Europe Day 2: Berlin Baby

We were in Frankfurt, Germany heading to Berlin. We went to our gate and got ready for the next plane ride. Obviously, the icing on the cake was when I got hit with major jet lag. I literally couldn’t keep my eyes open. But it’s totally all ok because I was in Europe. At last, we landed at our final destination for the day, Berlin. First, we met our awesome tour director, JOHNNY. A little intro to Johnny: Lives in Germany, “flexitarian” (sometimes vegetarian sometimes not), loves talking about sausages, classic one-liners, loved by literally everyone. Well after that we met up with the other EF group from Idaho and headed out into the city. After leaving our bags at the hotel, we took the local train, it was kind of like BART, to Alexanderplatz. From there we walked to a restaurant for dinner. I had pork mixed with beef (I think) with a side of rice. It was so good. But honestly, the portions in Europe are huge. So big. I could barely finish. And if you have ever met me, you know I’m the world’s slowest eater. Everyone would be done with his or her food and onto dessert and I’d still be on my second bite of the main course. Something else I thought was cool was that in Europe you can drink beer if you’re above the age of 16, so I missed out, but some of the older kids freaked out. After we were done eating we walked back to the train station, and from the train station back to the hotel. I bunked with my friend and then 4 other girls that I got to know really well later on. They have all become my really close friends and I’m so glad that this trip has brought me closer to so many new and amazing people. I think these are once in a lifetime opportunities and meeting new people and exploring different places is something everyone should do. So just as a side note, if anyone is interested in a trip like this I have information below about a trip to Thailand that my teacher is doing next year. You should all go check it out and tell anyone who is interested! Anyway back to my day… We all showered, finally, after 2 long days of feeling absolutely gross. After freshening up we got in bed. Once our heads hit the pillows, we were out.

Thailand 2019:

Here is the google doc with all the information about next year’s summer trip to Thailand, be sure to check it out and enroll!
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ujhNX5Ma_fFRZObqqs_y2ViIuhuA8vjfFBLulzl9rws/edit

Advertisements

Europe Day 1: Traveling Galore

As I hugged my mom goodbye the caravan of cars pulled up in front of Ms. Z’s house. Five big black cars, because of course, we had to arrive at the airport in style. We loaded our bags in the trunk and piled in. I scooted into the seat and introduced myself to the two girls in the back. Another girl came in and sat down, and finally, Ms. Z sat in the front. I waved goodbye to my mom and blew her a kiss, after that, we were finally on our way to Europe. At the airport, I met up with my friends who hadn’t taken the shuttle. Passport and boarding pass in hand we got in line to check in our bags. After check-in, it was security and then off to our gate. We boarded the plane and I went to my seat. I ended up sitting next to one of my water polo teammates for the next 11 hours, which was fine by me. You could tell by the looks on all our faces how much fun the plane ride was going to be… so much fun. Slowly I drifted off to sleep…

route
Route

 

 

Is This the Norm?

I opened my phone and was about to clear all my notifications when something caught my eye. It was from the news app, “School Shooting in Santa Fe”. I tapped my friend on the shoulder and said, “There was a school shooting.” She turns to me and says “Oh, another one? Where?” I’m not blaming her for what she said, because that’s what everyone thinks, including me. “Another one?” I am more appalled by the fact that this has become the norm than the fact that there was a school shooting; that’s how bad this is. I heard about Sandy Hook as a child and knew it was sad and devastating but didn’t really understand what was going on, so I paid no attention. Now I know. Now I understand what’s happening. And it needs to stop. Looking at the news and seeing things like “another school shooting”, or “man open fires at a concert”, and “3 dead in a shooting”, and then shaking my head and accepting that this is what happens now is not okay. Why is something like “Yanny or Laurel” getting more media coverage than tragedies like what recently took place in Santa Fe? We need to focus on the problem, not run away from it.

Image result for stand up and fight

This is America – A Wake Up Call

Donald Glover aka. Childish Gambino, an American singer, songwriter, producer, and actor, released a song called “This is America” on May 5th of this year. There’s a lot of talk going on about it, and I think it is a tremendously powerful song that has so much meaning behind it. I didn’t catch all of the subtle hints dropped in the video the first time, but after watching it a few times I could see all the signs clearly. We don’t realize everything that’s going on in our country, and even if we do we don’t give it much thought. America’s youth focuses on things that aren’t important, and that is what this video highlights. I definitely recommend watching the music video for this song, for it’s a loud wake-up call for America and it’s youth. 

Wake up America. 

Europe Trip: Berlin

This summer I’m touring around Western Europe with one of my teachers and some other high schoolers! We’re going with this company called EF Tours, and I can’t wait.

I decided to learn a little bit about each place before traveling to Europe just to have a background about that city. I’m kind of starting a “series” with about 4 or 5 cities.

Our first stop is… Berlin!

Some background about the city:

  • The current population is around 3.5 million. 
  • Berlin is Germany’s capital.
  • The city has had rough times and has educational reminders of its bitter past such as the Holocaust memorial and the remains of the Berlin Wall.

Food:

  • Schnitzel
    • Breaded meat
    • Served with potatoes
  • Currywurst
    • Curry and chili
  • Berliner/Pfannkuchen
    • German donuts
  • Pretzels
    • Known as breze or brezel
  • Kartoffelpuffer – vegetarian
    • Pan-fried pancake
    • Grated potatoes, flour, eggs, and onions
  • Eisbein
    • Pork knuckles
  • Apfelstrudel
    • Sweet filled with apples
    • Topped with icing sugar, cinnamon, raisins, and breadcrumbs
  • Königsberger Klopse
    • Meatball dish
    • Prepared with an array of ingredients: veal, beef, pork, onions, eggs, anchovies, and flour before cooked in broth
  • Berlin has a lot of cultural diversity due to the city’s immigrant history. Twelve restaurants in Berlin have been featured in the Michelin guide. (The Michelin Guide rates high-quality restaurants). Other than that, Berlin is a great place for vegetarians and vegans! It is known as one of the cities with the most vegetarian and vegan restaurants in the world. 

Culture:

  • Contemporary Art. Berlin. Those two definitely go together. Berlin is one of the leading cities in the “global contemporary art scene”. It has over 600 art galleries, 153 museums, 50 theaters, and is home to nearly 7,000 artists. The art “boom” started in the 1990s.
  • Berlin is also known for many cultural and creative industries, which is why so many entrepreneurs and artists are settling in the city.
  • An important center of the European and German film industry
  • Diverse nightlife
  • Berlin’s architecture is also very unique. It “combines elements from almost all period and all styles”. Take for example the Brandenburg Gate, a famous landmark in the city.

History:

  • The Berlin Wall is a symbol of the Cold War. The wall separated the communist, Eastern side of Berlin from the democratic, Western side.
  • The Berlin Wall was built because thousands of East Germans keep fleeing to the democratic West. The Communist East German authorities didn’t like this and decided to create a barrier between both sides. It was put up on August 13, 1961, overnight. 
  • The Berlin Crisis of 1961 occurred between June 4th – November 9th in 1961. It was an argument about the occupational status of the German capital, Berlin and “of post-World War II Germany”. 
  • Art Forum Berlin, a Berlin art fair, was held in 1995. It was a fair for contemporary artists. Another art fair is known as the Berlin Biennale, for contemporary artists was first held in 1998. It became so popular that they hold it every June. 

Attractions:

  • Brandenburg Gate
    • 18th century
    • Image result for brandenburg gate
  • Reichstag building
    • Neo-Renaissance
  • Fernsehturm
    • 368m tall tower
    • Opened in 1969
    • Viewing gallery (203m) and revolving restaurant (207m)
    • Image result for fernsehturm
  • Potsdamer Platz
    • Historic square reborn since the fall of the Berlin Wall
  • Checkpoint Charlie
    • Landmark boundary marking East and West Berlin
      • White sentry guard house and cobbled borderline
    • Image result for checkpoint charlie
  • Berlin Wall
    • [was] a guarded concrete barrier
    • Physically and ideologically divided Berlin (east and west)
    • Image result for berlin wall
  • Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
    • 2,711 columns forming a vast maze-like Holocaust memorial
    • Contains an underground exhibition room
    • Image result for memorial to the murdered jews of europe
  • East Side Gallery
    • Conserved graffiti project by 118 artists covering part of the Berlin wall

Cool Facts:

  • Berlin is a very safe city.
  • Berlin is the capital of Germany because the same time “Germany was reunified, Berlin was also reunified and became the capital of the enlarged Federal Republic of Germany”.

 

Of the People, By the People, For the People.

March For Our Lives. Gun Control. Gun Violence. Just last week all these things were at the top of the headlines, being discussed on every news channel, and were being addressed by almost everyone. Now I look at the newspapers and I don’t see anything about this critical issue. I switch on the T.V. and its border control, North Korea, and Trump as always. But nothing about this entire movement that millions of people support and participated in. This is the problem, we go through phases with certain things. Everyone was inspired and empowered by the Marches on March 24th, but what happened after that? I’ll tell you what happened. People went back to their same old routine lives and did absolutely nothing. We made signs, walked out, marched, all for going back to square one. Questioning authority isn’t enough, we need to take charge. Make a petition, sign a petition, VOTE. There are so many things people could be doing, I could be doing, to help this situation, but we’re not. Why? Is it because we’re scared? Is it because it requires hard work and persistence? I read an article in The Wall Street Journal newspaper recently talking about Supreme Court Justice, John Paul Stevens. Stevens is “arguing this [last] week that the Parkland, Florida, students and their allies shouldn’t settle for mere restrictions on guns. They should lobby Congress and the states to abolish the Second Amendment.” (Editorial Board). That is one more step to take. One change that could happen. Just like how masses of people came to ‘March For Our Lives’, they can help make a change. The Gettysburg Address states, “that this nation, Under God, shall have a new birth of freedom – and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth” (Abraham Lincoln). If the government is “of the people, by the people, and for the people” then why is it harming the people? They should be helping, not hurting. But if they’re not doing anything, then it’s up to us. This problem shouldn’t just be a dinner table discussion or ‘let’s talk over coffee’ conversation, it needs to be a revolution.


Heads nod in agreement

Firm glances are exchanged

Sips are taken

And then they leave

Where is the change we need?

 

MARCH FOR OUR LIVES.

EVERYONE.

Please join me along with hundreds of other people at the “March For Our Lives” march today, March 24th.

I am going to be attending the march in San Francisco, which starts 1 pm at 335 McAllister St San Francisco, CA 94105.

I greatly encourage you all to attend a march near you.

Show them that what’s happening is wrong, and stand up for innocent lives. Make your voice heard.

Here is the link to find the closest march near you: https://event.marchforourlives.com/event/march-our-lives-events/search/

 PLEASE DO MARCH.

MARCH FOR OUR LIVES, MARCH 24th, 2018.

static1.squarespace.png

Just Because.

Just because I’m Indian, doesn’t mean I like math

And that I’m serious all the time

In fact, I love to write and have a great sense of humor

Just because I’m a girl, doesn’t mean I’m not athletic

I play water polo and swim as fast as any boy

Just because I have black hair, doesn’t mean I’m boring

I love to spend time with my friends on the weekends

Just because I’m a teenager, doesn’t mean I’m a rebel

I’m just standing up for what’s right

Just because I live in Pleasanton, doesn’t mean I’m rich and snobby

But instead, I do understand the value of money

Just because I speak my mind, doesn’t mean I’m a smart mouth

It means I say what I believe in, and I want to be heard

Just because I’m 14, doesn’t mean my opinions don’t matter

I have my views about everything that matters

Just because I’m a daughter, doesn’t mean I need to be protected

I can fight for myself and stay safe on my own

Just because I’m smart, doesn’t mean I’m not pretty

I have all the beauty I need

Just because what?

You can’t define me with words

Don’t judge me based on who you see

Judge me based on me.

I am who I am, just because

I am me.

Maryland School Shooting

18. The number of school shootings in the U.S. since January 1, 2018. Today, at Great Mills High School in Maryland, a 17-year-old student by the name of Austin Wyatt Rollins shot two students. One, a 16-year-old girl he knew, and a 14-year-old Freshman. Unfortunately, the girl is in intensive care “with life-threatening critical injuries” (The New York Times, Cochrane), but the boy is currently in a stable condition. Rollins himself was found fatally wounded after a school resource officer, Deputy Blaine Gaskill, came in and fired a round immediately. Gaskill had responded to the news within minutes and reached the scene promptly. If Mr. Gaskill hadn’t reached there in time or hadn’t even been there at all, imagine what could have happened. The lives of innocent children could have been lost again today. How many more lives need to be lost or put in jeopardy until people realize that guns are BAD. Guns need to be banned, they need to be taken away from the hands of not only the bad but also the good. They need to be removed from communities altogether.

Image result for how many school shootings happened in 2018