Friday, January 31, 2020

Extra Credit Reading Notes: PDE Ramayana, Part B

by Multiple Authors from Various Sources: M. Dutt, R. Dutt, Gould, Griffith, Hodgson, Mackenzie, Nivedita, Oman, Richardson, and Ryder.

Notetaking Strategy: Focus on One Character: Lakshmana
  • Personally, I think Lakshmana is an underrated character. He truly is a hero with great strength and love. This is first seen in Part A of PDE Ramayana when Lakshmana would not leave Rama's side when Rama was exiled; but, his Lakshmana's character further evolves in Part B and it is evident he is a good man. 
    •  Lakshmana's physical strength
      • He fought in battle with any enemy that faced him. 
      • He fights with courage and he never backs down nor does he even seems to think about backing down.
      • He wins all his physical battles.
      • Bharata, his older brother, regards him as "powerful"."
      • He protects his brother, Rama, and especially his sister-in-law, Sita. 
    • Lakshmana's ability to love
      • Lakshmana's "love story" is the love between brothers. He will do anything for his brother, Rama.
      • He is also very obedient to Rama. Throughout the episodes, I have imagined Lakshmana as a big, tough guy with huge muscles and cannot be told what to do. However, in Episode 30. Battle with Khara, Lakshmana was just told once by his brother to leave his side in battle to take Sita to a safe place and guard her. I did not think Lakshmana would listen. I at least thought he would put up a fight against Rama. However, he did not. Instead, he was obedient and followed his brother's command immediately.
      • Besides when Rama told Lakshmana to not help him fight a battle in Episode 30, Lakshmana ALWAYS fought by his brother against the enemies. Truly, these enemies were never Lakshmana's enemy. These enemies were usually against Sita or Rama (or the fact that Rama and Sita were married); however, since Rama fights in battle, Lakshmana will aid him. 
      • Lakshmana is never jealous. Personally myself, as a younger sibling, I easily get jealous of the attention that my older sibling gets. 
        • Rama is always seen as the hero. Rama is seen as the sinless man who practically has a halo on his head. This is recognized by many.
        • With a sibling who is seen as perfect, I am surprised Lakshmana does not have anger or jealousy towards Rama. Instead, Lakshmana only has undeniable love for his brother.
  • While I do think Lakshmana is an unsaid hero, he obviously is not perfect and has his own faults. His biggest fault in my opinion was leaving Sita alone in Episode: 34. The Chase. Eventhough, Sita pushed Lakshmana to leave her (in order to find Rama who Sita was worried about), Lakshmana should have stayed. 
    • Lakshmana already had a gut feeling that sometimes there were deceitful deer in the forest who lures people away, and it was likely the deer Sita wants and Rama is after is actually a dangerous deer. He should have trusted his gut. 
      • We should always trust our gut.
    • At first, Lakshmana argued against Sita when Sita told him to go after Rama. However, he then caved and did as Sita wanted and went looking for Rama. It was soon after that Ravana took Sita away from the brothers. 

While this image is not from any story in Ramayana, Part B, I think it accurately describes the love between the two brothers, Lakshmana and Sita. They will always fight beside each other, for each other.

(The Picture Ramayana, circa 1916-1924)

Bibliography: Public Domain Edition of the Ramayana, Part B; Multiple Authors from Various Sources: M. DuttR. DuttGouldGriffithHodgsonMackenzieNiveditaOmanRichardson, and Ryder.

Week 3 Story: Fighting for Our Love

Fighting for Our Love

"It has been past a half-hour and my husband is still not back from talking to his father. I wonder what has happened in there?" I thought as I was pacing back and forth and kept glancing up and down towards the room of the Maharajah thinking about Rama.

I was confused by my thoughts because I am not usually this agitated. Why was I feeling so worried? I knew the Maharajah and he seemed like a good man. After all he did raise Rama! Still, however, I could not shake the worry away. I just have this gut feeling that something was wrong

At last! I saw at a distance, Rama approaching. He was waking slowly and when I finally saw him closer, I saw my husband's eyes so saddened.

Rama said, "I have exiled by my mother, and my father is fulfilling her wish. I must go now, but you will be safe here. Baharata will now become the successor so he will serve as rajah. They will take care of you here"

As I heard these words come out of my true love's mouth, my heart broke into pieces. I did not realize I could love someone this much, that at the thought of him leaving I truly felt weak like I was dying. I could not leave his side no matter what!

I said Rama, "I am coming with you. It is the job of a wife to accompany her husband and I am not leaving your side. As long as I am with you, I will be happy as can be even if it's in the jungle. If you leave me Rama, I will for sure die."

As I was saying this, Rama had a single tear slowing going down his face. This broke my heart. I have never seen him cry before.

Rama responded to me saying, "I love you Sita more than I love my own life, but I cannot let you suffer because of me. I would rather have you here in the palace, where I know you will be safe and taken care of. Wait here and I will return again."

I was not going to let him leave without me so I said more sternly to him,"Wherever your are, my heart is too. What good is it to live here, if my heart is elsewhere? I am coming with you. I know life won't be easy after this. Life in the juggle will be hard and different. However, that struggle will be an easier one than being without you here."

Still Rama would not let me come with him. While I understood his reasons, I still knew where I needed to be. I love my husband and I should take care of him no matter the cost. So, I fell at his feet and pleaded to be with him.

Then after a while, he finally allowed me to join him. I held his hand and all felt better in the world.

(Image containing a quote that represents the fought love between Sita and her husband.)

Author's Notes:

  • Bibliography. "Rama Goes into Exile" in PDE Ramayana, Part A from Indian Myth and Legend by Donald A. Mackenzie. 
  • In the episode Rama Goes into Exile from PDE Ramayana, Part A, the story is in third person (along with the rest of the episodes). However, I wanted to explore something in the first person but from Sita's perspective.
  • In the original story, Rama came up to Sita to tell her that she was banished from the kingdom and that he must leave. 
  • Sita argues that she should go with Rama and was persistent until Rama finally agreed. 
    • However, I wanted to dive deeper in the feelings and what was going on in Sita's head. 
    • While she was persistent on the outside, I wanted to give more of an inside look.
  • Unlike in the original story, where the story includes scenes with Lakshmana, and more scenes with the Maharajah and Kaikeyi, my story does not have them. 
    • While these scenes are important. I wanted to focus on the love story and the bonding strength between Rama and Sita.
    • If I was to create further stories, I would make this story in a separate episode to the scenes with Lakshmana, the Maharajah, and Kaikeyi. Therefore, this story, "Fighting for Our Love" is an episode that just revolves around Sita and Rama. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Reading Notes: PDE Ramayana, Part A

by Multiple Authors from Various Sources: R. Dutt, Gould, Griffith, Mackenzie, Nivedita, and Oman

Notetaking Strategy: Focus on One Character: Sita

  • Sita was not introduced until Part A, Section 8. Her introductory scene was laying eyes on Rama and Lakshmana and having love at first sight with Rama.
  •  Next scene is having a Sita "won" by Rama. 
    • Personally, this was one part of the story that I was not aligned with. I understand that this story was taken place in a different place and time. However, I do not like the fact that Rama wins Sita's hand in marriage. (Rama does this through showing his physical strength in bending a bow.) 
    • While I do think it is good that Rama works hard to lift the bow and that can show Sita that this man will work hard for her; however, I do not like the aspect of Rama earning Sita just because he worked hard.
  • Another important scene with Sita was her and Rama's wedding day. 
    • However, in my perspective, I felt like Sita was just a side character of the wedding story. While it was her big day and she should have been a main character alongside Rama, she did not have dialogue in the story nor were her opinions and thoughts spoken of. Personally, I wish that Sita's emotions were showed more. For example a question that arose in my head was, "Did Sita feel nervous or excited for the wedding?"
  • Sita truly loves and cares for Rama.
    • This is especially shown in Chapter 16 and 17.
    • In Chapter 16: Rama is Banished, Sita invoked the gods to bless and protect Rama as Rama headed to speak with his father.
    • In Chapter 17: Rama Goes into Exile, Sita was persistent and would not let Rama go and live in the woods for 14 years by himself. No matter the opposition of Rama, Sita said that she would rather live without material riches in the woods but with Rama, her love, than be without Rama in a kingdom.
    • She knew a wife and husband shall stay together, which I LOVE.
  • Sita grew up rich and with the finest clothes and had difficulty parting with it in exchange for something less silk-like. 

My favorite part of Ramayana, Part A was Chapter 17: Rama Goes into Exile as it shows the strength and bond of the marriage and love of Rama and Sita.

Bibliography: Public Domain Edition of the Ramayana, Part A; Multiple Authors from Various Sources: R. DuttGouldGriffithMackenzieNivedita, and Oman

Monday, January 27, 2020

My Feedback Thoughts

I have struggled with perfectionism ever since I moved to a new school that used the grading system of A-F. My understanding of this scale is that it ranked people from best to worst. Combining this understanding with my competitive nature, resulted in a little me that always wanted to be on top, and in order to be on top I had to be perfect. As I grew older and entered high school, I knew my perfectionism became an issue as it was causing me unnecessary stress and resulting in me taking a long time to do work. More so, my perfectionism became a bigger issue in college when I realized that I was robbing myself from the opportunity of learning because I was just focused on getting something right. Through reading the article How to Overcome Perfectionism: Your Complete Guide, I was able to grasp some ideas on how to become a healthy perfectionist. On of these ideas include that I should celebrate every small victory and give myself credit where I deserve it. I have the tendency to overlook the small victories and have the mindset of "what's next?" or "what else is there to do?" Now, however, I want to improve myself and I am going to do this by celebrating the small things.

I have also enjoyed reading the article Why Socializing Girls to Be Perfect Could Be the Worst Thing for Them. This article had quotes by Reshma Saujani who encouraged "young girls to be taught to be brave not perfect." Saujani says that teaching young girls to be brave "will add their intellect, compassion, and empathy to solving world's big problems." I think this is so crucial and should be applied. Even though I am not a little girl anymore, I believe this perspective is still applicable to my life. I want to be brave and courageous enough to fall down and learn how to climb back up. Through this class having a focus on growth mindset and feedback for learning, without any grades, I believe this will be a good start for me to be brave and not perfect. Then I can carry this experience with me to the next part of my life when I become the new hire and youngest at my place of work after college.

(Image of a quote about courage and bravery from the character Benjamin Mee from the movie 
We Bought a Zoo.)

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Topic Brainstorm for My Storybook

Diving into different topic listings, I have narrowed my interests into the following four topics:

1. Folktales/Jataka Tales
After reading through the Jataka anthology of short stories and then creating my own story based off the Jataka story The Turtle and The Geese, I noticed I really enjoyed stories with strong lessons and I want to learn about the development of these lessons. These lessons are usually evident by the end, clearly taught, and very wise. The stories use simple characters in order to provide the reader with a simple storyline but impactful lesson. I would like tell and create lessons through dialogue between characters. Based off the lessons in the folktales, I would determine myself if I want to keep that lesson or branch off in another direction or in addition to the original lesson. Looking through the Folktalkes in the Chitra Katha comic books, it seems like a main focus in these books is teaching a lesson. For example, I have looked more into Elephant Stories: Jataka Tales of Nobility through reading a preview I found online and the four pages have already intrigued me.

Folktales and Jataka Tales turns the gears in our mind and helps us learn a lesson.

2. Festivals and Holidays
Festivals and holidays are celebrated in such different ways depending on the place. I think anywhere one goes, it is important to celebrate a festival or holiday with locals. These celebrations help define the culture. It is so interesting and amazing to witness and analyze the difference and similarities between the locations whether they are or are not celebrating the same festival or holiday. Simply recognizing these similarities and differences without thinking that one is better, can help us grow as a diverse-minded person. Therefore, reading into the Festivals and Holidays Project Idea, I believe that even if I am unable to go to India right now and am unfamiliar with the culture, I have the opportunity to learn about their culture through doing research and creating a storybook on their festivals and holidays. Maybe retelling these stories would involve a great amount of images of the festivals and holidays.

3. Birth Stories
Recently, I have become very found of my little niece. This little girl has brought back so much energy and life into of my Lola (grandma) who gave birth to nine children and I am so thankful for the both of them. Combining this recent feeling with my amazement of the creation of life, it would be interesting to dive into birth stories as a storybook topic. Even though my previous knowledge about Indian birth stories are very minimal, I believe I can learn through readings throughout the class as suggested in the Birth Stories Project Idea class page. Looking through the Birth Stories Project Idea I have learned about the birth story of Sita and how she faced doom right when she was born as she was ordered to be buried. There are situations like Sita's birth story where her future is challenged as a newborn and she has no say. I think a similar situation to this, but in today's society, is abortion. Furthermore, my idea with these stories is possibly tying it in with a controversial issue in our society.

4. Traveling India
As someone who is not familiar with the country and the culture of India, I believe that creating a storybook about traveling India will help me learn a great amount about the country, its greatest landmarks, and culture. What I do know about India is that depending on the location in India, the culture is very different. Through looking through the Traveling India Project Idea, I believe I will be able to look into many of these different cultures and recognize these differences myself. Furthermore, I looked at a past project titled Letters from My Indian Travels and I think the author was able to highlight the main observations he/she learned because he/she is telling it to another person, in this case her grandma. I think that the act of retelling one's own traveling experiences to another can really capture the highlights of what was learned. The story I would want to tell is my own "travel" through the country, retelling it in a similar to form to letters, but rather through a video, which is more apt to our society now and my generation. I am not for sure if this would be allowed, but I would write the words of the story at the bottom half of the video. When I travel, I like to use my GoPro, so I thought the combination of traveling, video, and storytelling might be a new way to create a storybook.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Week 2 Story: Turtle & Goose and Past & Present

Turtle & Goose and Past & Present 

(Please Note: Current version of story in Portfolio.)

Turtle and Goose attend the same school and graduation was quickly approaching. Like most of their friends, they were feeling the blend of excitement and nervousness. After four years in school, they were ready and excited for new experiences. However, nervousness always arose when they thought about the new challenges and uncertainties of the future.

Finally, it was graduation day. All clean, with caps on their head Turtle and Goose entered the Maturing Forest for graduation.

Turtle turned to Goose and panicked saying, "Goose! I can't do this. I'm doing okay in college. It's comfortable to me. Plus, I know so many animals and they know me."

Goose looked Turtle in the eyes and said, "Turtle. We can do this. YOU can do this. I'm scared too. But I was taught by Sister Goose that the hardest part is crossing the graduation stage with the our head looking forward and held high. After that, we gain confidence in ourselves for the next part of our lives."

"What do you mean the hardest part is crossing the stage with our head forward and high, Goose?" said Turtle.

Goose replied saying, "Sister Goose said that no matter what we CANNOT look back as we cross the stage."

Turtle nodded in agreement which showed Goose he understood and would follow.

Then, with Turtle's foot and Goose's hand linked together, they crossed the stage. As they were crossing, voices arose saying, "Work is hard. Your not going to be successful. You peaked in school and it's downhill from here. No one is going to appreciate you like they did in school."

Turtle looked back to find these voices and dismiss it! But as he did this, he got sucked into the Portal of the Past. Now, he is stuck there forever with no more opportunity for growth.

The other animals said, "It is unfortunate that Turtle looked back. The voices were in our own heads because sometimes we can become our biggest critic. Turtle had all the capabilities to be successful. In his mind, Turtle got stuck in the past, and now his physical body too is also stuck in the past."

(Image representing the graduation event Turtle and Goose are attending.)

Author's Notes:
  • Bibliography. "The Turtle and the Geese" from Two Turtle Jatakas from the version in Jataka Tales by Ellen C. Babbitt. Web Source.
  • I have chosen to add my own twist to the original story. I have added additional lessons to the theme of the story, as well as I have changed the plot and setting. 
  • As graduation is approaching for me this coming May, I wanted to remind my present self and future self about not being stuck in the past, but, rather, to embrace the future.
  • I really enjoyed the lesson in the original story about how people will have foresight and recommend you do a certain thing for your own good. However, sometimes we don't listen to those people which can cause us harm.
  • In addition to original lesson, I also wanted to show the lesson of not being stuck in the past or else it will hinder your growth that should be occurring in the present. I know that I personally wasted the first half of my first semester of college because I kept thinking and telling myself that I peaked in high school. (I'm so glad that I got over that!) As I am about to graduate college, I don't want the next part of my life to continuously be thinking about college. Yes, there are many fond memories and it is good to reflect on them. However, wishing I would time travel and be back in college is something completely different.
  • Lastly, I wanted to add a hint of another lesson that sometimes we are our biggest critic but we have to crush those negative thoughts for our own good. In the original story, the critics were the village children, or something that is external. While critics can be external, they can also be internal which I wanted to show in this story.
  • Overall, this was very fun to write. Creative writing hasn't been something I have done since high school and it was interesting to create story while formulating a lesson. 

Reading Notes: Week 2 Anthology

The Turtle and the Geese by Ellen C. Babbitt

  • Story from Two Turtle Jatakas from the version in Jataka Tales by Ellen C. Babbitt
  • Character Charting:
    • Geese
      • Strength: Inviting - Geese invited the Turtle to their home
      • Strength: Having Foresight/Being Wise - Geese knew to remind the Turtle not to talk
      • Weakness: Secretive- Geese simply told the Turtle not to talk but gave no explanation.
      • Personal Note: There are always people in our lives that are wise and know more about a particular topic because they have had experience. In a weird way, the Geese remind me of God. I believe God is all-knowing and He asks of us to do certain things with no explanation. We simply must trust in Him and that he is pointing us in the right direction by following through with what He is asking. 
    • Turtle
      • Weakness: Did not follow through with promise - The Turtle talked even though he promised not to. This immediately led to his death.
      • Strength: Trusting - The Turtle did not question the Geese about why he was forbidden to talk.
      • Strength: Defending himself - While the act of defending himself led to his death, I applaud that the Turtle defended himself against the bullying village children.
      • Personal Note: I completely understand the actions of the Turtle, even if it led to his death. I appreciate that he did not let himself and his character be stepped on. However, the Geese seemed to have foresight which led to the single promise the Turtle had to make. All the Turtle had to do was follow through with that promise. If the Turtle had questions about the promise, then he should have asked and sparked a conversation. Instead, he dismissed the idea of a conversation and just thought he could get to the final destination without keeping his promise.
    • Village Children
      • Weakness: Mockery - The village children made fun of Turtle being carried my two geese and a stick. 
      • Personal Note: These children remind me of the people in one's life that purposely tries to trip us. Unfortunately, we all face bullies at some point of our lives. However, when in this situation, we hope to keep our head up and walk over their foot that is trying to trip us and make us fall.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Week 2 Reading Overview

The Public Domain Edition (PDE): Ramayana is the version of the Ramayana epic that I am choosing to dive into this semester. I have chosen this version of the epic for the following reasons:

  • free audio version (thanks to our professor!)
  • lots of illustrations
  • free to read online
Knowing myself, I recognize that I am a slow reader. However, with the help of the audio reading in the PDE Ramayana version, I will be able to progress through the epics at a timely manner. More so, I am a visual learner as well. As an engineering student, I learn more from charts and illustrations than from a wall of text. Through the PDE Ramayana version, many illustrations are provided and I believe that will help me in understanding the reading better. Thirdly, as this is an online course, I like to think that everything that I need for the course is in one location: my laptop. Therefore, since the PDE Ramayana version is free to read online, every material I need for the course is in my laptop!

After exploring the comic books, the two that interests me the most are Savitri: The Perfect Wife and Vasantasena, A Dancer and Her Most Precious Jewel. The story about the perfect wife revolves around Princess Savitri and her pathway in finding a husband of her own choosing despite disapproval from other people. I believe that Princess Savitri has every right to choose her lifelong partner and I applaud that she had great courage. Princess Savitri seems to be a strong, independent woman and I admire that about her. Vasantasena, A Dancer and Her Most Precious Jewel has a plot that follows a woman who loves someone other than the evil king. Vasantasena must go through twists and turns until she has a happy ending. This story reminds me of a Filipino drama show, where there are two people who love each other and will end up with each other, however, they must go through various and eccentric obstacles to get there. 

Browsing through the video playlist, I found two particular videos that interested me and that I want to learn more about. The first video that grabbed my attention was CineKids | Ramayana: The Story of Diwali | Animated Video of Celebrate Diwali | Mythological story. I first heard of Diwali during my first year of college through friends who celebrated the holiday. I found out that Diwali is a festival of lights, but I did not know much more. It is through this video that I am able to have a better understanding of the holiday. The second video that interested me was Powerful Women of Hindu Mythology | EPIFIED. Simply through the title with the words "powerful women" the video grasped my interest. I enjoy reading and learning about strong, female figures who have taken up space in our world and this video taught me about more women who have taken up their space. 

This image of Princess Savitri showcases strength, power, and protection and this is why I have chosen this image to depict her. I hope that all women will know the strength, power, and protection we all have inside of us.

Developing Time Strategies

Time management has always been a term circulating my life from when it was told to me as a little girl by my parents and until now told to myself in college. However, it is still not an art that I have mastered. Reading through the articles about time management, I found some advice useful and plan on applying it to my life. The article 3 Steps to Recapture Time simplified how to have time management and I believe it is a very good starting point. I want to begin my first 15 minutes with prayer and deciding on the 3-4 things I will divide my time on. I have done this about two years ago then stopped; however, looking back to last semester I now realize the drastic negative difference my time management was between the semesters I did have the first 15 minutes separated from the rest of the day and the semester I did not. My biggest time challenge is separating more than enough time to do a certain job, then it takes me that long period of time to complete that job. For example, even though this assignment is estimated to take 30 minutes, I allot 3 hours to do it in my schedule. So I get started with the work at the beginning of the 3 hours but then distract myself because I know I have 3 hours to get it done. However, what usually happens is I waste 2.5 hours doing whatever I should not be doing. I hope to improve on this during the semester. I believe to help me with this, I will start a checklist as the article The Psychology of Checklists suggests. I believe the physical act of cross off the things I need to get done will motivate me to not distract myself or allot too much time to do work.

(Image representing time management.)

Incorporating Technology in Assignments

I think it is a progressive idea that we learn about and use technology tools for class. It is inevitable that we will need to know how to use these tools for future careers and it is a brilliant idea that we are starting now. Most of the technology tools I have not used before. I have only used Canva for both work and personal use. I personally love the way it works. It is easy to use and provides many layouts that are already created so it helps the user's creative juices to begin flowing. During this semester, I want to develop website publishing skills. As an engineering student, it is possible that in my future that I create an interface for websites, and I believe it will be a good opportunity to begin by first recognizing how to publish a website. As this is my third online course, the interaction between students through commenting on each other's post is similar between the courses. However, this is the first time that external websites and tools will be used (with the opportunity of creating memes), so I look forward to using the outside tools and developing technological skills.

(Image representing technology in the workplace.)

Creativity in Assignments

I am most intrigued by the Storytelling core assignments in this class. After reading a couple storybooks from prior students, I think creating these stories provides me the opportunity to explore my creative side by creating my own story based off the assigned reading. Sadly, in many of my engineering courses I feel that the assignments were done with the intent of the approval of the professor rather than to actual learn and immerse myself with the content. With the Storytelling assignments in this class, there is no "one correct answer" in these stories. I have the opportunity to explore my creativity by diving into my own thoughts and opinions then share it with the class. While being creative in this way is new to me, I am excited to explore this new side. I think that this is my favorite aspect of the class - the fact that there is not a recipe to be a perfect student, rather, writing our own thoughts is sufficient.

(Image depicting creative writing.) 

Looking into the extra credit options, I am very interested in the HEART option. I really like the acronym of H.E.A.R.T. (health and happiness, empathy, attention, reading, time). This acronym can be applied to more than class but also personal life. At different points of my life, I have the tendency to focus on one of the five items and disregard the other four. However, I hope that by exploring the HEART extra credit assignments, I will learn how to balance all five items at once.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Refocusing Our Lives to Have a Growth Mindset

I tend to overlook that three letter word. I brush it off and dismiss its meeting. I fall in the trap of forgetting about the big goals in life such as helping each other and happiness, but rather I exert so much energy just to get the grade letter "A." However, like what Carol Dweck said, the word "yet" provides hope for improvement while linking a positive future to the present. Personally, I know I need to refocus my life to have a growth mindset. I have started doing this at the end of last year (2019) because I realized that I was beating myself up for grades that did not really matter. I was not realizing the bigger picture. I was not letting myself make mistakes, which really hurt me in the long run. It is my learning goal for my last undergraduate semester to simply learn. I want to learn the material to actual know it and not just know it for a test and simply forget it hours after I take an exam. After having an introduction to growth mindset, I hope to learn more about it through this course and apply it to not just school but life as well. I want to refocus my life to continuously grow and learn rather than only doing what is needed. I want to flourish.

(A flower flourishing is the image I have when thinking about having a growth mindset.)

Introduction to Noelle Zhania Mortega Vargas

Hi Everyone!

I am Noelle Zhania Mortega Vargas. My name is a mouthful but I really love it! I am a Filipina-American, and I have two first names which is common in the Philippines. I go by Zhanie in this class because it is a nickname for my second first name, Zhania. I was born in the Philippines, then moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan, U.S.A. when I was two-and-a-half-years-old. Then when I was about nine, I moved to Oklahoma. I think it is cool that depending on the location, I am called by a different name. In the Philippines and Michigan, I was called Zhanie at home and school, then when I moved to Oklahoma, I was called Noelle at school. Still in college I am called by most people as Noelle, but I have missed the name Zhanie and I am bringing it back!

(Image representing a blend of my two identities being a Filipina in America.)

This May, I intend to be graduating with a degree in Mechanical Engineering! I will be working for Samsung Austin Semiconductor starting in June and begin a new chapter of being a full-time working girl! It is my career goal to show the strength of a diverse, female engineer. As engineering is a male-dominated field, I want to prove the excellence and the unique qualities women engineers can bring to the occupation.

My overall life goal is to serve God and live out my Roman Catholic faith. I hope to continue giving back to the people in the Philippines. As I grow older, I want to give more and create more opportunities for the people there. There could be people with the same abilities and strengths as I do, but live in a very different circumstance where they cannot use these abilities and strengths to, for example, become a mechanical engineer. The main difference between our lives is that they are not presented with the same opportunities. It is my goal to be a part of creating these opportunities for the people in my home-country of the Philippines.

Thanks for reading a little about me! I am looking forward to meeting you all in this class!


Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Storybook Favorites

A storybook that intrigued me was The Chiranjivi. As I read through the Introduction, I realized how the layout of the page was very clear and appealing that it encouraged me to read more. For example, the author used the Power of Three. Horizontally across the page, there were three images. Respectively underneath the image, there was the name of the one in the image and a short description of who it was. Then lastly, underneath the description there was a boxed link that directed the reader straight to the story of the one in the image. The author used the Power of Three both vertically and horizontally. It was a very organized layout and it personally intrigued me to click on the links. I was taught the importance of the Power of Three before and is used when trying to relate a message to an audience, and I believe that the author used this tool very well. More so, this storybook continued to impress me because as I read the stories and the author notes. I realized the writer would describe the point that the original story was trying to relate, but then the author changed the story to relate his/her view instead.

A storybook that interested me just be its title was I've Got a Job for You. I believe a strong title will pull in readers. As I read through the Introduction, I automatically felt like I was part of the story. The storybook was written in second-person. The word "you" was all over the page. Even though it felt very upfront to me, it interested me because I felt like I was part of the act. I am suddenly involved. Most stories I read, I feet like I was an outsider who is simply gaining a new perspective from the opinion of the author. However, this storybook greatly differed. The opinion was my own and it seemed like I was a main character.

(Image describing the feeling of stories written in second-person.)

The third storybook I was very impressed by was Gossip Girl: Ayodhya. While I am not a big fan of the TV show Gossip Girl and have only watched a few episodes, I still love this storybook. It combines something that the author enjoys and integrates it in every story he/she writes. I believe this is truly brilliant. The information written is about the Indian epics that was read by the author. However, the author twisted the presentation of the stories' information and styled it to follow his/her favorite show. I believe this is a great way to integrate generations. Bringing in something that is very familiar to one's own generation, such as a TV show, to teach a lesson that was written decades ago is very artistic. I also believe the fact that one's favorite show is included in the work that is being done, as the author, writing the stories should be very fun. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Discovering the Heart of the Philippines...My Favorite Place

Philippines. I am a first generation American born in the Philippines but raised in the U.S. This past Christmas Break, I went back to the Philippines for the first time in about 10 years. It was absolutely amazing - I got to see my lola (meaning "grandma" in English) for the first time in almost a decade! However, when I was in the Philippines, I realized how American I was. Then, when I returned back to the U.S. I realized how Filipino I am. I really did not notice how confusing that was for me, especially to my identity. I really do not feel like I classify in either category. Therefore, it ties into my blog name which is Tale of Two Nations because I hope this blog helps me discover a little bit more about my identity as a Filipina-American but also about the diversity of another culture which will help me grow to have a better embrace of diversity and inclusion.

My favorite thing about the Philippines is the heart of the Filipino. People there live a very simple life. They work hard just to afford the basics, then if there is a little extra they give it to their kapwa (meaning "fellow" in English) Filipino. As you can see in the image below, there is a community that is helping to move a family's house. They describe this community effort as "bayanihan." It reminds me that sometimes the things we do are for others. Sometimes it is bigger than us.

Tale of Two Nations Test

This is a test post for Tale of Two Nations.