Friday, February 21, 2020

Biography: My Favorite Vacation Memory

This is my first time back in the Philippines in about 10 years. Back in the province, life is very simple. I wake up around 5 a.m. (which is very different than my typical vacation wake=up time of 3 p.m.) and sleep around 9 p.m. I enjoy this type of lifestyle. Similar to every night, I go about my usual sleep routine. I sleep next to my lola (which means grandma) on the bed and my niece, aunt, and cousin sleep on the floor in the same room. My relatives are so kind that they would make sure that my immediate family and I got the beds. One night I suddenly felt my lola move. My lola is the stillest sleeper I know so I would be conscious of her movement so I can check up on her. As I am waking up I hear awful scream crying. I noticed that my 86 year-old lola is reaching for my 2 year-old niece who is wailing. My lola has 9 kids so I can see how alert she with taking care of babies. However, my lola has REALLY bad hearing. Her eardrums are almost completely broken, so I wondered how she heard Andrea (my niece). It is either God woke my lola up or I am a really deep sleeper. At this point, I am trying to grab my glasses. My eyesight is 800/10. That means my eyes are so bad that I am not part of of the 20 in "20/20" scale. What people with 20/20 vision can see in 10 800 feet, I can see in 10 feet. However, I could not find my glasses! I did not have time looking for them! I carry Andrea and I start to rock her. I look for my aunt and I could not find her. I look for my other aunt, but her location was unknown as well. I look for my sister. Of course, I could not find her either. Andrea is pointing at the kitchen. So I'm like oh she wants milk!! But she doesn't want milk after I gave her milk. She keeps saying "nameg." That is not a word in Tagalog, so I am very confused on what she means. She reaches for the freezer and tries to open it. I open the freezer door and she grabs a water-bottle from the freezer. She GULPS it down. I have never seen a 2-year-old chug water. Turns out she was meaning to say "lamig" which means cold, instead of "nameg." At this point. I. Still. Cannot. See. Clearly. I get closer to my lola who is trying fix up the house. I get as close to a clock as I can and see that it is 2 a.m. and I am so confused at where my family is. My lola is trying to turn on the electric fans, because we live in the province and most rooms do not have air-conditioning. Andrea is sweating so I can see why my lola was doing this. However, my lola did not have her cane. Then my lola pulls out the electric fan a little far where the cord is not resting on the floor. So at this point I'm thinking, "There is NO way I am going to have two year-old wailing and have my 86-year-old grandma trip over this cord while I cannot see clearly and I cannot find my family." So I  push back the electric fan and run, while carrying the toddler in my arms, and find my lola's cane. I gave it to my lola and told her to use it. FINALLY. Everyone is settled. My lola has her cane and stopped fixing the house at 2 a.m. and my niece stopped crying and chugging water. I bring them back to the room and lay my niece in the middle of me and my lola to prepare for bed again. All is well in the province.
Philippines (Image Source)

I used first-person in this story because I wanted to walk my audience through my experience. I wanted them to know my thoughts. I wanted them to feel the uncertainty that I felt as I experienced this memory. I also wanted to use present tense for this reason, because I wanted the audience to feel that worry I felt. I tried to tell a story that was fun and light-hearted looking back at it know, even if it was stressful during the moment. I feel like there are many moments like this in life - but if we look back at it with a good attitude, it can become some of our favorite memories.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Reading Notes: PDE Mahabharata, Part A

  • King Shantanu married Ganga. 
    • Ganga was a goddess assuming human form, but King Shantanu thought she was fully human. 
  • Ganga made the promise of casting her children into the Ganges river prior to assuming human form. 
    • Fufilling her promise, Ganga threw each of her and King Shantanu's children into the river.
    • Shantanu stayed silent as she did this to their first seven children; however, by the eighth child,l he became furious at Ganga for her action.
    • Ganga left Shantanu with their eight child because Shantanu yelled at her.
    • Ganga returned and gave back their son, Devavrata, to Shantanu.
  • Shantanu later fell in love with Satyavati. 
    • Satyavati was a human twin who was born from a fish. 
      • She was born from King Uparichara, who was the King of Chedi, when he was flying through the sky and his semen fell into the river which was swallowed by a female fish. 
      • A fisherman caught the fish and two children came forth - one boy and one girl.
      • When this was presented to the king, the king only took the boy. The girl, Satyavati, stayed with the fisherman and his wife.
      • Satyavati bore a child name Vyasa with the rishi Parashara. 
        • However, the rishi with his powers made Satyavati virgin againm even after the birth of their child.
        • Satyavati agreed to bore a child in order to have her fish smell replaced with a sweet fragrance. 
    • Shantanu and Satyavati married and had two sons Chitrangada and Vichitravirya.
  • Devavrata promised the father of Satyavati that he would not claim the throne after his father passed so that Satyavati's sons will become king. 
  • Chitrangada died soon after he assumed throne.
  • Vichitravirya assumed throne but needed to find a wife. 
  • Devavrata found Vichitravirya three wives: Amba, Ambika, and Ambalika. 
    • Amba left the kingdom to go to who she loved.
    • Ambika had a blind son, Dhritarashtra.
    • Ambalika had a pale son, Pandu.
  • Pandu assumed throne.
    • He had two wives, Kunti and Madri.
      • Kunti bore a child that she sent into the river.
    • Besides the son Kunti sent into the river, Pandu had 5 sons: Yudhishthira, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula, and Sahadeva. 
  • Pandu died and Madri followed along.
  • Dhritarashtra assumed throne and married Gandhari, who bore a hundred sons.
    • Their eldest son, Duryodhana, was born terribly crying so men told Dhritarashtra to kill him for it was a bad sign and the boy will turn evil.
  • The Pandavas (the five sons of Pandu) and Kauravas (decedents of Kuru) lived together in the kingdom but there was always tension between them. 
    • Leader of the Pandavas: Bhima.
    • Leader of the Kauravas: Duryodhana.
  • Duryodhana poisoned Bhima.
    • Bhima came back to life as the king of the nagas (or snakes).
  • Drona and Drupada were best friends that drifted apart. 
    • Drona was found by Bhishma to train the princes to fight and their fight would be agains Drupada.
  • After, many wanted to be trained by Drona. 
    • Drona welcomed everyone except Ekalavya, the son of the rajah of the robber Bhils.
  • Tournament between Bhima and the Pandavas versus Duryodhana and the Kauravas.
  • Drona with the princes fought Drupada.
  • Arjuna captured Drupada which angered Duryodhana.
    • Out of jealously Duryodhana planned on setting the palace on fire when the Pandavas and their mother was asleep.
This image is a cartoon representation of the jealousy Duryodhana has against Arjuna for capturing Drupada.

Bibliography: Public Domain Edition of the Mahabharata, Part A Multiple Authors from Various SourcesArnold, Besant, Devee, Dutt, Ganguli, Kincaid, Macfie, Mackenzie, Nivedita, Seeger, and Tagore

Friday, February 14, 2020

Week 5 Story: Dance with the Me

It was the finale. Brighter lights! More cameras! Glitter everywhere! Fifteen minutes until Clara and I will dance our samba out on the ballroom floor.

Suddenly, I heard snickering coming from behind curtains. Then, constant chimes were ringing ding-a-ding! ding-a=ding! My phone was blowing up - text messages, GroupMe notification, missed calls! What was going on?

On my phone, I found the same picture sent to me hundreds of times: Clara and Elliot dancing. I could not believe it. Elliot was our biggest dance competitor. However, here Clara was spilling all our choreography to him. Did she want me to look like a fool?

(10 minutes until "places!" are called.) Clara approached me and said that I looked weak. Me? Weak? There was no way. I retaliated against her and said, "I am as strong as a lion. However, you may think Elliot is stronger. Why don't you just dance with him for the competition? You already showed him our choreography for the competition anyway!"

Clara looked at me offended. Then confused. Then sad.

"What are you talking about?" said Clara.

"Oh don't play innocent to me, Clara. I have all the evidence I need." I said as I pulled out my phone with the picture of her and Elliot.

Once again, Clara looked confused as she looked at the picture and said, "I wasn't showing him anything. Jen was out sick that day and Elliot just needed someone to practice their choreography with. Plus, you know Elliot! You two were best friends in middle school. If you don't trust me, you should at least know Elliot and remember who he was to you."

I angrily walked away. Who was she to tell me about my past? What gives her any right?

(5 minutes until showtime.) I found two of my buddies behind a curtain. Ahhhh, these were the two I heard snickering earlier. One of them told me, "Did you see Clara and Elliot man?! Why do you even put up with Clara?"

The other said, "You could dance with anyone! Throw her to the curb."

I paced up and down the hall. I really had no time left. I had to dance with Clara right? I should believe her. I saw a picture of her and Elliot not a video. But then again what about everyone who texted me? What are they going to think? They obviously believe that Clara is a cheater. Why shouldn't I believe them? I am panicking. I did have, however, Clara's understudy to step in if I need a partner for the dance!

What should I do??

To be continued....

This image, I would like to imagine, is the photo that the main character sees of Elliot and Clara dancing.

Author's Notes:

  • My story is based of the film Sita Sings the Blues, Part B
  • Bibliography: Sita Sings the Blues, Part B by Nina Paley. Created 2008.
  • I based this story over the doubt Rama had over Sita's pureness. Rama had no proof to validate his suspicion. However, when his people doubted him as king because he would take in a woman who has been in the possession of another man, Rama banished Sita. 
  • I wanted to keep the classic triangle of Sita, Rama, and Ravana. However, in my story, I wanted to make it where the two guys are both nice. Ravana was obviously evil and as an audience member, I rooted against him. However, in this case both Elliot and the main character (name unknown) whose perspective we are looking at are both good guys. 
  • In the original story, Rama did not seem to give banishing Sita a second thought. However, in my story I wanted to incorporate the main character's deliberation between who to believe: "the others" or Clara. 

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Reading Notes: More Ramayana - Sita Sings the Blues, Part B

By: Nina Pale

These notes are over the film Sita Sings the Blues, Part B

  • Sita tells Rama that she is pregnant.
  • Rama's reaction to Sita telling him that she is pregnant results in him banishing Sita from the kingdom for two reasons:
    • 1.Rama lost the trust of his subjects when Rama took Sita back even if she has been in the possession of another man. 
    • 2. Rama still doubts of Sita's pureness.
      • In my opinion, it is wrong that Rama cares more about his reputation as seen by others rather than protecting his wife. I understand that Rama is seen as this perfect man who obeys and follows his "duty" as a king. However, isn't his "duty" to also love and protect his wife? If he keeps basing his actions on what his thinks other people would want him to do, then he has lost a lot of his own character. Speaking as an audience member, I think Rama should be a strong, independent man who disregards the small opinions of others that he cannot control. Furthermore, Rama from the start LOVES Sita, and it baffles me that he can change his thoughts so quickly.
  • A very pregnant Sita thinks about killing herself because she thinks it is bad karma that she lives a banished (by her husband) life.
    • However, Valmiki rescues her and Sita tells him the whole story.
  • Valmiki helps Sita give birth.
  • Sita gives birth to twins!! Her two sons are Lava and Kusha.
  • Valmiki teaches Sita's twins songs of praise about Rama.
  • Sita is still obsessed with Rama and she is still wanting to do anything or wait for so long for Rama. 
  • Rama goes into the forest and hears singing voices and finds out it is his sons singing.
  • Rama immediately invites his two sons to come back to the kingdom to rule alongside with him for many hears to come. 
  • However, Rama would not let Sita come back unless she proves her purity again.
    • In order to prove her purity, Sita calls on Mother Earth to take her back if she is pure. 
    • Mother Earth takes Sita and, therefore, Sita leaves Rama behind with a single tear.

The three above images may be a stretch to relate the 2020 film of "To All the Boys P.S. I Still Love You" to Ramayana; however, I feel like there is a connection. (SPOILER ALERT to the movie!) Rama throws Sita to the side when pretty much she served him no more good. Similarly, Lara Jean (female on the right in the third picture) throws John Ambrose (guy in the white tux) to the curb when she didn't need him anymore and thought she had something better elsewhere.

Bibliography: Sita Sings the Blues, Part B by Nina Paley. Created 2008.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Reading Notes: More Ramayana - Sita Sings the Blues, Part A

By: Nina Pale

These notes are over the film Sita Sings the Blues, Part A.  There is a great focus on Sita and I love that!
  • Rama is banished from his father's kingdom.
  • Sita said to Rama "If you go, I go."
  • Sita is head over heels for Rama. --> Even with no money, she is still thankful.
  • Rama defeats any threat to safety they have in the forest.
  • Ravana is king of Lanka who seems to be a really good guy. 
    • --> His only flaw is taking Sita away from Rama.
      • --> Taking Sita away from Rama is instigated by Ravana's sister, because she wanted to hurt Rama for killing their people and animals.
        • Ravana's sister convinces him by saying "Sita is the most beautiful woman in the world."
  • Sita is kidnapped by Ravana and he takes her to Lanka
  • Sita leaves a "trail" for people to find her by dropping her jewelry.
  • Hanunan's sole purpose is to help Rama.
    • -->Rama asks Hanunan to find Sita.
  • Sita stays under a tree in Lanka either:
    • weeping
    • worshiping Rama
    • rejecting Ravana over and over again 
  • Hanunan arrives to Lanka and searches for Sita.
    • --> As Hanunan looks for Sita, he also sets the kingdom of Lanka on fire.
    • --> Hanunan finds Sita but Sita does not go back to Rama with him because she wants Rama himself to find and rescue her.
      • Sita's want for this is perceived in different ways.
        • --> Her action is seen as a mistake.
        • --> Her action is seen as wanting to glorify Rama because he would be the one to save her and Rama could fight and defeat Ravana.
  • Rama organizes an army of half-monkey/half-human creatures to fight against Ravana's army to get back Sita.
  • Rama's army defeats Ravana's army.
  • Rama and Sita's first fight (or it seems to be the first) occurs:
    • However, Rama doubt Sita's purity because she has been in the kingdom of Ravana.
    • Sita is hurt and argues her purity.
    • Rama believes Sita through being convinced by a washerman.
    • So Rama believes Sita is pure and begs Sita to forgive him for doubting her.
    • Sita forgives Rama.
  • Sita is so happy they have made up. --> "No rainbow without rain."

Rama and Sita forgive each other after (what seems to be) their first fight.

Bibliography: Sita Sings the Blues, Part A by Nina Paley. Created 2008.

Learning Challenge: Deskercizes

As students and, in the future, as professionals (depending on our field of study), we will be sitting at a desk for loooooong hours. Personally, I know that in my profession, I will be sitting in front of a computer for big time blocks. Therefore, I wanted to learn about deskercizes that can help me keep blood flow through my body. I enjoyed the article Deskercise: 17 Exercises because it mentions an exercise that I always currently do sitting down: jogging my leg up and down. I did not know that this was an exercise! It definitely bothers some people, so I always stop when I become conscious that I am doing it. However, now that I know it is an exercise - there is no need for me to stop! Also, I really like the article 6 Yoga Exercises You Won't Be Embarrassed to Do at Your Desk. I love yoga so this article attracted my attention! My favorite pose was the Reverse Prayer Pose because firstly, I love to pray so this seemed fun, and secondly, I tried doing the pose and it was challenging. I love a good challenge!

Monday, February 10, 2020

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In my opinion, Winnie the Pooh is very wise with his big heart. Therefore, he depicts wisdom for me. (Image Source)