both haven't talked or texted for a month. I was expecting this. It seems as if it was last year where I'm leaving my only friend, who was one a close friend, a brother to me.
“Culturally”, I’m a Filipino student going to school in Arcadia, California in the USA.
”Culturally”, I spend too much time on games for my own good.
“Culturally”, I have a very vague idea what “culture” really is.
In history classes we’re often taught that “culture” defines a group of people that share multiple elements such as religion, food, music, weapons, clothes, etc. Once we actually encounter a culture foreign to us, we quickly ask them, “Where are you from?” or “What are you?” to find out the origins of this foreign specimen. The first question, “Where are you from?”, really opens up a lot about what people think about culture. Culture is largely based on where the people are from, not as much as the food, music, or clothes- finding that out comes. Finding out where a person is from is much easier compared to asking about their background- their culture- because we can make generalized assumptions about them once they provide us with their answer. From there, we slowly ease up, digging deeper and deeper into their culture- hence “What are you?”
Their answer in the latter question doesn’t define them as a whole; it only provides a tiny piece of what they really are. A culture isn’t a complete detailed guide on individuals but a common background that anyone born in the region share. It’s all up to the person on how they want to grow as- with culture or without culture.
My “culture” is Filipino. Manny Pacquiao is the best thing that’s ever happened and the food is pretty good. There are fertilized duck eggs, which I’ve never bothered to try, a bunch of islands, lots of people on the streets, a corrupt government where money rules, beaches that should really be cleaned up, and amazing sea life if you can find a spot that’s not filled with trash.
As for me, personally, I’ve caught all the Pokemon, but I’m still struggling to get out of Silver V. Catching all the Pokemon automatically completes me, so my whole base of character is being “a guy with too much time on his hands” or “Pokemon Master”.
I agree that simply knowing about someone's ethnic culture is not enough to know about them as a person. Believing that one's culture is a good representation of who they are is just stereotyping a whole group of people.
As humans, we put a large amount of emphasis on our social interactions. When we think of it logically, the social aspects of our lives aren’t all that important. Sure, you might need to have some form of connections in order to get people to help you out in times of need, but we can be self-sufficient, as individuals, without much of a social life. We don’t need friends to feed ourselves or take care of our bodies; in fact, we do most of these on our own. Our basic needs require almost no relationship with other people, and we do tend to them on our own time, and not with the assistance of others. Love, too, seems unnecessary for survival; we can live perfectly fine without finding a partner, and the only thing that would survive if we pursued romance would be humanity as a species. And, sometimes, love drives people to needless deaths rather than in the birth of new lives. So, why bother?
Most would seek approval from society. After all, the desire to be “popular” is not one to be taken lightly. We are emotionally attached to each other and to our thirst for social interactions, and will go to great lengths to maintain these attachments. The majority will bully the “inferior” and exclude the different so that they themselves will be accepted and seen as popular and “cool”. When we anger another human being or have some sort of falling out, it doesn’t sit well with our hearts, and, in the aftermath, we worry about how to patch up the broken relationship or how to minimize the damage done. Society, therefore, exists not for our physical benefit, but, rather, for our emotional and spiritual satisfaction. We want people to be able to understand us, and we want to be able to understand other people.
I consider myself quite the contradictory character when it comes to social interactions. With strangers and people I don’t know very well, I am shy and cautiously polite, afraid that the slightest failure on my part would mean their impression of me getting ruined. I don’t approach people that I don’t have to, and, if circumstances do make it necessary for me to confront someone I don’t know very well, it will become a battle on the inside between the urge to talk and the fear of meeting someone new. Even so, I do have social longings, and do want to talk to others. However, instead of talking to them, I usually wait for the other person to start talking to me before I talk to them. If there’s no reason for me to talk to you, I won’t talk. It’s the same when it comes to my crushes and romantic interests. I’m too nervous to approach her, so, unless fate or some other force draws us together, I wouldn’t bother, since she’s probably not interested in me anyway.
Despite all of this, when I’m with my friends, I’m a lot different from this cool, distant façade that I put on in front of strangers. I seek every possible opportunity to talk and hang out with friends, and I am much more socially active and open when I am in my friends’ company. So, I can’t completely describe myself as shy, but I can’t go the other way and describe myself as social either. It’s a mix of both, depending on the situation. Overall, however, I feel that I’m only seeking the approval and acceptance from others so that I can feel better about having these bonds with others. When it comes to social interactions, I try to seek the best way to maintain a good relationship with others, and will try to avoid conflict as best I can. The only difference is that, for strangers, that means distancing myself from any possible way for me to offend them and, for friends, keeping a wary sense of how far the conversation can go with me staying open with my thoughts before the other person might get irritated.
Who do I consider my friends, then? To me, a friend would be anyone who, at first, would be willing to talk to me and hang out with me, and then, over time, starts to talk with me more. As long as you’re friendly and approachable enough, I’ll accept you as a friend. But, when asked who my best friend is, I am at a loss. I do have friends that I consider as close friends, and I appreciate them for that. However, I do not have a best friend. First of all, I’ve never been close enough to any single person that I could reach such a complete understanding as that between best friends. Out of all my close friends, none would be much closer to me than the others, or I to them. Also, I feel that none of my friends would really consider me their best friend. They all have other people that they’re closer to that they are with me. After all, I’ve only been with most of my friends for a few years at most. Most of my friends from elementary or middle school have either drifted away from me or have become ever more distant, having found their own groups to be in. Only a few of my friendships have stretched throughout middle school or even elementary to now, and, of those rare relationships, the other person has closer friends already.
One of the most painful things about relationships is that, the longer it’s been since you’ve seen each other, the further you drift apart. Eventually, there is less and less that you can say to each other before the conversation goes stale, and then, at a certain point, they stop noticing you as they pass by in the hallways. I have my group of friends that I can talk easy around, and I’m grateful and proud of that. But, they too have their own tightly-knit cliques, and, during a conversation with a friend, I sometimes find myself standing awkwardly off to the side as one of their closer friends that I don’t know comes up to us, and then the two of them start their own conversation while I am at a loss and can’t think of how to join in, or if I even should. I don’t blame my friends for leaving me out; it’s okay for them to have other friends besides myself. In fact, the denial of this simple fact had led me to unreasonably bully one of my previous friends in fifth grade for leaving me to play with other friends, and I regret that now. Now, all I can hope is that he no longer holds it against me or remembers (although the first possibility would be better), and move on knowing that there will always be a distance between even the best of friends and not to hold it against them.
It’s nearing the end of our four years here at Arcadia High School, and, along with the exciting prospects of journeying off to the next stage of our lives in college, comes the sorrow of seeing our friends go their separate ways. I will be headed to the University of Southern California, and, although I do know some friends that will be going there with me, all of my close friends have other plans or paths to follow. We only have about a month left together, since I will be gone for most of the summer in Hong Kong with my family, and I hope to make the most of our time left. Once college starts, though, I will see my friends increasingly less often, and most of us will probably drift apart, like I had with my childhood friends. A few of us may try to manage to keep contact with each other, but, all I can say is that I pray for our efforts to be successful. However, even as I grow closer with my friends and then make new friends in college, I find myself increasingly isolated in a distant world of individuals. Neither friend nor “soulmate” can completely understand us, and only we know how we ourselves feel. We are born alone, and we die alone. Thus, we are, in our true nature, completely alone. We can only get as close as we can hope to a select few, but, in the end, there’s nothing our spirits can do to breach the barrier of flesh and bone between us. But, with this conclusion, rather than spurn society when it seems so futile and insignificant, I will treasure the efforts that we all make to get as close as we can despite the distance, and hope that in the future, perhaps, there will be someone who can, against my expectations, dig in deeper into myself than I could have thought possible.
Timidity and the impending confines, it will eat you, and me along with it.
You stated that you wish to speak to others but are simply too fearful to act accordingly, so perhaps it would help to know that this a recurrent case. Most of us yearn for social interactions and would actually feel humbled when a lesser known acquaintance appeals to us.
Furthermore, outsiders have an advantageous effect in that when spoken to, people put on happier airs than opposed to one they would put on with a close friend. In effect, an encounter with a stranger can even make both sides relatively happier.
So go for that hello, hi, hey, or yo (whichever appeals to your sensorial spasms - I personally prefer waves).
The people in the stories that we studied in class bent the rules to help others, is this wrong for them to do? In my opinion they made the right choice even if it was not morally right. The reason I believe this is because they may have ran out of ways to help others while following the rules. Following the rules are important but, when the issue concerns a large amount of people the rules could be bent so that those people are helped. When the end result is more helpful than hurtful the rules should be bent for the better of others. It is only when you help others and the results are helpful to them then the rules should be bent and not for selfish reasons. If people bent the rules to better themselves then there would be chaos everywhere, people taking what they want, numerous people dead and no one stopping them because their bending the rules to benefit themselves.
All the characters in the stories we heard were thinking about others instead of themselves. Since the needs of the many out way the needs of the few they worked hard to help many people that need it. Some of the ways that they could have helped the people was to bend the rules so they did. Many people think that because of this they have done something bad but that is not necessary true. They might have bent the rules to suit them in the situation that thy were in but, they do not always do this, the only time they do this is when they can no longer follow the rules when they could have done something to help or had no other option that could have worked. Bending the rules should be the final option when what you are trying to do fails while you are following the rules.
If I were in their shoes then I would also bend the rules to help others. By helping others the people would be grateful for the help and may help others as well. Also by doing this some of the problems that they face would diminish. Helping other should come naturally to people since we can’t do everything ourselves and has helped us survive in the past, so it would help us now.
Over the speaker the announcer asks everyone to rise for the national anthem and face the flag. Putting my right hand over my heart, the music starts up, and I sing along:
"O say can you see,
by the dawn's early light,
what so proudly we hailed
at the twilight's last gleaming,
As the song plays in the background I think of what it means to here, singing this song, and not some other. What it means to be an American. I immediately think of family and home. Times with my mom's family in Tennessee flash through my brain. The Fourth of July fireworks, hiking trails, and long stretching countryside. We used to drive all the way out there. It took about five days, the first day we drove for six hours and stopped in Phoenix, then we would stay with friends the next day, Saturday, and leave on Sunday. Sunday, Monday and finally Tuesday we would drive anywhere between eight and twelve hours each day till we got all the way Nanny and Poppy's house. You see so much more land driving, you appreciate the miles, and you appreciate the vastness of the land. This is America to me.
I think of the comfort and safety I find at home. The togetherness I feel at Nanny and Poppy's house. All those warm and fuzzy feelings spending long hot hours together on their eight acre property. I think of fishing in their pond, helping Poppy with the garden, and picking blackberries along their fence, looking for horses just on the other side. I hear Chicken Fried by the Zac Brown Band, and Country Roads by John Denver in the background.
Those warm and fuzzy feelings lead me to feeling thankful for being able to have such blessings. That feeling of safety and comfort owed to the men and women who fight and die to give it to us. I take pride in being an American.
O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
o'er the land of the free
and the home of the brave?"
The song ends and the announcer asks us to take our seats. I feel so grateful to be standing where I am, undeserving of the freedoms others have fought on my behalf, and I am humbled.
I would like to praise your work a lot, Laura. This is a beautiful blog. By the Meaning of "beautiful", you use the whole national anthem to show your deep feeling about our country. You did not say it in a passionate way. Instead, you really make me understand what the country mean to you in your every day. That's valuable to have such a live blog. Thank you!
Hey Laura! What a very nice, peaceful and comforting blog you have today. It really conveys the pride you have in being an American. I like the way you wrote it too. It was extra effective because of it. Good job.
Hey Laura! Reading your blog post gave me a sense of pride too. It reminded me of the times when I used to go watch fireworks and that energy rush I got from singing the national anthem. Also, reading about your experiences on July fourth makes me want to revisit the old times and it created a feeling of courage ad warmth inside of me. Well written blog post!
Hey Laura, I really liked reading your blog this week. You strongly conveyed the fact that you really take pride in what you truly believe in. In this case, being an American. I thought the way you constructed this piece was really clever. I also liked how you combined the idea of your family with patriotism. Overall, great job on this blog!
Ever since I can remember, my parents have owned a restaurant. My mother was a good cook and my father understood the necessity of supporting our family, even at the risk of becoming an entrepreneur without a college degree. Together, they wanted to leave their lives in Taiwan and China to start a new life in America to find more opportunities.
I’ll never forget the time in middle school when I lost over forty dollars in the bright blue wallet I still vividly remember. I saw it as no big deal, and tried to blow it away like it was nothing. However, my parents refused to let me off as easily and admonished me for not appreciating the sentiments and power behind the dollar. As punishment, my father dragged me to work with him and made it a requirement and a challenge to stand as a witness in his restaurant’s kitchen. I stood at the restaurant and witnessed the pace of the work 9AM to 9PM. People waited outside for long minutes in chilly weather conditions to sit down for a comforting bowl of Taiwanese food. The inside was a challenging environment as I saw everyone hustling and bustling through the small curtain that served as a cover between the outside décor and kitchen. Feet moved quickly and the sounds of dishes clanked with one and another. The busboy and dishwasher scurried as they had to provide more dishes and bowls for chefs to serve with. From time to time I would hear a “crack”. Not knowing what it was, I had my attention drawn by it as it happened more and more often. I would then find out that it was actually my own father that was having this. I felt like I had lost the challenge between my father and I because I had underestimated the amount of work he was actually doing. Just simply standing there had fatigued me whereas everyone else around had been walking and scurrying. Not only did they walk for many hours at a time, but they would also have to do this under a difficult circumstance that is very forgotten: danger. People often forget that kitchen floors are commonly slippery because of the amount of spillage that could occur among the drink bar, soup bowl, dish washer, and even trash. It had never occurred to me that my parents were on the front lines with the rest of the staff because they were the managers of the business.
Since that experience, I have worked countless hours in the restaurant, lifting boxes of vegetables and meats, washing dishes, cleaning and bussing tables. For a long time I even wanted to inherit the restaurant when my parents retired. Why not? I was interested in culinary arts, and I had watched my parents work so hard to be successful, it only made sense to continue their legacy through the restaurant. My father tried to dissuade me, but I didn’t understand why, when I felt that by inheriting their restaurant I was in some way making a familial contribution.
I realize now why my father didn’t want me to inherit the restaurant: he saw my potential in different fields, and I do now as well. Thanks to my parents’ tireless work, I have the privilege to receive a higher education and pursue anything I want, a privilege they never had. Whereas I wanted to inherit the restaurant simply to make my parents proud, I recognize the value of receiving an education not just for my parents, but for myself. I am lucky enough to have been given this opportunity; however, what’s important is what I do with this opportunity. By earning a higher degree, I will not only prove my parents’ philosophy that hard work pays off, but will eventually be able to give any children I may have the same opportunities my parents worked so hard to give me.
Hey Alvin. I thought that your story was very interesting because of how you learned a life lesson through a loss. I had a similar experience where I had crashed my car (you were there). My mom was mad of course, but she had told me that if you have learned your lesson never to drive fast and drive safely from now on, the repair cost is worth it.
Life in general is a very enigmatic, mystical, and mysterious thing. Almost every aspect if looked at deep enough is unknown. As humans, we have barely scratched the surface on so many of these and hardly made it anywhere. Even the subjects we are most knowledgeable about we are clueless when asked the final why. For example, physicists know why an apple falls, but they do not know why the universe was created in a way that forces do what they do. Relationships and encounters are one of these many enigmas. Throughout my experiences, there are many things that could have gone differently, but they did not. I do not understand how or why these events happened but they did.
I met someone who would become one of my best friends around 2 years ago. I was volunteering during my shift at the Arcadia Public Library and as I had just finished I left to sign out. However, I had forgotten to do something so I walked back. I ran into her as I was doing this. She was there to substitute for a person from the next shift that could not make it there. The one time she went as a replacement was right after my shift, and that exact same day I happened to have forgotten to do something and return to the area. She could have had to replace someone from a different shift at a different time and even a different day, yet she happened to be there at that exact shift. She was not from my grade level, and even though she was in band too she was not in my section so we had little in common. We talked very often since that day I ran into her and became close eventually. If I had not met her this way, I most likely would not be as close since we did not have much in common.
I have another story that is very similar to the first in which the friendship depended on a lucky coincidence and it probably would have ended otherwise. Just like the first story, it is very mysterious why things worked out, but they did and I am definitely fortunate. I knew this friend the last two weeks of sophomore year because even though she was in my Bio class we did not know each other let alone talk till we had a lab together before school was about to end. We got along very well, but school ended soon and the next year we did not have any classes together. It was not until second semester this year that I moved to her period for Comp Gov and we met again. There are a lot of factors going into my schedule change such as dropping 2 classes and being a Band 3 member. If any of these things we even a bit different, I would not have moved to the exact class and we would not be close friends.
Hey, cool guy. It really is crazy to think about the "what ifs" in life; the possibility of not knowing who you know, never doing what you do, etc. is truly something to think about and appreciate. "What if" I had never gone to Joseph's? I would never have known you or your coolness.
Hey Akhil. Nice post! Your stories really got me thinking about my own friendships, where I wouldn't have gotten close to people had it not been for certain classes/circumstances.
The connections that hold us together
Wow, when I think about the connections I have made with others in my life, it really surprises me. I think I have enough to supply me for life times to come. Then I think about how easily some of these could never have happened and that shocks even more.
We can start with my very first friend. I met him in kindergarten. We met by mistake, and I mean that literally. He thought I was someone else and called out to me. He asked if we could play basketball together. I corrected him about who I was. Since then we always played together. It’s been, I believe around 14-15 years now and we are still best friends. Well, he is actually like a brother to me. Imagine that. Almost 15 years of friendship and it was all done by him simply confusing me for the wrong person. I have an idea of who I’d be if I had never met him, and it’s a good thing I never became that kind of guy. How glad am I that it all happened the way it did because we have had some extraordinary and adventurous times together. But that’s for another time, if that time ever comes up.
Next would by neighbors, Jason, Alan and Kenneth(not Sanhueza). I have known them since around 1st or 2nd grade. Meeting them would have been inevitable, since they lived near me, but becoming close friends might not have happened if they did not invite us inside their house the first time we met. More specifically, if Jason and Alan had not invited us in, Kenneth lived next to them and two houses from my brother and I. So when we first met Jason and Alan, they invited us into their house, which was odd. I still remember that day, it was amazing. The four of us played dragon ball budokai for around 2-3 hours, and that’s how we became friends. The next day they introduced us to Kenneth, the only asian guy in our “OG” group. Almost everyday we would play outside or play videogames. Everyday was so much fun. They are amazing people whom I have been friends with from then and to this day, though I will admit that it is because of them that I love video games and cuss frequently. I like to think that it is because I met them that I ended up meeting a lot more people who would eventually become like family to me(Jason, Alan and Kenneth are also like family to me). Again, how easily could this have just never happened. What if they never invited us in? What if we never met Kenneth? What if we never met Mundo, Porfi and Jacob?
I’m not surprised that any of the connections I have made (even those i have not mentioned) have lasted so long. Maybe Jacob, he didn’t give a very good first impression when I met him. Luckily he matured and now he hangs out at my house as often as everyone else does. Man, I am a very lucky person to be around so many people.
It is amazing to think that most of the closest connections I have made with others could have possibly not have happened. It actually a lot scarier than it is amazing. I’m so glad that they did happen. Who know’s what would have become of my life if i never met them(though I do have an idea). Honestly speaking, there is no point in thinking about it though. The reason is because it did not happen that way. No point in pondering about what ifs or thinking about alternate dimensions. Well, that’s just my opinion. I know there are people who love thinking about those things and I don’t blame them. It’s a fun concept, just try not to get lost in your thoughts.
Interesting blog, Carlos! It's good to hear that you have very close people with you that you can write about so earnestly. If you could go back in time would you change anything in your friendship? Or would you keep all the current memories?
Hey there. I would not change a single thing about my friendships. Everything that has happened so far is fine the way it is. All the memories are precious and important because they happened the way they did.
Hey Carlos! I would like to start off by saying that this was a nicely done blog. I really enjoyed reading it. They way you started out by telling a personal story about connection and then transforming into explaining your beliefs was nicely accomplished. I like the general idea that you laid out in this piece. Good job! Keep up the good work!
“You’re not Chinese, you are an ABC.”
This phrase was constantly reiterated in my family, and this phrase was something that bothered me during the prime of my youth.
For those of you who don’t know what I am talking about, ABC stands for “American Born Chinese,” and in normal circumstances, it’s a word that would describe a Chinese person who was born in America and adopted American values. However among my relatives, it was a term that made you feel inferior to all the other Asians who were actually born in their respective countries. You cannot be Chinese and be an ABC, you’re either one or the other, and as a child, this bothered me to no end.
“Only ABC’s dress like that”
“Only ABC’s would choose that color”
“Wow you like pigs feet? ABC’s usually do not eat pig’s feet. I am impressed.”
My brothers and I are among the few in my family who were born in America. Whenever my relatives from Hong Kong would come over and inspect our lifestyle, they would constantly critique how we weren't Chinese because of the foods we ate or the clothes we wore. Many of my relatives were born and raised in Hong Kong, so of course it was natural for them to find my brother’s and my lifestyle peculiar. But then it got to the point where sometimes, I felt I was neither Chinese nor American. I didn’t want to be stuck in an empty void between two cultures, pressured to pick one or the other, so I made it an objective to become more “Chinese” in hopes of making my relatives happy.
I basically became one of those classic stereotypical people; I constantly wished I was shorter, ate exotic Chinese foods, and even started watching Cantonese dramas (which by the way are pretty darn good). But then I soon realized what I was doing was ridiculous. Just because I was born in America it doesn’t make me less than any other Chinese person. Similar to how we shouldn’t be expected to eat American food every day, Chinese people shouldn’t be expected to eat Chinese food every day.
Yes, it is true that an American born person has values different than that of someone born in his or her home country; however that doesn’t mean we cannot adopt traits from other cultures. Why is it that just because I was born in America, I am expected to find pigs feet disgusting? Why is it that just because I was born in America, I am expected to dress a certain way? One’s culture is not limited to certain behaviors and interests. I realized I was able to see and enjoy the different cultures of the world around me more than my relatives ever could. They were so fixated on distinguishing who’s a true “Chinese” and who isn’t that they couldn’t see the benefits of experiencing these different cultures. This is why diversity is so important. It’s hard to enjoy life when you’re constantly eating the same food just because it’s a part of your culture. Since we live in such a diverse country, we get access to so many different types of foods around the world; from Japanese to Hungarian to Mediterranean to Indian. If all countries were restricted from transcending into other cultures, we would be eating the same types of food every day, dancing the same style dance, and listening to the same genre of music. We shouldn't be culturally distinct, but rather embrace our roots while welcoming others with wide open arms.
Never let some derogatory term define who you are and how you should behave.
I know your feel, Adrienne. My family from Mexico expects certain stereotypes from me too. Like "being too good and refined" for being in the country or in places where poverty is very common. It bothers me, but I just really enjoy proving them wrong. It's super fun. I also agree with you about being connected to our roots but also being open to other cultures. It is important to be diverse when it comes to cultures and what not.
Most of us have that one best friend that is very annoying, but somehow, has stuck around with us for a long time. In my case, most of my life. Friend A(A for anonymous) however, is probably the one friend that I trust the most and would go consult with in case of anything.
Friends who do stuff together
Respect each other
Idiots around each around
Never back stab each other
Defend each other
Many of my relationships with other people have not lasted because we are simply not compatible with each other and as a result lost a relationship. The relationships that I have missed are the ones that are hardest to accept. There are times back in middle school where I could have had the chance to talk to the girl I had liked back then, but was scared and as a result did not talk to her. Now that I have looked back, if I had just manned up and talked to her, maybe my life would be different right now.
I have also had relationships with people whom I wish I did not. This could have been missed had I known the person better before. This relationship was ruined by him when I had found out he had been hiding secrets from me and that secret is the same one that ended up breaking apart our friendship. This was a friendship that did not simply fade away, but was torn apart.
The friendship that has endured are the ones with my current best friend. Everytime I see him, I still think he is probably one of the most annoying person, but I can trust him. I take him when I need someone to help me with something because I know that I can rely on him.
I believe that friendship is not one where it depends on how compatible someone is with me, but rather on how much someone trusts me. The basis of a friendship is based on trust that, I believe, is what builds strong friendships between people.
Telling each other secrets
Relying on each other
Understanding one another
Supports each other’s backs
Taking risks for each other
We have always been under the tyranny of the rules. They have always been that overarching power looking over our shoulder. But what exactly is this almighty power that seemingly govern our lives? Rules are simply a set of principles that the general public agrees with, whether that is really moral or not is up for question. Yet, when a bill is signed and made law, people are obliged to follow that rule or face severe consequences such as fines, prison time, and possibly even death. Rules are too arbitrary, and I feel that when faced with choosing either to follow your morals or to follow the rules set by society and the general public, we should choose to follow our own morals most of the time. There is greater purpose in rules if they are set by ourselves rather than if they were set by an overarching power.
Often times one’s decision on whether to bend to the society’s rules or to remain firm to one’s own belief is heavily influenced by the morality of that society as a whole. A common misconception is that crime statistics are correlated to the morality of a society. Crime statistics only show to what degree of human behavior is considered a crime. If a city seems to have a high prostitution rate, despite it being illegal, it may seem like an immoral society. However, if prostitution is made legal, the crime rate would dramatically decrease and now the city seems moral. Just because the crime statistics change does not mean that the society is necessarily better in any way. In no way do laws decide the morality of the society, because morality cannot be defined so easily. It is nearly impossible to tell whether a society is moral or not based on crime rate, because they are two distinctly different categories. Therefore, a person’s behavior should be solely influenced by his or her own morals, not some arbitrary statistic such as crime rate.
Some rules, however, should be treated with respect. They got to where they were for a reason. In a democratic society, a rule was enforced by the will of the people. Only when you have followed that rule and given it a chance and analyzed it thoroughly and still find it ridiculous along with several other people does it deserve a rebellion. Just as Thomas Jefferson once said, “a little rebellion now and then is a good thing.” This was what Jefferson said to keep America the great country it is, by keeping the power with the people. It kept the country from tyranny and helped make laws that most closely aligned with the people’s morals and beliefs. When a moral and a rule come into conflict, people should work to resolve it and possibly change the rule so it more closely matches the moral.
Rules are not hard and fast. They can and should be bent and broken at times. When they are not closely aligned with the morals of the people, they are difficult if not impossible to follow. Therefore, rules should be constantly changed through arguments and rebellion for them to best serve the people and society.
I totally agree with what you're saying about how rules, although important and binding, should also be adjusted to fit with changing times. Just imagine a world in which "rules" such as slavery or whatnot could not be changed.
I really liked how different your post was. I found myself completely agreeing with most of your points. If I were to give an example it would be about marijuana legalization. In Colorado, DC, and Washington the crime rates have dramatically decreased even though the morals have stayed pretty much the same. Very interesting post and good job!
I still can’t forget that morning of may 2007. The first day when we actually moved into United States of America. I visited U.S. often due to my parents’ work and my family members who lives in America. Yes, I had fob accident, which I still do, and I had no clue whatsoever what people were talking about. By years and years passed, I realized that if I want to make new friends and ask others for help, I need to understand their culture with all different types of ethnicity, especially in AHS. I think maintaining our uniqueness is very important, however, not understanding others uniqueness is just selfish thing. I don’t think putting all the culture together isn’t a great idea, however, understand the culture and acknowledge it is the main point of it.
I think we cost all differently due to the fact that they are certainly people try more than others. I think we pay too much to those people don’t really deserve to gain it, and we pay very little to those actually deserve it. Working hard, think about others beneficial more than their own bodies and health, and other types of it, too.
Freedom is a actually good definition, but it is not releasing without restriction. The main reason why our nation is together I think is because we actually work for company, not to ourselves. If our work is only for our families and people around us, we don’t need to communicate with whole different ethnical people, however, because everything developed, we need to communicate and work together as a team. I think it’s a bad thing, because people don’t get to express it more, and every products are on the power of one companies.
In my culture, which is Korean; we eat, think, and do little differently than America. We still have Ideologies that we have to work together even if we don’t like each other, and nation still has more power over citizens. Government can actually easily cover up the problems that is related to casue of war between North Korea, due to the fact that they don’t want to cause any war between them. Majority of people always like to wear same, talk same, thing same, and act same, but they pretence that they are different and always best than others. Which it makes me want to cry cause I don’t see any different between each other, and me too. I talk in Korean, but I don’t like to fully dress up as Korean. I thinks facts are other false but people believe it because someone famous or inspiring said it is a fact.
I think everyone is correct to argue about the flaws and incorrection of the corrections and promises that can’t be keep as promised. Everyone is justified to do whatever they want to do, however, the consequences of those unpleasant happiness can come back to them any method and will hunt them down.
I will obviously miss curtain people who shared a deep part of my life with. My childhood, I will miss my church buddies who always went to volunteer with our parents and meet with people and do adventures together. Friends In my middle school year, I will miss Eddie, Angela, Vanessa, and Ingrid. In my High School year I will miss name undecided, XM squad, and my one and only bestie Bella. One that fade away is usually bad memories that left me a pain, so I guess you can say I remember almost all the episode of individuals.
+ When you see the American flag, or when you think of “America”, how do you define it? What ties us together in our nation as Americans? Are we as “united” as a country bearing our name should be? Is this a good or bad thing?
When I think about the American flag, I think about the ambitious nation we have come to be known as. America has always built and advertised itself as the “land of opportunity”, a melting pot of various ethnic backgrounds and religions. Having grown up in America I’m of course slightly biased when it comes to the glorification of our nation and the values it instills. I believe the American flag is a standard for the prosperity and aspirations people from all corners of the globe look up to. It’s comparable to the golden ticket in Willi Wonka’s factory, the ultimate desire and hope to start fresh.
By far the underlying factor that ties all Americans together is of course our flag and what it represents. From the early immigrants that went through Ellis Island and Angel Island to the Vietnamese and Latin Americans, the United States truly is the most diverse established nation to date. People far and wide come here to realize their dreams and the “pursuit of happiness” that our founding fathers held so dearly many centuries ago. America was a nation founded by immigrants so the struggle and hardship that many people share is what brings us together. Tracing back to the infamous September 11 terrorist attacks our nation was put to a bewildering test, and thankfully we passed with flying colors. The days following September 11 had people from every background imaginable banding together to help aid the survivors. A record amount of American flags as well as donations were recorded all across the grand old nation.
As the economy struggled, many people resorted to centuries old racism and prejudice. Jews again were blamed for the economic crisis and Latin Americans were accused of stealing the jobs of “true” Americans. People often forget that all of us were once immigrants struggling to make a living. The influx of immigration so many decades ago is the very reason our society has had an influx of new ideas, cultures, and creations. Unfortunately we’re not as resilient and close as a nation that instills such values should be. Racism/prejudice is still very real as seen in the highly competitive college admission scene as well as employment sector of American society. Woman still get paid less than men on average a whopping 76 cent to dollar ratio. African Americans still face hardships simply because of the pigment that colors their skin in the most liberal of cities, much less their formal Jim Crow states.
As an American citizen our duty should be to promote social equality and stabilize social norms in an effort to better ourselves not just as a nation but because it’s the right thing to do. I do think that being united is a good thing because it allows different cultures to mix, thus increasing our knowledge base. Take for example the founders of Google, Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Mr. Brin came from the remnants of the Soviet Union just when the Berlin Wall succumbed to Democracy. His family came to America in the hopes of starting on a fresh slate, and luckily for them their son Brin succeeded. Google is now one of the most profitable and recognized American based company in the world.
My forethoughts are change is going to be long and tedious but inevitable. As the less tolerable flocks of people die off or get shunned into their own social circles, America will blossom in the new aura of sunlight. The seeds that will yet again propel our nation back to its spotlight will shoot up through the dirt into a vibrant stimulating environment where it will continue to be cultivated until it too will provide the shade and love to nurture the next generation of seeds.
Sometimes I look at my siblings and wonder if I’m adopted. Out of the four Jung children, I tend to stick out the most. Is it my darker complexion or height? To be honest I have no idea. My facial features just don’t match my brother’s and sisters’. Yet then I look at my father. I’m almost a spitting image of my dad from when he was back in high school. I’m a little bit bigger and taller, but our face is almost the same. The only thing different are my eyes (apparently I have my grandmother’s eyes). Despite all the physical differences, there’s no doubt in my mind that I don’t belong to the Jung family. Not only have I inherited my physical appearance, but also my mannerisms. I can thank my dad for my highly competitive nature and my mother for my persistent attitude. I have everything to be thankful for thanks to my parents and they will forever live in my heart through my actions and attitude throughout the rest of my life.
Although a majority of family speaks Cantonese, I do not. Growing up I was never placed in a Chinese school or anything like that. At home, my family spoke English and rarely ever used Chinese. The extent of my knowledge reaches its pinnacle when ordering Chinese food. That’s about it. Because of my lack of Cantonese skills, my relationship with my extended family is somewhat prohibited. Our love and affection is displayed through our actions and not our words. My grandmother loves to smother me in great tasting food, while my great uncle and aunts fill me up with delectable sweets. To be honest I really wish I knew Cantonese. To this day schools are only teaching Mandarin as Cantonese is viewed as an unreformed dialect and is rapidly losing popularity. I mean I’ve tried learning as a little kid, but I just never practiced nor put in the required effort. It’s a skill I wish I learned as a young child.
Fortunately I am not as detached from my heritage as you would expect me to be. Although I admit to be fairly “white-washed”, I will never lose my culture. My parents my not be traditional in a sense, but they still respect the many cultural traditions my extended family holds dear. I’m thankful for this because it has allowed my to remain culturally aware and has kept my mind open to new things.
If I had a dream job, it’d be to travel the world and write/report about different cultures. I would love to experience the food, the atmosphere, the language, the traditions, etc. of new environments. Sometimes I feel very confined to a restricted bubble when living in Arcadia and the San Gabriel Valley in general. When I leave for Nebraska, I know it’ll be a culture shock. For the first time I’ll actually be apart of the minority population. It’ll be interesting to observe and discuss how the rest of the world views California, Asians, and my lifestyle as a whole. Needless to say I am absolutely excited to go explore.
No matter how far I go or how long I’m away from home, I will always hold dear to the many core beliefs my parents taught me. It’s what makes me who I am today. How could I ever forget such a fundamental aspect of my personality? Perhaps one day I’ll even have the opportunity to pass on those many stories and morals on to my own children… but that’s way off in the future.
Hi Matthew, your blog flows really nicely and the transitions are really awesome. It’s almost as if they are not there at all. I like how you are eager to find out how the other parts of country think about us Californians. Hope you’ll learn Cantonese one day.
Hey Matt. I liked your spin on the often used "detached from my Asian heritage" post. You added your own flavor and unique personality to it. Do you wish that your parents forced you to learn Canto growing up or do you like it the way it is? Great post man.
America: the land of the free, the great melting pot, a land of opportunity. This country means many things to many different people but to me, America is a country of variety. This country is so big that there are so many things to do and places to explore. One can get many different experiences without even leaving the country. From the warm beaches of California to the humid swamps of Florida to the frozen tundra of Alaska, America has so much variety that one could spend years trying to experience all of it. All of the states have their own unique culture and customs that it can feel like you are in a different country sometimes. Yet despite all of the differences, we have still managed to stay mostly united for over 200 years not including that fracas we had with the South in the 1860s.
What seems to bind all Americans together is not language nor does it seem to be culture. Our pride as Americans and our shared values of democracy and freedom are what keep us united as a nation. When something great is achieved, people do not talk about what state accomplished it; they talk about America as a whole. The bond between the states is almost familial in nature. It is our unity that gives this country its strength. The states could be fine on their own but together, they form one of the most powerful forces on the planet. The states may makes jokes about each other and get into disputes every once in a while but that is a natural part of being a family.
The states are about as united as can be without merging into one entity. It is not as if states are threatening to secede every Wednesday. As the saying goes: united we stand, divided we fall. Individually, each state could probably function as its own country but there is strength in numbers and that has been proven by not only our survival as a nation but also by our rise as a global superpower. America still has problems that need to be worked out but this country will resolve those problems united as one. No matter how different each state is, we all carry the greatness of America with us whether or not we admit to it. United as one, we serve super-sized portions of democracy with sides of liberty and justice for all. God bless America.
I enjoyed reading your post, David! You gave a lot of insight on what the United States and its deeper meaning. It was very patriotic and I can tell that you are a proud American. Keep up the good work!
When I was little, way before my parents packed me a few bags and threw me on a plane to come here by myself, the American Flag promised freedom. The idea of the “American Dream” is glorified way out of its extent. I didn’t know why but everyone think it was just better to come here, the land of freedom. Not because where I come from there were no freedom but people had the idea that the states is better. People always stared in awe of people who came back from America. Perhaps with a hint of jealousy as they ask about the trip. Going to America is regularly written in the scripts of TV shows that were broadcasted. Whether it’s an aspiring student or a sick person seeking for better doctors and better medical equipments. Or just people who desire a fresh start over. However, it is weird how people who wants to come here so much always ended up going back. Whether it’s the exchange students or people who waited in line for years for greencards. Maybe they came here to seek better future for their kids but once their kids are independent, they lost their purpose and went back home. What they think their real home is.
Now, the American flag symbolize the country I live in. The country I grew up in. The country where I made memories, good or bad. And those are the memories I’m going to treasure till the end of time. The belief of freedom ties us together as a nation. We believe that our country is more free than some of the others. In some instances, it is true, and in some ways, it is the opposite. We have a diverse spectrum of religious practices but instead of living together in harmony, they often end up in dispute and ignoring the real reason religion was created- to help others. They’d rather discriminate while using religion as an excuse than to actually make good contribution to the world.
From the surface, we seem to be as not united as we claimed to be. Where the diverse ethnic groups result in racism and equality is only given to certain majority and the minorities need to acquire them through the hard ways. But as we claimed to be as divided as we are we all still identify ourselves as Americans. It is always a good thing when a nation is united. If a nation is not united, it wouldn’t be a nation. Rather a bunch of separate different nations.
A large aggregate of people united by common descent, history, culture, or language, inhabiting a particular country or territory.
Not all of us come from a common descent, not all of us share the same culture or language. But we do share the same history. And that is the beauty of United States of America, where a group of very different people come together despite the differences and create something wonderful. We help each other in times needed. We stood side by side in protests fighting for equal rights. We take care of each other, because we are all Americans.
Being American-born Chinese is vastly different from being Vietnamese-born Chinese or from being the original Chinese. Even though my grandparents on both sides of my family were born in China, my parents were born in Vietnam. They moved to America when they were teenagers.
On my maternal side, my mom is the oldest of eight kids, seven girls and one boy. My only uncle on my mom’s side was also the only one born in the U.S. My mom, being the oldest, is the only one of her siblings that knows most Chinese customs. Whenever I go to a wedding, which is about once a year since I have a lot of relatives, the bride and groom go to my mom for advice on how to perform the morning tea ceremony. My mom is also the most fluent in both Chinese and English, so she can translate what the younger generation is saying to the older relatives and vice versa. My fourth aunt and down don’t really speak much Cantonese. Like me, they can understand the language, but they prefer to respond in English. I am more culturally similar to my mother’s side than I am to my father’s.
On my paternal side, my dad is the second oldest. He has three sisters, one older and two younger, and three younger brothers. So you can imagine just how many first cousins I have (ten cousins on both sides with more coming). My dad’s side is more conservative and more traditional than my mom’s side. My relatives on this side are older and follow Chinese customs strictly. All my uncles and aunts speak Cantonese more fluently than they speak English.
There are some traditions that I do enjoy participating in. Chinese New Year is one of my favorite holidays, and not just because I receive lots of red envelopes (even though I receive more red envelopes every year because there are more people in my family getting married as they get older). Every year on my mom’s side, we play this game called Bau Ca Tom Cua, or Lucky Chess. It’s an Asian variant of a lottery dice game. Another tradition I enjoy in going to the temples once a year with my family. I’m not particularly religious, but I have fun looking at the architecture of the temple, burning incense, and watching dragon dances. I’ll make sure my kids get the chance to enjoy these traditions in the future.
Because almost all of both sides of my family live in the 626 area, I see my relatives at least once every two weeks. In fact, I have two cousins that attend Arcadia High with me. I also have a cousin from Mark Keppel attending UC Riverside with me in the fall. I know that when I have kids, I want them to be as close to their cousins as I am to mine.
Over the years America has not necessarily improved its national status. Many foreigners and even American citizens do not think very highly of America. In recent news America has been experiencing many negative things that constantly ruin their reputation. Something that has been extremely prominent in the news and media is police brutality. Although police brutality is quite common among many nations, America is becoming much more notorious for it. It seems as if its everyday we see a new news story mentioning acts of police brutality which often times leads to death. Many foreigners are actually in fear of coming to America especially because of all these news stories reporting police brutality.
When many foreigners think of American people they think of fat obese slobs. Unfortunately they’re not wrong for thinking in this manner. Statistically more than a third of American citizens are considered obese which has always been a problem especially for American people. Also, the majority of the foods served in America consists of extremely unhealthy and fatty foods. Compared to other developed countries, America is known for their ridiculous amounts of fast food chains which are mostly unhealthy.
Many American citizens are actually becoming less proud of being an American citizen. Sure it’s the land of opportunities and freedoms, but we have been bombarded by idiocracy and harmful events which is breaking our sense of national pride. The unification that was obviously evident generations before has disappeared in modern America. It’s embarrassing to know that most foreigners label most Americans as stupid or idiotic, I want America to return back to what it was originally, praiseworthy and powerful. There is an iconic scene from the television show, Newsroom, where a students asks a line of politicians why America is the “best country” and they would give nationalistic answers such as, “freedom and opportunity”, but there was another politician who straightforwardly said America is not the best country and listed out multiple reasons why. Our literacy rates are low, our unemployment rates are high, we have a large number of incarcerated citizens, yet people still believe that America is star spangled awesome, when in reality America has a lot of room for improvement.
Whoa Austin, you have a lot of negative things to say about America! It's not an entirely bad country; you should look at the positive sides. I know you're not going to reply to this question, since you never answer the ones I ask you in the past blogs, but what do you think we can do to start fixing the problems you listed?
What do you think caused the US's decline in all of those things you mentioned such as literacy rates, for example? Do you think this could have been prevented or was the US doomed for a one way ticket to the ground?
+ When you see the American flag, or when you think of “America”, how do you define it? What ties us together in our nation as Americans? Are we as “united” as a country bearing our name should be? Is this a good or bad thing?
A lot of people may not know that I was not born in America, I was born in Thailland but I have a diverse culture I have relatives in Thailand and America. My thought of the United States is not much different to people who were actually born in America. I didnt spend that much time in Thailand, dont remember much I did not spend my childhood there I was just born there and my family went back to America. Pretty different now that I think of it. When I think of the word “America,” I believe that it gives off an impression of wealthy people, smart people great food. America, as a country, comes together into one nation, which can make us have our own identities.
The nation is made up of a lot of things, our government, different cultures, diversity, and ourselves. Another word that comes to my mind when I think of America is our freedom. We have our own rights to say what we want and speak out and protest. The nation is together by many different things.
When I see the American flag, it is about the fifty stars, which represents the 50 states of our nation. The Stars represent the colonies which I believe can also diversity and different culture as our nation. Relating my own self to our nation and country.. I am only a person who is here in America and living in the country doing my own thing. It is always important to have a different and unique type of way we celebrate at our different traditions. I am like anybody else in America, a citizen, I believe that the patriotism we have ultimately unites us as a country together.
“I'm not the sum of my own parts, just a rough combination of the people I've met so far.”
*S*tadtlers. Dillon Stadtler has been my best friend for 14 years now. As a result of this, her entire family has become best friends with my family. I can’t imagine how different I’d be without knowing her. Growing up, we constantly tried whatever the other one was currently doing. I decided to ride horses because she rode horses. She played softball because I played softball. It’s no coincidence that 14 years later we’ve become the same person in many ways, most notably in terms of how we both tend to say and end each sentence with “dude.” By being this close to her, I was also influenced by her family. I consider her little Japanese mother and her big burly father to be almost like my second parents. And I can definitely say my jokes would be less hilarious if I had never met her ex-comedian dad.
*T*ommy. My favorite uncle. I always admired him growing up. He has the funniest, driest sense of humor, which I can totally see reflected in my dad and myself. Like my dad, he also has an awesome taste in music. Some of my best memories include sitting on a boat in the middle of a New England lake listening to music and dropping these bad jokes. Such a cool dude.
*E*d. Confirmed the coolest dad ever. I consider him to be the greatest influence on the person I am today. Most notably, he gave me the building blocks for the love of music I have now. He raised me on blink, Green Day, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and countless other bands. Without him, I probably would never have appreciated music like I do now. I mean come on, he bought my whole family tickets to go see blink one night (most punk family ever?). He’s still the biggest fan of anything I do, especially when it comes to music (probably half of my band’s Soundcloud plays are from him). My dad also had a huge impact on my love of sports. He is one of the biggest sports fans I know, followed closely by myself. He actually won the NCAA division I ice hockey championship in his senior year at Harvard, so it’s accurate to say loving hockey runs through my veins.
*P*resz. The name I’ll carry with me until I decide to drop it. And this moment may never come. When I think of Presz, I think of my wonderful small town Massachusetts family roots. I think of my grandparents, living their entire lives in this same town. A town that I’ve come to call home in a certain way. I think of my dad and his brothers and all our awesome family reunions. I know being a Presz has shaped my entire existence. I mean, if I wasn’t a Presz, then there would be no Stephanie Presz (imagine that).
*H*untington Beach. Before you start calling me out as being one of those annoying girls who’s obsessed with the beach, just calm down. I legitimately have ties to Huntington, as my family owns a condo there. So, I’ve had a real reason to spend a lot of time down there, surfing and skating and what not. This Southern California town has had a huge impact on me in terms of hobbies and interests. I know that if I grew up anywhere else, I would probably do different things with my free time, rather than lurking around the beach and surfing if I’m up for it. I’m so glad to have spent all this time here though. Honestly, I can’t imagine life without being that blonde Southern California girl (maybe why I’m going to Orange County for college?).
*A*rcadia. I’m not only a combination of the people I’ve met, but also of the places I’ve spent time in. I’ve lived in Arcadia for about 7 years now, and I always considered myself slightly detached from it. I try to spend as little time here as possible because quite simply, I feel like I don’t fit in. However, when deciding to stay local or leave for college, I just couldn’t bring myself to leave quite yet. I guess I’m more attached to this place than I thought. Or maybe I just wasn’t ready to trade in A+ Arcadia Chinese food for F- Wisconsin Chinese Food. Who knows.
*N*icol. My beautiful mother. She always said she never thought she’d have a daughter like me, but I think we’re more similar than she gives us credit for. First of all, she’s the biggest germ freak to ever walk this planet. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her touch her bare hand to any public surface. No exaggeration. Over the years, I’m ashamed to admit that I, too, caught this germ freak disease. Just watch me open the door to any classroom (I use the bottom of my shirt). And second, my mom is the sole reason that I’m so focused on my health. She goes to the gym every day and reads all the latest nutrition books. If she wasn’t this obsessed with health, I guarantee I would be a couch potato. But alas, here I am, running on the track after school in a desperate attempt to stay thin. And my latest craze inspired by the great Nicol: a gluten free diet.
*I*nmates. Ok so I had to reach a little for this letter but just hear me out. My friends and I “joke” that this school is like a prison. And of course, that makes us the inmates (sorry to any of you who might actually enjoy school). Somehow, my school friends and I have managed to be completely the same while being completely the opposite. A lot of their interests became my interests over these past couple years, and I’m genuinely glad about this. Most specifically, I’d like to shout out Julia Heer for making me like Miley Cyrus. I was missing out this whole time.
*E*ddie. My little brother. I guess he’s not so little anymore, considering he’s the size of the Sears Tower. To be honest, we are about as opposite as it gets. He thinks I’m weird and out of touch with society, both of which I have a hard time defending. I think he’s weird and in touch with society, both of which are also true. But actually, I’ve rubbed off on him more than he wants to admit. He plays bass with me in a cover band, and I can guarantee he would never have done this if I wasn’t so music crazed. He’s also grudgingly admitted to liking a couple of the bands I listen to (one of my greatest accomplishments thus far). And I mean, he’s rubbed off on me, too. At least now I can keep up on the latest internet trends. Or at least I think I’m keeping up.
Without any one of these people or places, I would be incomplete. If any of these letters was missing, my name would be something along the lines of Stehnie or Sephane or something totally gross sounding.
Everyone is a result of the people and places they know. We are not original.
The beginning quote is from House Address by You Blew It!
LOVE how you made your blog! I think that is so cool how you set it up, and was a nice tie-in/parallel to how all the people you come in contact with/are close to, make up you. Very deep!
Looking forward to reading more of your work!
I really enjoyed the format of your post, it was very unique. I also liked that it was so personal. Keep up the good work
I really liked the personal touch on your blog. Great tone and it felt as if I was reading a story!
Using the quote to spark the structure of your post was clever! Moreover, this structure (combined with the length of your name) allowed you to touch on multiple aspects of your life that would otherwise be hard to weave together. Interesting post! Keep it up!
Life is like flipping a coin; no one knows you will get head or tail but you have to take your chance and seek yourself. In Burmese sayings, one cannot complete without luck even though he or she is smart and hard working. All of the three things change or lead your life and those are all you need in your life. You can try hard to get something you want many times and you may get it but sometimes you will not. So, luck plays a very important role in our lives.
To be honest, I never trusted in luck before in my life. I used to think that whenever I work hard, I could achieve anything what I desire. After all the hard times I went through, I have seen with my own eyes how my life was changed by luck. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck. (Lama) When I was in Burma (Myanmar), there is a matriculation exam before the senior students graduate from the high school. Before I took that exam, I studied very hard. I want to get into good universities with good results. Even though the test was easy, my scores were very low and couldn’t get into the university that I want to go. I was standing next to my teacher without words and that was the time when I realized that saying was true.
My dad once told me not to be afraid of what is going to happen in your life and all you need to do is just give it a try. His words touch my heart and encourage me to step forward one more time without fear even now. Every cloud has a silver lining. I got the biggest chance by luck that is coming to America. This is one in a million chance for people of Burma. Honestly, I never dreamt of coming here. I had never been to this place where the foreigners are mushrooming here and there. First thing comes into my head is how am I going to survive.
On the first day I placed my feet on the soil of America, all I see is different types of people speaking many different languages. Because of my parents’ support I reached here. Since I am from different part of the world and speak different language, my English is not good like other students in Arcadia High School. Some people asked me weird questions. What kind of language are you speaking? Alien language? I said nothing back to them because I didn’t know how to speak English well and the words that I was thinking to say were stuck in my throat.
There are three alchemists I met in my life. I was in ELD class in my junior year and my teacher, Mr. Silverstein, one of the alchemists, taught me about the beginner English and I always listen to not only his lessons from the books but also his words from his heart. Another person is the girl I dated who helped me with my terrible English skills and I learnt a lot of things such as culture, lifestyle, etc. The last person is Mr. Feraco. I enjoy writing the blogs that he assigned us, creating projects and reading books. I couldn’t even write a good sentence and now I am writing essays in pages. I never give up on learning not even once. One time, I met a guy named Nathan who is very nice and native English speaker. I told him the truth that I was from ELD 2 class last year. He was so shocked by that and told me not to lie to him. And I smiled. I never stop learning English, I keep on learning so that I can keep abreast with other people.
I am really glad to meet everyone who has same batch and all the teachers. If I had a chance, I would love to get to know everyone well more than now. Because of luck, we have a chance to meet all together in the class. My life was supposed to live in Burma but luck changed me and led me to America in order to start a new life here. The class of 2015 is going to reach the last minutes and we are all going to leave our evening graduation as the lost evening.
We all go to bed without thinking what is going to happen after we close our eyes. Worst of it, we all never ask ourselves if we would wake up in the next morning. Everything can be changed in the blink of an eye by luck. I will never forget anyone that I met and want to see again one day even though my memories will fade away.
I looked at the glassy sky and asked myself if we all would meet again someday. Maybe or maybe not…
It's so hard to tell that you were in ELD 2 class last year because you blog is very decent. Your improvements reflects all of your hard works. Also I like the way how you express the last question. Great job!
The struggle for identity is a great one. We strive to find an identity because it shapes our being, our attitudes, and our lives. Yet, it remains elusive - particularly in this country. In this country, there is no set standards be it religion, education, or even values. It’s natural for humans to measure the importance of values with varying degrees but in this country, these degrees vary to a higher degree. There are the Republicans and the Democrats, the creationists and the scientists, the tweeters and the snapchatters, the atheists and the agnostics.
In this country, you are left alone, free to act and practice as you please, and ironically our lack of identity becomes our identity. We take national pride in being “the land of the free,” and we become the world’s envy because of our diversity. America is lady liberty propagandized to a whole new level, and assimilation comes readily. There’s no need to “fit in” because you already do. Chinatown, K-town, Little Tokyo, Olvera Street, five hundred square miles, and one community. Diversity at its finest.
But with diversity, there will always be homeland pride sourcing from another nation, which is inevitable. In my case, I define myself as an American when in foreign countries because it gives me an identity, a name. However, when in America I define myself as being Asian because I already have a name and a middle name will give me significance, though even this bit of information falls short of definition.
Staying true to the American ideals, I am whitewashed by its diversity. I bask in the heavenly goodness of Americanized sushi (California rolls). I mutter along to words I can only hope to one day understand as I “sing” Koewokikasete. Yes I am Asian, but I am an Asian who revels in the delight of churros. I am a second generation individual who pertains loosely to familial traditions. I am someone who does not pray to Buddha during Moon festivals, but sees him at annual temples. I have no authentic culture, but like many other Americans, that diversity will be my culture.
America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.
America the land of the free. Home of the brave. We all know that America has a lot of pride as a nation, because we like to consider ourselves the best nation. We have come so far throughout history and have always been top at most things we do. This is what comes to my mind when I see the American flag or think of "America". I like to think of us as a nation to look up too and a nation where we are proud to say we are American. However have we come up with this picture of America in our heads, because I do not think we are this anymore.
To think that the only time our nation comes together anymore is to fight for something or to celebrate our nations days. We are over looking issues that are still among us on a daily basis. Everyday we still deal with racism, violence, etc. We seem to think these things don't exist anymore or is normal nowadays. So that is why when I am asked what ties us together in our nation as Americans I can say that we only come together when we feel the time is right. To think that we cannot do it everyday and be proud of what our past fathers have done to make country what it is today is truly sad.
We used to be a as great as a country as we have put in our minds and hearts. We were the best nation. We have come to a certain point in our time however where we aren't. The reason for this is no one but ourselves. We are not as "united" as a country bearing our name should be. That is a bad thing, but just like anything we can change. We as people can change for the better to restore what we once had as a nation. The only way to do this is look past what we think and come together to solve this problem. America was the greatest nation and still is we just have to find what we need to do to bring it back.
I define my culture by the way I grew up more than anything else. The events and experiences I’ve encountered in my youth have shaped the way I think, act, and speak. American entertainment, such as Hollywood movies and television programs, has had the largest role in molding me into what I am today. The cartoons that I watched as a child made me familiar with the goofiness of the Looney Tunes animals, the greatness of Ed, Edd n Eddy, and the traumatizing effects of Courage the Cowardly Dog, all of which I’m sure my peers know and love. I could find someone in my class and talk to him or her about those shows we watched as children, something that I would have great difficulty accomplishing in a foreign country. My perspective on life has been formed based on what I see in my home environment and the places I’ve visited outside of my hometown. I don’t know what it feels like to live in the constant fear of a Boko Haram raid, or to drive a supercar in Dubai with a hot girl in the passenger seat.
But when I see a random middle class male teenager in Arcadia High, I know that we have a fair amount of things in common, with a few exceptions. There’s a decent chance that we would have the same or similar preferences in food, entertainment, and career interests. His views on life wouldn’t be radically different than mine, although some people I’m acquainted with do have some strange outlooks, in my opinion. Racial makeup does define me, but I would be able to connect more with people that like the same things I do and have similar life views as me. For example, I would identify more with a white guy who grew up watching the same television shows and playing the same video games as me, rather than an Asian guy who grew up in a completely different environment and culture outside of the U.S. I feel most comfortable being around the things that have surrounded me since my youth, which is southern California culture.
Being an American since birth, I’ve witnessed and heard about both the great and terrible things in this country. When I think about America, I see a land where people have freedom. Americans can do whatever they want, whenever they want and not give a single care what others think of them. In many other countries, if a shirtless man held a sign up protesting the government and burning the country flag, he would be sent to prison. But not here in America, land of the free. There’s cheap food all around and free refills for drinks when dining at a restaurant; what’s not to love about that? The patriotism is also nice to see; people here are optimistic and hold on to the belief that America is always number one. I think of all the amazing things that make up our country and I wouldn’t want to move somewhere else.
Of course, with such a diverse and large nation, there are some dangerous and sketchy places around, so I try to avoid them. There are many people in poverty, which is an issue that desperately needs fixing. America has corruption, with politicians being bought by those that have the money to do so. But, at least the citizens can speak out about it without being arrested or killed. That is one thing that makes this country so great. There are a huge amount of freedoms that Americans can enjoy, and I would not easily give them up.
America is a country that gives people freedom, and be recognized as the strongest country in the world. Many people came from different countries around the world to America just want to get a better life. It feels good and proud to be a citizen in number one country. When I see the American flag, the first thing came to my mind is hope. It gives me hope and motivated me to achieve my goals. The 50 stars on the flag represent the 50 states of the United States of America, and the 13 stripes represent the thirteen British colonies that declared independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain, and became the first states in the Union. When I think of “America,” I defined it as the strongest country in the world. The country I was born in, and another home for me. My future is all in here this is the country that can change my life, and future. This is the country that my mom used to told me all the time when I was little. “We will move to America to give you a better education and a better future.” This is what my mom used to told me.
In my opinion, things that ties us together in our nation as Americans are cultures. We’re living in America, a country that have many different races and cultures. But no matter what race are we, we are still equal because we’re living in a united country. Where everyone should be treated equal and have the same rights and freedom. Of course, we are united as a country bearing our name should be. How can we be the strongest country in the world if we are not united? I think this is a good thing because it’s like we don’t recognize people by their race or their culture. We are all human beings, we are all equal and living in a freedom country. We all work together to become the strongest country in the world. We have better communities and more different ideas than other country. It’s like a team “T-Together, E-Everyone, A-Achieves, M-More” I am very glad that I can be a citizen in this country, and feel proud to be an American.
Wow, I have the same opinion with you which is the America is the strongest country in the world. Also, my mom used that to tell me I will have a better education and future in America, so she wants me to work harder.
Hi Brendon. I like how you express about America. It's true America has better education system than other nations and the strongest country all over the world. The way you define TEAM is unique. Great job!
Brendon, I strongly agree with your point. America is a country that has freedom. People are getting together to make the nation proud and gorgeous. You really demonstrate the shiny side of America !
Too many nowadays cannot distinguish “what I need” and “what I want”. They set goals what do not correspond to their will because they experience pressure from family, colleagues, and society. While they think setting these goals will make them more comfortable, they realize it’s too hard to accomplish after they tried, and start hesitating to give up. I believe they worked hard; they failed because they blindly follow the world trend rather than being conscious of what is their heart. Hard working without willing for sure leads to failure. No matter how the society sees you, no matter how your family sees you, and no matter how much pressure you are experiencing, you are you. You live for yourself, not for society, not for your family, and not for law or culture. Human beings make the laws and culture, but human beings also make mistakes. In next century you could be right and laws could be wrong, but, unfortunately, you won’t be alive to see that. So why not value your time now?
Of course, we are all products of the society. Rules are inevitable to us. If we want to become totally free from restriction, to be honest, it is almost impossible. Therefore the best way to survive is to keep you yourself, to ask your heart whenever you make a decision, and to make sure you won’t regret in order not to be lost in the complexity of the world. If you really decide to follow your heart, this process may be accompanied with agony. While struggling you are always with so many expectations from the surroundings, but at the same time, restraints, desire, blame, and disdain. The negative aspects are probably more than the positive ones, so what? One day when you turn back, there is no more holes on the road because you filled them up. The marks time has left on every page of your life are permanent until your death. Your physical image has changed as time pasts, but you heart has never changed. All the pain worth for it.
There is a giant in everyone’s mind. Whenever we feel weak, the giant yells at us asking us to move forward. However, we still hesitate, because of the surroundings. Looking at other people’s accomplishments we always think we are so close to success, but is that true? Are we defeated by the difficult, or are we defeated by ourself? If we can’t even follow our heart and instinct, there is no possibility for success to exist. Even if we can’t find the ocean, we should follow the melody; even snow submerges our footprint, we should value our past; even all the efforts are denied by the society, we should hold on to the fading light from our heart and let our actions to catch our heart.
I defined myself as a Chinese, not because of the race I have, but because of the language that exist in my heart. The Language represents a far away history. It is like a diary which recorded the history that has taken placed. If you searched on the Wikipedia or some other books, you may find out how the language formed generation by generation. Because of cultural education system I have had, and the journey to America I have had, I can tell the difference fairly. I can see through the language with different perspective, and compare the differences which really get me on the road of studying abroad. As soon as you touched a language, you are learning its history. Therefore, I have been struggled in the two eddies of history for a long time. It seems like you are pressed by the two giant hands and you need to find a gap between them in order to survive. I do not know if I survive or not, but I do know that I got a space to breathe.
If you look into the language, you would find the wisdom that purified by the great ancients. But as long as you want to get more closer, you will only find the abyss. Because the language forming is just like the meanders, if the water flow through, there must have some thing that clash with the land and disappear. And the time is river, those broken pieces may not be founded ever again. It is so beautiful as you look into it, the history just like the space, containing the colorful stars and black hole. And we, live in earth just like we are using our languages now, so related. I admire language and believe that represent my culture because it made me become readable.
For me, America is a flag of the ship presenting where we are heading toward. As long as I stay in the ship, I am always prepared for next journey. You can say that I represented a pirate, stealing the knowledge from this country, or you can say that I represented a sailor, admiring everything that I have seen on the ship. What tie us together is because we have the same destination. We are in the same channel, working with each other in order to get what we pursued. We are free, in America, some of the sailors became singers, some of the sailors became farmers, some of the sailor became scientists. And those language you use, the diary you wrote would all become a story that you can tell your children: I used to be a sailor with those dolphins aside.
Beautifully and elegantly constructed blog! I really admire your work. Telling simple conceptions and ideas with lyrical words and sentences, your post reminds me of the power of language we speak every day when talking with each other. You said that we are trying to survive between the gap, and you do not know whether you survive. I completely agree with that since we still need time to say what will happen. It's a feeling of uncertainty yet also showing bold bravery.
Coming from a multi- cultural family I believe there is value in being culturally distinct from each other. Humans are humans because we are unique and not in any way like another person. Different cultures had created different customs, holidays and most importantly food. We should be striving for individuality when it comes to our heritage because our background makes us who we are. I mentioned my background, I come from an Armenian American family. I couldn’t have asked for a better cultural identity. Being a part of both cultures has provided me with unique views on family, traditions and a number of other issues which I may have been unaware of had my circumstances been different. If we did take the route of trying to assimilate every culture on earth to one set culture chaos would ensue. We can look to American history to see that assimilation has not always resolved issues. The treatment of Native Americans by the US Government and settlers who attempted to seize their land and make them a part of American culture could have wiped out the rich and diverse history of the Native Americans. No one group has the authority to decide what the universal culture would consist of. That group would in the end be bias towards their original group and discrimination and conflict would rear its ugly head once again.
Adding on to the cultural question, while I believe we should all hold on to our heritage it is our diverse history that makes us all Americans. We are a country founded by immigrants and cast offs from England. That is what I believe unites these United States. Our diversity and constitutional right to our own free speech and ideas, the right to practice whatever religion we choose without oppression are all part of what makes this country great. Yes, there are issues that the United States must deal with, but our collective effort and respecting of all the diverse parts that have created this nation must continue to keep this the UNITED States of America.
I consider myself a Christian American. I am proud of my heritage and enjoy the customs and traditions that go along with them and it is for that reason I call myself American. We all have diverse background’s which unite us as unique individuals. I do first consider myself a Christian who believes in the way of life taught by Jesus. My family as a whole has stayed true to that belief and I will continue that tradition and hope to also pass it along to my family if they are so called.
Morals must be our compass when push comes to shove. Laws put in place by government should strive to protect our rights and promote justice. However, if certain laws go against the government’s role of protecting its people, the law should be contested or even rebelled against. If we turn our back on our morals, we turn our back on ourselves and the beliefs that make us who we are. By succumbing to a law because it is safer for us will create, if we are not careful, a 1984 situation in our society.
I agree with your statement that we should preserve our cultural background and history because they serve as reminders of who we are whenever we feel lost. I definitely agree that we should at least respect each other's religions and perspectives. Without the golden rule of respect, its easy for a system or society to crumble from constant war. Its true that the main purpose of laws is to promote justice. But what if there is a conflict between two completely opposite religious views against each other? How would you determine which belief is more moral than the other?
I like how you transitioned from where you came from, to what America started out as, to religion, to morals. I also believe that morals is a huge part of society and without them, who knows what America would be right now. Great post!
Annually, everyone in my family would celebrate different Chinese holidays and would do many exciting things. Even though we cannot have firecrackers at Arcadia, we still experience the spirits of the holidays. We would give each other red envelopes and eat authentic and exotic chinese dishes. All of which is culturally important to my life and my future. These are some events and activities that I would keep so that my future children can and would experience these amazing events.
Each holiday has its own extreme story and all of them are very intriguing. Furthermore, there are many superstitions and ideas surrounding these events. During New Years, we would wear red, paste sayings on walls, get haircuts, clean house, so on and so on. This is passed down from generation to generation, thus I would love to continue this trend and pass it down to my future children. These cultures are not from history and storytelling, but from the people passing down the stories by retelling them and the people who explain what happened in the past. I desire to pass down these stories, but will not force it upon my future, because these things are just a mere celebration.
More important than holidays and events, I would much rather carry on other values such. One of these values I would love to keep is the importance of family value. Though some chinese traditional values are extreme like obedience are absurd and should not be passed down to future, there are still important aspects of our culture, like respecting our family, politeness, and more. These things such as taking care of parents and important cultural values should be kept forever.
Ah, I can definitely relate to traditions on Chinese New Years especially. From cutting hair and cleaning the house.
One of my best friends didn’t talk to me for four years. We were in the second grade and I distinctly remember him not having his four front teeth. I thought that’s why he didn’t like talking, because it showed when he opened his mouth. I didn’t question him though, it was just great to be in his company because despite his adamant silence, it’s what kept the atmosphere alive. What made it even better was when you could crack a smile out of him; that’s when you knew he was really happy. Eventually, middle school caught up to us and everything changed for the worse. We weren’t in each others classes any more and because of this we started making new friends. In turn, it was for the better but it also meant we started to drift apart. We tried our hand at talking together during lunch but we had different mindsets. I wanted to play basketball and he wanted to play soccer. We couldn’t hang out when school ended because I had after-school and he had soccer practice. We just couldn’t do any of the things we used e.g. mess around at the playground or play games at each others houses. A stalemate happened sometime in the seventh grade and we straight up didn’t talk for a solid two years. Our ‘friend-caste’ was different and we simply had different tastes in life. I ended up merging onto a more musical approach in life and he ended up more involved in academics. We saw what was happening but we couldn’t bring ourselves to bring the proof to fruition. Instead, when middle school ended, we made a pact we’d get back together despite not being ‘friends’ for two years. Luckily when high-school came around we started getting classes together again, though our mindset still differed, we found new ways of coming back together. I was a goober at math he was a Einstein. We took it upon that as a directive for him to start tutoring me in math and that’s honestly how I got through high school without failing math. It was also through his tutoring that we ended up discovering our ‘new’ personalities, our more mature nature. We ended up recollecting our past and how we got where we were and it was just so strange how our friendship could be instantly seam back together despite being ripped apart for two years. All it took was a bit of glue and pressure and we were back at it. So to that effect, friendships are a weird thing. It all started in a silent beginning but moved towards him being of my best friends. It’s gotten to the point where we don’t even say ‘hi’ anymore, we just sort of do our thing.
What does it mean to be you?
To our generation, being yourself is not something everyone is comfortable with. We continuously judge one another for the kind of people we are so we pretend. We pretend we are not the people we actually are. I can not begin to say how judgemental people are nowadays. Whether you are a friends or a complete stranger, you will judge people. Some people treat it as a normal thing. They don’t think it as a bad thing. I for one have received a lot of comments about who I am. Being myself didn’t seem to benefit me in any way. If anything, people usually get more hatred comments when they try to be who they really are. Of course, we are always told that being ourselves is the best form we can be. That is a complete lie. Some people get attacked verbally, physically and emotionally for trying to be who they want to be. That is just what society has come to and it’s something most people have come to accept.
Who shaped you?
The typical person would say that those who surround them are the ones who shape them, like friends and family. Since these are the typical people who you are around while you grow up. That may not always be the truth. We all hear about troubled teens who do bad things. Their parents definitely did not raise them to be that way. Their friends may not have been the reason for them doing bad things either. Sometimes the friends are the ones who try to convince a person to make good decisions rather than bad. It is not the friend’s fault or the family is someone is molded into being bad. Yes most of the time, a person is comparable to their family or friends, but not always. Some people are very independent and choose how to mold themselves into the people they want to become.
Why are you, you?
What makes you different from others? Passions. Talents. Interests. Fears. There are lot of things that make you different from the person right next to you. Appearance is one thing yes. Your backgrounds another. Your life is not exactly like another’s. Every person differs from another in some way. We all love things someone else could hate, or the other way around. This is because people have opinions. Every person also has perspective. We all see things in another light. Being diverse and different is what makes us, us. Sure, there are many similarities amongst people, but everyone is still different. That is what makes you, you. Because no one else can be you. They can not be exactly like you. You are simply yourself, not someone else.
+ How do you define yourself “culturally”? Is it based on racial makeup, religious identification, youth, preferences, groups, language – or something else? What is your “culture,” and what makes you you?
Starting a brand new life is always suffered for a new immigrant. Not only about the change of environment and education, but also culturally make you feel that you are different from others. However, I used to adapt my new life overtime, and I enjoy knowing about two different cultures that makes me feel wise somehow. 19 years ago, I was born in China the day after Christmas---even though it was not common for Chinese to celebrate this holiday back then in the old days. But my family did. That is, I would receive two presents from either my father or my mother at Christmas Day and my birthday as well every year while other family since I have known at the old time did not give out Christmas presents to the kids. Later years as I became older and started know more about foreign cultures either from school’s English class or travel around to other countries, I found enjoyment learning about foreign cultures, and I started paying attention everyday at the dinner table when my dad was watching international news on TV. Different culture makes me curious.
I believe that my interest in foreign culture does not indicate that I am showing lack of passion for my own country’s tradition. Instead, even though I was so used with Chinese traditions, I still get amazed by it every time when I found out something new, either an interesting story in history, or traditional skills that people past down from the old time. It is religious identification makes each culture unique and represents its country to the others. According to all my interest on experiencing different culture, I like the American culture as well as I like Chinese culture.
What values is people’s feeling and experience about the tradition itself. Being a Chinese living in the US was a challenge for me sometimes, but I enjoy the experiences that both communities give to me.
I share almost same feeling as you toward the culture. Since I am an immigrant as well, I celebrate both American and Chinese cultures with my family here. Unlike your family, my family is naturally not really into any type of huge celebration. Even for the most important chinese new year, my family would only make many traditional dishes and give out the red pocket.
I believe that culture is something that is within you. Culture is not necessarily the tone of your skin or your accent. Culture is not the foods you eat or the language you speak. Culture is how you are raised. If your parents teach you to act in a certain way and follow a certain set of morals according to their culture, and you follow it, then that culture will most likely carry on in you. You will identify with that culture because of the way you were brought up. This may not be valid in every circumstance, however, I believe that someone can have a completely different exterior compared to their personality.
People of all religions, skin tones, personalities, sexualities, and interests live in the United States. I believe that something the United States as a country does really well is have equal respect for all individuals from every corner on this planet, that is, except for communist countries. Some people even think that the United States has allowed this country to be too diverse and this leads to the massive amounts of illegal immigrants. However, the fact remains that people of different cultures can come together and put aside their differences because we are all humans with similar desires in life.
Many believe that democracy, especially in a country as big as the United States, is useless because nothing gets done. However, this can actually be a good thing. The diversity in our country,although can take what seems like forever to pass a bill, leads us to be able to make more rational bills that give every person the most fair treatment in our country. It gives people from every culture the equal opportunity.
2011 are the turing point in my life. This year is the year I move to America from Hong Kong. I Felt like I became a baby again, I had to rebuild my friendship with others, and learn all those new rules. The most important, I often worried about my grandparents “will they used to live the life without me?” I was disappointing in my life but during my first year of school in this new place, I found out there are many otherses. Luckily, I met many classmates who were willing to help me go through the challenge to me. One year, it’s not long nor short just enough time for me to get used to this country.
Four Years in High School not only I gain knowledge, I also made lots friends. The life full of friends sometime we may have a little fight but after few days one of us will be the one who say sorry first. Every fight will just make our friendship get stronger. They are like my second family, the friendships we built are more stronger than my old ones. The reason should be us all been though the life of living in a new country but having trouble with language. Everything has a due day, I hope our friendship never expired. We had been the most difficult period and there is nothing else can beat this.
Time ran fast, only few weeks I will graduate from high school. A new chapter is about to begin in my life. I feel excited and frightening, I still can’t believe I’m senior already and going to become a college student soon. I don’t know what will happen to after leave this school all I know is I have to start the thing all over again because of the new place, new teacher, and new campus. Just like my freshman year need a person guide me, but I do not think there is going to have people that can help me because everyone has to move quickly and can not stop. I start missing my high school life even though I am still here. I also can’t wait to start my college life no more alert clock for morning class.
I relate to you on the fact that we are going separate ways with our friends. I believe that it can be a hard thing to accept but that does not mean friendship will just expire. There are always chances to still meet up and maintain that friendship. I believe that a friendship will remain no matter the distance. Thankfully I have some of my friends going to college with me.
I was born as an American but lived a life as a non-American. I am full Korean and was born in Iowa, U.S.. 97% of the population of the state where I was born were whites, and Asians were less than 1%. Racism was so great that one day my dad went to Mcdonalds, and the cashier spit on his burger for no reason. I mean, there was a reason; he wasn’t white. After living 7 years in Iowa, my family moved to Korea and lived there until 2011. We moved back to America in 2011 summer, but this time, we chose Georgia. Luckily, Georgia had 70% of the population as Korean people that I now didn’t have to face racism anymore. However, unlike I expected, racism was still there but in a different form. This time, Asian people were looking at other races as people whom they should treat differently. Deliberately or unconsciously, they were treating other races as if they shouldn’t get along with them. And it was pretty surprising to me. They weren’t any different from the people I met in Iowa who wiped their hands as if they had touched something dirty after accidently touching my body.
Humans are likely to stick or be attracted to others who have “something” in common such as religious beliefs, hobbies, languages, and/or racial makeups, I believe. And that human tendency often causes trouble because those aren’t and shouldn’t be the things that differ one from another. When talking about a person, people should not mention his/her outward looks. Instead, they need to first think of him/her as one of them because he/she actually is. What differs you, them, and me from other people must be one’s identity, which is quite different than what people usually think it should be.
Individuals are different, and the fact that they are can easily mislead people to a misconception. The differences, or what they call cultural differences, or outward differences should not be the measurement to define one. People with different races, they all breathe, they all eat, they all drink, they all want to make friends, they all want to do what they love to do, and they all want to be happy. Where they live, Where they were born, and how they look like never matter. They are all same human beings who have their own identity, personality, and characteristics, and they are all the same beings who deserve to be treated as who they are. Defining people by their “cultures” is a very dangerous thing, indeed.
Hi, Sam. I know some people are racist because they have different culture, skin color and religious beliefs etc. You do not need to care too much about other people's opinion, just be yourself. By the way, I love korean, and Kwang Soo Lee is my favourite star.
Hi Sam, I get your point of view and how you felt about that, but you shouldn't be caring about other's opinion, if you focus on them, it'll be more painful for you, and you would be losing your peace while the others live with tranquility.
Hi Sam, I know that you were sad when you were determined by the race you have. But, as you said, everyone is unique, everyone is the kid of god. You are not going to change because you know who you are.
I am the past, the present and the future. In the words of Siddhartha "everything is everything." Everyone has theories of how we came to be but none of us are 100% sure. We don't know what lurks beyond, a dark abyss or if we will find ourselves in a happier place in the afterlife. We only know what was then and what is now. And we can only imagine what will be in the future.
I suppose we as humans can sometimes be stubborn and afraid of change. Maybe because being cautious and sticking to what we know has helped our species survive for so many years. In addition to wanting to stick to what we know, we also want stability. Humans find stability in knowing where they belong and where a think others belong, it gives a sense of security.
Possibly the reason for prejudice ever coming into existence is because superiority and inferiority has always been a way for humans to feel as if they knew their purpose in life, to be more than or to be less than someone/something else. We know that it is wrong yet we still find ourselves unconsciously judging, even if it is in the slightest bit. It makes us feel like we matter, like we have reason for existing.
If my purpose is solely "to be," then I will "be" the best that I can be.I am all the mistakes and all the successes of mankind from the beginning till now. All of the past is what makes the present; I’m just someone who will be continuing the pattern in the future. So I suppose since we all carry a piece of the past to the present until our present becomes a past and our past is used for the future, in a peculiar complex way the past, present and future will always be the present because it continues on in the circle of life, even long after we are gone.
I am the past, the present and the future. In the words of Siddhartha "everything is everything." Everyone has theories of how we came to be but none of us are 100% sure. We don't know what lurks beyond, a dark abyss or if we will find ourselves in a happier place in the afterlife. We only know what was then and what is now. And we can only imagine what will be in the future.
I suppose we as humans can sometimes be stubborn and afraid of change. Maybe because being cautious and sticking to what we know has helped our species survive for so many years. In addition to wanting to stick to what we know, we also want stability. Humans find stability in knowing where they belong and where a think others belong, it gives a sense of security.
Possibly the reason for prejudice ever coming into existence is because superiority and inferiority has always been a way for humans to feel as if they knew their purpose in life, to be more than or to be less than someone/something else. We know that it is wrong yet we still find ourselves unconsciously judging, even if it is in the slightest bit. It makes us feel like we matter, like we have reason for existing.
If my purpose is solely "to be," then I will "be" the best that I can be.I am all the mistakes and all the successes of mankind from the beginning till now. All of the past is what makes the present; I’m just someone who will be continuing the pattern in the future. So I suppose since we all carry a piece of the past to the present until our present becomes a past and our past is used for the future, in a peculiar complex way the past, present and future will always be the present because it continues on in the circle of life, even long after we are gone.
What defines culture? I mean there are so many different kinds of culture out there and different kinds of practices so what really makes a culture? Take a moment before reading ahead and figure out your own answer.
I am Brian Zheng, 17 years old, Chinese, and love Asian food. Pretty late on an introduction of me considering it is about the end of the school year but better late than never. I am Chinese, I know how to speak the language, took the highest level of class that the school offered but does that really matter? I mean not trying to be racist here but what if we have the whitest guy is taking the same class as me and doing the same things as me. At the end of the day I think what separates one from another is the person that actually cares for what they are doing. I can be taking all the Asian studies classes in the world but if I do not put myself in to it how can I relate to the culture. In other words when you care about something it is passion that lets you do it. You can only be part of a culture if you really love doing it. To be honest you do not even need to know a single thing about it, to be part of a culture. As long as you enjoy what that culture is, I believe you are part of that culture.
So my answer to the question I began with. In the end what define culture are not origins, practices, or history. I believe what makes a culture is the people that are involved in it. There is something that changes in culture every day and is the people that are involved makes these changes. So at the end of the day when you are trying to be part of a culture, or even a group of people do not be afraid because you do not anything. Just be happy to look forward in what you can be.
Being the Outsider
My culture is something I want to escape from. Maybe it is only me because I constantly look at the bad connotation behind my culture. I don’t want to be a smart guy, I don’t want to just follow rules and be a doctor. I want to chase my dream, my wildest dream.
When I was a kid, my school had a fixed topic essay, which requires everyone to write about this same old topic, my greatest experience. This seems quite easy, because it is maybe one of the broadest topics of all time. However, I hated fixed topic essay. Why do I have to write something that you have already made for me? Why can’t I just write something like my favorite object, or sports or anything else? I was different from anyone else. They all wrote about a field trip, a day in the amusement park, or birthday party. I wrote about my favorite thing, which is this dish, my grandpa made me.
Obviously the teacher failed me, and he didn’t want to encourage me at all, so he bashed on my essay regardless.
I don’t like rules.
I can find out loopholes from rules or systems the first second after someone introduces them. My culture thinks rules have some magic power that can restraint kids. The only way to stop me from breaking rules is to thoroughly explain to me why are the rules necessary. My personality earned my parents numerous trips to the teacher’s office, but still I can’t help it.
Every time, in class, I failed fix topic essay, but on the other hand when teacher says we can write about whatever we want, mine gets to be the ones read by the teacher in front of the whole class. I think essay or journal should only be written when the story is worthy enough.
When I am in middle school, in China we have this thing more or less like the CST here. Basically a test every student should take and all the schools in the providence will compete with the scores. Only in China all the school cared a lot about it. Therefore, the school made us write one essay, and fix it with teachers until perfect, then memorize it. So like the essay we memorize is “Our Favorite Experience”, then if the essay topic in CST (Chinese Version here) is my favorite things to do, then we can easily convert the memorize essay on the test.
I hated this. So I wrote a new one in the test.
I got a horrible score, my parents are embarrassed in the class, but still I won’t do it no matter what.
While I am growing up, I have a big family around me. With at least 10 cousins, they are all “Chinalized”, which is more like caged by Chinese education. Don’t get me wrong they are incredibly smart, but just I don’t like to learn by copying thousands of times, or get a good score by memorizing 10 essays.
My culture was like that when I was a kid, or until I came to America. I never was a good kid or smart kid. I was always the kid who led a bunch a kid to troubles.
Thus, my culture is just something, I has realized that doesn’t really fit me. Nowadays, when I go back to China, I feel a little reminiscent, but more to it, I think I am perfect the way I am right now.
Great tie-ins to first semester. I thought it was really interesting to read your blog after hearing your artium magister first semester. I could see where you were coming from, why you don't want to be the smart one, what drove you to feel that way.
Good blog, it really felt like you were just having a conversation with me, very relaxed tone. Looking forward to more!
The races that I identify myself is confusing to most when I first tell them. My father identifies himself as a black man because he was raised in the Trinidad area of Washington D.C. where the white people of the capital of the United States stay away at all costs. In the Trinidad area you often see people lined up midday, midweek as because they don’t have jobs. It seems as if no one has a job in the Trinidad area, however go North a few blocks and you will find homes that have some of the highest cost per square foot in the United States. The transition from one of the worst ghettos in the United States to one of the best places to live in the United States is a shocking one.
My father faced great struggles living in the ghetto area of Washington D.C., he was after all a white, blonde, blue eyed kid growing up in a neighborhood where the blacks of the community envied the whites and their great wealth. My father managed to end the cycle of poverty, however he always remembers his roots and how far he has come. The conflict of racial makeup comes when people look at my father and he seems like a normal white man. Once you dig deeper you will find that he grew up without his father who we assume was an Irish man, his brothers were both black, and his mother was black. I can say without a doubt that my father is truly a black man, but what about me? Should I have to explain to everyone who inquires about my race my true story or should I just take the easy way out and just say I am caucasian?
It gets even more complicated when I attempt to explain the story of my mother who was born and raised until the age of nineteen in Argentina. My solution to explaining my race is to say that I am half hispanic, a quarter caucasian, and a quarter black. But, when it came to filling out the UC applications when my father had seen that I had marked the three boxes in the race selection he became furious. He went from explaining his true heritage to how I wouldn’t get into any UC’s because it seemed as if I was “playing games” with the admissions department by marked three different races. What he was referring to was that during the 1970’s a policy called Affirmative Action was in full throttle which was a move by college and graduate schools to attempt to give students of color a better chance at being accepted to better schools. My father was going through school right during the height of Affirmative Action, so even with a mediocre grade point average and a six year record and the University of Wisconsin got into nearly every law school that he applied to except for Duke University. Affirmative Action is still sort of around today and my father was trying to say by marking three races, it was if I was trying to get the admissions department to give me a better chance by putting that I was partly these two races of color. But, I wasn’t marking the three boxes to attempt to make the admissions office see me as special, that’s just who I am. Or what I think I am.
As a an agnostic individual I have always found myself in the same company when it comes to my friend group and other acquaintances at school. My mother attempted to turn me into a hardcore Catholic just like she was, I even attended a Catholic school when I grew up. The Catholic school soon became too expensive and I was moved to a public school. Even when I wasn’t in the Catholic school my mother still expected me to go to church every Sunday, which I hated. Just like every other kid my age I hated going to church, I found it so bored and I never understood how to sing the songs in the Bible until one day I realized that I had to skip a line when I finished one, which I found pretty dumb at the time. Soon my mother gave up on me when I constantly begged not to go to church every Sunday. My father would never go because he too was agnostic from the very beginning. We have had talks on the road trips to Vegas a few times about religion and he’s not strictly Athiest, however he is a believer of some type of religion. He believes that all of our lives events and decisions will play a part in deciding what happens to you in the end. My father always tells the story of how he was once sent to deliver a paper for his law office and on accident he walked into the wrong building. However, when he walked into the building he felt a great presence or feeling that made him believe that he had been there before. Little did he know that five years later he would soon be working in that exact same building. The main idea of his beliefs is that he felt he has been through and has gone through this same life before and has made many mistakes in the previous lives and that he can’t move on until he does what is right. I have thought about his ideals for a while and now I do believe the same. It’s not exactly a religion or religious belief, however I think it should be one.
(Hello! Are you Mrs. Lee’s daughter? What’s your name? How old are you?)
As I slowly looked up to the towering person before me, I remained in a mixed state of silence and confusion. After a few seconds rolled by, my mother greets this stranger with a simple farewell and we part ways. I never forgot the face of that stranger that day in the supermarket. Aside from her wispy, dark hair and slim figure, her eyes were what really stood out to me. Although it was only a short moment, her gentle but direct gaze toward me seemed to prolong as I tried to study what kind of thoughts she had. I didn’t quite understand what she expected from me during that time. Is she someone I should recognize? Should I wave my hand back to her? Or should I greet her in English or Chinese? By having Chinese as my second language, I didn’t fully go into depth with my culture and language during my early childhood. Therefore, I wasn’t quite fluent in speaking my parent’s native languages and wasn’t inspired by the various traditions that they celebrated. Instead, I spent the majority of my childhood being exposed to American pop culture by watching television shows such as Teletubbies and obsessing over the newest Barbie dolls available on the shelf. Although my physical characteristics are more related to my Asian ethnicity, I didn’t quite notice my physical appearance until the beginning of my teenage years. I’ve always figured that I appeared quite similarly to the actors with pale skin and blonde hair. But when I took another glance at the mirror, my image wasn’t as I thought it would be. Instead of seeing sun kissed golden locks and piercing blue eyes, I just saw disheveled black hair looping through each other and covering above my dark brown eyes and cherub cheeks.
Rather than fully embracing my physical features and culture, I looked more towards American culture as a guide for growing into an American. Although I have been an American since birth, I didn’t consider exploring the “Asian” part of myself as I grew older. But the moment I had with the stranger during my early childhood still stuck with me as I venture through different stages of my life. At first, I thought that she just trying to be nice and addressed her question mainly to my mother. However, as I became more aware of my surroundings and culture, I began to realize that moment wasn’t just a casual greeting. Rather, its one of the common situations that helps people assess what kind of personality and communication skills that the person they are addressing to have. As expected from my overall family, I had to continue to grow my knowledge of my culture and language equally from both worlds. However, I began to drift off towards my American culture rather than sticking with my traditional Chinese culture. As a result, I began to lose my proficient fluency in speaking both Cantonese and Mandarin.
Fast forwarding to my cousin’s wedding party that had taken place two years ago, I encountered the same moment I had mentioned earlier. Instead of having a stranger asking me these familiar questions, my distant and traditional family members gather around to meet me and proceed with the common questions such as, “What major are you going int?” or “What kind of classes are you taking right now?”. However, the dialogue wasn’t exactly the type I could fully understand. Instead of communicating with my family members in my first language of English, I was put into the spot of trying to respond back with Chinese. After years of being unaccustomed to speaking fluent Chinese, I decided to try my best to respond back to them. But instead of speaking fluent sentences with a regular pace, I stuttered multiple times and mispronounced many terms during my conversations.
Compared to my sibling’s fluency and knowledge in this language, I still continue to struggle with achieving proficiency in learning the art of my culture and language even to this day. But what exactly sets me apart from my siblings that enabled me to move more towards American culture? As I discussed with my siblings about how they were able to keep in touch with their culture, I’ve learned that they were more exposed to the Asian culture than I was during childhood. Rather than watching American television shows and reading English literature novels, they both needed to work together to take care of their grandmother who could only speak Teo Chew and Cantonese simultaneously. By spending more time with their grandmother, they were able to pick up the culture and language more easier as they continued to communicate with her daily. Although they were still exposed to the American culture, they still managed to define which parts of their culture they wish to follow. Instead of completely ignoring traditions and historical background, my siblings found harmony in what kind of lifestyle they would like to pursue.
Culture presents itself as a way for people to trace back through their origins and to understand how their lifestyles have evolved. Not only does it allow people to bond with each other through common traditions, but it also provides inspiration to different societies by helping them determine what kind of morals and rules must be established in order for them to thrive. Although culture helps bring different people together, it doesn’t mean that everyone must follow a certain way of life. Rather than have the culture define who they are, it provides a foundation for these people to use and to help guide them to follow their own personalized lifestyle. Whether they prefer a certain sport or hobby over the other, their interests help determine what kind of history they have.
Culture has become a broad term that usually defines what kind of religion or ethnicity that different kinds of people follow into. However, it is ultimately about how each individual wishes to comes into term of their interests and how they will make the most out of their own experiences.
Nice job Sarah! I really enjoyed reading your post because of the way you worked in answering the blog questions in a prose style. Your story of the stranger and your response to that experience was very well done. Your final line was a perfect encapsulation of your entire thread putting a lovely bow on a great post.
YES you are so right; "Culture has become a broad term that usually defines what kind of religion or ethnicity that different kinds of people follow into. However, it is ultimately about how each individual wishes to comes into term of their interests and how they will make the most out of their own experiences."
I always think that ethnicity covers the true side of ourselves, but I am pretty sure people will change their mind when they know we are all different and each of us is special.
it was great to read yours.
Rules were made to keep people safe. They give order to the world of human beings, and often make it safer to live in a world with other human beings. People made them, after all, to protect other people. So it goes without saying that people should follow them as much as possible.
Still, it isn’t the rule itself that keeps people safe, it’s the foundation behind it. Rules are made for the purpose of keeping people safe and giving all peoples the freedom to live their lives and uphold their own moral code. Laws exist to reinforce morality. If law is upheld at the cost of breaking moral code, something will have gone horribly, completely wrong.
The laws shouldn’t keep you from doing good things. More often than not, it is important to follow the law. After all, it keeps people safe from anarchy. But more important is your judgment. People aren’t machines programmed by law, they’re people. If morality and law come into conflict, morality should always be given just a bit more priority.
“I like to imagine that, when she left the church, Athena met Jesus. Weeping and confused, she would have thrown herself into his arms, asking him to explain why she was being excluded just because of a piece of paper she’d signed, something of no importance on the spiritual plane, and which was of interest only to registry offices and the tax man.”
Father Giancarlo Fontana (The Witch of Portobello)
I looked down at the little scrap of paper.
Yep, that’s my signature
I never thought we would ever really use these. I only ever wrote one of these down because I had to. I looked again at the draft card. If I answered, I’d be in war. I’d go to a battlefield, meet some patriots, get a gun, and shoot at some commies until one of theirs shot me dead.
This wasn’t my war. I wasn’t going to shoot at some guy who was only there to keep his country safe. I never agreed to this. Yet … I still have a duty, right? I still have to protect my country, right? I have to fight by … walking into certain death?
I looked at the card one last time. It was burning nicely.
There’s no hope on the battlefield. It has nothing but unspeakable despair. Just a crime we call victory, paid for by the pain of the defeated.
Kiritsugu Emiya (Fate/Zero)
Having had the opportunity to experience multiple cultures and meet people from diverse backgrounds, I can say that my life has been molded through different perspectives on the world. Every friend, family member and acquaintance I’ve met no matter how short our meeting may have been, has made some sort of impact on who I am.
When I was around five years old, I had a caretaker who couldn’t speak English very fluently so she proceeded in teaching me her native language of Bisaya (a dialect of the Filipino language). With my whole family being fluent in it except for me, it was nice to finally understand conversations I normally wouldn’t listen to. All it took was full exposure to the language and I was able to get the hang of it as time flew by. Without her, I would have never connected with my family as much as I do, nor would I have known a second language growing up.
Another person who has helped shape my life was a friend I never intended on meeting in the first place. In middle school she was known as the so called “drama queen”. People judged her, made assumptions based on false rumors and talked behind her back. Because of this, I tried to stay out of her sight but ended up as her partner for a group project. My teacher had randomly assigned partners, and just so happened to put her and me together. At first I felt angry and conflicted, predicting the worst was about to happen. But when I actually talked to her and started working on the assignment, I realized that she was a completely different from what I had heard from others. The mean spirited girl people described was actually down to earth and extremely personable. It goes to show that you can never get a true understanding of how a person really is, until you actually meet them. Despite how short that experience was, it shifted my perspectives on people whom I’ve never met.
It’s hard to determine whether all of these encounters with influential people were determined by luck, or by my own decisions. At the end of the day, you have to trust fate to take things into its own hands and let everything happen for the purpose it was set out to make.
+ When you see the American flag, or when you think of “America,” how do you define it? What ties us together in our nation as Americans? Are we as “united” as a country bearing our name should be? Is this a good or bad thing?
The first thing that comes to my mind when I see the American flag, is freedom. I grew up in one of the craziest countries in the world. Where the competition and disrespect are notable, most because of our government. What a shame. However, I feel blessed and I’m proud of being a Brazilian. Where I could be myself and do anything I wanted to, even illegally (I never did anything illegal). Anyways, after I moved from Brazil to Arcadia LA, things were going crazy in my life, first I did not speak english at all, not beyond “Hello” or “How are you?”. But I knew since the beginning that was a great opportunity to be here in all aspects. My mom told me something which is my answer for this question, “America is the land of opportunities. Where you are free to choose what want to. So go a head and make this opportunity worth it.”
Overall, America is a great place to live. Since I got here, I’ve been impressed in the way people interacts with one to another in this country. Not only the way they interact, but also their personality and their education. Personally, I started to think more about it, and suddenly I realized why this country is really developed. A country without respect doesn’t grow at all. I can say that because I grew up in Brazil, and I know how things happen there. Unfortunately- as I said before- because of our government, which doesn’t put much effort to help the country to be a better place. They only care about money and everything they can use in their favor (more money, most of the times).
America is “united” the way it should be. I think America has a big culture and that’s why is one of the most important roles in the world. Today my friends and family ask if I want to go back to Brazil and live there again. My answer is no. I don’t want to go back, of course I miss my family and friends so much and they are my only connection with Brazil. My opportunity of working and studying in America are much better than in Brazil, the only reason that I’m staying here.
Hi Kelvin! After reading your blog, I learned about your native country, Brazil. The government of Brazil is a lot similar to that of my native country, Burma. I like how you wrote the reasons why you want to stay here. Great post!
I’m a really shy guy so I find it hard to talk to people to begin with.
Back in middle school, Facebook wasn’t too popular yet, but a couple people knew about it. I eventually made one too and just started adding people I already knew. I started seeing people I didn’t know that had mutual friends with the people I knew. So on AIM I messaged one of my friends and basically he hooked me up with that person.
When I look back into the past, I talked to most people who I didn’t know all too well on Facebook. Approaching them in person seemed too hard especially when they were around their friends. If I did not have the guts to talk to them, I definitely would have missed a few important ones. Even though I miss some of those connections that faded away, it was a great learning experience. I would hang out with them again if I could, there were some pretty good moments. But those experiences have shaped me into who I’ve become and I don’t have any regrets.
The relationships that have endured aren't too surprising because we all had the same hobby. We played basketball nearly everyday for about 4 straight years and we just became closer and closer as the years passed by. More became came along and were just added into our group. The bigger the group becomes though, the harder it is to maintain the conformity because there will be things some of us dislike. Our ability to see past that and have a trusting relationship with all fourteen of us is incredible.
My most favorite friendship was with this girl in middle school. We just talked about problems that have been bothering us and asked for advice here and then. The hugs were really, really amazing and those late night (two in the morning) talks were the best. If it weren't for her, I would had a hard time with middle school. I will forever and always be grateful for her.
White music. If I learned anything about myself this year is that my taste in music is considered “white”. This came as a shock to me because I never knew that there was such a thing. I always knew that there was black music and similar types for each race, but it never occurred to me that what I considered to be regular music was “white music”. For those of you who don’t know, white people music is usually considered Rock, Alternative, or Folk. Really anything that would be labeled as hipster is also fair game. Some examples are, but not limited to: Mumford and Sons, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Shins, Chet Faker, Walk the Moon, Two Door Cinema Club, Of Monsters and Men, Matt and Kim, Coldplay, and Blink 182.
The general reaction to me playing this music with friends who are white are: “Wow, dude you have a great taste in music”, “Man, where did you find this? It’s so good”, or “OMG YAAAAS! I love them”. The reaction from non-white people is either one of two things: “Hey… This music isn’t half-bad” or “AHHHHHHH! Turn that s*** off man. Let me have the AUX cable. I can’t stand this white music (proceeds to play black music).” Usually the reaction is more in check with the second reaction since practically the only people that I hang out with that are white are my family members. So needless to say, this whole new reaction and dynamic to my music was a huge culture shock, in terms of “I actually have a culture of music!”
As a result of this reaction, I have started changing my taste in music in order to relate with my friends and have some of my music accepted. I used to be unappreciative of all rap and now I only dislike the trashy, super-base reliant kind. I’ve been taught by my white family that rap was inappropriate garbage, but thanks to my friends, I can see the light in black music. I can now rap that one Kendrick Lamar part in Kendrick Lamar, Imagine Dragons Radioactive mashup that was performed at the Grammys and I can say that I genuinely enjoy it.
But, this doesn’t mean that I gave up my own music. It just means that I’ve added to my white music. It’s important to me that, even though the culture around me doesn’t accept my original taste, I keep my white music. I enjoy it through and through. But, I also believe that it is important to try and assimilate with the culture around as well because you can find things in a new light. Sometimes a new perspective is all it takes.
The reason why America is no longer referred to as a melting pot in text-books is because we want to emphasize that even though we are together, we are all different. In a melting pot, everything is assimilated into one uniform blend. But, we are different together and that’s what makes America the new term of Salad Bowl. Each culture provides something unique, but we all come together to make a nice spring mix.
Growing up in a different country, makes you perceive things differently from other places than the reality that the place is showing to the world and the ability to see the true colors and the actions that the place is taking. While I was growing up, America seemed to be the perfect place to live, watching all the movies, and hearing about the American Dream that always comes around when people talk about the U.S. All of that makes a difference according to the things that your own country going through at the moment. I was born and raised in Colombia - a fantastic place to live- but being surrounded by idea that the political corruption and the lack of opportunities in many fields, and many other things, makes America the land of opportunity sound like the ideal place to be. My dad used to travel a lot, and when I asked about his trips to America, he always told me marvelous things, from the side that people around the world perceives of the U.S.
I was fascinated with all the things I heard from my dad and also with the things I used to see in the movies, but that’s brief look of what America is in really. When I came here I noticed the change from the place I grew up, I could see all the fabulous things that I’ve seen before, and I could experience all the good things that for most parts the U.S has. Even though, as any other country, America has its faults - it can’t be perfect- but overall this country gives more opportunities than many other places in the world. If people know how to get the best of this country, it gives a unlimited opportunities, it’s just work hard for those opportunities. Some people believe that America should be better in giving more to the people, and the majority of them, it’s people who lives/benefits from the government aids, and complains about the whole system, but they never took the effort to look for a job, study and succeed, they wanted to government to put everything on their hands without they doing anything to earn it. When people experienced a different live, in a different place they begin to give value to the things the place they were living in has and the other place hasn’t and vice versa.
One of the good things about America, is that to the world no matter what it’s going on internally, America to the world is united. There are no divisions, and most of the people support the actions taken on different parts of the world. Also proud of the fact of being American, is another thing American people carry wherever they go with pride and want to show it off in other places. I say this because some people are not proud of their nationality, and they try to hide the place they come from. But foremost that’s the beauty about this country, it makes people fall in love with it (Foreigners), and it makes people proud of coming from here and living here.
HI, my friend. When I was kid, I saw a lot of american movies which really inspire me imaging a great life in America. But the fact is the success will not come to us when we are doing nothing. Wherever it is, if you work hard, I believe there will be a life with beautiful things...
I look out the airplane window as the aircraft banks to the left. The clouds, blanketing the powder blue sky, begin to uncover the beautiful landscape below. I see expanses of rice fields, lush, green mountains, tropical beaches, and hundreds of small islands. As the aircraft touches down in Manila, Philippines, the cabin is warmly greeted with: mabuhay. This common Tagalog saying is short, yet it says so much. It means: welcome, live long, and cheers. It is difficult to translate it directly to English, so the translations fade its meaning. This single greeting encompases what it means to be Filipino. Mabuhay connotes hospitality, hope, faith, and strength.
When people first meet me, they ask, “What race are you? Chinese? Mexican?” Something throws them off because I have Asian features, but a Hispanic last name. I am proud to say I am Filipino. It is such a diverse culture that has shaped me into the person I am today. Being Filipino has greatly, positively influenced my life, personality, and morals.
First of all, the Filipino culture has taught me to give back to others. Visiting the Philippines in 2008 truly made me realize how much I have to be thankful for. The Philippines is a beautiful country, but it also has its share of adversity. It is hard not to notice the poverty stricken regions of the country as you drive through Manila. The need for monetary help in the Philippines has led our family to start a small foundation called Pinsan Ko Mahal Ko, which translates to My Cousins, I Love, to assist our needy relatives 7,000 miles away. Each month, our relatives in the United States contribute $10 per family, all to be sent to our relatives back in the Philippines. The donations help them to buy sufficient clothing, food, and supplies. Sacrificing a small amount of money to our relatives makes us feel good that we are helping our beloved relatives and friends. The rewards are seeing people who we help become successful and self-reliant in their lives in terms of getting an education, stable job, and supporting their families. Hopefully, the cycle continues in that they are able to also help others through these selfless acts. We don’t do this expecting anything in return, but rather out of our charitable nature of not leaving anybody behind.
Another positive trait that I have gained from the Filipino culture is strength and faith. Many tragedies have struck the Philippines, along with poverty, such as devastating storms, floods, other natural disasters. Despite the catastrophic disasters, the Philippines continues to stay strong. Resilience. They fall down and they still stand up. Similarly, in my life, when I face an obstacle, it try to apply the same positive mindset to overcome difficulties. It is crucial to have faith and hope. It will get better.
If you ever visit the Philippines, listen. Mabuhay. Welcome, live long, and cheers. I am proud to be Filipino. The Filipino culture will always be in my soul. It will change anyone who experiences it.
In elementary school I had the idea of America instilled in my brain every morning. Routinely the whole school would rise and place their right hand over their heart. “Ready, begin”, and in unison we’d start, “I pledge allegiance to the flag”. The idea of a united country was hammered into us as youth and now as adults we believe America is the best nation in the world. However, I’d say most people couldn’t think of 10 reasons that America is better than other countries. Our country is appreciated for the wrong reasons. Don’t get me wrong, I love this nation and all that it offers but I feel that it’s citizens should look at it realistically instead of with this nationalistic shroud.
Unity, freedom, and pursuit of happiness: all things that The United States of America strive for. The U.S. is very diverse and ethnically cultured throughout its states and that’s something that brings us together. Most of this country’s people love the idea of this mixing pot of different backgrounds and how they can co-mingle without too much conflict. However, the way America wanted its people to unite is by supplying the idea of equality and freedom. This means that if people don’t like someone for any reason, they are allowed to speak out against it. This obviously causes problems in the United States but is unavoidable without total control of its people, which will most likely not happen. You can’t put massive amounts of people in an area and expect them all to have the same opinions.
Overall, I think that America is fantastic for anyone looking to make a fresh start. With the capitalistic society it isn’t extremely hard to make money. I also think that our country is not as united as it should be. However it can be with the proper guidance. If tolerance at the very least was promoted it would solve many problems. That way people could be who they want to be and others would tolerate their choices. This is unless their choices hinder another’s freedoms. Every person in the United States should feel like they always have another to help them when times get tough, no matter how different that person may be.
I agree with all of your thoughts about America. I liked reading about your points about how we don't appreciate the real reasons as to why America is great. And it is totally correct how you point out that we have been engrained with all of these ideas about our country, and it is just interesting to see everyone's different opinions. But I agree with you!!
Culture isn’t only based off of one thing. It’s a collaboration of all the things that make up your life. It’s what comes naturally from your parents. It’s what comes instinctively to our lives. It’s what you identify yourself with. Chinese culture has lived a big part in my life. It lives in the way my parents raised me, respecting my grandparents and always trying to communicate with them, even when they live thousands of miles away. It lives in the way I speak, always mixing up Cantonese English and Mandarin, resulting in some really funny sounding sentences. It lives in the way I eat, always eating something Asian, or only knowing the name of the vegetable in Chinese. I proudly ramble off Cantonese with friends at school, knowing that they understand it, and that we have fun displaying our cultures. I display my identity for the world to see, and allow them to perceive me as they please.
Culture doesn’t stop in one place. It is carried on through generations. For me, it was carried from generations of ancestors in Hong Kong, to the United States, then integrated into me. It’s not something physical, like an heirloom that one can simply pass on to the next successor in line. It’s something I plan on transferring to my child, since he or she deserves to know how I learned my culture and why I treat them the way they are treated. I plan on growing my kids up with Cantonese, because not only is it fun to ramble on with, but also it provides a larger range of descriptive vocabulary that English just doesn’t provide. Often times, I find myself at a loss for words in English, whereas in Cantonese, I can clearly state what I feel. My culture also revolves around food. I want to give my child a taste of what I grew up on, and have his tastes be broadened by the extensive plate that Hong Kong food brings. My culture comes from these things and so much more, that letting it die off without passing it to another person is unbearable.
Compared to my relatives, my culture differs greatly from my relatives. Many of my relatives come from Hong Kong, and therefore always tell me stories of their times as they were growing up. They lived lives vastly different than mine, with multiple siblings and strict upbringings. My culture comes from what I’ve been nurtured with. I grew up with myself, with multiple opportunities for a successful life, and a laidback upbringing. These various things influence the way I perceive the culture my relatives have, and I believe that respecting different views is a big part of shaping your own culture as well.
My parents can identify with the culture of Hong Kong, while I can identify with the culture of Hong Kong and America, and my children can identify with both Hong Kong, America, and more. Each generation gets broader and broader, as America becomes more of a mixing pot of cultures. Each culture is important to each respective individual, and preserving it is what keeps us all unique and interesting. Each person changes up their culture to fit themselves, because at the end of the day, you decide what you enjoy and dislike about your own identity.
Great job with your post this week Derek! I agree that our culture is a collection of the things that make up our lives --- it’s not just based on our ethnic backgrounds or racial identities. Nice work... I liked the message.
I really like your post the way you described America. Keep it up!
In Making Islands Where No Islands Should Go, I wrote about the different places I’ve lived in: Fremont, California, Hsinchu, Taiwan, and Arcadia, California.
Since I’ve moved from place to place several times over the course of my childhood, you’d probably think that I had a pretty diverse upbringing. It makes sense — if I’ve lived in different parts of the world for much of my early life, I should have a lot of experience in interacting with people of different cultures.
To be honest, though, I don’t. Fremont, Hsinchu, and Arcadia are all very different cities; you can’t compare Fremont’s golden hills and vast expanses of open land to the crowded streets of Hsinchu. If there’s one thing they have in common, though, it’s that they all house predominantly Asian populations. Fremont is full of Chinese and Indian immigrants, Hsinchu is in Taiwan (so pretty self-explanatory), and Arcadia is, well, you know — Arcasia.
I define myself culturally, therefore, through my racial makeup, youth, language, family traditions, and core values. That includes all the common Asian stereotypes (we’re all good at math, expected to get good grades, bad at driving, etc) along with my personal beliefs (which were definitely heavily influenced by my upbringing and surroundings). All of that is part of what makes me me.
That said, there is a distinct cultural separation between me and the seventeen-year-olds who live in Taiwan. Ethnic makeup and family traditions/values are only part of what makes me who I am right now; the people around me and where I was raised have played a huge role in my development as an individual. Perhaps because of that, I’m not culturally equivalent to my relatives — while I’ve learned some of their core values (such as respecting your elders) from them, I don’t share all of the same beliefs. I’m fine with that; while I do believe that it’s important to carry on your parents’ legacy, traditions, and values, I don’t think that we should sacrifice our own beliefs or individuality in seeking to do so. I don’t plan on forcing my own values or my parents’ values on my children — there are some things I believe are worth preserving, and I’ll try to impart those values on them, but I’m not going to force them to carry on obsolete, old traditions if they have no place in our future society.
Our paths are shaped by the people we meet; each connection, whether good or bad, is bound to influence us in some way or the other. Each tiny piece of advice or small show of support helps shape us further. Each meeting opens the door to new chances and opportunities. Each relationship can either push us further or pull us back — either way, it brings us one step closer to discovering our identities.
And we are the ones who have to decide what’s truly worth protecting. There is certainly value in staying culturally distinct from one another; by having culturally different people of different beliefs meet and converse, new ideas are introduced and society continues to develop. Yet the clash of ideals can bring about conflict. I don’t think that there’s a clear path that we should take as we move into the future — it’s not like we should create a completely common culture or try to remain as different as possible. As our cultures intertwine, it’s up to society to decide what values are worth fighting for and which are worth compromising.
If there’s one thing for sure, though, it’s that war is not the answer. We pay far too high a price in blood, youth, lives, and resources for things that aren’t worth nearly as much. Each life lost is a family destroyed… the benefits that war brings (if any) can never outweigh its costs.
All we can do is entrust our values and beliefs to younger generations.
Thus we learn.
And if we’ve done our job well enough — perhaps our future generations will end up making the right decisions.
Hey Jared! I find it really cool how you've traveled and lived in so many different places. I agree with you that the future depends on the younger generations and that if we did our job well it will reflect in their lives. Great job this week!
Hey Jared! I really liked your post this week. I feel like you speak for a lot of us when you say that we define ourselves through race, youth, language, etc. I find it hard to identify with much else too, when all that we compare ourselves to each other is through those things. Great post. Keep up the good work.
Cost is a word too vague to hold true meaning. Whether an object is too expensive or too cheap is open to interpretation. Wealthier individuals may see a diamond ring as affordable, while less wealthy individuals may find the same object far from affordable. How we decide the price of an object lies in our own perception; there is no universal opinion of worth. Anyhow, what we have and how we were raised as children are some of the largest factors in determining the costs in our lives.
Similar to wealth of an individual, for the things we invest in like blood, lives, youth and resources, the worth is simply an opinion for each person. Our opinions on worth don’t provide or create any meaning for another person. They are simply ideas, just for ourselves, drifting around in the ocean, lost and meaningless. Nonetheless, no matter how little our opinions mean to society as a whole, there should still be room for people to express their ideas. So, as a result, I believe we pay just the right amount to maintain the things we hold dear. Most people have just the right amount of opportunity to succeed. You may think with almost everybody having equal opportunity, we should all be successful right? Sadly, that is not the case because too many people in our society waste opportunity. There are two types of opportunistic people in this world. The first being those who are handed the formula to success, but choose to stay unproductive. Secondly, there are also those who pursue opportunity to their greatest extent. Both types of people have the same amount of opportunity- that’s their similarity- but everything boils down to how each person decides to channel these opportunities. The unproductive ones are the people who are wasting our society's resources; the go-getters are the ones who are maximizing society's resources. So, going back to the question of worth, is our society really investing too much for the future?
The source of my beliefs is my family heritage. Starting from my parents going all the way to my most distant cousins, each has helped me tremendously along my journey. In other words, my culture is an almost accurate reflection of my relative’s culture. What they believe is what I believe; whatever they do is what I do. However, because I live in a world completely different from theirs- being less challenging and more supportive- there are some dissimilarities. Nevertheless with these similarities in mind, I would say with almost all of me is still a strong representation of my family heritage, which is why I believe we spend just enough for our blood, lives, youth and resources. There is no such thing as too much- even if we try to the best to our abilities and waste resources, all are still considered healthy investments.
One of mankind's greatest fears is loss.
Loss represents the departure of something we so desire, love, or possibly hate. Having it occur means what has disappeared, will never reappear again.
The friend you loved the most, who was always there for you, is a prime example of future loss. When you head off to college, most of the things you cherished so deeply will slowly fade away. The memories you think will last a lifetime will most certainly fade, and within ten years will very likely disappear. Everybody wishes they could remember their first best friend. Everybody tells themselves they will keep in contact with their favorites. Everybody says they will remember their favorite teacher. But, a snap into reality- and everything disappears. Nothing lasts forever.
If I told you how many connections I made in my life so far, the number would be very large. I’ve met very many people over the eighteen years of my life, but the ones that I remember have slowly begun to dwindle. Some days I tell myself: none of my friends will ever be forgotten. But as I face the cold hard truth- they will be forgotten. At this point. the memories that have stuck with me since elementary school are the ones that have made me happy for more than a day. Any other experience has already faded. As for middle school, I still remember most of the connections I made. But as I begin to age out of high school, the same will begin to happen. Sadly, there is no way to stop the loss of memories. It’s something we humans will have to face and accept as we continue with our lives. It’s a fear we must endure and most importantly, set aside and try to overcome.
Hey Kenny! I really enjoyed reading your post this week. You covered some deep and meaningful topics and really presented some thought provoking issues. Great job!
I believe that every single person in this world love the countries that he or she comes from no matter what. To be honest, When I was in Taiwan, when I looked at our flag, I did not have any feeling. I was thinking that how can a flag represent the greatness and power of a country. However, I realize the truth when I grow up. My thinking was wrong. A flag definitely has its meaning to a country. You can see even a small tiny symbol can also represent the value of a country. Colors can sometimes stand for something for a nation. I like how every flag has its own unique symbol. They really make the world more amazing.
When I see the American flag, the first thing that comes to my mind is freedom. America is a country that has freedom. People have the rights to do the things they love and people can vote as well. When I see the fifty stars on the flag, I start thinking of the fifty states that The United States of America has. These fifty states are all important lands for people. If there is a star missing, that is not America. When I see the red and white stripes, I immediately think of the original 13 colonies. The people who lived in those colonies actually tried their best to make America a better nation. Even now, American work together to make our country powerful. We are sticking together as one to fight for the things we deserve.
When I hear people saying “ America” I have a special feeling. Even though I was not born in America, but as a country that I am staying right now, I gradually become an American inside of my heart. I think we do look united as a country bearing our name. For example, when the American play in the Olympic, they show teamwork. When I hear the National Anthem of America, it touches my heart. Especially when I hear “ O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?” It clearly describe the beauty of America. Again, I am living in a country where everybody is united and work together.
We have all grown up in society that attempts to separate all actions, all thoughts, and all motives into black and white. We learned the difference between right and wrong at a young age, yet as we grew older and became wiser, we began to see that these two concepts become interchangeable with different perspectives. Black and White melded into shades of gray until there were no absolutes at all. Right and wrong became beliefs rather than facts. For is it right to kill if your family is threatened? Is it right to steal if everything was stolen from you? Is it okay to break a law if it is unjust? We cannot possibly answer every question about morals in relation to laws yet society still attempts the impossible regardless.
When stuck between a rock and a hard place, we are not trapped mentally but emotionally as well. When faced with a decision between our morals or the rules, we break down because we can't handle the battle that rages on inside our heads. And while I can definitely advise on certain cases, advising on morals versus rules in general becomes quite difficult. Making our decisions is one of the traits that defines our humanity and often we make wrong ones. And in order to learn from those mistakes we have to understand what drives us to these decisions.
Deciding between our own judgment and what society declares as right is really difficult for me because I have to betray my own ideals and go against what I stand for. This is the turmoil that we all have to face if we want to follow the rules. By keeping security, we lose a part of ourselves, or we force it away for the time being. On the other hand, if I decide to go with my own judgment and forsake the rules, I submit myself to fate. I submit to the possibility that I will have consequences for my beliefs and actions. And pitting these two sets of consequences against each other is how I decide which path I take. That is the only advice I can give: think about the situation logically and morally and decide which outcome is most favorable. If you follow society then you have to swallow pride, but if you follow your own ideals then you fall to the mercy of society.
So yes, there are many, many shades of grey in the world. Society will keep trying to separate these grays into black and white, but it is ultimately up to us to decide which color we will side with. All I can ask is that we understand the consequences of our actions before bending the rules to our whims.
Wow Wes! Great post this week. I really enjoyed your opinion about separating things until it was one thing or the other. I had to really wrap my head around it, and I think you really hit the nail on that point. Most of us can’t separate everything in this world. We just have to go with what we have, and let life take us on a journey. Great post!
Under circumstances people tend to give in to the misfortune of others, and will provide whatever needed to bring them happiness. Although it is situational, we witness these events everyday as people disobeying certain laws in order to provide for the poor. Their ambition to solve the problem creates an illusion that there are no boundaries, which they should not cross. However, laws were implanted in our systems in order to prevent harm to others, and urge people to stay within their boundaries. The situation now becomes a double edge sword, as there are negative effects that are inseparable to their so-called “help”. Their justification can be ruled guilty, however, I feel that I would have done the same nonetheless.
Often people perceive others as a threat to their well being, but on rare occasions people will try to provide guidance and support for the people in need. Usually the help people provide is out of their convenience, and expressing other forms of assistance will be too much work. And for an individual to overlook the laws they follow and provide support further than anyone else is exceptional because most people would not go through such lengths to help another individual unless he/she provided some incentive. Although providing support is rare, most of the time it is beneficial as it provides a domino effect that may spread to others. Which is why they were correct to do bend the rules in order to benefit another individual.
In my situation I would have done nothing different if it meant helping another person; however, I would prefer if it was within my boundaries. I most likely would not go to such lengths such as breaking the law, rules or anything out of my normal comfort zone. I understand that I may sound selfish, but I believe that whatever help I can provide is enough to benefit the person compared to not helping at all. And I like to consider the fact of why I would want to put myself in harms way in order to benefit another person. Although it may sound noble and heroic, I do not see the fundamental idea behind harming oneself for another individual’s gain. In a way I would help people whenever possible, and it is to my convenience; however, I usually would not bend rules, or even break laws in order to benefit another individual.
To be honest I was quite excited when I first saw your friend request pop up, something thrilling about that vibrant red button radiating against the solid, almost oppressing blue of the web design. And- well I’m not going to say I was disappointed, rather it was kind of like when you were a kid and went to McDonald’s to get Happy Meals even though you weren’t hungry nor did you even like hamburgers for that matter, but you got it anyway because you wanted the next set of Hot Wheels but when you eventually did get your bag, from the weary middle aged lady working the counter, you noticed you got a Beanie Baby instead so you weren’t exactly happy but oddly content, well that was kind of how I felt. So I accepted your friend request, mindlessly clicking accept even though we had exactly nothing in common. You worked for your parents in a furniture factory in the Philippines. I was a full time student based in Southern California. You looked twenty-eight. I’m eighteen. I never expected anything of it- I actually thought you were a bot at first.
But then you messaged me. It started off with a “Hello”. I think you were typing on your phone- your grammar was horrible; your English even more broken but your punctuation: flawless. It was definitely strange but I humored you, typing on my phone while doing my laundry. You were strange and inviting, warmly asking me how I was, what I did. I was skeptical and asked if I knew you.
You didn’t, apologizing and sending me a smiley face, a bit embarrassed but still friendly. I told you who I was, how I was still going through school, how life was for me, how it was in California and things about it. You reciprocated, telling me about the Philippines, how your parents owned a factory in the Philippines, and your family. Weather seemed like a topic we could both share on. I laughed and offered my own quips- you always asked for me to explain it but you sent me smiles nonetheless. I thought it was a bit awkward, sharing things with a complete stranger, but you seemed to talk to me as if I were family. You even asked if we could Skype but I said that it was too loud- I was actually just too shy to see you. You seemed a bit disappointed but we still talked. You shared your passions, your land, your experiences, and I shared my life, my feelings, and my dreams. You told me that you were going to have to take over the whole factory for your parents, but if it were really up to you you’d DJ for a living.
I never heard from you again after that night. It was only about a couple hours but I felt as if I could bring anything to you and we could talk. There’s a strange intimacy involved with strangers, the thought that this is someone you’ll never meet, and perhaps not even the person they say they are, a person based only on what is believed, forever a whisper behind a glass pane. The thought that there’s no repercussion to your conversation and there’s a freedom that it entails. We didn’t speak of anything sacrilegious but we could be honest with each other. And for me, you were one of the only people I could be open to at the time.
I never expected to meet someone like you, a person that I could just talk so freely to. Our friendship sprung out of nothing, maybe a wrong friend request or just a desire to meet someone new, its short life something that kept the whole interaction even more a mystery. But now you exist solely in hindsight, a blurred light of the a LCD burned into my memory, slowly fading, enduring longer than it itself lasted. I don’t know if I’d ever want to meet you, hesitant of the romanticisms that would evaporate with the evidence of reality, the memories held changed by a different me. But maybe it won’t be so bad- things might be even better than before, you might be able to feel the coarse, warm sands of Santa Monica, the salty air filling your lungs, feeling just the right balance of humidity with each breath, the sights and sounds of Los Angeles, or maybe I’ll see your people, live the world you had once described to me- I might even get to go to one of your shows. And maybe it might even be better than it ever was, after all we’ve only known each other for an hour.
Looking in hindsight at the events of 9/11 and how our country has reacted to what occurred that day and what events unfolded the following years, I questioned so many decisions, so many votes on legislation we’d go back and regret. Sometimes I’d wonder why certain ideas and choices were ever considered, but after seeing that day not from the monolithic towers but from the eyes of the people I think I finally came close to a clearer understanding.
On September 11, 2001 I was four years old, asleep in my bed while across the country two planes would crash into the World Trade Center before bringing both buildings to the ground, another plane would crash into the Pentagon, and another would crash in a field in Pennsylvania. I’ve always had a complicated relationship with school assemblies remembering the tragedy of that day. Never was I able to comprehend how much that day changed this country and its people. I’d bow my head in silence, but only out of respect, only because I was told it was what I should do. Years later I asked my parents where they were that day, and their nonchalant answers only served to increase the confusion and conflict I had within myself. We had no family or personal connection to that area, so I marked that day as another tragedy, just another one for the history books.
The Newseum in Washington D.C. offers an exhibit on the news coverage of 9/11 where they show news footage that stations played that day. It was scenes that I’d seen before, but I felt different watching them this time. Earlier that week, I’d watched a video from a vlogger about how 9/11 was the scariest day of his life. He described that day in a way I’d never heard before. Biking past the carnage he could see EMTs hurriedly throwing covers over bodies, sometimes whole, sometimes not. Even though the bodies were covered, red would seep out from under them destroying any illusion the covers provided. He described it like a scene from a post-apocalyptic movie, and I guess for a lot of people it was. Walking out of the Newseum exhibit there was a box of tissues provided, I could understand why.
I could understand why people called for war.
I could understand why the repercussions of our actions weren’t so clear to us.
I could understand why we scared so easily.
But it was visiting the 9/11 Memorial that really brought the events of that day to a different scale for me. The memorial at the Pentagon is made up of benches inscribed with the names of the victims separated by age. The direction with which someone looks at the name indicates whether they worked for the Pentagon or if they were on the plane. The first bench people see belongs to three year old Dana Falkenberg. She was even younger than me that day. The next three benches belonged to a group of middle school students heading to a geography contest, and as I looked at their names I realized just how clueless everyone there was to such a monumental event in American history. To them, September 11 was just the day they were flying in to visit family. To them, September 11 was the day of those kids’ competition. To them, September 11 was just another day in the calendar until it wasn’t.
It was the complete ignorance of what would unfold for them that day that gets me every time. They weren’t signaled of their death like Billy was by the Tralfamadorians. The weather report called for blue skies that day.
Overheard at the 9/11 Memorial, “It’s one thing to kill another country’s soldiers, but they were civilians…”
Even in the practice of war there are rules, and the death of innocent bystanders suddenly makes the act of war even bloodier than it already is to us. I guess it's the unexpectedness of it, the assumption that these people didn’t sign up for it, but do any of us really do? We honor the soldiers that die in battle, lay flags over their deathbeds, and call them brave, but what about the ones that survive? What about the ones that are dead with beating hearts? Occasionally, I’ll visit the Veterans housing in Monrovia to see what volunteer work or supplies they need. I’ve seen people who’ve struggled with alcoholism and PTSD after the war try and try again to pick up their lives. It’s hard to do that, though, when you’ve spent the past few months or years risking it.
Even after all of this I go back to that imagery of those bodies covered with tarps, and people screaming as the towers go down. The images make it look like a warzone. Our home, a warzone. So we get angry and scared, demand to find out who did this, and do something to make them just as angry and scared as we were. In his iconic speech, John Stewart would talk about how 9/11 brought Americans together to heroic displays of sacrifice and bravery, but that would only ring true for who the country would later define as *Americans*. Numerous Muslim-Americans would go on to be discriminated against, yelled at, told that the country they called home no longer welcomed *them*.
Home of the free, land of the brave.
The statistics of a tragedy do a poor job of illustrating the devastation of its impact. We could compare numbers for years, but I don’t think we could ever come to the conclusion of what tragedy was the most tragic. 2,977 people died that day due to the events of 9/11. Others died that day for other reasons, but I’m sure their deaths were no less tragic to their families. So while we balk at the deaths of civilians, we do so as nearly 70% of all people who have died in Iraq since the invasion to May 2014 were civilians. At least 133,000 were estimated to have been killed by direct violence, but I would be disrespecting their loss by measly stating the significance of their deaths simply because it was a larger amount. Life isn’t a numbers game.
Especially with the advent of drones, which allows the U.S. to lower the risks of American lives, we shouldn’t allow ourselves the luxury of not thinking about the impact drones have. Zubair Rehman is a young Pakistani boy that testified on national television about how drones killed his grandmother. Drones tend not to fly out in dark, dreary days, but when it’s clear and sunny the drones come out. He says he is afraid of blue, clear days. Is it fair that we can sit at home and relax on a sunny day, while a young boy is afraid of the sky? These questions are uncomfortable, but most of the time it’s these questions that are the ones worth asking.
I’ve talked a lot about the cultural divide between soldiers and civilians, and people of different countries, but the barriers by which we build around ourselves exist in our own neighborhoods. Watching the news last week, I saw that they had a special talking about the anniversary of the shooting at UCSB. That same day a 20 year old man had been shot and killed in Downtown L.A. due to gang violence. I doubt there will be an anniversary special for him. The phrase “college student” imbues the death of those victims with a sense of wasted ambition and promise that the death of the “20 year old man” didn’t convey. I see my brother, a 21 year old just graduating college, and even I can still see the cracks in his façade of a “man.” That man was really just a boy. Even though in certain neighborhoods boys grow up to become men much too soon, we don’t see the potential in them. We don’t call them fresh-faced or the loss of a potential world leader. We chalk it up to the reality of where they come from.
Their home is not our home, but the fences that we build around us shouldn’t obstruct our vision.
We shouldn’t just peer over when the grass is greener.
We all live under the same blue sky.
I don’t know who I am. But there is one person in this world who does.
I am terrified for next year. All of the advice people try and share with me rolls off of my brain. I can’t handle the pressure of college, hell I don’t want to go to college.
Coming to Arcadia High School was, I thought, the most difficult transition of my life.
I have a best friend. She is my everything. We don’t do anything without each other. And now we have to. The journey that we will embark on will change our relationship. Either tear us apart, or cause us to grow closer together. And if it tears us apart we will go down kicking and screaming with blood and tears because we shaped each other. We influenced, advised, and taught each other everything we know.
I've heard it said,
That people come into our lives
For a reason
Bringing something we must learn.
And we are led to those
Who help us most to grow if we let them.
And we help them in return.
Well, I don't know if I believe that's true
But I know I'm who I am today
Because I knew you.
No matter how bad we screw up, we always come back to one another. That’s what best friends do.
The years of our friendship goes as follow;
Year 1-4: We are the most adorable group of friends. We were all in the same neighborhood, and so we naturally congregated to each other. Her family introduced me to most of the friends that I have now.
Year 5: Fifth grade, and we get in the biggest fight of our friendship. I accused her of having a crush on my brother, and she flat out denied it. We didn’t talk for an entire month, until we were caught dancing together at our promotion party.
Year 6-8: We stayed close friends with two other girls who eventually moved on to private school. She got her first boyfriend, and I hated him with all of my guts. He was the worst.
Year 9-11: We have a rollercoaster relationship with more ups than downs. She broke up with her boyfriend, we got in a fight (several times), we made up (several times), We finished Junior year of high school.
Year 12 (This year): There isn’t anyone in the world that I would rather spend my days with. I love her to the moon and back because she is basically my sister. Earlier this year, she moved out of our neighborhood, but it proved to us that distance will never be an issue to our friendship.
Who can say if I've been changed for the better
But because I knew you.
I have been changed for good.
All of the decisions I have made have been based off of what she might think of them. Luck never comes into play in my life. I have to work hard and earn everything, and I always do that with my best friend at my side.
Leaving Arcadia High School will be the most difficult transition of my life.
Leaving her will be the death of one of us.
I don’t know who I am.
But she does.
Moral (n.) - a person's standards of behavior or beliefs concerning what is and is not acceptable for them to do.
Morals seem to be stretched all the time, always having to suddenly become flexible because they conflict with something that life throws at us. I personally have felt like I have had to make my morals stretch when people that I care about continuously do things that I consider to be wrong. I will try to excuse their actions by telling myself that what they have done really isn’t so bad. I think whether or not I would follow an immoral law would depend on the punishment for not abiding by it. If we lived in a society like Winston Smith did in 1984, I would most certainly follow the law. A rule should be bent if it prevents individuals from being who they really are. People will often bend their morals for those that they love, and I am admittedly part of that large crowd. It is difficult to hold them responsible for their actions when you are aware of the great things that they are capable of.
Culture (n.) - the beliefs, customs, arts, etc., of a particular society, group, place, or time.
When I think of myself culturally, it is based on my racial make up. I am mixed; my mother is Taiwanese and my father is German-Swiss and English. Because of this, I have experienced a lot of different lifestyles and gotten to observe many cultures. My memories are what make me who I am today - and the ones I have of family gatherings and dinners are very positive. They have always been great opportunities to catch up with the group of people that I’m pretty much stuck with for life. I think I will keep some of my parents’ values for myself in the future, but I have adapted many of them to fit myself better. Every individual is brought up differently, I’m sure that I didn’t turn out exactly how my parents dreamt their children would be when they were younger. And I know that my children won’t be perfect either, but I will do my best to see that they are brought up to be great people.
When considering the relationships and connections I currently have in my life, it surprises even me when I realize how many of them I could do without, or simply couldn’t do without. I realize that after graduation, those acquaintances that say hi to me in the hallways will simply fade into my past. This makes me appreciate those moments more - before we all go our separate ways, I’m enjoying getting to live in the moment. Yet, I have been given the gift of relationships that have fought through and through to be what they are today. I have a good amount of friends that I have had the pleasure of knowing since elementary and middle school. When I think about the very beginning of these friendships, I can never exactly pinpoint when they started, but I know that they were life changing moments that continue to impact my life today. Personally, I value my middle school friends a lot simply because middle school is a rough phase - I can’t possibly imagine people voluntarily dealing with me at that time, but they did it. In high school, a lot of my friendships became more about helping each other out rather than getting involved in arguments and drama like when we were younger. It is proof that we all are really growing up - and we will continue to do so.
“Many laws as certainly make bad men, as bad men make many laws.” - Walter Savage Landor
I do not consider myself libertarian, or transcendentalist, or an anarchist, or any other “-ist” for that matter, but I do firmly believe in the concept of civil disobedience. Whether we like it or not, bad laws are a side effect of every government, and following those bad laws only enables them. This, of course, creates debate on what makes a law “bad” exactly, where it begins and where it ends. I don’t have those answers. I can’t tell people which laws to follow and which not to follow, but the overall concept of not following certain laws in protest is certainly a sound one. Even in the The Next Generation, a seemingly utopian future, laws sometimes needed to be broken for the greater good. Captain Picard, violated the Prime Directive, which is more or less the single most important law in the entire Federation, a total of nine times. Nine. This doesn’t include all of the “lesser” laws it was necessary to break throughout the series, because no law, no matter how elaborate or well intentioned, can account for every possibility.
I was born and spend much of my childhood in Armenia, a place with some very bad laws. Then we moved here, and I remember experiencing a bit of a culture shock, not only because of how different everything was, but also how similar. I moved 12 timezones away to discover that people, despite different cultures, races, languages, norms, and so on and so forth, were really just people. Strip away the cosmetics, and there is actually very little difference between a kid from Armenia, and a kid from Arcadia. That’s why, when people ask me whether I identify as Armenian or American, I don’t have an answer for them. Cause really, it’s neither. I don’t think of myself as American. I don’t think of myself as Armenian. I just think of myself as me. I’ve talked to people from dozens of countries, and most of them weren’t all that different. Cultures differ, customs differ, people stay the same.
While I don’t believe that we should entirely discard old customs and traditions in favor of assimilation, people should remember that the past is just that. The past. Traditions are nice until the start clashing with the present, or sometimes even just plain common sense. A sort of melting pot unity is possible, and diversity, actual real diversity with people of all colors, sizes, backgrounds, and socio-economic backgrounds living together, is the optimal state for humanity. It’s hard to hate the poor when one’s close friend is poor. It’s hard to hate different races when one is surrounded by different races. Hate is bred through ignorance, so it stands to reason hate can be fought with exposure and education.
Myth/Sci-fi- Period 3
June 9, 2015
After living several years in United States, I found it was easy to distinguish people from different culture. Although people get into a big melting pot, they exist in there by distinct cultural identification. People from western civilization are easy mix Chinese, Japanese and Korean together. We have a common name, which is Asian. Nevertheless, I think several features makes me stand out as a Chinese. The culture and tradition give more meaning within my identification.
First, the most significant aspect is our language. Living outside of my country, people who can speak my mother language can always comfort me. Although it seems a little bit weird, people who can speak same language as you really provide a sense of secure. The feeling is essentially strong when you go abroad. Sometimes, I may join a class, where no one can speak Chinese except a few. I can easily become good friend with them. As a bilingual, fluent Chinese speaking is not only the skill can make high paying, but also the bridge to connect you with people have same situation. Some simple Chinese speaking is best way to find out who are your fellow countryman out of those people who have yellow skin and black hair.
Second, the tendency of forming groups is also a cultural identity we have. When I travel around Arcadia, Temple city, San Gabriel and Monterey Park, I can see a lot of store with Chinese signboard. In United States, it is the heaven for Chinese speaking people. Monolingual for Chinese can live these China town without stress. Actually, they can get Chinese assistant or expert in every aspect of their life in these cities. However, you can barely see China town like these out of the boundary of these cities. Chinese “rule” these cities, though they cannot get out of their comfort zone. Chinese in United States intend to get together, but just a few of us have the will of stepping out of our groups. I think this is the why people think Chinese cannot integrate into American communities. However, this is what our culture make us. It make us find relief when we get out of our country, but this is really a way distinguish Chinese people from other group of people. This is also make makes up my cultural identity.
In fact, I have thought about so many different aspects of our cultural identity. These two factors stand out because they really make me a “cultural me.” By saying this, I use language to distinguish myself from any other people. The tendency of forming groups give me a sense of belonging. Both of them create the most part of myself. My culture endow me with a these quality. They affect my decision and life. In this way, they make me “me.”
I wish so badly that I could say I am culturally similar to my relatives. I told my mother the first time she ever took me to Ethiopia that I wish she had given birth to me in America but then taken me back to Ethiopia to raise me. I just wanted to be born in America for the rights that we have, but culturally I would much rather be Ethiopian than American, hands down. I have nothing personally against America, I love America because it has been my home for 18 years and counting, however I don’t feel a connection to it and that is most likely because my family and relatives are not at all connected to it. I wish that I had more Ethiopian culture in me so that I could feel a connection to a country.
It always astonishes me when people do certain things out of loyalty to their nation. I do not feel that kind of connection and faith in any place. My father, however, does feel that kind of loyalty to Ethiopia. Back home, he had gone to jail many times while rioting, marching, and doing whatever he saw fit to help his country and the people in it.
Whenever I go back home, I see all of my cousins who speak fluently not only one of the Ethiopian dialects but two or three. I for one can only understand one of the dialects and barely speak it. I see them wear the beautiful cultural dresses and pants to different events and meanwhile I do not even own any of those clothes.
Over winter break, someone asked me if I would ever consider moving to Ethiopia. Honestly I had never considered it before so at the time my immediate thought was “definitely not!” But when I said that to them they asked me why not and I couldn’t think of a legitimate reason other than, “I love California too much.” I thought about it days after we had that conversation and truthfully I would love to move to Ethiopia, build a family there, and have kids who would be cultured and feel a connection to their country. There are so many beautiful things about the Ethiopian culture that I want my children to know. I want them to know all of the music, the dances, have the clothes, speak the languages, read and write in the languages, and actually be able to feel like they are Ethiopian instead of just saying it because their parents are, like me.
However, it is not just about the clothes and the languages because I know that the two times I went to Ethiopia I felt a rush of love for the country and I definitely felt like it was MY country. I also get to know it more whenever I spend time with my cousins, so I know that it is still possible for me to connect to Ethiopia and I definitely want to be fully cultured when I have children to make sure that they can be as well.
I hope that my children will be able to identify as Ethiopian not simply because of the fact that they are, but because they actually love it and want to be Ethiopian. I definitely will follow in my parents’ footsteps by taking my children to Ethiopia multiple times if I don’t end up living there. Physically going to Ethiopia is far superior to just hearing about it and talking to relatives who live there. There is a feeling of gratification that comes with being constantly with family and being surrounded by people of the same culture as you. I want nothing more than to feel that feeling as many more times as i can and to grant my children with those feelings.
Music has been a huge part of my life. Growing up, I was constantly surrounded by music and I loved it. From singing to dancing to playing an instruments, it was a hobby that I loved. Playing the piano truly defines me because I have always associated with it as piano associated with me.
I started playing piano at the mer age of 2 and it has always been with me til this very day. I have spent countless number of hours, practicing and going to competitions, recitals and performances.My parents have put in so much money and time to get me to pass each ad every level until I finally completed the last level. Piano has made my life so much better and I have cherished this knowledge I have for piano but at first it was a love hate relationship.
when I first started, I hated it so much. I dreaded the practices, grew impatient with it many times, and had lots of jealousy for other kids who could play outside or go on vacations during the summer while I had to stay home a practice or prepare for upcoming events. My fingers were always wearing and I will always remember practicing so much one day that at dinner I could barely hold my chopsticks to eat. There was always this constant struggle between me wanted to make everything in the piece perfect but at the same time, I was so tired and I just wanted to relax and just forget about piano. But of course, regardless of these struggles, I fought on. I went through with every single year, with pain, agony, and happiness.
The happiest day then finally came. It was the summer between 6th and 7th grade that the day of my final testing had come for my last level. I was struggling so hard with my pieces but my theory was perfect. I had memorized every term and composer needed to know, I had all my technique down and I was prepared. The results had come back and I had failed my theory. I was so devastated, I spent the whole day just bawling my eyes out and not wanting to do anything. After all the tears and agony, I got my strength together and fought to retake it the year after. The dreaded day then finally came and I went through with the test with my fingers crossed and my heart tight. The results came 3 days later, and with shaking hands, I opened the manila folder. I had passed!! And not only did I pass, but I had gotten a perfect score and the highest remarks a pianist could get. I was so happy I just sat on my drive way and wept tears of joy. All the practice and the struggle that I had gone through, I had pulled through and finished strong. That day we celebrated and the next week afterwards, I got my certificate stating that I could teach and that I was finished. Beginning of freshman year of high school, I then started to teach piano and to this day I am still teaching piano.
Playing the piano really helped me a lot in ways that I didn’t even know about. It taught me to preserve and to not give up just because you failed once. It taught me that it's okay to fail, because it happens and the right thing to do is to brush yourself off and to do it again. Piano will always and forever be in my life and I am beyond grateful that my parents have put me through it so I could finish so strong at the end.
Yo Forrest not sure if your going to read this but if you do you have my thanks. Fun way of putting what culture meant to you. Also putting Los Angles as a topic was really cool just because I personally really like Los Angles, and the cultures that are present. Hope you get the chance to keep writing like this when you get in to college.
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