Loaded

A bead of sweat makes its way down my face

Feet tapping

Looking around like a mouse

Afraid, anxious, apprehensive

A hot ball bouncing in my chest, trying to break out

Like swallowing something without chewing

Forget butterflies, there’s birds in my stomach

Always in motion, like the ocean

Hands quivering

Fighting the temptation

To scream as loud as I can

I am a loaded gun

Ready to go off at any moment

Snowboarding

Snowboarding

The icy air blows in my face

As I twist and turn down the slope

I feel the snow underneath me

A soft cool pillow

Ready to catch me

I have made my way down this mountain

So many times

I know it like the back of my hand

My friends and I laugh and talk

As we hurl snow at our faces

The best part of the trip is the hotel

Where we play card games

And drink too-hot chocolate

Losing track of time

In our laughter and bliss

Finally, it’s time to sleep

So we can do it again tomorrow

Mahatma Gandhi

       Mahatma Gandhi was an Indian civil rights activist who helped India break off from British rule. Mahatma Gandhi was born into a Hindu merchant caste family in coastal India in 1869. He worked as a lawyer in Africa before returning to India, where he organized farmers, peasants, and urban laborers to protest against excessive land taxes. Later in his life, he walked 250 miles in objection of the tax on salt.

       He lived a very modest life, eating only simple vegetable and fasting for long periods of time, both as means of self-purification and political protest. He was also put in jail many times for his protests.

       Finally in 1947, Britain allowed India to be independent, but it was split into Hindu-majority India and Muslim-majority Pakistan. Because of their different beliefs, violence broke out and Gandhi undertook many fasts to stop religious violence. The purpose of his last fast was thought to pressure India into paying back cash owed to Pakistan, but many Indians thought he was too accommodating. As a result, he was assassinated in 1948 by Nathuram Godse who shot him 3 times in his chest.

       Gandhi believed in peaceful resolutions over violent resolutions and in self-rule. He also laid a base for nonviolent protest. Even though Gandhi died 71 years ago, his beliefs and ideas are still living today.

Sparta vs Athens

Choosing where to live is always a hard decision, but it was even harder for people in Ancient Greece. Sparta, the “meat” of Ancient Greece, raised their kids to have self-control and obedience. Their government was an oligarchy, meaning that there was a small group of people that ruled the entire city-state. They had the largest and strongest army in all of Greece. Spartans also treated their women with care, unlike other city-states. Also, they invented a clever early encryption code for sending messages between different generals.

       Athens, on the other hand, created the base of democracy, a government in which the people elected a representative to make decisions for them and were open to progress and new ideas. Athens also invented many new forms of architecture such as using optical tricks to make pillars and supports seem like they are perfectly straight.

       Although living in Sparta would mean that you are in a powerful city-state, you would be surrounded by hostile city-states, living in fear of a revolution and the living conditions would be too harsh. Athens, however, had a pretty fair government to men, a variety of jobs, and was overall more easygoing and wealthy.

       All things considered, the advantages of living in Athens outweighs the advantages of living in Sparta by a landslide.

Loaded

Loaded

A bead of sweat makes its way down my face

Feet tapping

Looking around like a mouse

Afraid, anxious, apprehensive

A hot ball bouncing in my chest, trying to break out

Like swallowing something without chewing

Forget butterflies, there’s birds in my stomach

Always in motion, like the ocean

Hands quivering

Fighting the temptation

To scream as loud as I can

I am a loaded gun

Ready to go off at any moment

 

The American School System


         “In the first place, God made idiots. This was for practice. Then he made school boards.” These were the words of Mark Twain, one of the most memorable American writers of all time, who quit school when he was 12. There are so many reasons that the American school system is flawed. One reason is that almost nobody likes coming to school every day. Also, failing school doesn’t necessarily mean failing life, therefore showing that school doesn’t give you all the skills you need to make it in the “real world”. In addition to that, the base of our schools is telling kids that the only thing that they need to have a successful future is a 100.

        What if I told you to spend at least 7 hours every day inside of a room with 20 people who also don’t want to be there and a person who helps you solve problems you wouldn’t have without them? You would probably be pretty mad, but this is what most of the kids in the world have to deal with. For Americans, this is even worse because the teacher’s salary is about $49,000 per year; less than average. Also, the typical American teacher spends about 12-16 hours every day at school. There are also countless reasons that students hate school. 86% of people report hating school at one point and 28% of all college students report sleeping in class on a regular basis, not only because of stagnant teachers but also because of homework overload. Another problem with the American school system is bullying because 30% of people report being bullied in school. Bullying can lead kids and teachers to hate school.

        Another reason that schools all over the US are failing students is that they aren’t teaching kids the skills they need to do well in the “real world”. Although many schools teach “teen skills” as an elective, it is not mandatory and students who don’t take that class may not be prepared for living by themselves. Our president, Donald Trump said, “We need to fix our broken education system!”and CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk said, “Downloading data and algorithms into your brain is actually, well, amazingly bad”. Many successful people such as Einstein, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg quit school at one point, proving that, depending on your situation, quitting school can even be beneficial.

        My final reason that our school system is flawed is that it’s destroying students’ creativity and curiosity. There are so many examples of this in an average student’s time at school. For one, the teachers don’t allow kids to spend time at the library to learn unless it is “library day”. Also, the entire system is based on a number, and not on how much effort the student puts in. In our school system, kids are treated as learning machines, expected to sit still in place for hours on end, to finish mountains of work, and to memorize dates and facts and formulas about subjects that they may never use. Some students may spend hours on a project, but get a low score on it due to the fact that they may have done something that their teacher didn’t like, but any other teacher would have been okay with. In addition to that, every student is treated the same, which could end in some students failing, or others being bored out of their mind during class. This kind of system is also used for Another reason is that American schools put mathematics, science, language, and history over physical education and fine arts. Although math, science, English and social studies can come in handy sometimes, they don’t give you the skills you need that you receive from PE such as teamwork and leadership.

        I know you may be thinking American schools accept all types of students and are relatively cheaper than other countries’ schools, making them a great choice for your kids, but this can lead to bullying for the kids who stand out and have special needs. Although it is impossible for anything to be perfect, there are so many ways for American schools to be improved. For one, we could have a higher teacher to student ratio so that the kids can have more one-on-one learning. Another way for our schools to be more effective is flexible class times because 50 minutes nowadays just isn’t enough for kids to actually get in any quality learning. In other words, the United States’ education may be effective in many ways, but there is always space for improvement.

        All things considered, you may still be thinking that the positive qualities still outweigh the negative. If this was true, then why is the US ranked 17th in education out of 40 countries and not 1st? There is still hope because you can write a letter or email your principal suggesting more flexible class times, smaller classes, and setting up a placement test that places kids in classes that don’t overwhelm or bore them to death. If your suggestions are taken to heart, it can help secure a more positive future for American education.

Chinese Mugwort and Egg Soup

This soup is very common in East Asia and also easy to make. The vegetable used in the soup is typically only sold in Asian or oriental markets so make sure you don’t buy the wrong vegetable.

Ingredients:

.5lb of Chinese mugwort

2 beaten eggs

Boiling water

3 slices of ginger cut into strips

Vegetable soup base

Oil

Salt

Black pepper

Directions:

Cut the mugwort into thirds

Pour enough oil into a large pot to cover the bottom

After the oil is heated up, put the stem portion of the mugwort into the pot gently

After it is flexible and softened a little, put in the ginger and 1 cup of boiling water

Add a couple generous pinches of salt

Place the rest of the mugwort and water

After it is at a boil, pour in the eggs at different spots to reduce clumping

Add 1 heaping spoonful of the vegetable soup base and stir around until it dissolves

Add as many cups of boiling water as there are people you are serving after the water rises to a boil

Divide the soup into however many people’s bowls you are serving and sprinkle some black pepper on top. Serve hot

 

How to make Dumplings Part 2

Dumpling Skin Ingredients:

  • 500g all-purpose flour
  • 250g water
  • Pinch of salt

Directions:

  1. Mix all of the ingredients until smooth
  2. Rest under plastic wrap for 20-30 min
  3. Cut into 2 even semicircles
  4. Put one under plastic wrap and shape other dough to a stout, cylindrical shape
  5. Poke a hole in the middle and widen the hole until the dough is about 2 inches across
  6. Pull cut one end of the dough and the opposite and stretch until it is 1 inch across
  7. Cut one length of dough about 1 inch from the end and turn it 90 degrees and cut it 1 inch from the end again. Repeat until you reach the end
  8. Push each piece of dough so that it is about 1 cm thick
  9. Hold one piece of the circle and turn while rolling out the side opposite from the one you are holding until the skin is twice as thick as paper
  10. Put about a tablespoon of stuffing into the center of the skin
  11. Fold the dumpling in half and crease only the side edges
  12. Pull one edge of the skin back and fold it onto itself
  13. Do the same on the other side and crease all of the remaining open dumplings

If you did it right, the dumpling should stand up. If it doesn’t, I probably messed up explaining. Remember to keep practicing. The most important thing to remember is to have a large enough skin, the middle is thicker than the edges and all of the possible exits for stuffing are sealed.

How to make Dumplings Part 1

Dumpling Stuffing Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of ground pork or chicken breast
  • 1 pound of shrimp
  • 2 – 3 green onions
  • 1 tablespoon chopped ginger
  • 10g cooking wine
  • 200g water
  • 24g sugar
  • 1 pinch of black pepper
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 large onion chopped to tiny pieces (optional)
  • 1 pound of carrot chopped to tiny pieces (optional)

 

Directions:

  1. Put all ingredients EXCEPT for vegetables, oil and water into a large bowl
  2. Slowly add water in small intervals while stirring until all of the water is used, You should be able to see that the mixture is fluffy
  3. Stir in the oil and add vegetables afterward

Your dumpling stuffing is finished! Use it to make dumplings with the recipe from “How to make Dumplings Part 2”.

Tomato and Egg Soup Recipe

        This dish was the first one I learned that wasn’t scrambled eggs, instant mac, and cheese or instant ramen.

  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 4 eggs
  • Generous pinch of salt
  • Generous pinch of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of chicken base (optional)
  • 1 cup of hot water
  • 1-2 tablespoons oil

Directions:

Cut tomatoes into large chunks and remove the core and leaves.

Use oil and cook with the eggs. Make sure the eggs are solid and in smaller than bite-sized pieces. Add in all of the tomatoes slowly and stir with eggs. After the tomatoes are soft, break them apart into bite-sized pieces and add water, chicken base, and salt and sugar. Stir until smooth and serve while still hot. 3 – 4 servings