Monday, April 6, 2020

Biography: Graduation Postponed

"Graduation Ceremonies. The ceremonies are postponed....." This was what I read in an email from the OU Interim President, Joseph Harroz, and a tiny tear slowly went down the side of my face. I was not going to have a graduation. Sadness filled my heart as I prayed, yelled for my parents to tell them the news, phone called my big sister, and started texting my friends. It was ironic because one of my Portfolio stories talked about graduation. It mimicked how I felt towards graduation as it said, "The constant long nights of studying, the thirty-plus pages of lab reports, and the anxiety-filled time during test preparation always seemed worth it, as long as they were able to enter the Maturing Forest for their own graduation." I felt that as long as I got to cross that stage, all my hard work would feel validated. However, my reality was that I was not actually going to have a physical graduation.

It sucked. 

There was really no other way to describe the situation. I found it very important to acknowledge how I felt about the entire situation. However, this was different than dwelling in the feeling. I had to acknowledge that I was sad and the situation sucked, because my feeling are valid. However, I did not dwell in it too long or else I could find myself in a bad place.

More so, there were definitely bigger concerns around the world that I began to be thankful for what I did have. I also began to look at my situation with a new perspective. I am stuck at home with my parents for a couple of weeks. I used to say, "I peaked in high school." While since I have said this, I have found college to be another great peak, I realized this was a time for me to live my life in a way like I was in high school. I realized what I enjoyed about high school and they were: (1) Spending time with my family; (2) Playing the piano; (3) Dancing ballet. Therefore, I thought it would be great time in my life to implement these three activities in order to feel like I have "peaked" again. 

Overall, graduation was postponed. As a senior, this was hard to hear. However, in a time where we cannot control much in this world pandemic, we can control our attitude. 

Oh, how I miss campus! 
(The above image is of the building I spent most of my senior year at.)

Author's Note:
In my biography story, I wanted to describe an event in my life when I expected things to go one way, but instead they went in a very different way as I expected. I wrote it in past tense because I wanted to show reflection on the situation as I have learned valuable lessons. I wrote it in first person because I wanted to acknowledge my feelings through the process. I wrote this story because I found that there were many lessons to it and it is a good reminder for my readers, including me in the future, that we can only focus on what we can control, and that is our attitude on any situation - even situations where unexpected events happen. 

Reading Notes: Jataka Tales, Part B

by Ellen C. Babbitt
The Wise and Foolish Merchant
  • Lesson #1: Don't trust people so easily.
    • Personal note: I feel that it is good to have faith in people. People are born good. However, there might be people who want to purposely trip you and that is when we have to be cautious. Trust your gut.
  • Lesson #2: The good, observant being always wins. 
    • We must always remember to look outside of ourselves and recognize what is going on around us. 
The Elephant Girly-face
  • Lesson: We tend to listen to those around us. So, surround yourself with those who make you better and guide you in a good direction. 
The Banyan Deer
  • Lesson: Others before self. 
    • My favorite quote is "People change people: How can 'us' help 'them?'" This tale is a representation of how one king deer helped out another deer in need. 
    • Personal note: Also, I have recently been watching the news a lot as I practice social distancing. I have watched a lot of Chris and Andrew Cuomo and I watched a video honoring their late father, Mario Cuomo. He taught people that one is defined by how they take care of others. I think this correlates very well to the tale. 
The Princes and the Water-Sprite
  • Lesson: Know what the good do and also be kind.
The King's White Elephant
  • Lesson: We should always help each other.
The Ox Who Never Envied the Pig
  • Lesson: With patience comes good things.
    • Personal note: Sometimes, we want to rush things, in order to get to the finish line or the top faster. However, we all have our individual path. We must be patient. 
    • Sometimes rushing things will lead us in dangers places.
Grannie's Blackie
  • Lesson #1: Recognize the constants in your life.
  • Lesson #2: Do not forget to thank those who have helped you. (Thank others in the way you deem appropriate for the situation.)
  • Lesson #3: There is greatness in a life of simplicity. 
The Crab and the Crane
  • Lesson #1: Analyze your safety in any situation. 
  • Lesson #2: Take precautions for your safety. 
Why the Owl is Not King of the Birds
  • Lesson: If you try to knock another from the top in order to get there yourself, neither one of you will win. 

This image is from the Jataka tale "Grannie's Blackie." This tale was my favorite from Jataka Tales, Part B. Even though it is not a lesson in the forefront of the tale, I felt that the life Grannie and Blackie lived were simple, and that there is strength in simplicity. Grannie and Blackie really were the best of friends and really loved each other, even if it was never said, it was inferred through their actions. I want to live a life like this. 

Bibliography: Jataka Tales, Part B. Author: Ellen C. Babbitt. Illustrator: Ellsworth Young. 1912.

Reading Notes: Jataka Tales, Part A

by Ellen C. Babbitt
The Monkey and the Crocodile
  • The Monkey outsmarted the Crocodile. 
  • The Crocodile believed everything that the Monkey told him. 
    • Lesson: One should not believe everything that is told to him/her.
How the Turtle Saved His Own Life
  • The Turtle outsmarted those who were about to kill him through reverse psychology. 
    • A proposed way to kill the turtle would actually save the Turtle. So, the Turtle complained about that specific way of "killing" him. Therefore, the men "killed" the Turtle in that way and the Turtle lived.
    • Lesson: Reverse psychology works (sometimes).
The Merchant of Seri
  • Lesson: Greedy people never win. 
  • The grandma was the sweetest in this story. She would give up her only physical remembrance of her late husband to make her granddaughter happy with a gift. 
  • The greedy merchant said that her bowl was not worth much at all. 
  • The kind merchant said it was worth more than everything he had combined. 
    • The kind merchant got the golden bowl.
The Turtle Who Couldn't Stop Talking
  • Lesson #1: We have to know when we should keep our mouth shut. 
    • My thoughts: Every person has a voice. We have the right to use our voice to speak our minds and to make positive change in this world. However, if what we will use our voices for will insult another, we should keep our mouth shut. (Insulting another did not happen in this tale; however, it is a reason why we should keep our mouth shut.) However, I would like to point out there is a difference between keeping one's mouth shut to prevent someone's feelings from getting hurt and keeping one's mouth shut to not insult another.
  • Lesson #2: Don't listen to other people mocking you. Be you.
    • Children were mocking the Turtle which caused him to open his mouth.
The Ox Who Won the Forfeit
  • Lesson: Be kind. Even if you are in a higher position than another, still, be kind. 
The Sandy Road
  • Lesson: Don't every give up. 
The Quarrel of Quails
  • Lesson: When find strength in working with each other.
The Measure of Rice
  • Lesson: Honesty is the best policy.
The Foolish, Timid Rabbit
  • Lesson #1: Do not automatically assume. Check the facts first.
  • Lesson #2: One cannot believe everything they hear. 

The image above is from the World Health Organization's website. During this time of the COVID-19 pandemic affecting our entire Earth, we need to find strength in working with each other, rather than against. The story of the Quarrel of the Quails reminded me of this lesson. 
This link provides other tips to help us during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic from the World Health Organization. 

Bibliography: Jataka Tales, Part A. Author: Ellen C. Babbitt. Illustrator: Ellsworth Young. 1912.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Week 9 Story: A Day in Our Lives: Warrior Training

ALL ON SCREEN: Hi! What's up guys! We're the Pandavas and welcome back to our channel! Before we begin please hit that subscribe button and turn on the bell button to receive notifications every time we post, or just come back every Sunday because we post weekly! As you can tell by the title of this video, today we are going to have old school warrior training! We are going to take you along our vlog! So without further ado, let's get on with the video.

(Video cuts to the training.)

YUDHISHTHIR: Hi guys! So we are here at the training ground. All five of us are here with our trainer, Drona. It's a beautiful day so we are very excited to begin. Drona is a bit late, he texted me saying that he is bringing my chariot so I can begin learning how to ride it. Anyway, it should be here any minute, but until then, let's check up on the twins!

(Video cuts to the twins in control of the camera.)

NAKUL: Hiii!

SEHDEV: Hello hello! We have our swords right here!! Ba bam!

NAKUL: I think they are pretty cool. If you look closely you can see our names engraved on it.  Drona just arrived and he saw us having a mock battle. He says we are naturals with the sword.

SEHDEV: I mean twin telepathy brought to the warrior stage?? Come on! That's legit bro! I think being twins helps us become better swordsmen because I feel like I know what you are going to do.

(Video cuts to Bheem in control of the camera.)

BHEEM: What's up guys! Glad to bring you along to our training. I just came from our home gym and it was arm day, so I worked on triceps and biceps. All of us workout at the gym but we have different routines each day. If you want to see what we all do for our workouts, like how many reps we do and what machines we use, comment down below! Let us know what you want to see from us next! Anyway, today I am using the mace. I am glad that I went to the gym right before this because using this mace will require great strength.

(Video cuts to Arjuna in control of the camera.)

ARJUNA: What. Is. Up. Ahhhhh hope you guys are have a beautiful day! If not I hope this video is making you smile even just for a little. Today, as my brothers have said we are having warrior training! I have picked the art of archery, and my bow and arrow just came in a few days ago. I think archery is just as much a mental sport as it is physical, so that is why I chose to tackle the art. It will be a challenge for me so it will be that more rewarding at the end. 

(Video cuts back to Yudhishthir in control of the camera.)

YUDHISHTHIR: Look at this!! Its my chariot! It has arrived! Dude I am so excited to ride this thing, but for now let us cut to a training montage of all of us!

(Training montage of each brother is inserted into the video.)

ALL ON SCREEN: Aaaaaand we are back! We hope you enjoyed today's video! We just wanted to do a vlog since we haven't uploaded one in a while. We know all the weapons we trained with are a bit old school, but we thought it would be fun just to test it out! Hope you guys enjoyed! If you did, please give this video a thumbs up and comment down below which one of our weapons you would want to train with? Or if you have trained with any of these weapons, let us know your tips and tricks with your way around the weapon! Aaaaaand thanks for watching! We will see you guys next time! Bye!

This image represents where the Pandavas uploaded their vlog. YouTube is the prime location for creators to have a channel and post content they see fit. 

Author's Note:
So we are still in quarantine. Today marks my fifteenth day either at my home or only at a one mile radius from it to get some fresh air. During my time in quarantine, I have spent a lot of time on YouTube! Currently, I am hooked on watching the Merrell Twins (who I totally recommend watching)! Therefore, for my story this week, I turned it into a YouTube channel. I think it represents my life right now, similar to others, where we are working from home. So this story is a combination of YouTube and Epics of India. I based off the story over the warrior training the Pandavas got from Drona, but it is set in our time rather than centuries ago. Each of brothers has a specific weapon they excel using and I just wanted to bring that out in this story. 

Bibliography: Mahabharata Videos, Part B. By Epified Authors.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Extra Credit Reading Notes: Epified: Mahabharata Videos, Part B

By: Epified Authors
  • Kunti had a past before marriage with Pandu. 
    • She had a son given to her by the sun god. 
    • She left their son at the river since she was unmarried. 
  • In the present time, Pandu took his two wives and departed for the forest.
    • In his arrogance, Pandu shot an intimate hermit couple.
    • So, the hermit cursed Pandu saying that he will die the moment he tries to become intimate.
    • Kunti then told Pandu that she was able to call on any god and bear their child. So Pandu told Kunti to bear the heirs of Hastinapur. 
  • Kunti called Yama first, the god of truth and death. 
    • Their son was Yudhishthir, who would keep calm in the heat of battle.
  • Kunti then called to Vayu, the wind God. 
    • Their son, Bheem, was very strong and courageous. 
  • Kunti then called Indra, the king of the Devas.
    • Their son, Arjuna, will become one of the greatest warriors.
  • Kunti summoned the ashwin twins for Madri, Pandu's other wife.
    • Madru bore two beautiful sons, Nakul and Sehdev.
  • These five sons became the Pandavas. 
  • Pandu died because he forced himself on Madri, and Madri decided to die too. 
  • Gandhari was jealous of Kunti having children.
  • Ghandhari became pregnant with Dhritarashtra's child, but she bore something lifeless. 
    • Through Ved Vyasa, someone who was like a sage, Ghandhari transformed the lifeless thing into 100 sons. 
    • The eldest son, Duryodhana, along with the other 99 sons, look evil and terrifying to everyone besides their blinded or blindfolded parents. 
  • Kunti and the Pandavas came back to the kingdom of Hastinapur.
  • Duryodhana was filled with jealousy and hated the Pandavas, as they were loved by everyone else. 
    • Duryodhana especially was jealous of Bheem.
  • Duryodhana tricked the Pandavas to go to a lakeside retreat. There, he induced the Pandava's food with sleep-inducing herbs. 
    • When Bheem was deep in slumber, Duryodhana tied his hands and feet and pushed Bheem into the lake. 
  • Bheem, still unconscious in the water, was attacked by snakes. 
    • As the son of Vayu, Bheem woke up and fought the snakes until the snakes tried to help Bheem escape from the water.
    • Bheem landed in a kingdom, deep in the water, and was greeted by their ruler that gave Bheem a magic potion, since he liked him. 
    • This potion made Bheem even stronger and equipped him to fight anything or anyone that comes after him or his Pandva brothers.
  • Bheem returns home and has no recollection on how he landed in the water, so Duryodhana stayed silent. 
  • Bhishma wanted his grandsons to be men of war. 
    • Drona appeared in the lives of Bhishma and his grandsons and he would help them become warriors. 
  • Drona recognized and further developed the talents of the boys.
    • Yudhishthir was an excellent charioteer.
    • Nakul and Sehdev were great swordsmen.
    • Bheem was evidently the strongest and chose the mace as his weapon and could even defeat adults.
    • Arjuna became the perfect warrior. He could use any weapon with ease. The art he chose was archery, as it was the discipline of the mind.
  • Drona's son and Arjuna was picked by Drona to use weapons that controlled all elements. 
    • Arjuna soon found out that Drona's main purpose for seeking their kingdom and training them was for vengeance. 
  • Arjuna ran into an extremely precise archer in the forest named Ekalavya. 
    • Ekalavya told Arjuna that Drona was his teacher. 
    • Turns out, in the past Drona had dismissed Ekalavya from being his pupil, which triggered Ekalavya to train hard to become a great hunter/archer. 
  • Drona asked Ekalavya to cut off his right thumb, and Ekalavya did so.
    • Drona took no pleasure in ending the legend that could have been Ekalavya. 
This image is from Mahabharata Episode 11 - Sons of Pandu from Mahabharata Videos, Part B. I felt that Part B at its core, revolved around the Pandavas; therefore, I felt that it would be appropriate to use an image that has the Pandavas. The five sons in this image are the Pandavas. 

Bibliography: Mahabharata Videos, Part B. By Epified Authors.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Reading Notes: Epified: Mahabharata Videos, Part A

By: Epified Authors
  • The Mahabharata is a story of karma. 
  •  Shantanu fell in love with Ganga, a river goddess. 
    • Ganga agreed to be Shantanu's wife if he never questioned her.
    • Shantanu agreed.
    • Ganga drowned their first seven babies.
    • Shantanu did not question Ganga until the eighth baby. 
    • Ganga was trying to free spiritual lives that were reincarnated in the eight sons. 
    • Ganga was questioned so she took their last son and left.
  • Shantanu found his long lost son, named Devavrat, and brought him to his palace.
  • Shantanu fell in love again, but to a fisherman's daughter named Satyavati.
    • Satyavati would not marry Shantanu, because her father believed that Shantanu and his first wife's children would be prioritized. 
    • Shantanu did not argue and went home.
    • Devavrat noticed how sad his father was so he went to reason with the fisherman and his daughter, telling them he would not assume his father's throne.
    • The fisherman still did not approve of marriage.
    • Devavrat made a promise that shook the whole world: he vowed to never have any children. In this way, there would be no reason why Satyavati's children would not assume the throne.
    • Devavrat's name turned into Bhishma (he of the terrible oath). He took Satyavati to his father, where his father felt sad about Bhishma's oath.
    • However, Shantanu, for his son's kind intentions, let him decide when he should die. 
  • Bhishma cared for his two half brothers.
    • When one of the brothers died, Bhishma looked for a wife for the other brother. 
    • Bhishma kidnapped three sisters/princesses for his half-brother.
    • Bhishma began the cycle of his death.
  • The oldest princess, Amba, pleaded with Bhishma to let her love another king. She was sure that the other king loved her back and would take her in; but, the other king would not take her.
  • Amba pleaded with Bhishma to take her as his wife. 
    • Bhishma promised to not have any kids so he could not take her as his wife.
  • Amba placed full blame on Bhishma for ruining her life. So, she seeked ways to destroy Bhishma.
    • Only one, the former mentor of Bhishma, would fight Bhishma. They were so equally strong. Only when the mentor withdrew from the fight did Bhishma win.
    • This did not stop Amba from wanting to ruin Bhishma.
  • Bhishma's second half brother died, leaving his two wives both a widow and childless.
  • Satyavati was forced to tell Bhishma of her previous relationship where she bore a miracle child. 
    • The miracle child, Vyass, came to marry and bore the children of the two widows.
    • These two widows were scared of him for they thought he was unattractive.
  • Vyass bore a child with one of the widows when she closed her eyes; therefore, their son, Dhritarashtra, was blind.
  • Vyass bore a child with the other widow when she became weak and pale. Therefore, the son she bore, Pandu, was weak and pale. 
  • Saryavati sent Vyass to bore a child again with one of the widows. However, the widow sent a servant girl instead. This servant girl was not frightened at all, so the son she bore, Vidura, because one of the wisest in the land.
  • Bhishma raised these three boys.
  • A rivalry arose between Dhritarashtra and Pandu that Vidura noticed.
    • There were too many contenders for the throne of Hastinapur.
  • The eldest, Dhritarashtra, became king.
  • Pandu ruled the armies. 
  • It was known that Pandu was the true ruler even though his brother was titled as "king." 
    • Pandu ruled with the wisdom of his brother Vidura.
  • Bhisma seeked a wife for Dhritarashtra.
    • One girl agreed to marry Dhritarashtra and blindfolded herself to be blind too.
      • This outraged her brother, who was wise so he seeked revenge.
  • Pandu also married. He had two wives, Kunti and Madri.
    • Kunti had a secret which would cause more chaos. 
This image shows the overall theme of the Mahabharata. It is told in the beginning of this series of videos, that Karma is the theme that people recognize within the epic when they look closely.

Bibliography: Mahabharata Videos, Part A. By Epified Authors. 

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Biography: The Sweet Smell of Car Exhaust

Ahh, the strong smell of the gasoline exhaust of a car. Most may think that it is a disgusting smell that could trigger coughing. However, when I smell it, while I do think about the negative affect of the exhaust on our planet, I cannot help but think of home.

As I was walking out of my last final of Fall 2019, there was a car revving their engine. Out released a the scent of gas exhaust. As weird as it sounds, smelling this weird smell made me smile. Anytime my sister or I would smell the sweet smell car exhaust, we would always look at each other and say "Smells like the Philippines." While the Philippines has its own concerns regarding pollution, that is besides the point.

This happened a few days before I was to depart for vacation in the Philippines. Leading up to my departure, I had constant doubts for a few months about even wanting to go to the Philippines. I had not been there in such a long time (about 10 years) that I was nervous and was afraid my family there would make fun of me for whatever reason. I also was worried about not feeling like I belonged when I was with my family. However, when I smelled the gasoline exhaust from the passing car, I felt some sort of peace. It was like God was telling me that it was going to be okay - that seeing my family would be okay.

Shown in the image above are tricycles. This is a very common of transportation in the provinces of the Philippines. This is a cheap way for people to get from point A to B without walking. It is also provides a job for many. Depending on the provinces and the distance traveled, the cost of a single person to ride a tricycle differs. However, in non-touristy areas the cost to get to the center of the city from the outskirts is about 20 pesos ($0.40). There are many tricycles across the country which results in a smell of gas exhaust that you realize as walk around town. Therefore, this smell lead to the biography above. 

Author's Note:
Wow. Through writing this biography, I just realized a little bit more about myself and my feelings. I did not realize what the real reason I was afraid to go back to the Philippines until I just let myself write. Wow. I should write to myself more.
On another note, I have written a lot about the my birth country in this class. I just want to share some wonderful experiences I had there with the readers just so they have opportunity to learn about new place. In this biography I wanted to write a story prompted by a vivid memory of a smell. I wrote in the first person because I really dived into my feelings. I hope to read this in the future and smile.