4 Things

  • 5 books:
    1. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (Vintage Original)
    2. The Oxford Inheritance
    3. A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
    4. Arcadia
    5. Inferno
  • 5 Podcasts:
    1. Ask Me Another
    2. World Cafe
    3. How I Built This
    4. Hidden Brain
    5. Here and Now
  • 5 Documentaries:
    1. The Supergamers
    2. Year of the Hedgehog- The Secrets of Nature
    3. The Otter’s Trail – The Secrets of Nature
    4. Leave It To Beavers
    5. Octopus – Most Intelligent Animal on Earth
  • 5 Memories

True China (reflection)

After many days of hard labor, Amy, Molly, and I created the following travel magazine. Our magazine consists of original ads, travel writings, maps, and infographics. During the making of this piece, I took part as an editor, illustrator, and writer of the magazine. The magazine is sectioned into 3 main chapters, each of which describes a Chinese ethnic minority: Zhuang, Li, and Bai. My designated section in this magazine was the “Bai” chapter. I enjoyed making this magazine as I could get a taste of what it is like to edit, write and create my own graphics and travel pieces.

Faith in the Formless

The Da Vinci Code, with its extraordinary plot and lore development, presents the perplexing theme that perhaps having something so elusive as faith, is far more powerful than possessing the knowledge itself. The novel follows the main character Professor Robert Langdon, a symbologist, working to solve the murder of Jacques Saunière, curator of the Louvre museum. This later leads him onto the cryptic and long-sought path to decode the secrets of the Holy Grail. Langdon, being a well-acclaimed symbologist, is depicted with a strong passion for knowledge and truth, this is shown in his excitement to meet the esteemed curator Saunière:

“His books on the secret codes hidden in the paintings of Poussin and Teniers were some of Langdon’s favorite classroom texts. Tonight’s meeting had been one Langdon was very much looking forward to…” (Brown 15).

And yet, by the end of the novel [spoilers], it dawns upon Langdon that perhaps finding the physical form of the Holy Grail was never much the point of his quest. Most importantly, it was to accept and have faith in its true power, where it exists as an elusive, yet genuine entity within all of us:

“And for most, I suspect the Holy Grail is simply a grand idea… a glorious unattainable treasure that somehow even in today’s world of chaos, inspires us” (479).

And in choosing to “give up” this chase, in many ways, Langdon finally understood the most sacred secret of the Holy Grail.

Symbols and their meanings in my collage:

Books: The books symbolize Langdon’s extensive and acute knowledge on the history and lore of The Da Vinci Code; something that he frequently relies on to solve the mystery of the Holy Grail.

Reaching Hand: This symbolizes Langdon’s passion towards knowledge and absolute truth in this quest. This curiosity drives him beyond his concerns for his very livelihood.

The woman with red hair: This is Mary Magdalene, a pivotal character in the lore of The Da Vinci Code. In the novel, Mary Magdalene is told to be Jesus’ wife and bearer of their royal bloodline—the sacred feminine. And the Holy Grail itself is supposedly just a metaphor for her sarcophagus.

The Chalice: This is another major component of the lore, as it is the most common symbol for the Grail. In religious texts, the Holy Grail is often portrayed as the chalice containing Jesus’ blood when he was crucified.

Curtains + Faith: Finally, this is the symbol that I used to incorporate the theme into my piece, and unify all other components of the collage. While the truth of the Grail may be elusive or “curtained-off”, this need for “absolute knowledge” (books and reaching hand, reaching for the truth of the Chalice and Mary Magdalene) is eclipsed by the power of faith—the power of believing in an endless quest, so gloriously and beautifully unattainable.


Brown, Dan. The Da Vinci Code. New York: Delacorte, 2016. Print.
The Spirit Blogger. Mary Magdalene. Digital image. Spirit Blogger. WordPress, n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2017.
Bloodborne. Pthumeru Chalice. Digital image. Bloodborne Wiki. N.p., 6 June 2015. Web. 25 Apr. 2017.
Ceyda_ttnc. Dark Blue Curtains. Digital image. Weheartit. Weheartit, n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2017.

Drums Along the Mohawk: How has the character developed or changed over a period of time?

Dear Mr. Schroeder,

The novel Drums Along the Mohawk tells the story of newlyweds Gilbert and Lana Martin and their experience throughout the American Revolution. Lana, having born in a palatine family, had grown up in endless comfort and riches. Making her completely alien to the landscape and people of the Mohawk Valley; Gil’s run-of-the-mill house is a poor sight to her eyes:
“It seemed to her utterly forlorn. Behind the cabin were the marks of Gil’s first struggle with the land: the stumps, half burnt, surrounded by corn of all heights, the most uneven patch she ever saw. All around the cabin the earth was bared to the rain and faster running into mud. Beyond was a low shed to shelter the horse and cow” (Edmonds 31). To adjust to her poor accommodations, Lana held onto anything that reminded her of her home. An example of which is the peacock feather that her mother had gifted her before she had left– a symbol of her old wealth and last ties to her family.

Though Lana learns to adjust to her new life on the farm, tending to the livestock while Gil leaves for the militia, her happiness is short-lived. With the Loyalist army setting their house ablaze, Lana and Gil are forced to leave their home. They move from shed to shed, trying their best to run away from the tailing army. Unfortunately, with all this struggle, Lana miscarries and falls into an unforgiving pit of sadness and guilt, leaving Gil completely helpless. But with Gil nearly dying, Lana learns to appreciate all that she has, especially her family. Slowly, she begins to heal. With the battles raging, Lana learns to become stronger, and slowly finds the happiness that she had lost before– holding on tight to all those dear to her. By the end of the novel, Lana, Gil, and their three children return to their cabin in the valley, incredibly grateful that they had survived through it all:
“‘We’ve got this place,’ she thought. ‘We’ve got the children. We’ve got each other. Nobody can take those things away. Not any more” (654).


Ringing Silence (American Revolution Journals)


This series of four narratives, collectively known as Ringing Silence, tells the story of a middle-aged loyalist merchant— Christian, during the American Revolution. He goes through drastic changes in the four turning points (separately described in each narrative): 1) Boston Massacre; 2) Battle of Lexington; 3) Declaration of Independence; 4) Treaty of Paris. And the question he asks himself changes from whether or not he still has faith for the empire, but if he can still live with what he has done.

Unarguably, the American Revolution is one of the most pivotal points in human history. Throughout the course of this revolution, due to the intense conflict of interest between the British and Colonists, ties between these two sides were almost completely severed (an example being the stop in trade), as opposed to their prior close relationship. Secondly, through the Declaration of Independence and publication of Common Sense, the colonies finally ratified their independence and created a strong sense of patriotism within the nation. Through this, people of the colonies became more tightly knitted than ever. However, slavery and discrimination (to Native Americans and African-Americans) still persisted long after the conclusion of the revolution.

American Revolution in Plain English: Reflection


Our group chose the turning points of the French-Indian War, New Economic Policy, Boston Tea Party, Intolerable Acts, First Continental Congress, Declaration of Independence, Siege of Yorktown, and the 1783 Treaty of Paris. In the process of creating the video, we first filmed the characters, while reading the script to make sure we were at least close to the actual pacing in the end. We later filmed the voice-over independently and edited it to fit with the actual visual clip.Our group was very cooperative and worked together very nicely. In the creation process, I took part in writing the script, creating and drawing the characters, and editing the film to match the audio with the visual clips.



Emma. L 8-3: Potemkin Narrative


It started off with the whispering on the deck of the Potemkin. I had kept my head down like always, when some of the crew had begun to complain to the officers, their disgust towards them was blatant.


This was especially true for Matyushenko, a burly man that always seemed to have a frown on his face. He seemed to be the center of attention in every conversation, always tossing out a phrase or two about how great the revolutionaries were. I hated it. Didn’t they know that the tsar would do anything to keep his power? Didn’t they know about all the lives lost on that dreadful Sunday months back? Fools! That’s what they were, bumbling idiots who knew nothing of what they had gotten themselves into.


And now here they were again, standing in front of the captain and his executive officer. One stood in the front, a man whose name had eluded me—though I had remembered that he was of humble upbringings, often bad at holding up a proper conversation.

“You call this soup?” he cronies boomed, I was shocked at the volume of his voice, “look at the worms swimmin’ in it, it’s no different from eating soil!” he threw down the bowl, a clanging sound echoed in the room. There was a deadly silence, the calm before the storm. Across from him, the officer’s neck was slowly turning red, his fists held so tight that they shook. Slowly, he tilted his head upwards, his teeth were clenched. In a sudden motion– too fast for the eyes to follow, he took out a gun and pulled the trigger. The shell of the bullet clattered on the floor, followed slowly by the wet thump of flesh.


The sound of gunshot rang in our ears. I was in shock, incapable to respond to what had just happened before my eyes. Matyushenko, fists clenched, smoke coming out of his ears, was the first to break the silence:

“How dare you!” he stomped, and suddenly turned to face the rest of the crew “We will not let the tyrant and his minions take away the life of another brother, capture that fiend!” his voice seemed to break the spell of silence that was casted upon the room. Everyone clambered up and charged towards the officer, who’s eyes were wide as saucers.

“Wait!” I shouted before I could comprehend what I was doing, glancing at the pleading eyes of the officer, “Surely we all know what the tsar would do if he finds out? This will only end badly for us.” The officer nodded pleadingly. Matyushenko turned his head slowly towards me, I gulped.

“I never took you as a sympathizer of the tsar, Nikiforov, but here you are, talking in favor of the tyrant who is no more than a child. What a pity.” He spat the last words.
“No I—“

“Either you choose our side or theirs, know that one feeds you to the sharks” he jerked his head, gesturing to the deep, dark waters below. “And the other, gives you a new world of justice and equality,” he raised his fist at that– as if it meant anything.


The others turned their gaze towards me as well, pinning me at the spot. Sighing, I hung my head, and I let him drop. I turned away from the splashing behind me, and the desperate cries of help. I had grown up knowing that I was a coward, what would it matter to anyone if I so much as spoke up? Then I kept my head down, like I always I did. And stayed that way even as I heard the sound of gunshot, ending the splashing behind me.

A Monster Calls Poem

There’s a monster in every one of us.
It eats away at the sane and the living,
It’s the truth.
And I’m not sure I can stand it any longer.

I’m invisible,
I’m lost,
I’m but a child,
Yet the truth I hold hurts me beyond what I can carry.

There’s a witch in the house,
Whose words are harsh,
And talons sharp.
And yet I’ve learned,
The witch is not of wrongdoing,
The future is but a speculation, verdict not.

Men are right if their mind is right,
When their beliefs well found,
Virtues well sought.
And yet I’ve learned,
Those who let go when the time is ripe,
Are also those who have nothing but cowardice.

I’m sick of being invisible,
Seen as nothing but a tragedy,
A broken boy with a sad story.
And yet I’ve learned,
That some things are worse than being unheard,
That the marks that last are worse than those that don’t.

I’m invisible,
I’m lost,
I’m but a child,
Yet I let go of the pain and the weight,
Because the truth is but a thought,
And what counts is the marks that we make,
Not the ones that we deem.

There’s a monster in every one of us.
It eats away at the sane and the living,
It’s the truth.
And I’ll stand it for the rest of time. 



Throughout the story, Connor develops a lot as a character, each of the major changes were checkpointed by the stories that the monster tells Connor. Verses 1, 2 and 3 all document the changes in perspective and thought that Connor takes on when the monster tells him the stories. I used an echo in the last two verses of the poem to show how Connor has changed overall.

In A Monster Calls, Connor’s main source of suffering is from the treatment his mother has to go through to cure her cancer. *Spoilers* For a very long time, Connor has been burdened with the weight of his own thoughts– that he wants his mother to pass so that their suffering could end (shown in verses 1 and 2). But as the monster tells him the stories and eventually possesses him for a short amount of time, Conor begins to accept each part of himself, as the monster says: “The answer is that it does not matter what you think, the monster said, because your mind will contradict itself a hundred times each day. You wanted her to go at the same time you were desperate for me to save her. Your mind will believe comforting lies while also knowing the painful truths that make those lies necessary. And your mind will punish you for believing both” (Ness 212). The novel ends with Connor finally being able to accept this truth, “And by doing so, he could finally let [his mother] go” (225). (Shown in the last two verses)