In-depth Post 3: Running Start to Finish

10/02/17

Updates and Changes

Over the past few weeks I have been contacting local running clinics, contacting local marathons and races, making a training schedule, reading training books, and asking friends and family for help finding a mentor. After contacting local running clinics as well as a few places that are holding marathons and races; I have made a few more changes to my in-depth. Instead of training for a full marathon, I will train for a half. This will allow me to train with a clinic, have more ease in finding a mentor, and be able to participate in more races close to home on the weekends. Though I had my heart set on running a marathon, there are not a lot of local options; and going to Green River in Washington for a marathon can get expensive especially when I have to pay for transportation, overnight stay, and the marathon itself. I think that this decision is more realistic, but may not be as big of a challenge. I think that I will continue to train very hard and may use this training for a half marathon as a stepping stone to doing a full marathon. There are a lot of all-age marathons; these are marathons without time limits, but there are no all ages marathons near Vancouver or within the timeframe of in-depth.

It has been a rollercoaster these past few weeks looking for a mentor. I thought that Brian O’Neil, an old rock climbing instructor of mine and Take a Hike instructor currently; however, after some complications it turns out that he cannot mentor me anymore. After Brian could no longer be my mentor I called and e-mailed some local training clinics, but no clinics would allow me to train with them for a full marathon. Now that I am only training for a half marathon, I hope that some of the clinics I contacted earlier will now accept me. Though I still do not technically qualify by regular standards for a half marathon, I will by the time I will be running them, so I hope that I can still train with a running clinic and find a mentor through the running clinic. I have contacted the running room and kinetic as they are my top two choices. If those do not work out, then I will continue to contact other clinics on my list.

Athletics Canada Youth Age Recommendations

Age Maximum Distance
12 and Under 1K – 2K
13   8K
14   10K
15   10K
16 21.1K
17 21.1K
18 42.2K

 

Progress Report

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This is the book I am currently reading. Image sourced from:https://www.amazon.ca/Running-Start-Finish-John-Stanton/dp/155105096X

For the past two weeks I have been contacting local running clinics, contacting local marathons and races, making a training schedule, reading training books, asking friends and family for help finding a mentor, and training independently.  I have created a running schedule after reading John Stanton’s Running Start to Finish. The book has been very helpful and has helped me get into the training mind-set. I particularly enjoyed the chapters on heart rate training, cross training, and running injuries. This book contained a lot of helpful advice, and I would recommend it to anyone who would like to improve at running. Ms. Leblond recommended it to me and I am very happy that I got the chance to read it. Up until this week, I was actually on a marathon training schedule in hopes that I may still be able to complete the full marathon. However, this week I have dialed it back to half marathon training and it has been going very well. Because of the weather I have been running inside on the treadmill, but I hope to get back outdoors soon. I have so far not been fruitful in finding a mentor, but I hope that my adjusted goal will allow for me to find a mentor with more ease. I have looked into signing up for the MEC race series, and can still participate in most races except for the 55 km and the 42.2 km races. I have decided to sign up by the race so that I can mix and match road races and trail races to have a variety. Doing these races will help set benchmarks for my training. Most of the races are on Sundays, so it works with my schedule; there are multiple half marathon races available and I am thinking about attempting to do more than one so that I can improve my time. However, as of right now, I am using a four-month training program to get to a two-hour half marathon time. The schedule may change quite a bit in the future, but I hope to stick to it. This week I only trained on Monday and Tuesday (instead of Tuesday and Wednesday) but did not train on Wednesday or Thursday. It has been a busy week and though it may be okay to miss some runs, I definitely need to do my speed and hill runs as well as my endurance runs. I think that making a concrete schedule will help to keep me accountable.

Monday (rest) Tuesday Wednesday (speed and hills) Thursday Friday (rest) Saturday Sunday (endurance)
Week 1 Off 4 k 3 k 4 k Off 3 k 7 k
Week 2 Off 4 k 3 k 4 k Off 3 k 7 k
Week 3 Off 3 k 4 k 3 k Off 4 k 7 k
Week 4 Off 4 k 4 k 4 k Off 3 k 9 k
Week 5 Off 5 k 3 k 5 k Off 3 k 9 k
Week 6 Off 4 k 3 k 4 k Off 4 k 10 k
Week 7 Off 4 k 4 k 4 k Off 4 k 10 k
Week 8 Off 4 k 5 k 4 k Off 5 k 12k
Week 9 Off 4 k 6 k 4 k Off 5 k 14 k
Week 10 Off 5 k 7 k 5 k Off 6 k 16 k
Week 11 Off 5 k 8 k 5 k Off 6 k 16 k
Week 12 Off 5 k 7 k 5 k Off 6 k 12 k
Week 13 Off 6 k 7 k 6 k Off 6 k 18 k
Week 14 Off 6 k 7 k 6 k Off 6 k 18 k
Week 15 Off 6 k 7 k 6 k Off 6 k 20 k
Week 16 Off 10 k 6 k 10 k Off 3 k 6 k
FINALE! 21 K

 

Difficulties / Goals

I have had a lot of difficulties finding a mentor, so that has been my biggest goal so far. I know that last year finding a mentor was one of the hardest things, but it made it worth it in the end. I hope that after changing my goals to something more realistic that I will be accepted by a training facility and that I can find a mentor through that facility. Training has also obviously been difficult as it is very time consuming. Instead of spending about an hour a week on in-depth, I am spending close to three hours a week currently. I have not had any issues with the running itself however, but if I do run into problems I will be more prepared after reading about how to optimize running. For this week, I hope to contact running clinics again to see if they will accept me now. I will continue to train, look for possible mentors in the community, and read about training strategies.

A Beautiful Mind

Though I do not have a mentor yet, I found this week’s passage from A Beautiful Mind very interesting. I liked that it included communication strategies like ways of sharing information, offering possibilities, asking questions and making connections with the things around you; these strategies could apply to many types of conversations. I really enjoyed the parts where it stressed the importance of talking about your passions to people who are knowledgeable on the topic, and people who don’t know a lot on the topic. Both situations are learning opportunities for everyone involved and I think that I will keep that in mind the nest time someone asks me about my in-depth project. I am quick to brush off talking to people about topics they may not know a lot about as I think that they wont care very much, but this passage made me realize that it is a learning opportunity for me and the person I am talking to. This week we were asked to try and do the following:

  • #6 To find and make connections that link matters together and generates interest.
  • #10 To explore, to elaborate and to pull interest out of the matter.
  • #3 To use the “what if” statement to get to new lines of thought.
  • #2 to ask for clarification whenever you are unclear or in doubt about something the mentor tells you or shows you.
  • # 5 to share a personal story that illustrates the conversation topic.
  • # 10 to modify an idea to make it more acceptable to yourself and to make it stronger or more practical.

Though I may not be able to use these strategies with my mentor, I can use them while talking to people in everyday life, talking to my old mentor using these strategies, and using these strategies in phone conversations while trying to find a mentor. I think that sharing a personal story that illustrates my passion for running may be very helpful in convincing a running clinic to accept me at my age.

 

Conclusion

I think that I have made a lot of progress over the past few weeks even though I have re-directed my project again. I am happy that I did make a change to my project because I was having a very hard time with age-restrictions before; I hope that now it will be less of an issue. I am very happy about the training program, it is very exciting for me to be on this journey, already on week two of training! I am very excited for in-depth now that I have found the right parameters for my project; however, I do hope to find a mentor soon as I think that a mentor would be very helpful to the training process. My in-depth project started out rocky with a few project changes happening over the course of the past few weeks; however, I now feel like I am on track to achieving my goal! I hope that everyone’s in-depth projects are going well and that everyone gains something new from their projects!

02/16/17

Update

As I described in the post above, I have had trouble finding a running clinic and a mentor for my in-depth project. However, after visiting some running clinic’s store fronts; I had some success. I am legible for the Kinetic running clinic program as long as an adult accompanies me.  I have signed up for the program with my mum and we will start the week after next. I hope to find a mentor through the running clinic, however, a family friend has also offered to mentor me. I would prefer to work with a professional in the community, but I think that someone with reasonable expertise that can keep me accountable would also be good enough. I am very happy that I have remained persistent and found a clinic that works well for me. The advise from the A Beautiful Mind about sharing a personal story that illustrates passions was helpful in convincing the running clinic to accept me at my age. I am very happy that I went into those locations and knew what I was going to say to put my best foot forward and try to join the running clinic. Though the Running Room did not accept me, I think that it just made getting accepted by Kinetic even better. I am very happy with the progress I have made in the last week.

Training has also gone well, though I sometimes skip weekday training I am happy that I have kept up with training on the weekends. I am very excited to soon begin training with a clinic and hopefully I can soon begin to train with a mentor.

On Cultural Transmission, Development, and Attachment

Socials So Far

To start off the social studies semester, we have been looking at Canadian history; specifically, the history of First Nations, Aboriginal, and Métis in Canada. We have discussed a lot of questions so far including: What is cultural genocide? What are the aspects of cultural genocide? How did Canada commit cultural genocide? Why is cultural transmission valued and why is its disruption so bad? What is the Truth and Reconciliation Commission? What is the Mandate of the TRC? Why is reconciliation important? What are the key components of reconciliation? I have learned a lot about Canada’s dark past, its implications, what we are doing now to right wrongs, and about the difference between the values of the Canadian settlers and the values of the Aboriginal peoples. However, at certain times, I have had a hard time connecting on a personal level to the topics we discussed in class. I have a hard time imagining the country that accepted my family and I with open arms 12 years ago, could have committed such atrocities against Canadian Aboriginals. I find it hard to imagine the version of Canada does not have the same emphasis and values around multiculturalism.

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We have learned a lot about the TRC. Image sourced from: http://www.trc.ca/websites/reconciliation/index.php?p=312

When we began to talk about the culture and the values of both settlers and Aboriginals, I began to understand the thought process and emotions behind their actions. Talking about the backgrounds, beliefs, and especially the culture of the two groups helped me humanize them, and relate to them on a personal level. I began to see the settlers and Aboriginals through the lens of their culture; I began to see how the progress of time has changed their cultures in to what we are familiar with now. Culture gave a context for the actions taken and a clue to the emotions and thoughts behind the actions. I soon found it easier to imagine being a settler or Aboriginal at the time.

Cultural Transmission

One specific concept that really helped me connect with Canadian history on a personal level, and learn lessons that I could apply to my own life, was cultural transmission.

“[Cultural transmission] is the process of learning new information through socialization and engagement with those around you. The cultural transmission of knowledge is a broad concept, and it refers to knowledge that is gained through non-biological means; the theoretical basis of cultural transmission is that throughout our development, we acquire a considerable amount of knowledge simply by being present in our culture.” (White, 2011).

Cultural transmission is something that I value a lot, and something that is valued greatly by my family. A large part of cultural genocide is the disruption of cultural transmission, and seeing how important cultural transmission is to me, I could only imagine how bad the results of disrupting cultural transmission are.

Questions, Perspectives, and Goals

For our first blog post, we are supposed to answer a question, I have decided to explore: Why is cultural transmission valued and why is its disruption so bad?

To answer why cultural transmission should be valued and why its disruption is so bad, I will be looking at this question through the lens of development and attachment from a young age. I chose this perspective because it relates the topic directly to me as I am still developing, forming attachments, and learning about my culture. I also chose this lens because my mum always told me that attachment is the basis for all relationships. By understanding attachment, and how it is developed, I can better understand other relationships as well; for example, how the relationship between the Canadian government and the Aboriginal people has developed over time.

Through this blog post, I would like to better understand myself, the people around me, and the people I read about from history. I strive to learn the importance and value of culture to different people as well as how to respect other cultures. I would like to learn the importance of having cultural diversity, and the importance of developing an identity as a person, as a culture, and as a country. However, I think that my biggest goal is to learn to understand the multiplicity of history.

Impact of Healthy Cultural Transmission on a Developing Young Person

A lot of the information that we receive daily is through cultural transmission, even if we may not know it. The reason we understand what is socially acceptable, what social cues mean, body language, and other concepts that vary based on culture is because of cultural transmission. For example, no one told me that I have to tip when I go to a restaurant, but because that is what is expected from this culture, I do so by following the examples of friends and family.

Cultural transmission is important for young people to develop a healthy sense of self, and to become well adjusted. “The self develops within a culture, and the beliefs and practices of the culture are absorbed into the individual’s psychology,” (Baron, 2005). Better understanding the people around us, the world around us, and how it all works can help young people better understand themselves and how they fit into the context of their world.

Cultural transmission can create a safe sense of community for the people who are a part of the culture and can help young people to become more open-minded and accepting of others. “As individuals’ psychology is built [through cultural transmission] their behaviour and thinking allow them to live comfortable within the culture and to communicate more easily with others [from other cultures and their own],” (Baron, 2005). As people become more comfortable within their own culture (and with themselves) they can become more accepting of others and more willing to step out of their comfort zone as they continue to have a safe space within their culture.

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Cultural transmission can create a strong sense of community. Image sourced from: http://toosmall.org/community

Cultural transmission through a strong support system can aid in healthy physical, mental, and emotional development. “Secure attachments with [culture] have been linked to later social and cognitive competence… Children who have positive relationships with [their culture] are more likely to engage in the kinds of interactions that foster the language skills and other competencies required to succeed in school,” (Vasta, 2009).

Cultural transmission passes on traditions from generation to generation; installing the importance of cultural transmission itself. Oral story-telling traditions are very important to Aboriginal culture and this practice passes on the stories of band history to younger generations. The history of bands has been traditionally passed on orally for many years, with many stories still known today.

Impact of Cultural Oppression and Genocide on a Developing Young Person

Cultural oppression can result in isolation, little sense of self, little sense of community, difficulties in social adjustment, mental health issues, addictions, and devalued perceptions of culture. However, the biggest impact is that people may come to struggle with sense of identity and may be ashamed of their own culture (when their culture is perceived as less than by popular culture). The oppression of one generation continues to be passed down for many to come; parents who are cut off from their own culture may have attachment issues, when they raise their own children they pass on the same attachment issues they struggle with indirectly to the child. This can continue on for many generations and is why reconciliation for wronged ancestors is also very important, though it may be overlooked. Self –worth, support systems and the meaning that we give to life is very important, when these concepts are not explored within individuals and cultures, or views are forced onto people, it can lead to severe mental health and addiction issues as a coping method. Though Aboriginal culture experienced genocide, it is still alive today.Aboriginal, First Nations, and Métis populations had to endure extermination and assimilation efforts and were able to do so because of cultural values and strengths such as spirituality; respect for traditional values and ceremonies; extended family networks; allegiance to the family, community, and tribe; wisdom of the elders’ respect for the environment and the land; connection to the past, adaptability, and the promotion of such themes as belonging, mastery, independence and generosity. (Myers & Spencer, 2004).

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Aboriginal art depicting Canada. Image sourced from: https://www.pinterest.com/angelwilliams10/nwc-art/

So What? What Now?

Understanding the role of cultural transmission throughout history is important to understanding how cultural influences and biases shape our narratives about history today. Identifying the impacts of cultural transmission helps to put the importance of culture in perspective. Looking at cultural transmission through the lens of development and attachment has helped me better relate to the narrative of Aboriginal oppression in Canada on a more personal level. I think that through this blog post, I have come to appreciate my own Romanian and Canadian culture more as well as have come to realize my Eurocentric (ethnocentric) bias. I have come to have more appreciation for the cultures that have undergone oppression and genocide but were revived and continue to live on today. I have come to learn more about the importance of developing identities as individuals, cultures, and as a country. Through the research I have done for this blog post, I have come to appreciate the multiplicity of history, and can see how patterns easily repeat themselves. This research has challenged me to look at the identity of Canada in a different way. Canadian identity and values have changed a lot over time; today we are known as an inclusive multicultural society, but we were not always that way as I have learned from social studies these past few weeks.

 

Resources:

Baron, R. A. (2005) Exploring Social Psychology (4th Edition) Pearson. Toronto, ON

Myers, D. G. & Spencer, S. J. (2004) Social Psychology (2nd Edition) McGraw-Hill Ryerson Toronto, ON

Vasta, R. (2009) Child Psychology (2nd Edition) John Wiley & Sons Mississauga, ON

White, D. (2011). What is Cultural Transmission. Retrieved on 08/02/17 from http://study.com/academy/lesson/cultural-transmission-definition-theory.html

Other Resources:

https://www.boundless.com/sociology/textbooks/boundless-sociology-textbook/education-13/the-functionalist-perspective-on-education-100/cultural-transmission-562-9625/

http://www.nyu.edu/econ/user/bisina/Palgrave_culturaltransmission2.pdf

https://cocosci.berkeley.edu/tom/papers/LabPublications/CulturalTransInfoProc.pdf

https://www.boundless.com/sociology/textbooks/boundless-sociology-textbook/education-13/the-functionalist-perspective-on-education-100/cultural-transmission-562-9625/

http://indigenousfoundations.arts.ubc.ca/

http://ineducation.ca/ineducation/article/view/142/617

http://www.beststart.org/resources/hlthy_chld_dev/pdf/FC_K13A.pdf

http://www.ecdip.org/culture/

In-Depth Post 2: Run Forest, Run!

Updates and Changes

A lot has changed with my in-depth project over the past two weeks. After pursuing a few options for mentors that turned out to be dead ends, I came to re-think my approach to in-depth this year. Last year I did a project that was out of my comfort zone, something that was a big challenge. Though I did challenge myself this year; I do already know some basics of sewing and have already done a craft-based in-depth. I saw my failure to find a mentor in sewing as an opportunity to re-direct my project and challenge myself in a different way instead. I have decided to train—ideally—for a full marathon. I finally decided to change my project after, Pam, a potential mentor, said that she could not mentor me at this time. I was very disappointed at first; but being a mentor is a big commitment that takes a lot of time and I understand that it is difficult. At this point, I thought that maybe this was a blessing in disguise and decided to begin pursuing marathon training for my in-depth.

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This idea for in-depth came up after coming back from Everest basecamp. My mum and I were talking one day about what our next physical challenge should be, and we decided to try do a marathon together. Since I would already be training, I saw it as the perfect opportunity to also make it my in-depth project. Making training for a marathon my in-depth would help the process as I would have the chance to reflect in blog posts, have a mentor to help me along the way, and help to keep myself accountable for training.

I want to do a full marathon because I really want to push myself physically. I have experience with running, but I have never ran with a goal in mind, and have never jogged more than 10 or 12 km at a time. I have done long hikes however, and I believe that from my experience, I do have the potential to do a full marathon. I wanted to train with my family because during the year, we are all very busy; this is an opportunity to spend time together and achieve a shared goal.

Progress Report

Since last week, I have begun researching possible mentors, training programs, and marathons. There are a lot of training programs in the community, and I thought that I could find a mentor with in a training program. Some places that offer marathon training programs include: The Running Room, USA FIT Vancouver, Peak Center Vancouver, Forerunners, and Kinetic. They are all close by and follow a similar regimen: train at home two to three times a week and one to two times a week with a group led by instructors. Additionally, some programs offer extras like nutritional advice and educational talks. Most of the programs do not cost a lot, with the most expensive running clinic at $150 for a 16-week program. If I cannot find a program suited to me (which may be the case for reasons I will go into more detail below) than I can join a running club in the community and train more independently with a mentor. I have also been looking into marathons that I can register for; many are reasonable priced and sound very exciting. However, I may not qualify for most marathons as I am under 18.

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Ideally I wanted to do the BMO marathon, but I am too young… image sourced from: http://www.insidevancouver.ca/2013/04/28/vancouver-prepares-for-canadas-biggest-marathon-bmo-vancouver-marathon-may-5/

Difficulties

Age is the biggest difficulty I have run into so far. Many running clinics will not accept people under 18 to train, however, they do sometimes accept people over 16 to train with a parent. Many marathons also do not allow people under 18 to participate. Not qualifying due to my age is a very difficult challenge because it is out of my control. However, I do plan on contacting training facilities to find out if they can make an exception as I will soon turn 16. I have found one marathon done by MEC, for a very low cost, that seems to not have any age-restrictions from what I have read on the website, but I will have to double check. The only issue with the MEC marathon is that it is at the end of April, which does not leave a lot of time for training. If I do not find a marathon in the area, then I will do the Greenriver marathon in Washington as it has a very low cost and has no age restrictions; however, it is far away. Another challenge I have faced is simply starting in-depth from scratch; I am considering re-doing certain parts of the learning contract to more clearly set goals for my new focus. In-depth is definitely time sensitive and if I do not start training properly and registering for a marathon soon, I could loose out on this season and run out of time to train and complete a marathon. I think that the most obvious difficulty I will face is the physical and mental aspect of long distance running at a young age. This is the type of project that requires a lot of time and effort over a long period of time. It will definitely be a challenge, but I am up for it.

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Hopes

I hope that I will train three to four times a week in total and train with my mentor for one to two of the training sessions per week. I ideally want to do a full marathon, however, if I find through training that I am not able to do that, then I will re-focus and aim to do a half-marathon. Through in-depth this year, I hope to become healthier and more aware of my physical abilities. I hope to learn how to train, take care of and acclimatize my body for marathon training and for future endeavours. I think that knowledge of how to take care of my body is applicable in many other aspects of my life and would be a great help to me. I have a lot of hope for this project, it is a very big endeavour, but I believe that with the right training and the right mentor, it is within my capabilities.

A Beautiful Mind

Though I don’t have a mentor yet, I still really enjoyed the communication strategies talked about in A Beautiful Mind and see their applications relative to me. I know that I personally tend to agree a lot with the people around me as I struggle to differ and disagree as to not cause any kinds of conflicts. Reading about ways to differ and disagree in a healthy way challenged me this week to use some of the strategies when talking to other people. I liked that emphasis was placed on communicating ideas wholly and truthfully to challenge and help each other. This idea helped me see the importance in talking about differences and disagreements in a respectful way, and the good things that can come from them. One strategy that I really liked was #8: “You may want to disagree to show a different personal experience.” I thought that this type of advice would have also been helpful last year during in-depth. I was often too shy to speak out about differences of opinion in shoe design, and that hindered the design of my shoes as the seams were not all located where I would have liked them to be. Speaking out about the difference would have helped better the final product. I think that A Beautiful Mind will be very helpful in developing the relationship with my future mentor, and I look forward to continuing to read it.

Conclusion

I am very happy to have changed my in-depth project and think that it is better suited to me and that I will get more out of this experience. I know that it will be a difficult journey, and that I will not have a lot of time to achieve my goal, but I have a lot of hope that I will run a full marathon. I think that I have the determination and potential to achieve my goal. I am very excited to begin this journey again and get to see everyone around me also develop new passions and skills.

To-Do List for the Next Two Weeks

  • Continue to search for running clinics and programs.
  • Contact the Running Room and Kinetics (most flexible with ages) call and e-mail.
  • Contact friends and family who have ran marathons for advice and possible mentorship hook-ups.
  • Ask for extension for the criminal record check if mentor is not found very soon!
  • Continue to run regularly and begin to make more serious goals.
  • Re-do the goals chart and time chart from the learner’s contract to make sure that I keep myself accountable.
  • Other?

In-Depth: Sew Far Sew Good

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This is the latest dress I have been fascinated by. Image from: http://www.marieclaire.com/fashion/news/a24624/lily-collins-golden-globes-red-carpet-2017/

For my in-depth project, I have decided to study sewing. I have wanted to learn to sew for a long time and thought that this would be a great opportunity. After ending up taking a fashion merchandising class last year, I have been very fascinated with the way clothing is produced, sold, and recycled. This interest has led to a chronic case of online shopping (here are some websites) which opened the door to some realizations. I first realized that I really liked looking at pretty things. Secondly, I realized that I could not afford anything on the sites I was looking at. It simply was not feasible to buy a $2,000 blouse or a dress that costs as much as a year of university. Thirdly, I realized that most of the garments I admired from afar, were very simple; and then I came to my fourth realization. The realization that if I cannot buy it, maybe I can make it. Maybe I could make it better, with my own designs, with the perfect sizing, with the perfect materials, colours, prints and trims. I realized that I could really make something; something that could make me very happy.

This type of mentality (if I can’t find it, I will make it) is a part of my DNA. It is part of the reason why I chose to learn to make shoes for in-depth last year. It is the reason why my dad makes bags for a hobby, and why my grandmother sews. Through this type of mentality, I have learned that if you really want something, you have to work for it. However, it is nearly impossible to do anything alone.

I have begun to look for my mentor, and after a very good recommendation, I found Pam. She has been teaching sewing for over 30 years and is a very well-versed sewer. I have begun to pursue her as my mentor and I hope that it works out well. I know that last year, finding a mentor was one of the most difficult parts of in-depth. However, I have begun to search for other people that could possibly be my mentor if Pam cannot be. I have not contacted anyone as of yet, but will do so next week if I do not have a more solid response from Pam. I have looked at sewing teachers in Port Coquitlam, and Coquitlam as well as at local classes at sewing shops like Fabricana. If all else fails, I kind neighbour has offered to help me in this endeavour after hearing about my search for a sewing mentor. However, I would prefer to step further outside of my comfort zone and work with someone new, and someone who is a professional in the field. I hope to cultivate a strong relationship with my mentor, as I have maintained with my mentor from last year. I strive to talk openly about feedback, maintain not only a good working relationship but a friendly relationship with my mentor, and to work together to make the best plan for my learning.

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Its a time to sew! Image sourced from: http://cherishedbycheryl.com/what-is-sewing/

I have made some rather ambitious goals for my learning. I am aiming to make a mini-collection of three different looks that each show the sewing techniques I have learned. Ideally I would make one dress, one skirt, one pair of pants, a blouse, and a simple jacket (maybe cape style). All of the garments would be very simple in silhouette as to not complicate myself. This is a rather difficult goal for the allotted time but I feel very passionately about this endeavour and will work hard to achieve it. Some specific sewing skills I would like to learn are: sewing with different stitches, patching old clothing, hemming clothing, installing buttons, zippers, elastics waists, and pockets, as well installing zippers, and adding details like embroidery, piping, and applique. I would also ideally like to learn how to change fabrics by ruching, pleating, and layering. Learning some good pre-sewing techniques like: designing with practicality in mind, choosing appropriate materials as well as treating them, and patterning clothing are also all very important to me.

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Ideas for a possible final product…

For the final presentation, I would ideally like to have a mini-fashion show to showcase the clothes I have made. For this presentation style to work, I would need time on the stage to present, models to wear the clothing, music to go with the catwalk portion of the presentation, and a speech to go with the rest of the presentation. To add to the presentation, Ms. Mulder has suggested that I create a few small pieces for the MC’s of the in-depth night, and I really like the sound of that idea. However, if my sewing skills are not at that level yet, or if I have not finished enough pieces at that time than I will make a small station with a poster board showing the steps I took in learning to sew and in creating the garments; showing physical evidence like patterns, designs, and fabric swatches to illustrate the complexity of the project. I would still also continue to display my final products in this scenario. However, I hope that the first option works out.

I have not done a lot so far for in-depth besides contacting a possible mentor, learning some basic sewing terms (enough to make more specific goals), making my learner’s contract, and researching for my in-depth research essay. However, everything has been going very well so far and I am very excited thinking about the final products.

I am very happy with my choice of in-depth project this year; I think that picking something like sewing is good because it is a very good life skill to have. I believe that in the future if I ever have to modify clothes for a job interview and such I would have the ability to. It would also be a great skill because I can then make clothes for myself to save money, trust in the quality, trust in the ethics of the garment, and have clothes that best suit me. I am excited to hear that Emily is also studying sewing this year and I hope that we get the chance to connect and collaborate. In-depth is off to a great start this year and I hope this positivity carries over into May and beyond.

I am looking forward to seeing the in-depth projects of all the Talons this year develop over the course of the next five months. I know that seeing everyone develop all of this new knowledge and skills will be quite the sight to see. Good luck to everyone!

Update: In case you were wondering, I am still working on my in-depth project from last year. I have just finished lasting my shoes and will soon start to put on the soling. I am going in to the shop tomorrow and will upload some pictures for a progress update then. The shoes, obviously, took a lot longer than expected. However, I am very happy that I have stuck with this project; it has brought a lot of great things into my life including a job and a few new friends. I hope to finish the shoes in time for this years in-depth; I hope to wear them on the day of, but am afraid that my feet will have out-grown the shoes by the time they are finished. It is looking like I will finish in March, so I have some extra time before May if anything goes wrong.

Last Book Club Post

Book club has been going very well this past week, however, I am sad to say that it is coming to an end. This is the one of the last projects that we are all doing together. We are all writing reviews of All the Light We Cannot See to summarize our thoughts on the book before moving on to our final project together. If you want to check out some other blogs that have reviews of All the Light We Cannot See look at the blogs of Sydney, Kaliegh, Vanessa, and Racheal. If you plan on reading the book in the future and do not want to spoil it for yourself, then reading my blog or the blogs of others may not be the best idea, however, here are some reviews with less spoilers if you are considering reading the book.

In this review, I will be looking at all components of the book including plot, character, setting/mood, symbolism, style/voice, and theme to come to a conclusion at the end where I will rate the book on a five-star scale. This post is similar to my first, however, I have a lot more insight on the book now and can draw better conclusions than I could have in my First Impressions blog. I hope that you find this review helpful, if you have any questions about my opinions on the book, comment below!

The plot of the book was very simple but told in great detail. I liked that the action was spread out over the course of many years, it made the story feel like it could have been real. I think that though the story does romanticize war, it does try to show how people on all sides of the war are capable of good and evil. I liked that the story did not just involve the French and German but also the Russian to show that everyone was right and wrong at the same time. The examples used in the story to illustrate theme were used sparingly but powerfully. Werner’s point of view was pretty dark as it followed him going to a Nazi school where his strong sense of morality was broken down and built back up again. He then was forced into the war to track down terrorist broadcasts. Werner is always with other people in his plot, but is very independent from them. He forgets to write his sister. Soon Werner finds out about Marie-Laure through the radio broadcasts she sends and one day he follows her through Saint Malo. The radio broadcasts she sends after the bombing of Saint Malo motivate Volkehmier and Werner to escape from under the rubble and fight to live. Though the meeting between Werner and Marie-Laure is brief it has a big impact on the both of them. Werner dies close to the end of the book by a landmine which was laid out by German soldiers. His death was foreshadowed earlier in the book and it showed that war kills not the enemy, but a fellow human. I liked that Werner’s death had a reason behind it in the book, but it made the end of the book much darker. Soon the plot follows Jutta who is raped by Russian soldiers when they occupy Berlin. She later gets notice that Werner is dead and years later she is given his belongings. Werner’s belongings lead her to find Marie-Laure and they talk, it is a very profound moment in the book where two plots come together again. In Marie-Laure’s plot is more relatable for me and I like that she continues to live life as normally as she can leading up to the war. Marie-Laure flees Paris with her father and ends up in Saint Malo with her uncle Etienne and Madam Manec. Here Marie-Laure learns the wonders of the world around her when she walks the town, goes to the beach, or has imaginary adventures with her uncle. However, throughout her plot, we see her become more independent as she helps in the resistance movement broadcasting information and as the people around her leave. Her father is arrested never to be seen again but for the few letters her writes. Madam Manec dies. Etienne is also arrested but later reunited with Marie-Laure after the siege is over. Soon Marie-Laure finds herself all alone during the war with Von Rumple looking through the house for the Sea of Flames. Werner shots Von Rumple and saves Marie-Laure. They share the last can of peaches madam Manec ever made and talked about their lives. Werner suggested that he hadn’t lived his own life for a long time up until that day. He Admired that Marie-Laure lived life as regularly as she could. Later on Marie-Laure returns to Paris with Etienne in her old home and decides to go to school and soon she works at the museum. She meets with Jutta and finds the key to the grotto where she hid the sea of flames in Werner’s belongings. She hints that she knows it is still where she left it. The book than fast forwards all the way to 2014 the year of its publishing and shows Marie-Laure talking to her grandson imagining all the worlds with in worlds around them as he plays a video game. The plot overall is very poetic, delicate, and intricate. I have deep appreciation for the execution of this book and its success of telling such a brilliantly simple story with such great detail and wonder.

The characters in this book were all very well developed and had a humanity that made them seem very real. The changes of the characters were as subtle as could be, yet all of these small changes added up and it is only now reflecting back on the novel as a whole that I can appreciate the development of the characters. I liked that the book showed characters from all ages, genders, and genders on different sides of the war. Even when describing the Russian soldier who raped Jutta, he is described as he had been mourning for his friends who were fallen soldiers. Doerr was not afraid to show the darkness with in his characters, and I liked that. Werner seems to struggle throughout the book with his morals and the morals imposed on him by the army and by the Nazi school. He seems to have an internal struggle with this throughout the novel and cycles between his own morals and the morals of others. Werner becomes a much smarter character but with new knowledge he seems to loose more of his curiosity and child-like wonder. He becomes a lot more hardened through out the book, but when he is with Marie-Laure and even with Volkehmier in the rubble, he begins to open up. In the scene where Werner is near the ocean, we see he and Marie-Laure both have a fascination with the ocean showing his child-like side again. I found it hard to relate on a personal level with the character as we did not have a lot in common, but it was easy to see his perspective on life through his actions and dialogue. Marie-Laure starts as a very innocent young girl, and though she begins to learn more and faces unthinkable hardships, she continues to have that innocent young girl inside of her. Though Marie-Laure becomes much more mature, wise and self-aware through the book, she stays true to herself and continues to be curious about the world around her. I personally related to Marie-Laure’s better because we both seem to be interested by everything. In the scene where Marie-Laure and Werner talk, it is easy to see that they are both still children at heart. Though the character changes happen slowly and subtly, I now appreciate it looking back at how much the characters have truly changed.

The setting for this book change very often but there were three main time periods, pre-war, war, and post-war. This setting made for a lot of anticipation continuously. The settings were always described very well. The setting was very important to the plot, theme, symbolism, and character. I think that the setting obviously motivates the plot a lot of the time because it is a historical fiction book at a time of war. The setting helped move plot as when the settings changed, the mood of the book did too, changing the characters ever so slightly. For example, when Werner first went to Nazi school, he became more hardened moving the character and plot development forward. All of the different settings showed that people who are different in nationality, gender, culture, class, or whatever else are actually similar as we all have a humanity that unites us. Showing such a wide variety of characters from such different places really emphasized that theme. The mood varied greatly throughout the plot and from character. I don’t usually enjoy historical fiction, but I did enjoy this book a lot and I think I enjoy it partially because of the setting, not in spite of it.

The symbolism in this book was less explicit than I am used to, but I enjoyed that I had to think twice about it. Radios and music, especially ‘Clair de Lune,’ are both symbols of hope in this. An example of this is when Werner and Jutta first listen to the radio as a children and think about a world beyond their own where everything will be okay. Another example was when Werner and Volkehmier listen to the radio underneath the rubble they are buried in, the music from the radio gives them hope and the attempt to and succeed in escaping from underneath the building. Shells, Jules Vern adventure novels, and locks with keys represent the theme of worlds with in worlds. This is shown by the way Marie-Laure lines up shells on her windowsill at home in Paris and in Saint Malo in both of her ‘worlds’. The lock and key represents the pathway to other worlds, for example, in the very beginning when the safe to the Sea of Flames is described in the novel. The Sea of Flames is the last symbol that I discerned from the book and it represents that all that is beautiful may not be good and all that is good may not be beautiful. The diamond has a ‘curse’ on it and it shows the dark sides of the characters as well as the good once they let go of the diamond. This is especially clear in Von Rumple who through his search of the diamond becomes very ill. I liked that throughout the book the symbols stayed the same but had different meanings at different points in the novel; the true importance of the symbols emphasized further into the novel. I liked that I had to look harder for the symbols, it made me appreciate them a lot more.

The style and voice in this novel was my favourite part. It was easy to read because the chapters were so short. I liked that the perspective switched between characters, it helped emphasize the theme that people who are different are actually similar. I liked that the story followed not just Marie-Laure and Werner, but also Daniel LeBlanc, Etienne LeBlanc, Madame Manec, Jutta Pfennig, Frau Elena, Frank Volkheimer, Frederick, Dr. Hauptmann, Reinhold von Rumpel, and Madame Ruelle. The voice changed character to character which made for a diverse pool of characters. The writing was very descriptive but used simple words which made for a very interesting combination. The dialogue was used sparingly, but it was used well. Doerr really showed character traits through action and used dialogue to more explicitly state character motivation. The pacing of the book made it feel very realistic.

All the Light we Cannot See explores the tragedies of war, the idea of worlds with in worlds, free will versus predetermination, moral relativism, and the significance of seemingly insignificant actions. I like how well all of these themes were woven together throughout the book. I thought that the themes were introduced subtly and slowly culminating in the end in scenes that more explicitly explored the themes of the book. I really liked the meeting between Werner and Marie-Laure because the characters talked more explicitly about the themes of moral relativism, free will versus predetermination, and hinted towards the theme of significance of insignificant actions. Werner and Marie-Laure talked about their lives and philosophies while sharing a can of peaches. I think that the tragedies of war was shown very obviously in Jutta’s perspective when she is forced to work from a young age and is raped at a young age because of the war. The idea of worlds within worlds is beautifully showcased through the diamond which is hidden in the city model in Etienne’s house by the small house with in the large house. The whole book is a series of small insignificant events that soon lead to significant changes and I really liked that this theme was gradually shown throughout the book. The themes were incorporated into the book very well and some of the themes are very unique to this book. Many historical fiction novels have similar themes, but All the Light We Cannot See is ingenious in the way the themes are so easily applicable to this day and age.

Considering all of the parts of the book I would give All the Light We Cannot See a 4.5/5 stars because though I really enjoyed the characters, theme, symbolism, and especially the style of the book I sometimes found the plot to be a little slow and even dark towards the end. I also thought that the book did romanticize war but I liked that the writing style was still very realistic in its description and mostly in its pacing. I think that this is a great read for anyone who likes poetic writing, thinking deeply about the meaning behind the book, and historical fiction. I don’t usually like historical fiction, but the setting really adds to the themes, plot, characters, style, and symbolism in this book. It’s a good book to read by the fire in winter as it is a heavier read. Over all I really enjoyed this book and I am very happy that I had the opportunity to read and study All the Light We Cannot See as a part of our book club. I hope that you found this review helpful and that you consider reading All the Light We Cannot See in the future as it is a true delight.

Biblography

I have listed all of my sources below. I find that this year I researched a lot more in-depth and it was really helpful to understanding my person. I really enjoyed the documentary and book. If anyone wants to know more about Ai Weiwei, watching the documentary is really fun, even if you just want to know more about political issues. It was difficult to find information on Ai himself as he is still a rather current person, but the Wikipedia page was surprisingly helpful, it was the biography listed by his official website. I had a great time researching and probably spent a bit too much time researching, but I really enjoyed it.

http://aiweiwei.com/ good source for current information on art installations

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ai_Weiwei good source for personal history

https://www.artsy.net/artist/ai-weiwei good source for past art pieces

http://www.aiweiweineversorry.com/ good source for information on the “Citizens Arrest”

http://www.theartstory.org/artist-ai-weiwei.htm  good source for information on art installations

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/is-ai-weiwei-chinas-most-dangerous-man-17989316/ good source for information on current politics around Ai Weiwei

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2010/05/24/its-not-beautiful good source for information on current politics around Ai Weiwei

http://www.lissongallery.com/artists/ai-weiwei good source for pictures of art work

http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/unilever-series-ai-weiwei-sunflower-seeds good source for learning about ‘sunflower seeds’ installation

Never Sorry documentary good source for observing Ai’s daily life and understanding his arrest.

Ai Weiwei-isms by Ai Weiwei 2015 good source for Ai Weiwei philosophies on life.

The Beginning of the End

 

First of all, I wanted to congratulate everyone on Night of the Notables! Everyone did so well with speeches and learning centers, it feels like every year the bar is raised! The night itself was also set up so well, so thank you to the nines for organizing it! Everyone should be very proud of their individual work and the work that we did together as a group. I want to give a special thanks to all the TALONS teachers who guided us and made NotN a reality. It was all of that work that made Night of the Notables such a success this year.

This is my final Eminent post and though I feel sad, I also feel very relieved that I can now reflect back on speeches, learning center, and the overall flow of the night without having to begin thinking about next years’ eminent project.

I feel very good about how my speech went, though it was not the best run through, it wasn’t the worst either. I feel very grateful that I remembered all of my lines. I think that my content was very relevant to my person and showed how he made an impact in his field. By explaining his road to jail I showed his eminence but by doing the speech as if Ai were talking to his son it made the speech more personal and relatable. I think that my presentation of the speech went well, I tried to use my nervous energy and turn it into anger as my speech was very heated. Anger is not an emotion I exhibit a lot so it was interesting to try show that through my speech. Though there were a few moments where I hesitated, I think it was okay over all. This year we did transitions between speeches and I really liked that. I thought that the speeches flowed much better, showed a story, and kept everyone more engaged. I think that all of the speeches were very well done and everyone had a lot of confidence on stage. Speeches were my favourite part of the night because I really enjoyed watching everyone and encouraging people backstage.
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Learning centers were pretty fun, but it was the hardest part of the night for me because I had to talk to people in an unstructured way. However, I think that having the interactive component really helped. I had made my learning center to look like Ai Weiwei’s studio with paint, cut outs, and art strewn about. I laid down canvas and sheets everywhere to make sure that nothing got dirty. I pre-painted vases from value village white and I asked people to help me paint them with colours. This was supposed to represent Ai Weiwei’s ongoing piece where he would paint and destroy Han Dynasty urns to show that sometimes we have to disregard tradition to make way for new ideas. I think that this component of my learning center was successful. Many people young and old came to my station and painted their urns, some people even took their master pieces’ home! However, I did struggle to stay in character the whole night, it was hard to talk about my person from his perspective and still remain somewhat objective about his hardships. I think that all of the learning centers were really great this year and I think that they flowed really well, I liked that all the artists were together in a corner. It was especially cool because some of our eminent people knew each other and had visited each others studios and exhibitions. I think that looking at all the learning centers just before they were all taken down was a lot of fun. Though I missed out on the interactive components of most learning centers, I am very happy that I got to see them.
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The overall flow of the night was very good. I think that the fact that the speeches had transitions and that some learning centers were organized by theme made for a more integrated experience. The set up of the event was very quick and we all had plenty of time to set up learning centers, look at each others learning centers and practice our speeches on the main stage. We also had enough time backstage before the speeches started for a quick pep talk which was very nice. The cleanup was not as smooth as it could have been. We mostly began cleaning after the first announcement and though we were all quick in taking down our learning centers, not everyone did their designated cleanup jobs and we ran out of recycling/ garbage space. However, we were still pretty fast with cleanup managing to finish before 10:30. The circle that we had at the end was very nice and I liked that a grade nine and a grade ten counted down to the shooting stars. It was a strong note to end of on.

The closing circle was a really nice way to wrap up a long day and the last Night of the Notables I would ever have to present at. Though I was a little bit sad that it was the beginning of the end of our journey through TALONS, I was mostly relieved that I wouldn’t have to go through the same stress again next year. I feel very satisfied with how Night of the Notables ended up this year, I think that it was very successful in the speeches, the learning centers, and the flow of the night. NotN made me feel happy and excited and sad and relieved all at once, and I am very glad that I had this experience with all of you!

Congratulations to all of the grade tens who have finished their last eminent project, good luck to the grade nines on their projects next year, and thank you to everyone who supported the TALONS learners in this time of stress, especially Ms. Mulder, Mr. Salisbury, Ms. Dingle, and Mr. Jackson!

 

 

Eminent Interview, A Learning Process

I think that the interview aspect of eminent is the hardest for me personally. I sent out more than ten e-mails and got very few responses. However, the interviews that I did end up getting were very helpful and gave me a lot of insight. In the end, I think that it was worth putting in all the work of sending out so many e-mails because I did get three good interviews that really helped shape my project.

Image result for uno langmann limited fine art vancouver bc
Uno Langmann Limited Fine Art http://www.hellobc.com/activitylisting/100413/uno-langmann-limited-fine-art.aspx

I interviewed Jeanette Langmann the curator of the Uno Langmann Limited Fine Art, Adair Harper a curatorial assistant from the Vancouver Art Gallery and Kathrine Dennis the adult programs coordinator also from the Vancouver Art Gallery. All of the people that I interviewed are around art on a daily basis and are often the people making the decisions around what is inside of their gallery. These people are very well informed and I feel very lucky to have had the chance to sit down with them.

Image result for vancouver art gallery
Vancouver Art Gallery http://www.insidevancouver.ca/2014/01/08/free-sunday-admission-for-kids-at-the-vancouver-art-gallery/

Going in to these interviews my goal was to gain more insight into the art world now and in the recent past and put my eminent person into the context of the global art scene. I may not have reached my goals exactly, but I did learn a lot from the experience that I could not have learned any other way.

Before even starting the interviews, I asked how they would first define that art that we would be discussing. The answers that I got were pretty similar in that all of them described art as a mindset or a perspective of looking at things. Katherine told me a story about young children coming into the art gallery. They viewed a piece that was a pile of rocks and were asked, “Why is this art?” and they answered “Its art because its meant to be art,” (as in the artist had intent to make a piece). I think that the small anecdote Katherine told describes the kind of answers I got to my question on the definition of art.

Image result for pile of rocks
http://normazf.deviantart.com/art/Pile-of-rocks-209202278

To get a better idea of art in context, I asked them about what are pieces inspire them and about what makes a provocative piece. I learned that curators pick pieces that start a conversation or grab attention (good or bad) over pieces that are visually pleasing. This was an interesting revelation for me as an observer because I usually think of art in the aesthetic sense first. This helps me better understand the context of Ai’s art in galleries around the world. I also learned that a piece is provocative only if it allows for it. Adair helped explain this idea using a narrative around Duchamp’s fountain piece. When the urinal was first displayed on its side in a fancy gallery, it was shocking, and it made people question why it was art. It was provocative because no one had done anything like that at the time and because it started a conversation around art. Yet, if the same piece were to be displayed now, it would not be as shocking because it has already been done and we are used to seeing more unconventional art now.

Image result for fountain duchamp
Duchamps Fountain http://www.beatmuseum.org/duchamp/fountain.html

To get a better idea of the influence of art and influences on art I asked about arts effect on society, the implication of mass media, arts effect on modern philosophies and the societal issues that are common in art today. At these questions there was pause. They are all rather broad questions, and I got an array of answers. However, what I got out of it was that art doesn’t always affect societies directly but can impact individual people. With mass media art is now seen in the public eye more often and is more accessible to people. I learned that common societal issues in art are ever changing and very different from place to place and time to time. Many artists right now are currently focused on politics, in Canada Aboriginal themes are very common. Though these questions were rather vague, I think that I got some good information and it helped me better understand the vastness of the art world.

At the end of the interview, I simply asked if there was anything else that I should know based on the questions I had been asking. I am now very glad that I took the time to ask this question because I got some very helpful answers. All three of the people I interviewed recommended that I continue to pursue researching art, pursue experiencing art, and pursue making art. Katherine said that the best way to learn about art is to get immersed in it. I found this advice very helpful. Though I am currently very busy, this made me pause and think about visiting a local art gallery as a learning experience. I hope that I find the time soon to go to a local art gallery, I think it would be very beneficial for my project and would challenge me mentally.

I think that these interviews helped me look at Ai Weiwei from a broader perspective. The interviews shed light on the opinions many people in the art world hold about influence, inspiration, society and controversy. These interviews helped me put my eminent person in to context to better understand the influence of his work and what it means today. However, I think the most important thing that I learned from my series of interviews is that art has big roles in the lives of many and is something that should be held dear to our hearts. Art can convey deep emotions and we should not take our freedom of expression for granted. This interview helped me better appreciate the career path not just of my eminent person, but of all the artists, and curators out there. The passion of Jeanette, Adair, and Katherine really moved me and made me think about trying to pursue some form of art in the future.

Eminent D.O.L.: Speeches are coming up!

If you have not already checked out the small Ai Weiwei biography I wrote in my intro post, you should!

Eminent has been a very good experience so far. Though I expected to be very stressed and worried at this point, I feel surprisingly calm. I think that everything is going very well, and though my posts are a little late, I still feel okay about the work I have done so far.

I am now very glad that I took so much time to pick my person as this project has been a lot more fun. I have decided to really take my time with all the steps of this project and I think that it has helped me to gain everything that I can from this experience. I think that though there is less we have to do this year; I have learned more because we really have to synthesize this project as we embody the person.

Image result for ai weiwei
We look like twins! Right?! http://www.zimbio.com/pictures/Tub97RiVTX/Ai+Wei+Wei+Sorry+Exhibition+Opening/WrEOUJwXIr1/Ai+Weiwei

In the beginning I really struggled to even imagine embodying Ai Weiwei simply because we look so different; but as I began to write my speech I found ways to connect with him through philosophies and history. I think that his fight for freedom of expression and transparency is very important and I agree that he is doing right by standing up for himself and for others. I have never gone through what he has, and I don’t think that I ever will in this day and age in Canada. However, my family has had similar experiences to Ai. Both of my parents grew up in a communist country and experienced first hand the oppression of their government when they were restricted to express themselves, to read certain books, and to travel anywhere. Media at the time was limited and heavily controlled by the government. My parents went through similar hardships that Ai is still facing today, and this connection has really helped me better understand him and relate to him.

Image result for ai weiwei and son
Weiwei and his son Lao http://friendsofaiweiwei.tumblr.com/post/54872152918/ai-weiwei-and-his-son-during-a-visit-to-the-park

For my speech, I chose the perspective of Ai talking to his son Lao as he is being taken away to jail. This viewpoint reminds me of my parents telling me about the hardships they faced as young people. I picked this angle because I think it will make for the most impactful stage presence and overall speech. I have inserted my speech below, it is a rough draft and I am sure it will change a few times before NotN. If you have any suggestions for my speech, please comment below, I really appreciate it!

You ask why the police are putting me in jail? Why your father is being taken away? Why I am being forced into to prison?

I’m not sure what to tell you son.

This is not the first time I have been sent away, I was in exile for the first 18 years of my life. My father was an artist, like me, and we were all sent away because he spoke his mind.

He did not do anything wrong, I did not do anything wrong, my mother did not do anything wrong.

Nothing has changed; and I have not done anything wrong now.

I am being silenced, censored, suppressed.

I spoke out when I saw wrong in the world, the way my father taught me and the way I will soon teach you.

Let me tell you son, in Sichuan, 5,192 young students died; because of the crumbling school infrastructures. And they did nothing. The government launched no investigation, they released no names, and they laid no blame.

But I knew who was to blame for the 5,192 deaths of children. The deaths of children like you Lao. My investigation was only meant to bring peace to the families of the departed. They deserved to know that their child is truly gone.

This injustice should not be silenced, censored, suppressed. We have the right to know and we have the right to speak. I want change and I will fight for change so that you will not have to.

I know now what to tell you son.

I am being taken away in chains because…

(I will get dragged off stage at this part)

Thanks so much for checking out my speech. Just a few more days until we go on!

I also wanted to highlight somebodies work, because they have worked very hard. Rachael has had quite a difficult time with her interview and she has kept a very level head about it all; I really admire her or that. If you want to read more of her work and learn about her interesting eminent interview, you should head on over to her blog! I think that she really deserves the recognition for her hard work.

I hope that everyone is having a good eminent experience this year! I know that though it may be a struggle now, everyone will be more than great on the night of with their speeches and learning centers. Good luck everyone!

Book Club Letter Assignment

For our second book club assignment, we were supposed to write a letter between two characters in the book. I have chosen to write from the perspective of Werner writing to Jutta. If you want to look at previous posts and refresh on the plot of the book, here is the link.  Since the last post however, there have been new developments in the book. To understand these letters it is important to know that Werner has now joined the army and is using his radio skills to pin-point enemy broadcasts. Werner has also become more aware of himself and his surroundings; he is less susceptible to the ideas the Reich is promoting and has disregarded many of the values of the Reich. Werner is beginning to see the similarities between people on both sides of the war effort, and is once again softening up. I hope that you enjoy the small exchange I created; the first letter from Jutta is from the book and I wrote the second one from Werner.

Jutta’s letter to Werner

Dear Werner,

Why don’t you write. Things seem to be getting worse and worse every day here. The factories run day and night and the stacks never stop smoking and its been cold here so everyone burns everything to stay warm. Sawdust, hard coal, lime, garbage. War widows cry on the streets. So many soldiers have died at war and every day there are more. I’m working at the laundry with the twins, Hannah and Susanne, and Claudia Forster, you remember her, we’re mending tunics and trousers mostly. I am getting better with a needle so at least I’m not pricking myself all the time. Right now I just finished my homework. Do you have homework? There are fabric shortages and people bring slip covers, curtains, old coats. Anything that can be used they say must be used. Just like all of us here. Ha. I found this under your cot. Seems like you could use it.

Love, Jutta

Werner’s letter to Jutta

Dear Jutta,

Sorry I have not written in a long time; I have been very busy. I have left school, they put me in the front lines. A commander called me into his office one night, and said that I had been pretending to be 16 so I would not have to go to war. He said that Dr. Hauptman brought it to his attention. I left very soon after. I am 18 now according to all legal documents. I got a haircut and I met some interesting people here; Neumann and Neumann two, they are nice enough. I miss Fredrick though. He left school when he was beat badly by some boys. I recently visited him and he did not even remember me, it was too sad to bare. Yet I miss you more than anyone else, but I wouldn’t want you to be here. I can’t say where I am, but its very cold here. I’m sorry to hear that it is cold at home as well, but I am happy to know that you are safe with Frau Elena.

I got sick a few weeks ago and I thought of Frau Elena’s stews. Does Frau Elena still make stews for everyone at the orphanage? Are there still enough supplies still for you all to live well? It seems like we too are running out of resources here.

I have found out why they wanted me to learn trigonometry. To triangulate broadcasts. All these triangles, all these numbers, they mean more to me now. They are places, people, lives at stake in the war. They are people like you and me living in places like Schulpforta and Zollverein, struggling to make it through this war. We have both been put into use in this war, like you said in your last letter, but I wonder if it is worth anything.

They want me to look for terrorist broadcasts. Don’t the people we are fighting want the same thing as us; peace?

I know that this letter probably will not reach you, and if it does, I think most of it will be censored. I hope that you understand that it has been hard for me to write to you; it is hard to be truthful. Sometimes writing feels hopeless, but then I remember that you are my hope. The only thing that helps get through this is the thought that one day soon I will see you again. Stay safe, Jutta.

Thank you for sending my journal. It means a lot. It reminds me of when we used to listen to the radio together.

Love, Werner

I really wanted to do the censored letter as well to draw contrast and show the gap  between what is said and what is meant. If you want to check out some more letters, go to these blogs: Sydney, Vanessa, Rachael, Kaleigh!