A farewell

As the school year comes to a close, so does my blog. It has been a long nine months of me not ever really knowing what to write about. It started with a heartfelt story about New Hampshire and ended with the reason I love soccer. I have changed as I wrote my blog. I am not the same person who sat down in the first month of school and decided to name my blog Bunchesofblogging. I want to thank everyone for reading. Goodbye to all, and to all goodbye.

Risking it all for the story of a century

A suicide bomber enters an airport in Brussels, the people there expect a normal day; they think they will board their plane like normal, or pick up their relatives coming back from a trip, they cannot imagine what comes next. While the airport mingles and moves around him, he detonates the explosives, killing himself and nearly thirty people, changing the plans of many, and adding to the fear that has continued to grow since the war on terror started.[i] Thousands of pounds of artillery and bombs are released from the belly of a war plane, the orders to drop the bombs have gone through the ranks, passed through officers and generals, along the lines it was decided that although these bombs will be dropped on a city– inhabited by families of all walks of life, changing their existence forever– it is acceptable to bomb due to the possibility of a terrorist compound in the area.[ii] Muslims in the US fear for their safety everyday due to media spread stereotypes about jihadists. Every time the news broadcasts a story about terrorism, the target on Middle Eastern people’s backs grow larger. They walk down the streets, self-conscious of their hijabs, wondering if they will be attacked during prayer. Remarks against their religions are shouted from people on the street. Muslims are attacked because the United States meddled in Middle East politics, gaining support for a leader for a country, getting him into office only to have him removed a couple years later because he no longer fits in the US’s plan of control and democracy for the Middle East. US army members invade multiple countries with the title of peacekeepers, when in reality they are turning people’s homes into a war zone. There are children who no longer attend school, can’t go outside without soldiers eyeing them suspiciously thinking that every small, male child has been turned evil by their religion, for praying to Allah, and that this religion has turned them into killers. While the United States says it is fighting a war against terrorists, they are creating more vicious terrorist organizations just by occupying the Middle East.

“And then all Hell Broke Loose” is a look into how the history of the Middle East is connected to the problems occurring now. Engel recounts the twenty years he spent living in the Middle East, becoming a part of that world, and reporting on the story he saw as the story of this era. Having graduated from Stanford, Engel set out on a journey to be the lead journalist of the story he knew would change the world. While originally dreaming of being a reporter in Paris, living in lavish hotels, Engel realized that if he wanted to gain prominence as a journalist he would need to be in an area where new stories would be happening, and he realized it wouldn’t be France. Having taken international relations classes while in school, he noticed that Middle East was a region of conflict, a volcano waiting to erupt. With this knowledge he moved to the country he though would be the safest while still giving him prime location to report on the ordeals in the region. While in Egypt, Engel got a feel for the Middle East, he learned the customs, Arabic, gained contacts, and grasped the background of the people he eventually came to see as his own. Engel used his time in Egypt to connect with the people; he dug deep into the personalities of the people, and their morals. He discovered that the people he was surrounded by were the most respectful and polite people he had ever met. He found out that their religion that they followed so closely called for them to be kind to everything Allah had created. With more research he connected with the people and realized that Islam was not a hateful religion that some Americans believed it was, but that it was a religion surrounded by respect and peace.

To understand the journey that Engel takes and describes in his book, he includes the history of the Middle East. His detailed history lesson helps the reader see why many of the conflicts we hear about happening in the Middle East are happening. Mixed in with the history Engel tells is events that have been caused by the past and his personal experiences with them.

The history of the Middle East has long been one of conflict. Conflict over religion, over territory, over money, and over oil. Having been grouped together by the emperors of the Ottoman Empire, conflict was mainly contained. The Ottomans were strong and controlling. There was no time or acceptance for fighting within the empire- energy was focused on expanding its reach and improving its culture. For four centuries the world of Islam was the “main center of culture and civilization”.[iii] Muslims were reaching the height of their excellence while Europe hit rock-bottom. As Europe slowly moved into the Dark Ages, riddled by the plague and unfortunate societal destruction, the Middle East shone brightly with academic advances in astronomy, poetry, surgical procedures, and construction of libraries. When the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries came, the Ottoman Empire was overcome by Europe’s new technology that was introduced by the industrial revolution. The Ottomans, who lacked the technology possessed by Europe, were beginning to lose their influence. The Ottoman Empire no longer seemed a threat to land surrounding it, so when it reached out to France and Great Britain during World War I with the offer of support, Great Britain and France turned it down due to its failure to industrialize. Facing rejection from Great Britain and France, the Ottoman Empire turned to Germany, who accepted the offer. As a result of being on the losing side of World War I, the borders of the Middle East were redrawn by countries that had no insight into the cultural and religious differences the people possessed.

Even before the borders were redrawn by Europeans, there was a symbolic divide in the region. The “Muslim East” and “Christian West”[iv] rarely interacted before the First World War.[v] Christians in the Middle East tended to believe that the Prophet Mohammed was a fake created by Muslims to spread evil untruths, especially against Christianity. Muslims thought of Christians as too unintelligent and unwilling to accept Allah’s message as the final message to mankind. This ideological disagreement kept the two sections secluded from each other for the most part. That is until the Crusades began. This religious atrocity is still painful for many in the Middle East, and is part of the reason the War on Terror has reached such heights today. The Crusades, which began in the late eleventh century, was a war to rid “the holy land” of Muslims. Crusaders set out to capture Jerusalem, which they believe to be the site where Jesus Christ was crucified, from Muslims. Jerusalem has a long history with Islam also, where Mohammed is said to have prayed and visited heaven, but also where Muslims first faced when praying. The Crusades, aimed at taking Jerusalem from one religion to benefit another, has long been a point of anger in the Muslim community. Deaths of believers in Islam commonly came at the hand of Christians, who at the time were the most powerful, and cared for nothing but riches and expansion. The Crusades have a much bigger part in the overall picture than one would think.

Another problem facing the Middle East is the divide between Shiite and Sunni Muslims. Sunni Muslims, who make up nearly ninety percent of believers of Islam, are the more traditional side. Sunnis follow the word of Mohammed. Shia Muslims, whose main difference from Sunnis, is that they believe Ali was the rightful successor of Mohammed. Today in countries controlled by Sunnis, Shiites tend to be on the lower end of society. Shiites often feel oppressed and discriminated against, and are often targeted as wrongful Muslims. This divide between groups has added fuel to the fire in the war in the Middle East.

One of the largest problems facing the Middle East is the issues created by carving out new states and inadvertently letting gangster-like rich men take over control, creating a new era for the region. Egypt and Jordan came under the power of the United Kingdom who hopped to turn the land into a “desert kingdom”.[vi] As soon as Iraq was given to Britain, riots and revolts broke out, which can be seen as a bit of foreshadowing for today. Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates seemed too unimportant for Britain to put energy and money into ruling, so these lands were left to local Muslim rulers. Much to Britain’s dismay, these lands soon became the richest in the region with the discovery of oil. The major problem for Britain in this time was Palestine. One of the biggest mistakes made was the decision to give Palestine to the Jewish as a homeland for compensation of the difficulties they had faced. The problem was that Palestine had already been settled by Arabs who would lose their land and farms for the sake of a Jewish homeland. The land, which is now inhabited by both Arabs and Jews, is home to violent fighting, mafia-like intimidation, segregation, and discrimination.

As a result of World War II, the Middle East was passed to the United States. The destruction of Great Britain and France’s country and economy during the war left the two countries unable to be the parent Europe seemed to think the region needed. The Eisenhower Doctrine said the US would give financial and military help in times of dire need. The Carter Doctrine promised to keep the Persian Gulf safe. These were the first steps the United States took toward inserting it influence in the region. The Cold War, the conflict in Israel, and the discovery of oil only enhanced the United States policy and involvement.

Although the US saw itself as the Middle East’s parent, new leaders emerged in the form of nationalists who were corrupt, nationalist who did not care for the people they ruled over. In Syria it was the Assad family, Nasser, Sadat, and Hosni Mubarak for Egypt, Zine Al Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia, Gadhafi’s Mu’ammar, and Iraq’s Saddam Hussein. These leaders set the precedent for violence and destruction for the years to come. These leaders were used by the US to keep the region in line, keep the governments rich, and keep the oil flowing into the US. Ultimately the “big-men’s” ways of managing their countries, and the inconsistences of action between policies decided on by President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama.

Eventually radicals in the Middle East grew frustrated by the United States’ presence in the region. The radicals banded together to form a group that focused its anger and hatred at one target- the United States. This anger and hatred was expressed in violent acts, acts that Allah himself would condemn. These acts were carried out by members of the terrorist organization, Al Queda. At the time it was the largest and most threatening terrorist organization. Its magnitude only grew after the attacks on 9/11. The effect on the Middle East after 9/11 was similar to the effect on the US. Both felt as though they were being attacked; Americans felt they were in danger of further attacks on US soil, while Arabs were afraid of retaliation for attacks that were carried out by people who were not representative of the people of the region. Bush’s response to the attacks was one of the biggest mistakes in US and Middle East relations. He called for a crusade against the Arab world. As soon as the word “crusade” was uttered, the world of Islam was reminded of the attacks waged by Christians against Muslims. This set the Middle East off. The speech Bush had made even the most trusting of Muslin allies fear the United States and led to a new era of distrust and anger. This anger was intensified when American troops began to occupy countries such as Iraq. Adding on to the brokenness of the relations between the region and America was Obama’s lack of reliability in terms of helping the Middle East. He encouraged rebellions by the people to overthrow governments they believed to be corrupt and abusive, and fueled by Obama’s courage in them, they attempted to create a government they so desperately wanted. When the time came and these rebels asked for assistance from the US, they were turned down by the catalyst of their rebellion. Eventually after Muslims began to see that the US might not be providing what they promised after all, they grew even more upset. This anger that was caused by the US came back to bite it in the butt, a new terrorist organization was created, a group that attracted new members with the promise of revenge on the US. The Islamic State in Syria is a group that surpasses Al-Qaeda in violence and sophistication, thus creating even greater tensions between the US and Middle East.

Engel spent his first years in Egypt, but often traveled to areas where conflict had broken out, or where he though he would be able to write a well-informed, influential piece. Often times his travels required bodyguards, who were more often than not shady characters who most of the general public was afraid of. His travels also forced him to sneak into countries under false circumstances, sometimes claiming to be a humanitarian worker in countries that were not allowing journalists in. Engel recounts these moments with anxiety, each account thinking that he would be killed. The worst memory Engel has from these memories was the instance of his kidnapping.[vii] These dangers caused Engel to resent how little was being done to help with the conflict. “The false promise of help was cruel and inexcusable and it would only get worse over time. If a man is drowning and a boat drives past in the distance, the man accepts his death and goes down quietly. If a man is drowning and a boat pulls up beside him, dangles a life jacket, tells the world he wants to help, but then doesn’t throw the life jacket, the drowning man dies crying and his family might take a blood oath to take revenge on the boat’s crew.”[viii]

The other most common topic presented in the book is the changes Engel experienced with his journalism career over the years. He started out in Cairo on a salary of a $1000 a month, with a newspaper that was inadequately staffed, and often found itself in trouble with the government censor who did not like Engel’s critical tone of the events in the region.[ix] Eventually, after many years and even more sacrifices, he found himself with the position of lead anchor NBC. The glamorous job that he had found remembered himself dreaming about in the earlier years of his life turned out not to be as perfect as he though it would be. The network was not able to offer him protection in war zones, and regularly asked him to move out of zones of conflict. Engel did not obey and became one of the few reporters who were providing live coverage of the war to Americans. This appeased NBC who got credit for his reports. He didn’t mind NBC’s unease at the thought of him being in dangerous areas, he was just appreciative that they were giving him the opportunity to report to the American public.

This book documents the Middle East’s journey, as well as Engel’s journey. Engel wrote the book in way that makes you feel as though you experienced everything he did. The struggles experienced by the countries in the region were mirrored by Engel’s own personal problems that gave the book a level of complexity that made it a fascinating read, as well as an informational one.

[i]Tim Hume, Tiffany Ap and Ray Sanchez. “Here’s what we know about the Brussels terror attacks”. CNN.com. 25 Mar, 2016. Web. 21 April, 2016.

[ii]Jim Miklaszewski and Cassandra Vinograd. “U.S. Bombs ISIS Sites in Syria and Targets Khorasan Group”. Nbcnews.com. 23 Sep, 2014. Web.

[iii]Engel, Richard. And then all hell broke loose. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2016. Print. Pages 1-22 for prologue, and page 29 for quote.

[iv] Engel, Richard. p 4

[vi] Engel, Richard. p 4

[vii] Engel, Richard. p 171

[viii] Engel, Richard. p 181

[ix] Engel, Richard. p 16

Why I love soccer

Kennedy has amazing sports. Our soccer teams are no exception. I don’t watch the girls’ games, but I go to almost every boys JV and varsity matches. At first I only started to go to support my friend Don. He plays on the JV team, and is a captain. He is pretty good but most of the time we just make fun of the goals he has missed. JV soccer games are not too serious. When the game is tied, they do penalty kicks for fun. My friends and I made signs to support Don, and they fit in with the theme of not being serious. Mine has old pictures of Don on it, with pink sparkles and streamers. This gets the other team laughing. As for varsity games, those are intense. They are not packed like football games are, but they still get heated. We do not cheer like we do at football games, but we still get loud. I like soccer games more because it feels like I am a part of the game. You can sit right on the sidelines and yell at the players. You get to see every slide tackle and missed kick. You get to see players fake injuries in hope of the other playing getting carded. Another of the greatest things about soccer is boys in shorts. Our soccer team is not ugly. They are good looking boys. One in particular. So its fun to go see him play and be able to say “hey I watched your game tonight”. Jesus is a fun player to watch. He takes the games so seriously, but it looks like he plays with no effort. As a goalie I am scared that he is going to get hurt, which is stupid because he’s not even mine to worry about. I wish soccer was a year round sport at our school so that I could always watch and pretend that I know what I am talking about when I watch soccer. With only a few games left, I don’t know what I will do without my soccer boys.

Missing New Hampshire

Its been about ten months since I was last in New Hampshire and my longing to go back grows with each day that passes. I spend all my time looking forward to the moment I get on the plane and fly to my favourite state. My soul won’t be happy until I see the tree lined roads with happiness pouring out of the air. I can picture myself running straight into my uncle’s house and right out the back door to the lake. I won’t spend a second more than I need to with unpacking, because the time I waste on that means time I miss out on the beach and boat. I’m imagining taking walks with Katie and renting movies everynight to watch with Marjorie. I wake up first thing in the morning to go for a run or a hike, or even a swim! I follow that up with breakfast by the water, and then a little paddle boarding time, or maybe some kayaking. I’ll even be able to work on the farm with my favourite cow, Walter. The trips I take down to Boston will be even better than last time. Because I’m spending the whole summer in New Hampshire this year instead of just a week, I’ll be able to meet and make friends with some of the people that live there. It will become more of a second home than it already is. I can already smell the food that Marj has cooking on the grill; with her guidance, I’ll become a phenomenal chef. I’ll more than likely decorate the room that I’m staying in, and find a cute cafe where I’ll go to hear all the town gossip. I just got into contact with my uncle and he’s as excited as I am to stat planning my stay. We have to wait until he returns from Russia though. Marj and Len really want to travel this summer so either I’ll be spending a little bit of time alone at the house, or I’ll be seeing Europe with them. If I could, I would be in Mew Hampshire right now, already on a paddle board with a swim suit on. Sadly school gets in the way of that dream. I’ll be in my heaven soon enough, and once I’m there, it is going to take a whole lot of effort to get me to leave.

And Then All Hell Broke Loose

When we hear about the war and conflict happening in the Middle East, we tend to absorb the news, but we don’t think about how we got the information, where it came from, or who provided it. This is especially strange in the case of the Middle East where the reporters are risking their lives being in a hostile situation so that they can truly understand and share what is happening across the world.

Richard Engel, the author of the book shares his story of how he became the leading reporter in the Middle East and the journey he had to take in order to get access to the countries where, reporters, especially American ones, were being kept out. Engel writes in a way that ties in his personal stories with facts, making the book a very effective way to draw attention to the atrocities of the conflict.

The book starts out with Engel being a preppy, affluent teenager about to go to college. He dreams of one day being a famous journalist in Paris, and then his hopes and dreams shift. He describes how he wanted to be at the center of the next big story. With expert foreshadowing, Engel takes a big step and moves to Egypt. He started out at a small newspaper in his local area, where he learned about the “big men” controlling the Middle East, became comfortable with Arabic, and gained connections in the political community that helped his career further on in the book.

The begging of the book, Engels explains the people of Egypt’s feeling about the conflict that had not fully erupted yet. Engel describes the people as devoutly religious and polite. He stressed the fact that he was never harmed by any of the people he lived around, and never felt threatened by them. Engel became connected to many groups in Egypt to see their side of the story. He believed that many of the middle easterners were not violent people but that their beliefs could turn violent if a switch was flipped.  By the middle of the book, Engel is living in a different world. He has hired bodyguards, has has to sneak into countries, witnesses suicide bombers everyday, has to drive in convoys in order to prevent being kidnapped, and has even accepted that he will die in the Middle East.

I am most fascinated by Engel’s devotion to discovering and reporting not only the truth about what is happening, but also getting the people’s true feelings about the situation be known. The book and Engel deserve endless awards for the content that was obtained at a great cost, but also the humane description of the people suffering in the crisis. image

School isn’t quite over

You know when you feel like something is so close, but in reality it is unbelievably far away? That is me with school right now. There is about a month and a half left, but in all honesty I am not sure if I will make it. Those people that said junior year is the worst year were not lying. I have been dragged through the mud, stabbed multiple times, and been pushed off a cliff. So many projects, so little motivation to do them. I have a test in advanced placement united states history tomorrow? Oh well, I will just pretend that I know everything about the progressive era. Who cares if my grade goes down the toilet. My grade point average already has. At this point I am not even sure I will get into college. I am having a lot of fun in school though. I enjoy most of my classes, except for first period when the teacher goes off into a rant about how stupid of students we are and how lazy we are. That’s another story though. I have made so many friends this year, and they are true friends. They really care about me and they want to be with me. I want to say thank you to those friends. You guys all make it worth it. Junior was not as bad as I thought it would be, social wise. I though I would die a lonely death after all of my senior friends left. This was not the case. I made enough friends that I doubt I will even notice the seniors are gone. Junior also rocks because I started tennis. Now I may be one of the worst ones on the team, but I am having so much fun. I like to hit the ball, but usually it does not go where I want it to. Another thing I enjoy about junior year is my love for soccer being brought out. I will write a future blog post for why I like soccer so much and why i go to so many matches. So while my grade point average has gone down the drain, I am still happy. While I am freaking out about my advanced placement tests that are coming up quickly, I am still happy. Even thought so many things have gone wrong, and the old me would have been in tears on the ground, I am still happy.

The adventures of Liv and Blake

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When you get together with your best friends you’re bound to have a good time, but with my best friends you never know what’s going to happen. Last night we decided to have a bonfire. It was very spur of the moment, just me and Liv sitting around watching Netflix and then next thing we know, we in the car on our way to pick up firewood. With our friend group, the group chat named “Olympic Strip Jenga Team” plans can be made in two seconds. The notice that we were getting together was sent out and Liv and I went to the mini mart to pick up snacks. The necessities such as graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate were easily decided upon, but when you set me and Liv on a task to make a decision, nothing will get done. We are incredibly indecisive people and spent five minutes deciding if we should get the guacamole chips, the plain chips, or both. We spent an even more unnecessary amount of time picking out what M&M’s we wanted to put in the popcorn. Andie came to our rescue soon enough and with ten minutes until the gas station closed, we decided upon the biggest bag of M&M’s that we could find. Initially the storekeepers were annoyed with our aimless wandering throughout the store, but once they found out that we were having a bonfire they perked up. It seems the thought of summer activities makes everybody happier. The lady that checked us out told us to go easy on Don since he was the only boy that was going to be there. We merely laughed because little did she know, Don was used to us making fun of his every move. When it came to putting the fire together, we were lost. Andie and I took up the challenge and started lighting away with the lighter. We quickly grew frustrated when the wood would not light. We though it was because it was windy, but it turns out its just that we aren’t very talented with starting fires. I called a couple friends that I knew would be able to help. We found out that we needed to set the wood in a triangle shape and light paper on fire while sticking it through the gaps between the pieces of wood. Happily enough the paper we burned was homework that we had completed but had caused us great pain, so it was therapudic to burn. Once the fire was lit, I was initiated as fire marshal. It’s too dangerous to leave a fire burning around rowdy teenagers without someone to make sure nobody does anything stupid. The stupidest thing we did was play marshmallow tennis. This feat it incredibly hard in the dark when you can’t see where the marshmallow is. It is also very painful to get hit in the face by a marshmallow hit at you by a tennis racquet. I think tennis marshmallow should be a sport. Once we got bored with the fire and running around the block (in questionable amounts of clothing) we headed inside to watch season 2 of unbreakable kimmy schmidt. While the show offered countless laughs, we couldn’t watch it all night. At around three, Don and Liv were asleep on the main couch, Lex was asleep on the smaller couch, and I was tired of trying to sleep in a chair so I headed to Liv’s room to sleep in her room. When Don realised it was five in the morning, and probably time that he try to sneak back into his house, he came stomping up the stairs, waking me up and yelling a goodbye. In complete Don fashion, the moment his car was turned on, music came blasting out of the speakers. The next morning I made my way down to Liv and Lex who had been yelling at me to wake up. It was only seven in the morning, and while the other two fell back asleep, I decided to clean up the mess we made the previous night. You don’t realise how hard it is to sweep a driveway full of marshmallows until you actually have to. The neighbors definitely thought I was insane for taking a broom to the driveway. I didn’t care, I just continued to chuck the marshmallows into the street. It was such a fun night, and I know that we are going to have a lot more like it.

Planting for spring

One of my favorite things about spring is not only the flowers, but being able to plant them. Since I was a child, I have worked side by side with my dad in our garden, planting a wide array of different flowers, shrubs, and plants. It’s always fun to go to the flower shop and pick out new beauties to add to the garden. One necessity every year are bleeding hearts. While they used to be situated right outside my window, they have since made their way to the front of the house.

I want to use this blog post to show how I started my yearly attempt at trying to grow daisies, my ultimate favorite flower.

The main things you’re going to need are the seeds of the flower that you choose (these can be bought at practically all garden centers), you will also need soil, pots or containers, water, and sunlight.

The first step I took was cutting my transferable pots into the size I wanted them. In order to see the best conditions for growth, I cut them all to different heights. After I got the pots to a satisfactory height, I added a little bit of soil. I made sure that there was room that I could add more soil on top of the seeds after I put them in.

Then I covered up the seeds with a thin layer of soil, not enough that they wouldn’t be able to grow through, but enough to cover them. Next I decided that it would be a smart idea to cover the “pots” because they had holes in the bottom that the soil was falling out of, and that the water would pour through. I’m not sure if the tin foil will stunt the growth of the plants since it is going to attract more sunlight and hold the heat in, but I’m keeping it on there until I find out if it is harmful.

i wanted to name my plants because I am weird and like to admire them. I named one Monica after Ms. Lewinsky. What a woman. George is named after two different people. George Anderson, my legend of a AP US history teacher, and George W. Bush, because Bushdid9/11. Bernie is named after the political God himself, Bernie Sanders, long live this savage. I chose Junior with no creativity at all, he’s the smallest one.

The two most important steps are watering your plants,  too much, not too little, but the Goldilocks amount. Also, make sure you put your plants somewhere sunlight can reach them. Do not forget these two steps.

Go plants some flowers and make the world a happier place!

 

Hannah Holman

hannah holman

Kennedy High School is known for offering a wide variety of extraordinary programs, one of these being SMART lunch, and SMART lunch talks. While we have had many speakers come to the school to talk to students, I haven’t taken advantage of the opportunities to listen to experts talk about there field of study, until now.

Hannah Holman, a good friend to the organizer of the SMART lunch talks came back for a second year to talk about the arts, what art is, and how art impacts the world. She briefly introduced herself to us and told us that she spent half her time living in Iowa, and half her time living in New York City, where she plays for the New York City Ballet Orchestra. I was shocked to find out that someone with such amazing talent, and who lived in New York City would willingly come to Iowa to live. When I think of Iowa, I don’t think of a lot of musical opportunity, unlike New York where music pours from the alleyways and covers the sound of cabs honking.

Hannah, and incredibly gifted cellist, played for the students gathered for her a series of different classical pieces, each going back hundreds of years. It was beautiful to hear and watch. As with anyone who is passionate about something, you could see her passion in the way she held her cello and moved with the song. Between songs she would ask us questions about art, many of us not knowing how to answer because we believe art to be a broad topic with no boundaries on how to describe it. She wanted to know at what point did music become art. Did it have to be a certain number of years old? With a specific feeling? Did it have to make everyone feel the same for it to be art? Was art still art if viewed, or heard in private? With the questions she asked, it was clear that art was her life. She felt it was her duty to let others hear her music, to let others witness art, to be influenced by art in the same way that she was.

To boast her talent even more, Hannah decided to play more contemporary pieces and see if we were able to guess what songs she was playing. The one that I remember was the opening score of Schindler’s List. To hear the song alone, brought back the feelings I had when I watched the movie.

I am grateful to have been able to listen to Hannah play, and I hope that art will continue to spread through the world.

 

Some of my favorite poems

I wouldn’t call myself a huge poem expert, but I do like to read poetry and I keep note of my favorites. I want to share a few of my favorites with you, so that you can gain a little insight to poems that have really captured my attention.

IF PERFECT I COULD BE

Oh, if perfect I could be
I would be so good to me
I would be so happy
and so pleased with me.

I’d make perfect speeches.
I would only do what’s best
people would admire me
I would hardly need to rest.

I wouldn’t eat junk
I’d make no mistakes
I’d never talk too much
I’d give what it takes.

I would make my living
doing what I love to do
I’d pray every night
I’d always be true.

I’d solve every problem
I’d help everyone
I’d be a perfect mother
I’d have a perfect son.

I’d always be peaceful
never sad or depressed
I would be spontaneous
I would sing my best.

I’d have a healthy body
I’d do nothing in vain
Failure would not know me
I would not know pain.

I would have perfect vision.
Oh, how nice it’d be to see
how my flaws and faults
perfectly perfect me.

 

PASSION

I think I was maybe seven
When I heard my teacher yell,
“You can’t enter the gates of heaven,
You’re the devil not a girl!”

Maybe I was on the wild side,
Living in my shattered world,
Way too scared to ask for guidance
Yet, in some ways way too bold
But I lived each day with passion
And if I didn’t…

God, have mercy on my soul.

I have climbed many mountains,
I have walked forbidden trails,
I spent youth fighting for freedom,
Middle age… in a self-made jail.

I had days of joy and glory
Yet, at times I lived in shame
But I’ve learned to live my own life,
And now I can truly say
That I lived each day with passion,
And if I didn’t…

God, have mercy on my soul.

When I walk my final distance
And I climb my final wall,
Once the angels bring me over
I will stand up, I will stand up really tall.

I will spread my hands apart,
Catching a glimpse of golden rays
Then I’ll look into the eyes of
My Creator, and I’ll say:

“You can tell me what You want to,
Did I sin? Oh, yes a lot
But whatever You placed before me
I gave everything I’ve got.”

Cause I lived each day with passion,
And if I didn’t…

God, have mercy on my soul.

WHAT A FEAR


What a fear has overtaken me now
A fear bigger than my heart
It is so present here
That its heartbeat I hear

Its presence takes over
everything around,
my world,  my dreams,
and I… can’t be found

I disappear
In the face of fear
And I don’t know why
I can’t look into its eye

Maybe I sense death…
Or maybe I fear
That once fear is gone
I… would have to appear.