Friday, February 28, 2020

Week 7 Story: The Bond

It was time for battle between the Dosteps and the Calihans. In the Dosteps army, there was a tough, powerful, fearless warrior named Alex. He was the best bet that the Dosteps army had in defeating the Calihans.

In the Calihans army, there was five brothers. These brothers were tight knit and lived with their mother, Ashley, or raised them well.

On day, Ashley bumped into Alex at the farmer's market. They did not know each other, but they did give each other a polite, gentle smile. Later that day, Ashley and Alex ran into each other again, but this time at a shoe shiner. Ashley was a customer and Alex worked there. Alex was both a shoe shiner and warrior so he could afford to support himself.

As Alex shined Ashley's shoes, they had really good conversations. For both of them, it was easy for them to talk to the other.

Days, then weeks passed, and Alex and Ashley became very close.

One day, Ashley's private investigator approached her very frazzled saying, "I have found your long-lost son!"

Ashley became anxious all of a sudden. "Who is he? Am I going to finally meet him?" she thought.

As the private investigator told her who her son was, Ashley began to feel faint.

It was Alex.

She always felt very comfortable around Alex, but she did not think that he was her long-lost son. Then she became torn. She knew Alex was fighting for the Dosteps. How could he though? That would mean he would be fighting against his own brothers, the Calihans.

Ashley searched for Alex. When she did find him, she expressed to him what the private investigator told her and asked him not to fight the Calihans.

Ashley watched as Alex's face went from surprised, to saddened to angry.

Alex revolted against Ashley! He said, "How could leave me! You see my life now! I work two jobs so I can make sure I have something to eat, while your other sons are having a feast every night without lifting a finger. And to think that you would ask me to not fight against them in battle? You have never been a mother to me and your sons are not my brothers!"

After saying this, Alex ran away as Ashley wept.

This image is an artistic representation of the torn bond between Alex and Ashley that is hanging by a thread. (Image Source)

Author's Note:
I wanted to create a twist to the episode "Krishna and Karna." In my story, Alex is Karna and Ashley is Kunti. I wanted to provide a different setting for them to a more present time. The foundation of the story is the same. Ashley appraoches Alex and confesses her identity to him, then she begs him to not fight her other sons which he just found out were his brothers. This is the same situation between Kunti and Karna. However, I have changed their characters a little bit just to add my own creativity. This was my favorite episode of PDE Mahabharata, Part C of the reading (refer to bibliography) so I wanted to reiterate the story but in my own way.

Bibliography: "Krishna and Karna." Public Domain Edition of the Mahabharata, Part C.  Multiple Authors from Various Sources: Arnold, Besant, Devee, Dutt, Ganguli, Kincaid, Macfie, Mackenzie, Nivedita, Seeger, and Tagore

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Reading Notes: PDE Mahabharata, Part C

By:ArnoldBesantDeveeDuttGanguliKincaidMacfieMackenzieNiveditaSeeger, and Tagore

Reading Notes - Favorite Episodes:
  • Bhima and Hanuman
    • Hanuman was in the epic Ramayana; therefore, it is interesting to see the same character in a different context. 
    • Bhima came across Hanuman.
      • Hanuman was a monkey on the ground that would not get up.
      • At Bhima's request, Hanuman told him of his extraordinary identity.
      • When Bhima did not believe Hanuman, Hanuman became a giant. 
    • Hanuman shared much wisdom to Bhima. 
    • Both found out that they were both sons of the god, Vayu. 
  • Krishna and Karna
    • Karna tries to convince Krishna that if he comes with him, then Krishna will be regarded by the Pandavas as their older brother and Krishna will be king.
    • Krishna is not convinced by Karna and says that he must stay and fight for his friends. 
      • Krishna knows he must stay to fight Arjuna in battle.
      • He believes that fate will decide who is greater when they fight.
    • Even though, Krishna did not do as Karna wishes, they were still in good terms,
    • Both Kunti and Vidura are distrought about the idea of war breaking out between Duryodhana and the Pandavas.
      • Karna is Kunti's eldest son that she hid.
      • However, it is Karna supports Duryodhana. 
      • Therefore, Karna, in a way, is planning to go to war against his brothers.
    • Kunti searched for her son, Karna, in order to apologize about hiding him. 
      • She confessed to him that she was truly her mother and Radha, who found him, was not his mother. 
      • Furthermore, Kunti seemed to plead with Karna to not fight a war against his own brothers, the Pandavas. 
      • Karna was known of having a lowly birth, so Kunti used this opportunity to convince him that he should come back with her and not go against his brothers and that he will be no longer known of lowly birth. 
    • A voice from the sun spoke and confirmed that what Karna said was true. 
    • Karna could not easily forgive Kunti.
      • Karna believed that Kunti was never a mother to him; therefore, he does not see her other sons as his brother.
      • Karna said that Kunti was "too late" in coming forward towards him and request a favor from him.
    • Kunti respected Karna's decision and respectively bid him farewell. She told him to remember that he pledged the lives of his brothers while he is in battle, while also wishing him good health.
    • Karna agreed with Kunti.
    • They both departed from each other. 
This image represents the reaching of Kunti to her son. Similar to this image, their hands do not clasp and they go their separate ways. 

Bibliography: Public Domain Edition of the Mahabharata, Part C  Multiple Authors from Various Sources: ArnoldBesantDeveeDuttGanguliKincaidMacfieMackenzieNiveditaSeeger, and Tagore

Reading Notes: PDE Mahabharata, Part B

By:ArnoldBesantDeveeDuttGanguliKincaidMacfieMackenzieNiveditaSeeger, and Tagore

Reading Notes - Favorite Episodes:
  • The House of Fire
    • Prince Vidura has an interesting character.
      • His mother was a slave girl
      • His half-brother was a king.
        • I wonder how he felt coming from both two two extremes of royalty and slavery. I wonder if he felt just as worthy as his half-brothers for the title "king."
      • He played a really important role in the episode.
        • Prince Vidura was the one who guessed the cruel plot discussed below of Prince Duryodhana. 
    • Varanavata palace:
      • had beautiful furniture and decor
      • was built of wood so it would easily burn
    • Prince Yudhisthira was warned by Prince Vidura of the evil plan of Prince Duryodhana. 
      • Prince Yudhisthira shared with his mother what was told to him by Prince Vidura and told her that he feared that his, his brothers', and his mother's lives were in danger by living in the said palace.
      • He pointed out to his mother that the palace would be set on fire that is why the furniture and tapestries were soaked in oil and the walls and roof of the palace were made of only wood. 
    • Prince Vidura hired a miner to build an escape route in the form of an underground passage for the Pandavas and their mother. 
      • The minder did this very sneakily as he worked at night and covered the passage with wooden planks by day. 
    • Prince Bhima set the guard-house on fire which, through the wind, blew towards the palace. 
      • Therefore, both the guard-house and palace were up in flames. 
    • Coincidentally, a low-caste woman and her five sons came to beg for food and slept at the palace.
      • Unfortunately, this woman and her sons died in the fire.
    • However, the next day the people of the community believed that the low-caste woman and her five sons were Queen Kunti and the Pandavas, and that they died in the fire.
  • The Burning of the Forest
    • Krishna visited the Pandavas and a huge party was thrown.
    • Agni, the god of fire, visited Krishna and Arjuna requesting food. 
      • Agni wanted the two heroes to help him.
      • The two heroes to agreed to help Agni if he got them celestial weapons.
    • Agni got a bow from the god Varuna and many other weapons. 
    • This ignited a battle.
      • Therefore, Indra was defeated.
    • A fire arose and many animals died in flames. 
      • Only a few animals escaped.
    • Agni, in a result, became powerful again.

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

Monday, February 24, 2020

Extra Credit Biography: A Christmas to Remember

Tall trees are hitting against each other so hard that it seems like they are fighting. Rain pellets are banging against the windows. The wind is howling as it weaves around the house. We are in the middle of a Signal #2 typhoon. At the house, my lola (meaning grandma), two aunts (named Nene and Mabelle), mommy, daddy, sister, 15 year-old cousin (name Miguel), and two year old niece (named Andrea) are preparing for Christmas Mass. This is my first time being in a typhoon. I am so confused at why no one was freaking out. However, I just go along with the flow. With our makeup done, we begin taking family pictures. This is a Christmas for me to remember because it is my first Christmas spending it with my relatives that I can ACTUALLY remember. Living in the U.S. has brought me so many blessings; however, when holidays roll around everyone seems to be having big, family dinners with their grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc., I always felt a little bit of sadness. As we are taking family photos of all different poses, I realize I forgot about the typhoon encircling us. Family is everything. They are ones who will stick by us through the sunshiny days and the typhoon, rainy days. I love my family!

(Personal image of my family on Christmas 2019)
Front Row: Andrea, Nene, Lola, Mabelle, Miguel
Back Row: Mommy, Sister, Me, Daddy

In this biography story, I wanted to showcase the importance of family. Growing up, I had lots of friends who had grandparents, aunts, or cousins who lived across the street from them. However, about 90% of my relatives live outside of the country. While I absolutely love my immediate family, sometimes I wish I also had my relatives to spend important moments with. More so, I wrote the story in present tense because I wanted the reader to feel my same emotions, especially being in a typhoon for the first time.

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

(Updated story found here. )

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

Comment Wall

Thank you for your feedback!

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

Friday, February 7, 2020

Biography: Be Brave

Dear Future Me,

As you were going through senior year of college and thinking about what lays ahead, you had a lot of time on your hands. So, you watched a lot of either romantic comedy TV shows or romantic movie trailers. One trailer that caused a flood of thoughts and feelings was "Something Borrowed." We watched this movie a few years back, but for a while now I have forgotten it. Recalling this movie triggered lots of confusion to arise within you but I think I was able to funnel it into a lesson. I wanted to share with you the feelings you had at 21. I wanted you to have the following thoughts you had, and do and grow with it in whatever way you want. Just know it felt good to let these thoughts out and I hope it can encourage you to be brave in any part of your life.


What Rachel did in the past was what she thought would be best for everyone else. Disregarding her own feelings, she was focused on one question "what was expected from her?" I understand why she did this. She put others before herself. However, the fact that she did not speak her truth, led her to live six years just going through the motions and denying herself the right to feel. I think this is the lesson I want you to learn from. Your thoughts are valid and it speaks the truth that you are feeling. So give yourself the right to feel. I think we have the tendency to put others before self. While that is important and we should keep doing that, don't let it go to the point where you are invalidating your own feelings for the sake of others. Speak your truth. Embrace and understand your own feelings. Speak your words into existence. Try your best to know yourself.

(Cover of the book "Something Borrowed" that turned into a movie adaptation.)


Be brave, Zhanie. You owe it to yourself to be brave.

With all my love,
xoxo NZMV

Author's Note:
I chose to write this lesson above bravery to my future self because it has been something that I have recently realized I was bad at, so I am currently trying to get better at it. While the mistakes that were made was not that of my own and rather was of a movie that I watched, I think that the lesson that I learned is what really counts. The act of me watching the movie happened in my life and it is me recalling one of my favorite movies so that is how I believe it is a biography.. Furthermore, there is a tendency that we just let art pass us by. However, there are sometimes truly great lessons to be learned through them but we don't intact these lessons in our brain. In this Story Lab, I wanted to combine my act of watching the movie, the characters' actions in the movie, and my lesson learned. I also wanted to write it in the form of a letter addressed to my future self, so that I can encourage myself to be brave.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Reading Notes: PDE Ramayana, Part D

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

Notetaking Strategy: Focus on Favorite Episode
  • My favorite episode in this reading was Episode 77. Rama Crowned King.
    • It is about time that Rama assumes to be the heir of his father's throne!
    • Fourteen years have passed in the eventful forest where there seemed to always be a battle that had to be fought. 
    • The people of Ayodhya rejoiced that Rama has returned and will become their king again. 
      • They dressed Rama and Sita in silky nice clothes and gave them the gemmed and jewelled seat. 
      • They searched and brought back sacred water from distant places so that the priests may pour it on and bless Rama and Sita with the sacred water. 
      • They placed the crown of the Maharajah along with jewels on top of Rama's head. 
      • Even an umbrella was put over Rama so to provide shade for the fearless king. 
      • More so, gifts of golden garland and wreath of pearls were sent to Rama in celebration. 
      • Therefore, upon Rama's return to his kingdom, a full-out party was released amongst the people. There was music (and I assume dancing) and gifts upon gifts for King Rama.
    • Not only the rich celebrated Rama's return, but even the poor (in spirit and in goods). 
      • Even those who had every right to be sad about what is going on in their own lives, for example the widows, were no longer crying in their sorrow.
      • Robbers, cheats, and deceivers were did not dare lie.
      • Neighbors loved each other!
    • As the rich and poor people celebrated, so did Mother Earth. 
      • The trees provided much fruit for the people.
      • The rains came which enabled a rich pasture with ample crop and fertile soil.
  • This is my favorite episode because Rama, Lakshmana, and Sita was forced into a hard life by a jealous peer. Their life in the forest tested them in every way. There was battles after battles, and even though they won these battles, it can for sure take a toil on these people. Rama has lived his life with class. He could have been filled with anger against his father and stepmom for causing him to live a tough life in the forest, but he did not. Rather, Rama filled his heart with love for his wife, Sita, and brother, Lakshmana, instead of any anger. Therefore, I just feel like it was about time that he is celebrated for his wonderful attitude and superior strength. 

Bibliography: Public Domain Edition of the Ramayana, Part D; Multiple Authors from Various Sources: M. Dutt, R. Dutt, Gould, Griffith, Hodgson, Mackenzie, Nivedita, Oman, Richardson, and Ryder.

Extra Credit Reading Notes: PDE Ramayana, Part C

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

Notetaking Strategy: Focus on Plot

  • Rama and Lakshmana was discovered by Sugriva, King of the Monkeys, and Hanuman, his best servant monkey who can change his appearance into anything he chooses.
  • Sugriva has a problem of his own and wants Rama and Lakshmana to help him. 
    • Sugriva has been banished from his kingdom by his older brother, and along with banishment he lost his wife to his brother.
  • Rama encouraged Sugriva to set up a fight with his brother, Vali. 
    • Rama and Sugriva made a pact that if Rama and Lakshmana help Sugriva defeat his older brother, Vali, in return Sugriva shall send all his animal servants to look for Sita.
    • Sugriva and Vali fought, and, of course, through Rama's help Vali died.
  • Sugriva became king of the palace; however, he did not fulfill his promise of finding Sita for the longest time. It was through Lakshmana's threat to Sugriva, that Sugriva began to act on his promise. 
  • A couple of monkeys came across Sampati, the brother of Jatayu, who was the courageous bird who tried to help Sita against Ravana. Through Sampati, the monkey's learned that Sita at a far-away place called Lanka.
  • Hanuman became the brave monkey who would look for Sita at Lanka.
    • Throughout Lanka, Hanuman looked for Sita. However, Hanuman struggled to find Sita in any of the rooms in the kingdom.
    • Finally, however, as Hanuman was giving up and exiting the palace, he crossed the Ashoka grove. There, he found the beautiful Sita.
    • Before Hanuman could be seen Ravana rushed to Sita and demanded from her to be his wife. However, the courageous Sita strictly said "No!" as she knew in her heart that Rama should be coming for her. Ravana in return gave her two months to live unless she becomes his wife and then left.
  • Hanuman approached Sita and said he was sent by Rama.
    • Sita did not believe him at first. It was when Hanuman showed Sita the ring that Rama gave him to show her, did she finally believe.
    • Hanuman offered to carry Sita away, but Sita, in her modest purity politely declined and said she only wanted to be touched by Rama.
  • However, Hanuman was captured and by the servants of Ravana. 
    • Through his capturing, however, Hanuman's cords that bound him was loose. 
    • He pretended that he was still in his chains as he planned his great escape.
  • Hanuman escaped and in the process burned half of Lanka down. He managed to find Sita and they went home to Rama together. 
    • This left Ravana in anguish. He looked for council in others in what should be done to Hanuman and Rama. It was his third warning to just let Sita go back to Rama or else the strong Rama will attack him: first warning by Sita, then by Hanuman, and thirdly by Ravana's own brother Vibishana, who in result was banished from the kingdom by Ravana.

This image represents the courage of both Sita and Hanuman in their respective ways. Being courageous was a theme of this reading and especially shown by them.

Bibliography: Public Domain Edition of the Ramayana, Part C; Multiple Authors from Various Sources: M. Dutt, R. Dutt, Gould, Griffith, Hodgson, Mackenzie, Nivedita, Oman, Richardson, and Ryder.

Monday, February 3, 2020

Feedback Strategies: Be Like Winnie the Pooh

One of my favorite articles was Be a Mirror: Give Readers Feedback That Fosters a Growth Mindset by Gravity Goldberg. In the article, there were five qualities of feedback explained. The one that hits home with me was the second quality: "focus on what the reader is doing (not on what is missing)." When I give feedback, I always look for what's missing. There are usually a number of things that I think should be included in whatever I am giving feedback on, and I typically search for those things first and correct the other person if anything is missing. However, I have learned that this is wrong. Rather, I should look at the perspective the other has taken and the "story" they are trying to tell. In this way, I might learn that things were left out on purpose because it does not flow with what is trying to be told.

The second article that I have very much enjoyed was Why Do So Many Managers Avoid Giving Praise? by Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman. It is explained in the article that workers think that managers are more effective in giving feedback when positive reinforcements have been said. However, managers see themselves more effective at giving feedback when negative reinforcements have been said by them.  However, my question is: weren't managers at a lower ranking before? They must have had a boss or mentor at the beginning of their career. Therefore, I do not understand why the reports of workers versus managers are so contrarily different. Shouldn't managers know that they used to prefer managers who gave positive feedback? That is the only piece that I do not understand. It is good, however, that we are aware of this, so we can better analyze ourselves as workers, our own managers, and ourselves as we become managers.

For some reason, when I think of a leader who gives positive feedback to his peers and is well loved, I think of the one and only Winnie The Pooh. I think as one climbs up the positional hierarchy, we must remember our inner child and not loose what we learned before and that is that praise encourages us. My inner child loves Winnie the Pooh and will always remember him.

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Topic Research: Jataka Folktales

The focus of my Storybook will be on Folktales/Jataka Tales. These Jataka Folktales contain so much wisdom that can help our thoughts, relationships, and confidence. I have narrowed three Jataka Folktales that my Storybook can further dive into.

1. Elephant Stories: Jataka Tales of Nobility
The term "noble" has been something that has always intrigued me. I think it is something many aspires to be. Some people are born into nobility; while, others work hard to be regarded as noble by those around them. I would love to explore these perspectives. It intrigues me that in these Jataka Folktales, the lessons and wisdom about nobility are coming from the strong, large animal of the elephant. I think this will bring an interesting perspective to the storytelling. Furthermore, in this preview that I found online the Elephant Stories regards the elephant as both patient and nasty. It further asks that if the large elephant can turn nasty, what can smaller creatures do to save themselves? I would love to explore this theme!

2. True Friends: Jataka Tales of Good Conduct
I think these Jataka Folktales will have great wisdom and can teach me a lot about how to be a better friend. These tales look like they will be told based off human perspectives based off the cover. I think it is because of this fact that these episodes can be especially relatable and can teach many lessons. I think the path I would take with this story will focus on the theme on how we can be true friends with others even if we move away and are emotionally and physically in different places in life.

3. Stories of Courage: Jataka Tales of Valour and Victory
The reason I am interested in this story can be simply stated as: I want to be more courageous. I have a shirt that says "Be Courageous - Pope Francis" Personally, I love Pope Francis and part of the reason I wear this shirt on certain days is because I want to be braver that day. The route I would take with this story is focusing on the growth of a character to be courageous at the most epic of times.

The little pig standing up for its fellow pigs against the tiger on the cover of the Stories of Courage: Jataka Tales of Valour and Victory is what I want to be. This story is one of my possible stories that I will chose from to dive into further in my Storybook.