Sunday, March 28, 2004

The story “Saint Chola” reminded me of many experiences in high school. The beginning of the story talks about all the different fashions that were popular during the early nineties in the United States. The girl in the story is Muslim and is from India. It would be such a culture shock to come here from India. The girls play a much different role in India. They aren’t allowed to dress the way we do here in the United States. They are expected to cover themselves completely and don’t have much say during their lives. In high school there is such an emphasis on what is and isn’t cool. Everyone wants to be in the popular group and wear the things that are in style. This book talks a lot about different types of lives for people at the high school level and the problems they encounter. This girl encountered many changes when moving and had to learn to adjust. It would be a huge adjustment. The types of clothes and words to say are much different in India. What is cool over there is probably far from being popular here. All different cultures have different styles and ways of living. The Western cultures tend to be more alike compared to Asia and the Middle East. The Western cultures are more independent. The successes in life are based on what you as an individual accomplish. People take pride in themselves. They don’t focus on building strong relationships with family members as much as other countries like China do. In Asia, there is much more interdependence. People put more emphasis on having strong ties in the family. The work accomplished happened because of everyone in the circle, not just yourself. In school, children in Asia attributed accomplishments to their families. Here, children are more likely to attribute something because of themselves. I think it is important to have a little bit of both independence and interdependence with your family. Your family members will always be related to you and I feel it is important to have strong relationships with them especially ones in the immediate family. Nowadays, our culture doesn’t emphasize the importance of family as much as they used to. Now, many marriages end in divorce and the families get broken up. It is hard to have a strong close family when the parents are divorced and the kids have to go back and forth with parents. In the Asian cultures it is much more important to stay together as a family. When marrying, it is not about being in-love with the person. That isn’t that important to them. Here in our culture, the couple must be in-love when marrying. I think love is an important ingredient to marriage but I also think it is important to work on a relationship so that it will last forever if committing to such a thing. All cultures are different and it can be a big adjustment for these children coming to the United States and coming to school especially when they don’t know the English language.

Saturday, March 20, 2004

While reading “Love and other catastrophes: A Mix Tape”, I found myself singing. This article was a list of someone’s love songs on a mixed tape. There were a few I didn’t recognize but knew the words to the majority of them. I liked many of the choices. All the songs had to do about love either being in love or breaking up. Love is something that people talk, sing, or write about in movies, books, music, or just day to day conversation. It is now often related with sex. TV shows and movies all have some sort of romantic twist to it dealing with sex. A movie doesn’t make it big in Hollywood unless there is a romance tied into it. Society nowadays places so much emphasis on it. That is also why many musicians choose to sing about it. It is something that everyone can relate to. It is something that also has more powerful emotion. Some of the songs were more light-hearted like “My achy breaky heart” but some of the songs are more powerful and deep. The type of song affects a person’s mood a lot. When someone is feeling sad, they are more likely wanting to listen to slower depressing music. When a person is upbeat and happy, they want to listen to faster and peppier music. Movies use music all the time to add emotion. If a movie didn’t have scary and suspenseful music during a scary scene, the scene would be far less scary. It also adds sadness to scenes and makes a person cry during a movie.
Certain songs can also make you think about a certain time in your life or certain experience. Many songs remind me of my childhood growing up, listening to them on tapes. Now CDs have taken over and no one ever listens to tapes anymore. Many people don’t even own their tapes anymore. Technology is always advancing and soon CDs will be replaced with a better form of technology. Records were used in the seventies and still some in the eighties. I remember having a little fisher-price record player in my room when I was five or six. I had different stories told on each record. I also had a Mickey Mouse workout record that I would work out to. I loved sitting in my room listening to my record player. Soon after, I got my own tape-player. Then in sixth grade I got my first CD. It was the soundtrack to Clueless. That was also my favorite movie at the time. I still have the CD and I actually still listen to it. I remember buying it and opening it up in my mom’s green mini van. I still hadn’t purchased a CD player of my own. I also still have some of my first tapes. I listen to them in the car sometimes and my friends make fun of me for it. Mix tapes are the best creation ever. I used to make mixed tapes for boyfriends with all my favorite love songs on it. Now I can’t imagine these boys ever listening to the tapes. Now people are making mix CDs. It is a fun thing to have at a party or in the car while driving.

Sunday, March 14, 2004

The story “Stuff” is an inspiring story for many children that do not have homes or families that care about them. It also reminds people to not judge a book by its cover. This boy probably seemed like a trouble maker that had nothing going for him. However, he was only storing journals in the lockers. The majority of people would probably accuse him of storing drugs or stolen money. It was just notebooks of stuff he had written. The woman in the story didn’t jump to conclusions and gave this boy a chance. It ended up being a chance worth taking. The boy ended up publishing his writing and doing something with his life. He was not one of those worthless druggies. He wanted to achieve something in life. Lots of times in life, people don’t trust others. Sometimes it is for the better to not trust anyone and everyone. However, sometimes it is important to be more understanding and not jump to conclusions. The boy saw the people that did have money from selling drugs as being bad. These people were not honest people. He wanted more than that in life. He saw past the materialism of having a house full of “stuff” that was stolen. He saw it as a sick pattern of just buying more “stuff”. The boy also realized how important it was to thank the lady. Too many times people live life not acknowledging random acts of kindness. People become too self-absorbed and don’t realize other’s kindness. This boy however appreciated the woman for not judging him as a rebel. She saw past that and saw some potential in the kid.

The description of all the different people at the train station was interesting. Homeless people do typically hang around train stations late at night for a place to sleep. Many different people, rich, poor, old, and young all come in and out of the train station. In many Hollywood movies, people tend to hide stolen money or drugs in the lockers. Now when I pass by those lockers, I wonder what is kept in the lockers. People also have other types of dramatic moments at train stations in movies. Saying goodbye is always very dramatic at the train station when one of the lovers is on the train waving goodbye out the window. Another movie that comes to mind is “My Best Friends Wedding”. The main character asks his girlfriend to marry him at the train station when she is on the train. These types of scenes seem spontaneous and very romantic. Movies always try to make scenes much more romantic than reality. Most boys don’t think like the boys in movies. They are much more practical and not as creative. The idea of being romantic is buying red roses and champagne. Yes, it is the traditional romantic gesture. However, it is better to be creative. Go beyond the red roses and buy the girl her favorite flower or some exotic flower. It is more romantic to get something that is personalized rather than the standard type of gift.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

“Three Days. A Month. More.” is a very depressing story about two sisters. One’s name is Lena who is 11 years old and the other is Maria who is 13. Their mother left them alone in an apartment in Harlem. They always leave the TV on because it reminds them of their mother because their mother always did that. The girls live there for a month alone. They live off ice cream and beer. These girls don’t pay rent and don’t clean the apartment. The saddest thing about this story is that this really happens in reality. I can’t imagine being abandoned at the age of 11 and living on my own. These girls have no idea how to pay rent, clean, or support themselves. They should be in school living like all the other children.
There are millions of children in the world that don’t get to live like a child should. So many children have parents that don’t care. These parents were not ready to be parents and don’t take on the responsibilities of parents. They don’t feed their children or bathe them. Some children will only eat when they are at school. The parents don’t feed them or make them shower. The children will come to school smelling awful. It is so sad how many children don’t receive the kind of care and nourishment that they should. It is so hard to understand how no one noticed that these two girl’s mother had disappeared. It is so awful that no one else had any attachment to these girls.
After reading this story, I realize how lucky I was growing up. My parents cared about me and were ready to be parents. They took me to school, fed me, bathed me, and provided much more. I always had a warm and welcoming home to come back to. I had health care. In the story, Lena complains about an itch on her body. She has this itch for over a month and doesn’t do anything for it. She tries to tell her sister but she doesn’t listen either. I can’t imagine dealing with something like that for that long. I am surprised that these girls didn’t tell someone that their mother left. They were probably scared that they would be in trouble or that they would be separated. But in the end, Maria ends up leaving Lena just like the mother left. Maria isn’t ready to take care of Lena either. Maria is only 13 years old. She can barely take care of herself. The feeling that Lena feels at the end must be horrible. I can’t imagine only being 11 years old and being all alone. She has no one to help her. I never liked staying the night in my house at home by myself for one night. I can’t imagine living alone in an apartment when only being in elementary school. Being alone is a fear for many people. Many people used to get married right after college just because of the fear of being alone. The majority of people would much rather be around others. However, sometimes being alone can be relaxing, and a person can have time for his/her own thoughts.

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