The Syrian War – Daniela’s Journals

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The Syrian War in Plain English

Many revolutions were started by groups of protestors or powerful countries. But the Arab Spring revolution began with a boy who spray-painted anti-government slogans on the wall of his school. He was taken by the Syrian police and tortured for 40 days. This lead to citizens protesting in Daraa and the conflict spread within Syria. No one knew where this protest would lead to. Once this started, there was no telling when the Arab Spring would stop. Soon, hundreds of people were killed and many Syrian cities were destroyed. Syria was not the same as before. After the boy spray-painted on his school and was tortured, protestors were going out on the street supporting him. The police brutally shot the protesters. But they didn’t back down. The news of Syria started the revolution to spread and involve other countries in the Middle East. This small problem pulled in foreign countries as well. Major western countries supported the rebels meanwhile Iran and Russia supported the government. Each day, there are still more and more protesters protesting against the government. Many dictators remained in power despite the protests of the rebels. Hopefully, Syria would be able to recover from this bloody revolution that damaged the country forever.

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All Falls Down in Amsterdam

The novel might as well be called All Falls Down in Amsterdam since everything goes down when Hazel and Augustus are in Amsterdam. In the Fault In Our Stars, by John Green, the rising action and climax is that not only did Peter Van Houten not welcome them into his house, but Augustus announced that he had a PET scan and that his cancer has returned aggressively.  “Van Houten’s spine stiffened again out of respect. He kicked off his slippers. He had really ugly feet. He was rather ruining the whole business of authorial genius for me.” (Green, 52) They were all enjoying their visit to Amsterdam until Van Houten started the disaster. This postcard depicts Hazel telling everything to Issac about what happened in Amsterdam.

Something similar happened to me when my family and I were on vacation. We all started fighting because of one small thing and everything turned upside down after that. We were all happy in our vacation until that small thing came and ruined our visit to that country.

Hazel expressed her feelings in the postcard that she and Augustus were both sad that he was going to die. Everything went down in Amsterdam. ”

I am very sorry. There is no excuse. He is very sick,” she said. “I thought meeting you would help him, if he would see that his work has shaped real lives, but . . . I’m very sorry. It is very, very embarrassing.” (54)

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Okay? Okay.

If you got cancer, would you be the optimistic person who would enjoy every single second of your life or would you be the pessimist who would just stay at home and relax? In the novel, The Fault in Our Stars; the author John Green, portrayed Hazel Grace Lancaster as the rather pessimistic girl who would watch America’s Top Idol and read her favorite book, An Imperial Affliction, over and over again. Her life has been that way ever since she has been diagnosed with cancer. When Hazel started going to Support Group, Hazel met Issac, who had eye cancer. Issac and his girlfriend had this thing where they would whisper “always” to signify how they would always be together and love each other forever. On the other hand, her encounter with a rather attractive boy, Augustus Waters has changed her life forever. But it all goes down on their visit to Amsterdam.

Hazel wasn’t the average teenager who would go shopping on the weekends and hang out with their friends. Her mom became aware of the fact that Hazel was depressed. She would spend her days in her bed and sometimes even ponder the opposite of what you’re allowed to when you have cancer, death. “I rarely left the house, spent quite a lot of time in bed, read the same book over and over, ate infrequently, and devoted quite a bit of my abundant free time to thinking about death.” (Green, 1 After meeting Augustus, the development of their relationship got faster and faster. Soon, they were calling each other in the night of serenity and sharing their favorite books. “Instead, I lay down in the grass on the patio’s edge, looked up at Orion, the only constellation I could recognize, and called him.” (104) Not long later, Hazel realized that with Augustus she can live her life much more thrilling than her cancer life. A miracle started when Augustus began emailing Hazel’s favorite writer, Peter Van Houten and they got invited to go visit Amsterdam to learn what happens next in the ending of An Imperial Affliction, Hazel’s favorite book. “Wow,” I said. “Are you making this up?” “Hazel Grace, could I, with my meager intellectual capacities, make up a letter from Peter Van Houten featuring phrases like ‘our triumphantly digitized contemporaneity’?” (156) Hazel was speechless by the fact that Augustus emailed Peter Van Houten and he replied their email. Especially because Van Houten was living in recluse. She had admired Van Houten for ages and Augustus was the first person to help her make her dreams come true.

Everything goes as planned in Amsterdam until they met Peter Van Houten. After their luxurious dinner at a fancy restaurant, who would’ve thought that he would be such a disaster. “When our waiter appeared to take dessert away, he said, “Your meal has been paid for by Mr. Peter Van Houten.” Augustus smiled. “This Peter Van Houten fellow ain’t half bad.” (177) When they saw Van Houten, he was an alcoholic person who had no aspirations for himself. Arguing then turned into yelling and slamming doors. Before they knew it, Hazel and Augustus were out of that crazy hermit’s house. “In the seventeenth century, his ancestor discovered how to mix cocoa into water. Some Van Houtens moved to the United States long ago, and Peter is of those, but he moved to Holland after his novel. He is an embarrassment to a great family.” (181)

Not only were Hazel and Augustus disappointed by Van Houten, but Augustus broke the news to Hazel that he had a PET scan and his cancer was back. Now, it was him who was dying and everything turned into a complete tragedy.

The Fault in Our Stars is fairly similar to another book, Wonder written by R.J. Palacio. The protagonist, August was born with a facial abnormality, even though he had gone through many surgeries, his face wasn’t fixed. But he had to accept the fact that his physical features of his face weren’t going to change. Instead, Auggie had to fight it. In the end, he overcame his fear and his problem.

Hazel and Augustus were both fighting cancer. They had to accept that one day they would lose to cancer and die. However, cancer defeated Augustus earlier than expected. Hazel was now mourning the loss of Augustus. But she reached some closure when she discovers at the funeral that Van Houten’s daughter who died of cancer and he wrote An Imperial Affliction for her. Van Houten also delivers a eulogy that Augustus wrote for Hazel since she was expected to die first. That was one last word from her first love.

“Okay,” he said after forever. “Maybe okay will be our always.” “Okay,” I said.” (138)

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Substance Abuse and Body Image

The dangers of using substances to alter body shape affect the heart. For example, the side effects of the drug Fen Phen and Ephedrine include heart failure, valvular heart disease, the risk of stroke, heart attack, cardiac arrhythmia, and tremor. Some healthy choices you could choose to lose weight are going to the gym more often, eating less junk food and sugar, and eating small proportions of nutritious food.

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Food, Candy, or Medicine?

Chocolate is one of the most widespread sweets in the world. Chocolate is truly a gift from the gods. There are plenty of desserts and foods that contain rich quality chocolate.

When you hear the word chocolate, you probably would think of a regular chocolate bar with a rich and sweet taste. Do you know that chocolate was not a candy for most of its long history? It was first used as a drink that was thought to be more nutritious than other foods. Chocolate was also used as a medicine that could heal a wide-ranging of ailments. This versatile substance has now filled three roles: medicine, food, and candy. The long history of cacao has come to make a flourishing mixture of sweet and bitter, chocolate. The topic Kay Frydenborg has established in the book Chocolate: Sweet Science & Dark Secrets of the World’s Favorite Treat is that chocolate impacts our society and history.

Frydenborg tells us that in 1947, children were protesting about the price increase of a chocolate bar. “We want a 5-cent chocolate bar. 8 cents is going too darn far. We want a 5-cent chocolate bar. Oh, we want a 5-cent bar!” (Frydenborg, 3) They even composed a song about this. You can see how important chocolate is. They were complaining about a 3 cent increase. Nowadays, the average price of a chocolate bar in the United States is about 5 dollars.

Chocolate has been around for centuries; it has become a part of many people’s daily lives. Almost everyone loves chocolate. But who could blame them? Its rich lush flavor melts on your tongue and forces you to take another bite. The moment it was discovered; it has been cherished by all who ate it. Many things contain chocolate such as protein bars, shakes, and desserts. Chocolate is very important to us as Frydenborg claims, “Conquered tribes were forced to pay tribute to the Aztecs in the form of jewels, fine clothing, feathers, and above all, cocoa beans.” (47) Everyone demanded to have cocoa beans because they wanted to eat chocolate.

Almost everything I eat every day contains chocolate. Not only can chocolate be a candy or in candies, but it can also be foods. When I go to parties, I am most likely to see a chocolate fondue with fruits that could be dipped in the chocolate fondue. Chocolate makes me feel better and happy. It’s like a drug that I am addicted to. I bring chocolate to every swim meet. Making smores is part of the reason why I go to campfires. Melted chocolate and marshmallow in between two graham crackers sounds delectable!

Kay Frydenborg has done an astonishing job depicting the topic chocolate impacts our society and history through the book, Chocolate: Sweet Science & Dark Secrets of the World’s Favorite Treat. She has done this by describing the history that involves chocolate and the history of chocolate.

But there is still something that makes everyone perplexed. Is chocolate a food, candy, or medicine?


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Should the Boxer Rebellion Deserve a Bad Reputation?

The video above supports the fact that the Boxer Rebellion deserves a bad reputation because of the genocide of Chinese Christians and foreign emissaries which befell China and led to the downfall of the Qing Dynasty.

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The Rich History of Chocolate

The history of chocolate may not seem as complicated as it is, but there sure is a lot to learn about the world’s best candy, chocolate. That fact has been manifested in the book, Chocolate: Sweet Science & Dark Secrets of the World’s Favorite Treat by Kay Frydenborg. You might have eaten chocolate a million times, but have you really thought about what chocolate was made of? What was most important that caused the chocolate to exist? Chocolate contains the tasty and nutritious fruit of the Cacao tree, also known as Theobroma cacao. It was found in the Upper Amazon Basin of South America. The ancient Mesoamericans invented chocolate, how to transform cacao seeds into an astounding food. They crushed the cacao seeds resulting in a chocolate paste mixed with sugar to create the rich quality chocolate.

I am a person who really loves candy, especially chocolate. Chocolate has been a fraction of my life. Without chocolate, I don’t think I could ever overcome the difficulties in life. When I get nervous in swim competitions, I take a bite of chocolate, rapidly, all of my energy is restored by just one small piece of chocolate. Dark chocolate and white chocolate aren’t my favorites. One is too bitter, the other is too sweet. Which is why I like milk chocolate since it is just in between. This shows how important chocolate is in my life.

This book reveals the deep rich history of chocolate that allowed me to learn so much more about chocolate.

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One of the themes portrayed in the novel, A Separate Peace by John Knowles, is sometimes one’s greatest enemy is oneself.  Gene himself is a shrewd teenager. Every time, when there is a test, Gene would always study for it. Unlike Finny, who would always wing it. One day, Finny took Gene to the beach to watch the sunset. Since it was too late to go back, they slept overnight at the beach. In the morning, Gene realized he had a trigonometry test. He tried to get back to his boarding school, but Finny delayed him because he wanted to swim. This was the first time Gene didn’t study for a test. Gene learned that Finny was jealous of his good grades, that he wanted to sabotage his academics. So Gene tried to do the same for Finny on his sports. He shook the tree branch that Finny was on the edge of, and he fell off the tree onto the bank. Later on, when Finny passed away, Gene then realized Finny didn’t want to ruin his grades, he just wanted to have fun. Gene had “killed” his best friend because his evil side triumphed over his good side. “You did hate him for breaking that school swimming record, but so what? He hated you for getting an A in every course but one last term. You would have had an A in that one except for him. Except for him.” (24, Knowles) Gene was convincing himself that Phineas was a threat to him and that everything was Finny’s fault.

My found poem showed that Gene had two sides in him, evil and good. He was very indecisive. He envied and hated Finny, meanwhile, he liked to hang out with Finny. “I was Phineas, Phineas to the life. I even had his humorous expression in my face, his sharp, optimistic awareness.” (29) This emphasizes that Gene was not only jealous of Finny’s sports skills but also his personality.

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Life is a Patchwork Of Friends

The best friendships are those that have survived the test of time, change, and conflict. The author of A Separate Peace, John Knowles has established a twisting conflict about friendship throughout the novel. The conflict is about the two main characters of the book, Gene an intellectual introvert, and Finny, a loquacious athletic boy. But the conflict lies within Gene’s own mind. You could start to wonder how two different types of people would become best friends. In Gene’s point of view, their friendship is based on competition, envy, and codependency. Shortly after Finny’s fall, it’s like Gene became an entirely different person. His personality transformed into a new version of himself.

When there is competitiveness in a friendship, everything could get ugly. Instead of dealing with it positively, Gene doesn’t respond in a good way. Even if there was no competition. Gene was the kind of person who would get straight A’s. On the other side, his athletics were not as good as his academics. If Finny didn’t drag Gene to go outside, Gene would stay in his room with his nose in his book all day. Now Finny was an outstanding athlete. He started swimming for just one or two days and he beat the school swimming record. That just showed how much talent Finny had; especially because their boarding school was best known for sports. But his academics couldn’t even compete with his sports area. “You did hate him for breaking that school swimming record, but so what? He hated you for getting an A in every course but one last term.” (Knowles, 53) They were both jealous of each other’s strengths that they couldn’t have themselves. “I could tell that because the obstinate, competitive look left his face as his mind became engaged for the first time.” (169) Each time one of them got a remarkable achievement, they wanted to work harder and try to beat each other.

Friends are not supposed to envy each other; they’re supposed to admire or be happy for them. “I was beginning to see that Phineas could get away with anything. I couldn’t help envying him that a little, which was perfectly normal. There was no harm in envying even your best friend a little.” (25) It didn’t take long for Gene to start feeling jealous of how easily things come for Finny. Gene envied his charisma. Gene began to imagine that Finny was just as jealous of him and that Finny was deliberately sabotaging his studies.

Gene was a pessimist. So he thought that Phineas was jealous of him and that he hated him. But instead, Gene was the one who envied his friend which resulted in him on doing something he regretted. “Only Phineas never hated anyone.” (204) He did the unthinkable by shaking Finny off the tree branch when he wasn’t paying attention. Phineas was the only one who had a kind heart. Gene seemed to be the only one who turned everything into a bad thing. Gene sabotaged Finny’s dream on being an athlete and attending the 1944 Olympics.

I had a similar conflict between my sister and me. When she kept on telling my mom that I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to be doing, I thought she was trying to sabotage me enjoying my life. But as I grew older, I began to realize that she was doing that for my own good, guiding me along the paths of my life.

Our conflicts aren’t entirely similar, but it establishes the same idea. In Gene’s point of view, their friendship is based on competition, envy, and codependency. Once Finny began to acknowledge that Gene was the one who caused the accident, he was disappointed and heartbroken. While Finny was gone, Gene tried on his clothes. For a moment, Gene felt free, daring, and confident, just like Finny. He ‘replaced’ Finny by wearing his personalities. Gene wasn’t the only one who was a part of Finny. In fact, Finny trained Gene enthusiastically as if Gene were a part of himself. Gene felt Finny’s identification and responds in return by becoming a part of Finny. Gene and Finny had been getting along really well after Gene realizes that Finny never hated him. But would Finny ever forgive Gene for ruining his dream? After all, what is life without friends?

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