Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Striking it rich or striking it hungry?

It was 1848 and I was well  along on my long, hard journey. My parents told me we could strike it rich and have all the food we could dream of if we just found that precious stone that only exists in the fantasies they told me before I went to sleep. They had told me a story, something about a man named James Marshall finding a shiny rock worth lots of money in a river in Northern California (Unknown, The Gold Rush). It was in Coloma, a long detour from where our first route we were going to take (Unknown, Yukon Media- Gold Rush). Considering how rich I could be if my family found the gold mine, I decided to go with them on this absurd excursion. After all, who wouldn't want that kind of life? Fancy everything: warm homes, maidservants at your service, and of course high-quality meals, raccoon meat instead of beaver. It was definitely a higher step up from Maryland, that’s for sure. All of it seemed so easy; to find the place where Mr. Marshall had found his pebble of gold and all, but little did I know that many hardships would come from this journey with death around the corner (Unknown, The Gold Rush).

My first job was to pack the food, clothing and get the horses ready for a long "walk". I managed to sneak them a few of our apples stashed in the burlap sack in the hidden cupboard of the wagon. If my parents would have known I did that, they would have knocked the living daylights out of me! I decided to take a little jog, so I could get all of my energy out and sleep on the ride, letting the horses relax knowing that they had a humongous trek ahead. I took one step forward, then the next and soon I was in a full sprint.  I loved running, it sets me free: I felt like I was floating on the clouds. I untied my neatly done braid my mom had weaved last night and lifted my dress up just enough so I wouldn't trip over it with every step I took (Unknown, All About the Gold Rush). The wind thrashed through my long, dirty blonde hair, making me feel like I was on top of the world. I could have gone running like this forever, but my father interrupted when he hollered out to me, "Cynthia, we're leaving! Where are you?!" I stopped my quickening pace and realized I had made eight loops around my horse pasture and was gasping for breath. I knew immediately that I needed water.  "I-I-I'm c-coming-g!" I say in between shaky breaths. Before my papa had any say in what I was about to do, I sprinted to the well and grabbed the bucket, cranked it down to the bottom and brought up fresh water. I drank it right from the bucket, the whole gallon. "CYNTHIA!!!!!!" My brother called to me in an annoyed voice. "I'll be there in two seconds, Chester! Just hold on!" "Dad and Mom are angry! You are gonna get in troubbbbblle!" he said mocking me. "Whatever," I say, dropping the bucket next to the stone well while I playfully punched him in the shoulder. "MOOOOMMM!!! Cynthia punched me!" Chester poutted as he fake cried and ran into the wagon. "Now Cynthia, I told you to be nice to your brother! This was supposed to be a fun trip and it isn't starting out how I wanted it to." "I was being nice to him, Mom, honestly, I didn't even punch him that hard!" "Yes she did!" Chester whimpered from the wagon. I rolled my eyes and said, "Knock it off, Chester, you punk!" "That's enough, both of you, let's get a move on before all of the gold is gone." My Dad hopped into the wagon, shot me an angry glare and screamed "Yeehaw!" as he slapped the reins onto the horses backs.

And so we were on our way to the mystery land. No idea what was surrounding us, forward or behind. It was all a brand new concept, once we had been on the journey for two months. By this time, I was so annoyed with my little brother I couldn't stand another minute listening to his kiddish-comments and high-pitched voice. We had eaten most of the food that was supposed to last us five months. Panic set it and we were on the verge of searching for food, my mother and I tended the wagon, sewing the top because there was a hole from one of the hailstorms we encountered, while my brother and father hunted. They came back with their bow in one hand and nothing in the other. They had no luck finding food that we so desperately were in need of, so we pressed on. Just when we thought we had made it through the hardest situations, we experience something much more difficult. Snow like sugar glistened as it sat on rock-like boulders standing in front of us, stretching as far as the eye could see. The only thing that we could think to do was to keep riding, as far as we could go before it got too distressful. We made it about a mile up and down, swerving through the rock-like hills before one of our horses collapsed. We had no idea what to do, but to keep going and leave our horse behind. So we continued, but just minutes later, a wheel on our wagon cracked in two. The whole family got off from the wagon to take a look, it was nothing mother nor I could fix. We suddenly lost hope. No food, no transportation, and wishing we were rich. 

Life only got harder as the time went on, the nights grew darker and the daylight became lessened. My brother had no luck hunting, neither did my Dad. There was a couple options for things we could eat. I refused to the least appetizing idea, but my family decided on something better than the other option. We ate our horses. Every little piece of them. My dad went on a search to find the horse that collapsed and we cooked him over the fire that Chester started all by himself with the sticks he found by some trees. I cried while I ate them, because I grew special bonds with each horse, and now I was eating my best friends. Then I reminded myself, would you rather starve, or survive eating your animal? 

Soon the bark was gone. No more fire. We were starving, cold and skinny to the bone. All of the horse remains were gone. The only question that came to my mind was how could God let this happen to us?! I thought he wanted us to become rich and make it safely to California, guess that wasn't his plan after all. Chester was becoming too weak to function and he had no hope anymore. I recalled his face from when we were back at home right before we had left. We were so happy, all of us, before we ever went on this dumb trip. Chester's face had completely flushed from all it's color and turned pale white. We knew it wouldn't be long until he would pass away, so we spent every moment we could, trying to comfort him and tell him we loved him. It was very hard though, being in the circumstance we were in when we were in the same exact pain he was going through. 

A few days passed and Chester was no longer with us. He passed away once the temperature got to below freezing during the night. He had lost his coat while hunting animals and searching for bark, so he couldn't stay as warm as we could. I cried and cried, licking the tears from my eyes, desperate for water somewhere. I dreamed my tears were like the ocean, signs that maybe we were getting closer, but when I woke up I realized it was all just a illusion. I wished I could have apologized for being such a horrible sister to him. My parents kept telling me, in their weak voices, that it wasn't my fault that he died. Although, I felt like it was and continued to grieve, as well as my parents. 
Finally, a day after Chester's passing, my dad brought up the only hope we had left. "One of us had to die for the rest to live." I pondered his words for a second, and then processed the fact that my dad was telling me we had to eat my brother. I couldn't do it. I was filled with anger, bottled up with so much emotion. My body moved without me thinking, and I sprinted as far as I could away from them. I couldn't believe what I had just heard. This was absolutely insane, had my parents gone wild?! First the horses, and now this! Am I the next one to die and be eaten? No, I can't let them. This is a berserk thought that only some cannibal would even think of attempting. I ran back to save my brother's body from the two crazy aliens who I called my parents, only to see jugs of a red-colored substance and body parts tucked away inside of a plastic bag in our broken, vacant wagon (George). I stood there with my eyes practically bulging out of their sockets. How could this actually become reality?! I was about to say something, but couldn't because I felt a blade pressing through my skin, deeper and deeper until my father had stabbed me straight through the heart. I managed to say a few words before my breaths drew to a close, "I'm sorry I r-ran awa-ay. Good l-l-luck find-in-in-ing gol-d-d. I l-love y-ou both so-so-so m-m-much-ch." Everything suddenly faded and went dark.
After gold was found in California, people started flooding there and this boosted its population (Underground).The two parents never did find gold, nor did they survive when we tried to make it all the way through the mountains. Many other people searched for gold, but were unsuccessful (Unknown). Mostly everyone forgot about this “Gold Rush”, until the 1960’s when another one started up again. Americans became greedy, and wanted to become rich in an instant so they continued to search (Unknown, Gold Rush History).

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Beach Time

Author's Note: This a creative piece I wrote about this upcoming spring break I used some similes that tie into my piece. I have never been out of the country, so it'll be a whole different setting from this frigid winter. Puerto Vallarta here I come! :)

With my sunglasses on, flip-flops clicking, and sunscreen lathered, the seashells wash up on shore as the white waves crash to the sand and touch my toes. I have finally made it to the beach where there are no more harsh temperatures while frozen snowflakes melt on my bundled up body. I can finally break out of my shell and run free while watching the sunset as it reflects on the calm ocean waters. The ocean dances back and forth, to and from the awaiting sand as I sip a fruity smoothie which I can have at any time I desire it. The sand seeps through my toes as a pedicurist would before painting my toenails. I breathe in, and breathe out the fresh aroma of newly-baked corn-dogs, snow cone flavorings and the pure scent of sea-salt as I soak up the warm sunny rays with people stretching across the whole shoreline. The other vacationers are doing the same as me, but I don't notice them because everything seems too good to be true. As a matter of fact, it feels like a dream that I've always longed to experience: a dream where I crossed the borderline of the United States, and branched off and explored in a different country. At last, I get the chance to experience what I have dreamed of forever: new country, different language, different way of life, and all of it is different and utter paradise all at the same time. 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

"Oh, how our country has changed"

Author's Note: We were told to write a creative piece and I decided to write in the format of a letter to the Founding Fathers. Through this letter, I tell them how our world has changed so much since they were living here in the 1700's.

Dear Founding Fathers,

The times have changed drastically since your time. There are no longer horses and buggies, but cars that are constantly being improved over time. There are no longer payphones that charge you a quarter every minute you talk on it, but instead wireless cell phones that allow you to play games, search on the internet, and call/instant message other people. There are still wars going on all over the world, and in my opinion, I don't think they will ever stop. If they do, they just start right back up again. I want our country and other countries to be at peace, but it seems as if our country is never satisfied with what we have. Troops were out in Afghanistan and Iraq, and some may still be there now. It's not required for young men to go to war when they are 18 anymore because they are given a choice to decide what career they would like to pursue as an alternative. Some men become doctors, electricians, plumbers, and etc. Women are allowed to be in wars now, to help with everything that needs to be tended to. Most train for nursing, although more and more are wanting to fight in the actual battle. I have already listed many points that have showed the differences in our country from now and back in the day. One thing will always stay the same is thankfulness. Thankfulness from our country for what outstanding things you have lead us to today.

Thanks so much for your great deeds,
Christina H. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

"Always focus on how far you've come, rather than how far you have left to go"

Author's Note: This is a creative piece I was assigned to write. I decided to write it on theme and I used A B transitions in it as well.

Missing someone is hard enough, but being a far distance is equally difficult. People deal with this situation every day, and they have a hard time overcoming it. In the book Dear John by Nicholas Sparks, it shows how passionate the love is for both individuals and how they will do anything to stay a pair. John and Savannah love one another, try their best to keep their family together and work their hardest to push the sadness aside in their life.

The character John, who was a former veteran in the army expresses his kindness when he jumps in the water to save Savannah’s purse. “I finally felt bottom and trudged out the surf. I shook the water from my hair, started up the sand, and met them halfway up the beach. I held out the bag. ‘Here you go,’ ‘Thank you,” the brunette said, and when she met my eyes I felt something click, like a key turning in a lock. Believe me, I’m no romantic, and when I’ve heard all about love at first sight, I’ve never believed in it, and I still don’t. But even so, there was something there, something recognizably real and I couldn’t look away.” (p.35) This caught Savannah’s attention and she started to wonder about John. Eventually, she invited him to a bonfire she was hosting with her friends and he automatically fell head over heels with her, only to find out that there was another man that loved her just the same. “You’ll meet Tim later. He’s a great guy. You’ll like him. Everybody does.”(p.37) He could tell that Savannah had a little something for Tim as well. Most guys would give up in a situation like this, but he keeps fighting to stay by her side, even in the rough times when he had to apologize for being angry at her right before he had to go back to fighting in war. “I was stumped. I searched my mind before meeting her eyes. ‘And...’ I trailed off. ‘And what?’ ‘And...’ I tried but I couldn’t come up with anything. ‘I don’t know,’ I confessed. ‘But whatever it is, I’m sorry for that, too.’”(p.160)

Love is a crucial component in this story, along with family that holds them all together like gorilla glue. Savannah is one of those characters who love being outdoors and spending time with her family. “We’re volunteering. You’ve heard of Habitat for Humanity, right? We’re down here to build a couple of houses. My family’s been involved with it for years.” (p.38) You could say she’s a people person who can talk to almost everyone. On the other hand, John grew up with his Dad and hardly ever talked to him. Sometimes he couldn’t even make conversation with him because of their lack of connection. His dad loved coins but soon it got to be too much for John and he snapped. In result to this outbreak, his dad would just say “okay,” or completely avoid the subject by saying a one worded response when he had asked a question. When John met Savannah, he let all of his feelings out about his father when they started talking about family.  “’I know,’ I said. ‘But it’s not just that. We’ve always been strangers. I mean, it’s just so hard to talk to him.’”(p.70) Back when John was a teenager, his dad had mentioned to him that he reminded him of his wife, John’s mom, who was a very stubborn woman. This offended John, but he finally realized years later that it’s worth a lot more to show him forgiveness and accept the fact that he doesn’t talk to him, and most likely never would. Throughout the book, Savannah, being the down-to-earth girl that she is, is able to bring John and his dad’s distant relationship back together. She tells John that she thinks his dad has high-functioning autism. It takes awhile for John to accept this fact, but later realizes that it must be true. He put the pieces of the puzzle together: the difficult speech, the repetitive meals, all the same routines, all of it made sense to him at last. “In the end, surprising myself again, I admitted we were almost strangers. ‘You are,” she said using that nonjudgmental, matter-of-fact tone. ‘You’ve been gone for a couple years, even you admit that you’ve changed. How could he know you?” (p.70) If it weren’t for Savannah, John wouldn’t have been able to be next to his father’s bedside during his last days of life. “‘Okay.’ He finally said. I smiled at his response. I couldn’t help it. ‘I love you, Dad.” To this he knew exactly what to say, for it had always been part of his routine. ‘I love you too, John.’” (p.249)

When Savannah and John try their best to keep their families staying active and well, things lead to sorrow and sadness. The dream couple decide it’s better to be away from each other once John goes back to war and receives a letter that was written to him. “I know that sounds like an excuse, but please believe me, when I say I didn’t mean to fall in love with someone else. If I don’t even understand how it happened, how can you?”(p.229) Savannah tries to move on and eventually falls in love with her neighbor, Tim, and gets married. John finds out about Savannah and he experiences one of the hardest times of his life, because his Dad dies that same year as well. Savannah is never fully happy because John was her first true love. Although she is happy with Tim, he is always at the hospital because he has lymphoma, which is a difficult cancer to fight. She becomes very lonely when her lover isn’t there with her to keep her company. Tim’s little brother, who has autism lives with both of them. He would go to the hospital for the whole day from early morning till late at night. This whole cancer situation was hard on Alan, the little brother, too, because he didn’t like seeing his big brother in pain. John comes back from the war on one of his leaves to visit his dad at the funeral, and decides to visit Savannah after he said his last goodbyes. He knows that it doesn’t feel like it had when they were in love from the start and gives her the news that they will never see each other again after he wishes the best to Tim. “She slowed her steps when she spotted me, then came to a stop. No hug, no kiss---the sudden formality made me ache.” (p.159) He knows Tim is a good guy, and wants the best for Savannah, so he sells his dad’s coin collection to pay for Tim’s cancer anonymously. Tim’s cancer is cured and him and Savannah live the life of a fairytale. “‘Is there anything I can do?’ I closed my eyes, thinking of Savannah and Tim and hoping that somehow my dad would forgive me for what I was about to do. ‘Yes,’ I said to the coin dealer. ‘actually there is. I want to sell my dad’s coin collection, and I need the money as quickly as you can get it to me.” (p.330)

The two lovebirds in this book try to rid of sadness, love each other, and give it their best effort to have healthy families. Times get rough, and they even get separated in the process, but they still have a burning love for each other. John still loves Savannah and he pays for Tim’s cancer expenses because he loves her to that extent. This book teaches the lesson that we should go for our dreams and never give up on them, because life takes its turn in your favor, even if we can’t see it.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Hard Times, Hard Lives, What are we to do?

Author's note: Life is difficult enough with the dangers of this world. There are so many diseases that us people can go through, but I think the roughest of them all is cancer. Cancer is like a lion looking for whom it may devour, it finds someone, healthy or unhealthy and usually gives them zero chances of hope. I decided to write a poem about cancer, to show a perspective on how much it affects others in their times of sadness.

Crying friends, 
crying family
by your bedside
nothing you can do
nothing you can say
to make everything be okay.
You wonder what is going on
How this unfathomable crisis happened to you
what to do to make your loved ones faces turn from being blue.
Sorrow fills the air
hearts break and tears shed
pain in your body
trying to hide it with a smile.
Being a sacrifice
glad in a way that it was you instead of them
still hard to bear
how can it compare
to times like other days?
When the sun shined through the darkest window
the hearts were together as one
the sunset reflecting on the ocean waves.
You know its hard
you know its rough
its tough
I'll miss you, it's true
but I will see you all again someday.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

I Couldn't Stay

Author's Note: This is a creative poem I wrote about a picture of a lady riding a horse. 

You stand here and in the sight of your eyes,
You see the view, although I’m in disguise.
The question you ponder waits, and the words that you say linger
But you should always know the ring still sits on my finger
The days feel like years now and I’m sorry I let you down
but I should have known better than that: you just wanted the crown.
Know that I’m torn, but I’m not coming back
I know being truthful is hard, it’s something I lack.
I’m hoping someday you realize,
all you see is the view, while I’m in disguise.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

"You Thought I Was Trouble"

Author's Note: This piece is written on point of view on a song called "I Knew You Were Trouble". I wrote my own version of the song and explained how the song changed by having a different point of view.

“I Knew You Were Trouble” By Taylor Swift
Once upon a time, a few mistakes ago
I was in your sights, you got me alone
You found me, you found me, you found me
I guess you didn't care, and I guess I liked that
And when I fell hard you took a step back
Without me, without me, without me

And he's long gone when he's next to me
And I realize the blame is on me

'Cause I knew you were trouble when you walked in
So shame on me now
Flew me to places I'd never been
'Til you put me down, oh
I knew you were trouble when you walked in
So shame on me now
Flew me to places I'd never been
Now I'm lying on the cold hard ground
Oh, oh, trouble, trouble, trouble
Oh, oh, trouble, trouble, trouble

No apologies, he'll never see you cry
Pretend he doesn't know that he's the reason why
You're drowning, you're drowning, you're drowning
Now I heard you moved on from whispers on the street
A new notch in your belt is all I'll ever be
And now I see, now I see, now I see

He was long gone when he met me
And I realize the joke is on me, yeah!

“You Thought I Was Trouble” By Christina Heinritz
Once upon a time, a while ago
I saw you there, I got you alone
I found you, I found you, I found you
I cared so much, but you didn’t see
When you fell hard, how much you meant to me
I miss you, I miss you, I miss you

And she’s gone too far when I’m next to her
And she thinks that the blame is on her

Cause she thought I was trouble when I walked in
But little does she know
Flew her to places she’s never been
That I love her so, oh
She thought I was trouble when I walked in
But little does she know
I had no idea this would be the way
So sorry my girl, I had to leave
Oh, oh, no choice,  choice, choice
Oh, oh, no choice, choice, choice

I didn’t apologize, I made her cry
I’m so guilty now, she says I’m the reason why
I’m drowning, I’m drowning, I’m drowning
You heard I moved on from whispers on the street
But you have no idea, what you meant to me
And now you’ll see, now you’ll see, now you’ll see

I was long gone, when I met you
But now I regret ever leaving you, yeah

There are many people who have been in a hard breakup rather than not. They tend to feel at fault for the relationship crashing and usually someone ends up in pain. The lyrics that Taylor Swift sings in the song, "I Knew You Were Trouble,” relates to her experience of a memory she had of a hard break-up. She thought she knew why the break-up occurred, but she finally was told the truth from her boyfriend about his plan to go off to war.

I knew you were trouble when you walked in, so shame on me now, flew me to places I'd never been, til' you put me down, oh! This song is telling fans that T-Swift fell for a guy that she knew would bring her trouble. Even though her boyfriend appeared dangerous, she clung to his angelic smile. He was very mysterious and kept secrets from Taylor that she would have never guessed of. Sometimes she thought that she should just end it, right then and there because she didn’t like the secrets being kept from her ears. She finally decided against that thought. Swift’s producer, Anthony Mandler, explains how she deals with her emotions, “She wanted to tell a story of a doomed love and a good girl pushed to the brink. She had dealt with trouble, but not this particular situation." Taylor Swift thought that he left her because he was seeing another girl.                                                                                                

 "I Knew You Were Trouble" was written in Taylor Swift’s perspective; I wanted to make a song in the guy’s point of view as he responds to Swift and explains himself. Taylor thought that he was trouble because she assumed he was cheating on her. Zack, her boyfriend, writes a song back explaining how he was actually going off to war to fight for his country. It was impossible for him to tell her that he couldn’t be with her; instead of telling the truth, he figured it’d be easier to leave without saying goodbye. She thought I was trouble when I walked in. But little does she know, I had no idea this would be the way. So sorry my girl, I had to leave. The guilt for leaving her had caught Zack in a trap: he realized he needed to explain to her the truth and hoped she would understand.

The song “I Knew You Were Trouble” had caught her off guard, which is easy for lots of people to relate to. Taylor Swift thought that the guy she liked was trouble because she was suspicious of him being with another girl. Even though Taylor thought she knew about his lie, she was still attracted to him. Taylor misinterpreted Zack’s sudden need to leave. He explains to her in his song, “You Thought I Was Trouble,” and tells her how he left her for war. Zack never stopped loving her and didn’t want to hurt her.

Forest Gump said, “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get.” This is exactly what Taylor was dealing with. She had no idea that her mysterious boyfriend was at stake of being at war. If he wouldn’t have been so secretive, she wouldn’t have made assumptions about him that she wasn’t certain of.  It’s crazy how one point of view can change the whole story around.