Old Bike, New Place

Hutong Bike, 10

Photo by: Jim Fidler

Poem by: Annie


Old bike, new place


For 10 years the bike was ridden

Yet 10 rotations of the seasons

The bike aged

The Hutong reborn


The ragged bike

Once wheeling across old Beijing

Had miles and miles of road covered

Left outside, enduring rain and storm

Overloaded with groceries

In the delicate wire front basket

The tires are flat

The hinges are crackling

The seat is broken


For the Hutong though

No more shabby walls

But more running taps

With flowing clear cool water

More concrete roads

Without razor-edged rocks


The renewals might also be done

To the rusty bike

My Country is Important, But My Family is More

Sergei’s Journal

August 25th, 1939

Age 53

I am relieved, my mind feels released. Yesterday the Non-Aggression Treaty was signed with Germany. I am an old man now, I do not want to fight anymore. I want to spend the remaining years of my life with my family. Perhaps this is the only one thing that Stalin did correctly. I’ve seen the changes in Russia through the years. My older son, Vasily, just turned fourteen today. My family is living just like how I imagined 15 years ago. I need to protect my children, I hope they can have a better life than I do, and escape the fearful life like mine. Now, my family is my everything, and I cannot lose them.


Without fighting, I still fear that my family may have been purged. The purges of the party ordered by Stalin began in 1937. Stalin, our leader, was a cruel and brutal man. His favorite quote was “No man, no problem”. My colleague Petrov and his family disappeared. Petrov often complained about Stalin’s tyrannies, and he paid for his consequences. I was lucky enough that my loyalty towards Stalin saved my family from the gulags and blizzards in Siberia. I don’t like Stalin’s plans, but to keep my family safe, I have to follow orders. I understood that Stalin was trying his best to turn USSR into an industrial country, like his Five-Year-Plan eventually turned into a four-year-plan. Peasants suffered, it was not worth it.


Stalin was our ultimate lord, and we all were his followers. From 1924, I was hopeful that Trotsky would become a great leader after Lenin’s death. After all, what Lenin said about Stalin, how his personality wouldn’t lead our country to a great cause, I was actually a supporter of Trotsky. But Stalin’s great propaganda and secret police, the Chekas, gave him power and he soon took control of USSR. He even exiled Trotsky. To make the country look well-developed, Stalin even promoted collectivization, the Five-Year-Plan, and the uninterrupted week. In result, there were famines. Stalin caused terror amongst the country. No one ventured to oppose him because against Stalin meant being tortured to death. Back in 1930, the secret police set up the gulags, I once worked as an organizer for executioners there. People worked like slaves, and I thought that it was inhuman that we had to kill a slave every night unreasonably. But I had to tell the executioners to do it. I saw the hopelessness in the slaves’ eyes and their hatred towards us and the government. I wanted to help them, but I showed no mercy because I knew that it was either the slaves being executed, or else it would be me. It was not until 8 years later when my assistant told me that 20% of the zeks died.


I was a patriot. I’m trying to support entire Russia, but my family has become my center. I can’t believe the country had turned under the rule of dictatorship. But I’ve chosen to follow Stalin, I’ve become a coward. I knew the Chekas are watching every move I take. I knew that Stalin has been doing things wrong. I am an old man now, I have my own family to protect, I could no longer support the citizens of Russia. Looking back all these years from 1905, I have changed a lot in 35 years. USSR too. The only thing that hasn’t changed was the suffering of the peasants. Where is my passion for them? They are living like slaves while we are enjoying our feast. Even though I am a soldier and I have fought for Russia, the revolution…was not worth it.

One Day 2017

I created a self-directed seven minute long movie using my own written script. My success was the music in the movie helped with the story. Also, it was lucky for me that I had enough actors/actresses to help me complete the movie. My challenges is that we did not quite have enough time, so we had to delete parts of the script and to make sure that the story still stays the same. My story demonstrates a very sad situation, so if we don’t make it serious enough, what people will think will not be sad but thinking it’s funny, so we had to take it really serious while filming.  My passion is movies, I love them, maybe it will even be my future career, I think my movie was quite success except for parts that turned our pretty funny…



Linda Ragsdale

What Ms. Linda Ragsdale was talking about inspired me, I was suddenly into thinking deeply. I think she is an optimistic person and she is great. She shared her experience in the attack in India. And after listening to Linda Ragdale, I realized that everything is your own choice, whether if you choose to be happy or not, but it’s all your choice. I was amazed by her after she told us that she got cancer and got bald, she stayed positive and even told jokes about it, she wanted to stay happy, and even in the worst times when things don’t go as you wish. Also, I knew that we often see things in our own way, but what we don’t see is the truth, we need to see it from other’s perspective, to see a bigger world. We need to see things differently. Sometimes you need to find it out and stay calm. All we need to do is to communicate. Like the game I experienced when I had to open her fingers, I didn’t know that everything was just so simple. I just need to communicate with her, using words, but not solving the problem physically. Likewise, Wars and fights start off like that, instead of using violence, why not chill out and try to talk to them, isn’t that is what words and languages are for? If everyone will open their minds and try to understand others, the world would be a better place. Linda Ragsdale taught me an important lesson about life, it was great to spend time with her.


Always keep that smile!

American Election

“Our goal is not to deter or contain ISIS, but to defeat and destroy ISIS.” Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state is a democrat and has been in the public eye for being the only women who is still running. If Mrs. Clinton want to win, then she must win over the young, college-educated white voters who supported Barack Obama in 2008~2012. But she will also need to maintain her base of support among white working-class women while battling it out for college-educated women.


On 2016, two democrats and five Republicans are still in the running for their party’s 2016 presidential nomination. Many candidates, no matter if they had already dropped out or is still running, they all had excellent quotes that people won’t forget. Most of the candidates who dropped out are still strong about that they aren’t ending the fight. Also, a large number of candidates declares about defeating and destroying the ISIS and will try to protect USA from ISIS. This is because ISIS is a big threat to not only America, but the world. ISIS is a big community that attacks people and kill citizens which will threat people’s safety. Some candidates who dropped out thinks that they might end the presidential bid, but they are not ending this fight against the ISIS.

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Doctors say writing and reading are important for good health

Allison Adelle Hedge Coke made through her childhood with a mother with mental illness who cannot take care of her. Writing made her feel better and he overcome problems. Coke is now an award-winning poet who is 56 years old and teaches writing to make people feel better. In June 12th, 2015, Dr. John Harper, a heart doctor thinks that telling stories can also heal people. Reading also help people to get better. Now, doctors and scientists who study the human’s mind are looking how healthy reading and writing is. Writing will help u understand how fun life is, Coke thinks.


This is really a good article that taught me a lot of things about writing and reading. I think it is very important to read and write, and what I was surprised about was that reading and writing can actually heal people. I think this really connects to us, even though we are not going through hard time. We can read and write when we are interested on it, in our leisure time, when we are bored, sad, angry. We can read and write whenever, wherever we want. I think reading and writing is a part of your life. It can help you express what you are thinking. To keep a diary is a great example. It’s like having a best friend which you can tell her about everything. Also, reading can help you calm down, and it just feels like that you are the character that you understand, and it makes you feel sympathy to the character.

For more information, please click here.



The Lone Woman of San Nicolas Island


In California, the novel “Island of the Blue Dolphins” is very popular. The book is about a Native American girl is left alone on an island, she survived while hunting fishes for food. This book is actually based on a true story. The girl was known as the Lone Woman of San Nicolas Island, this island is near the Southern coast of California. Steve Schwartz, an archaeologist who was very interested on this, set off a journey to find the Lone Woman’s cave. He was eager to dig and find this cave. It took Schwartz more than 20 years to find it, and he finally did it in 2012. It was 20 feet high and 75 feet long and was packed with sand. Schwartz worked with an archaeology professor to carefully dig out and study the cave.


Have you heard of the famous book “Island of the Blue Dolphins” ? It is very interesting and it’s actually based on a true story. I think it will be fabulous to find where the Lone Woman lived. I think Schwartz is a very intelligent and persistent archaeologist. After all that hard work for 20 years, he finally did it. If he wasn’t that persistent, I don’t think he will find it, but he wasn’t scared of failing and kept on trying again. I think that this is something that we should learn from this article. I think this connects with ourselves too, because we should also keep on trying things, it is okay to fail for your first time, or second, or third, but the thing is that you need to learn from your failures so that you won’t make the same mistake over and over again. If you want to succeed, failing is the most important thing of all. Nobody is perfect for the first time, but if keep on practicing or doing it again, there might be a time that you actually got it right or succeed. However, I think Schwartz is a great archaeologist.

For  further information, please click here.

Bruce the champion

This article is about a horse becoming a champion. In Prescott, Arizona, Bruce the friendly chestnut-colored horse just could not win. However, Bryce Runyan, a 25-year-old professional calf roper, which is also his owner gave him a chance. Bryce is 25 years old and is a calf roper. Before Bryce had Bruce, he had Maverick, but he was getting too old so Bryce got Bruce. However, the team didn’t do so well at the Prescott redeo this year, they ran out to chase the calf before when they were allowed to. Later, when they were foing to a rodeo in Taylor, Arizona, Bryce has to win, otherwise, he will not make to the National Finals Rodeo. As they got ready, the calves, Bryce tied the calf with the rope easily. He finished it in only 9.7 seconds, it was the fastest time ever. However, Bryce earned with something even more valuable. He now knows that Bruce was just the right partner.

I think this article connects with my story, Colette and Her Dreams because it’s both about friendship and partnership between horses and human. I think the horse should be loyal and friendly to its owner. At the same time, the owner should be kind and forgiveful to the horse too. I think trusting each other is very important whether if you are the girl riding the horse or the one carrying the girl. In my story, Colette, the girl who wants to be a horse trainer and Jolie, her horse, between them,  there must be a deep friendship just like Bruce and Bryce in this article. I think this article also connects with myself when I am riding a horse. Sometimes I find that finding a good horse that suits myself helps alot. When you like this horse and feels like it, then you will be a good partner with him when you ride it. Also, pat him often and feed him by yourself so that he likes you and will like to work and ride with you. Another example is that when in class, we need to work with the table, this needs partnership or teamwork so that we can complete our target easily. This is all about partnership with a partner and teamwork with a team. And also collaborating and cooperating with my partner. I also learnt from this article that even when there is a failure, if you keep on trying and trying, you will finally succeed. Sometimes, failing is part of succeed, so even when you are failing, try again and keep going. Never give up is the point. If you don’t give up when you fail, maybe you will succeed the next time, or the next next time. This article taught me alot of things and it isn’t only about horse winning, but cooperating and never giving up, this article is very useful.

For further information, please click here.


Children Slavery

In SURAT, a city in western India, there are more than 50,000 young slaves who have to work hardly for hours with only very little money and food to eat. India has laws saying children must stay in school until age 14, but still, millions of workers work across India. However, the Indian government has changed some of the laws that they would allow some children under age 14 to work, but only if the company is owned by his/her family member. But people who fought for the children’s rights disagreed with the changes of the rules. In Surat, bosses often tell the government that the children working there are their members while the young workers keep quiet, which makes the government rarely finds out the truth. But once the bosses get caught, they can have worse punishments, they could be fined $800 or sent to prison for two years. India’s prime minister, Narenda Modi, said, children do need an education, but India is a poor country. Making all child labor illegal could hurt Indian farmers, shopkeeper and companies. However, just like what Kumar said, no one wants to buy things that are made by children.


This article is connect to the book, Boys Without Names. They both talk about child labor. The bosses are usually very cruel to the young workers and treat them really badly. Just like in the book, Gopal and the other boys were put to make frames with no food and rarely any food, while their boss whips them mercilessly. Many child slaves in real life are also like that, the bosses may kick when they did something wrong and even starve them. Also, in the book, only Gopal was brave enough to tell the truth and try to escape, and he finally succeed when the polices came. The other boys was so loyal to their boss and was even negative to him, without Gopal’s help, they might actually never escape! In the article, they say that the children are often keeping quiet because they are scared and not daring to say the truth and help themselves. Even though if they were saved, the cruel bosses who hire children are only fined $800 or sent to prison for two years. I think that’s way to less, I think they should stay in the prison for at least four years or fined for at least $2000. Think about how was they treating the kids! And I agree with what Kumar said, who will want to buy something that’s made from those small hands with tears and blood?


Click here to read full article!

Drinking purified wastewater an option as California drought continues

Los Angels, California has terrible drought, water is getting very scarce and people there are worried. However, experts say that there can be a way to fix this, they convince people to drink portable reuse, which is to reuse wastewater. Wastewater is undrinkable because it is unclean. For example, when we go to the bathroom, the water that is flushed away becomes wastewater. But sadly, this plan has failed in California, all the Californians said that this was “yuck”, there were even a cartoon to disagree with portable reuse. While in Texas, all the people there are using the portable reuse even though that it doesn’t even have a drought. So experts are pushing this plan and kept insisting to do the portable reuse since it is useful and it is the only way to solve the problem.


This made me think about that we really should save water! Before this tragic happens at anywhere else, we should be responsable to our environment. I chose this article because I think it is really important. California is facing a major problem about the drought, and I think we should donate water to them while they really need to do the portable reuse plan since it actually worked in Texas. I was surprised that a drought actually happened somewhere on Earth! This means that we should be more reponsible and not waste water. I believe that this problem can be solved, while the Californians should be more careful and should reuse water.


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Thank you for reading!


Annie 6-6