Friday, October 20, 2017

Another Apology

Hello, hello, hello! So again, I must apologize for not posting. This time however, I do have a valid reason. And my reason is: School. I know everyone says this, but school pressure is actually sky rocketing. Seventh grade is hard guys! Before, I used to cruise through all of my classes. I wasn’t being challenged. But last year, we were given the option to stay with our grade for Math, or advance academically by skipping two years and going straight to Algebra 1. Challenge Algebra is a class of 7th and 8th graders who have skipped one or two years of math and are basically doing a high school math course and learning over three years of learning into one. 3 years!!!! The teachers have become a lot more tough as well. Tons more homework, and the grading system seems to crack down on on all of us. While it was incredibly easy to keep straight A’s last year, I am having to crack down and study hard just to keep from failing. Along with school, My 2nd degree black belt test is also coming up in December. I already had to retest for the second one twice, and I have one more go at it, to actually pass. If not, I am 6 months behind everyone else. Don’t worry, I’m sure I’ll pass this time. Well I hope. I only have to retest on one thing, so I wouldn’t worry. I passed everything else. To emphasize my work load here is what I have to memorize and actually do for the black belt test

  • 23 poomsae(known as katas in Karate and are basically combinations of 20 counts or more and each count has multiple steps usually)
    • Palgwe 1-8(8 blackbelt standard ones)
    • Koryo(What is known as the main blackbelt poomsae, named after the Koryo dynasty)
    • Keumgang(another main blackbelt one, means diamond and is technically named after the diamond mountain, and its drilling lines correspond with the chinese character for mountain)
    • Kibon 1-4(the 4 basic poomsaes)
    • Taeguk 1-8(the 8 colorbelt poomsaes)
    • Creative(you have to create your own)
  • 40 kicking combinations(what I have to retest on. Relatively easy but hard to memorize)
  • one step sparring 1 – 25(says one, but really is two or three)
  • creative 1 step sparring(you make your own one step)
  • 2 step sparring 1 – 15
  • nunchuck 1-20(self explanatory I think, involves a lot of flipping. I got a cut on my pinky somehow during the last test)
  • vocab white belt through current(21 pages of standard letter sized printer paper, word for word, thats where the info about Keumgang and Koryo comes from. I can actually recite the paragraphs word for word)
  • breaking
    • four way breaking (set of breaking techniques, have to break 4 boards, no stopping)
    • flying back kick (running, jumping back kick)
    • palm hand strike(break a piece of wood with your palm)

And that is how much I have to memorize in less than two months for an extracurricular. I don’t even have time for swim team! If you don’t think it’s a lot, trust me, you aren’t the one having to do it. So I’m incredibly stressed. The breaking part of the pretest is tomorrow, and I repeat, if I fail, I’m done until June. So I hope you understand, I really have been trying, and you should get a new post by the end of next week, probably, as soon as my first draft gets back from my editor(aka my dad), I will start working again and I promise, I will, have it published as soon as I finalize it.

                                                                                                           Para Siempre,


Durga Puja

I started the day by waking up at two am. You may be wondering why exactly I did that. Well I've been just a tiny bit sick and I couldn't sleep. I decided that instead of just lying in bed, I could write and read my time away. I decided to actually work on something for my blog. That's when I remembered that today was Durga puja. This is one of the most important of all Bengali festivals. It celebrates the homecoming of a daughter. The goddess Durga to be precise. This festival celebrates the time of every year when Ma Durga comes back to Bengal, or her parent's home, after her yearlong stay with her husband. The most important thing however is the fact that she comes with her own children, and does not bring her husband. Thus leading into the other two celebrations of the year after her daughters, Lokhhi puja, and Shoroshothi puja. Ma Lokhhi is the goddess of wealth. This celebration usually honors all female children. Ma Shoroshothi is the goddess of wisdom. Another tradition is praying to the goddess before any big tests like the year final. Ma Durga's celebration is one of the biggest of all. A weird thing about the Bengali people's version of Hinduism, is that we only really celebrate the female goddesses and that is why Ma Durga's sons sometimes go ignored in Bengali culture. You may have heard of Ganesh, with his elephant head. You probably haven't heard of Karthik though, he is the god of generals. Sounds weird I know. I just learned this today.

After my antics of the morning, I got ready to leave. I put on my long salwar and leggings which is the traditional Indian dress, along with the iconic sari. I got in trouble for not cleaning my room, as well as asking too many questions to do simple tasks which made me kind of mad and put us 50 minutes behind schedule. The first one was fair, but the second was kind of unjust, if I'm being honest. Anyway, I got into the car in a sort of sour mood thanks to the earlier predicament as well as me being sick. The day before had been kind of terrible too, as I realized my school computer screen had cracked and I would have to pay 80 dollars from my own savings for it, as well as getting a 94 percent in algebra for messing up a couple of directions just the tiniest bit, and getting deducted to a fifty percent for the day in health because I was asking the guy next to me to stop distracting me so I could work, and I was caught 'talking '. So I felt pretty terrible in general.

We got there after a long while. I met up with my friend that I hadn't seen in almost a month and we got to catch up with each other a little bit. The second of three of the tests I have to pass to get my blackbelt was the week right after, and I ran into my other friend who was taking the test with me. Well not the most amazing day, but it was good. Me and the first friend walked around, exploring the campus of the college where it was being hosted, and chatting, catching each other up on what had happened at our respective schools. Me, the nerd that I am, loves role playing, and I kind of introduced her to that world and made up a character for her. I successfully got Hamilton stuck in her head, again. We got some candy and split it, and it was pretty much a great big honking celebration. That's kind of what Durga puja is really. A culmination of our culture and basically just another reason to party all night. That's it. Eat, party, dance, and have fun. Whether it's walking around getting stuff from vending machines, or saying hello to everyone you know, It's almost impossible to not enjoy yourself just a little.

Another thing is that all families have at least 1 or 2 friend groups. And by groups I mean like 20 people. And their kids. It's actually kind of fun when all those 5-year-olds come over. Now by five-year-olds I mean 4 really cute but evil little boys and another really adorable little girl. Then there are of course three younger ones, two cuties being less than a year old, and the other a year and a half. I had fun with them. It's crazy how many weird conversations you can carry out with 5 year olds at 1 in the morning. You may notice that I didn't include any kids my age. Yeah, that's because in this group, there are none. By none, I am not kidding. You know that friend who I was walking with? She's from our other group, and the only one in any of the groups that is even remotely close to my age. I still enjoyed myself though, holding the year and a half year old little kid in my lap for almost the entirety of the time, playing peek-a-boo with and laughing with the 2 that were less than a year old, playing ball and building things with legos with the boys, and racing cars with them (trying to get into their brains that girls actually do like that kind of stuff) and singing Moana till my voice died on me with the little girl.

Doing high kicks and showing off TaeKwonDo skills to not only excite the kids, but to show my improvement and love of that amazing sport to their parents who I consider my family, and getting to know the kids' grandparents who I had not previously known, or carrying out a conversation with those of whom I did know. Horsing around and making mischeif with a friend at a festival. Laughing and joking with people I know, bonding over where we come from, and where we are. Wearing a Sari on the second day of the puja, and running around in it like our parents would back in India, roughhousing with their friends. It's a really amazing experience. It may not be exactly like what goes on in India, but the essence is still there. I am glad to be a part of this amazing culture, and glad that I get to experience this, even when I live on the other side of the world. Like Moana, I love where I live, and I love the home of my ancestors. For her, that home was the ocean. For me, it's what's beyond that ocean. India. I don't want to leave, but I don't want to lose my roots either. Because what is a tree if not for its roots?

                                                                                                                          Para Siempre,