Journal Entry

Alexander Murdough

Journal Entry

11/25/21

A Greek Thanksgiving

     Today for Thanksgiving we DID NOT have turkey, and we DID NOT do anything we usually do. This year, we went to Greece for Thanksgiving. The reason for this is because my grandparents live here and we haven’t been able to travel since the pandemic began. Thanksgiving break is also the only break that my brothers and I share. It has been two and a half years since I saw my grandparents, so you can imagine the feeling I had walking up to the door to knock. Many different thoughts were flying through my mind; what is their reaction going to be? Will I be able to communicate well? Will I remember my Greek? Then all of a sudden the door opened and there was my Grandmother. Standing about a head below me. Her reaction was immediate, before I knew it, I was wrapped up in a warm and loving hug. “Oh how you have grown!” [in Greek] My Grandfather walked in behind my Grandmother and had the same reaction. Fast forward a couple of days to Thanksgiving. This is the part of the vacation I was a little skeptical about. There aren’t turkeys here in the city, so what are we going to eat? My Grandparents came up with the idea to go to the Yacht Club. This Yacht Club is the same place my parents had their reception for their wedding. I couldn’t wait to get there and see what it was like. We took about a 40 minute drive through the city and then to the port. The experience of driving through Athens at night is something else. There are motorcyclists weaving in between cars, pedestrians crossing through the middle of the road, and an excessive amount of traffic. There is constant beeping, yelling, and honking. Once through the city, it starts to slow down, there are many restaurants getting ready for guests, the port is quiet, and the honking stops. Unlike everywhere in Greece, the Yacht Club has parking. Probably the most surprising thing about this trip so far, we didn’t have to park a mile and a half away from our destination. The Club was located on top of a hill, looking down and into the port, the setting was amazing, giant ships down below along with many fragile and elegant looking sailboats, this was one of the fanciest places I’ve ever been. When it came time for dinner, I opened my menu up to a bunch of Greek writing. I, not good at reading Greek, took some extra time to get through the menu. We feasted that night just like we would’ve been home, we ate calamari, octopus, eggplant salad, fish, Greek burgers, fries, fried sardines, and a delicious Greek desert that consisted of a sweet and doughy bread, on a plate of a delicious honey sauce, and a scoop of ice cream. This desert was the final touch to possibly the most delicious Thanksgiving Dinner I have ever had. All my doubts about my Greek have vanished in the couple of days that I’ve been here. I remember most of it, and my grandparents understand English better than I remembered.

 


Journal Entry

Alexander Murdough

11/17/21

The Cleveland Browns

    The most talented team in the National Football League, the combination of reigning coach of the year, an all-pro offensive line, two top-five running backs, debatably the best pass rusher, star corner, and many other great free agent signings to fill holes in the depth chart. With all these tools, the team seems to be setting up a Super Bowl run for the ages. 

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Narrative Paragragh

The Power of Community

Family wishes the best for us

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I don’t care how poor a man is;

if he has a family, he is rich

~Dan Wilcox

     Community is what keeps us going, and for me, it’s my family that keeps me up through difficult times. While I haven’t had a difficult life, there still have been times where I felt alone and sad. I know that if I’m ever down on myself, my parents will always be by my side, and ready to help. Over the years, it has become quite obvious that my parents love my brothers and I unconditionally. This was especially apparent after I had gotten into what I thought at the time was a big fight with my dad. I was getting ready to go to bed at my house in Lincoln when I got into a scuffle with my older brother and bit him. He told on me, and my dad came over and scolded me, so I started talking back to him. This got my dad a little more angry and he yelled at me. I stormed up to my bed, crying, angry, and feeling completely alone. Soon after, my mom came up to my bed and gave me a long and warm hug, and then a kiss on the forehead. She reassured me that I was loved and never alone. She was followed by my dad. He came up and wrapped me up in a monstrous bear hug, a hug full of warmth and love. After the hug it was clear that he had yelled at me because he loved me and had simply wanted me to do better. It didn’t matter that I had crossed the line and talked back to my parents, they still loved me unconditionally, and I quickly forgot about getting yelled at and fell asleep feeling loved. In the end, I realized that my parents only got mad because they love me, and we’re trying to prepare me for the world outside my little bubble.


Literary Analysis Final Essay

~Alexander Murdough

Literary Analysis Essay, 

11/7/21

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Poverty, Value of Friendship, and Realization


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No two things differ more than abstract poverty and actual poverty.

~Marry Ferrier

 

It’s crazy. The things I take for granted Arnold (Junior) Spirit -the main character- would give everything for. A nice house, lots of friends, loving family, and one  I don't consciously think about: hope. For Junior hope is everything, it's one of the rarest things to find on the Rez. I already have that hope built into my life. That hope is a base step not a goal or a thing to strive for. It’s crazy how our lives are so different.

    Value friendship as it isn’t a guarantee. In the book, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie, Junior is best friends with his dog Oscar, and Rowdy. Early on in the book, Oscar gets sick and Junior notices. He tells his parents about Oscar, but they can’t afford any help, ““Junior, sweetheart,” Mom said. “I’m sorry, but we don’t have any money for Oscar.”” Then later on Junior talks to Rowdy about how he is going to transfer to Reardan, and he and Rowdy get into a fight. Rowdy, Junior's best friend, was furious when he heard that Junior was leaving to go to Reardan. At first, he thought it was a joke, but soon after he realized that Junior was dead serious. After it sank in, Rowdy started to cry, which he hates. Junior, trying to make his best friend feel better, reached out and touched his shoulder. This was a terrible mistake, Rowdy quickly turned and threw a punch that flew directly into Junior's face. He dropped to the ground with his nose spewing out blood. Junior is hurt physically, but he feels mostly emotional pain. His longtime best friend just punched him square in the face and now Junior knew “my best friend had become my worst enemy.” Soon after their fight, Junior transfers to Reardan. At Reardan, Junior misses Rowdy and longs for their friendship. Junior doesn’t fit in at Reardan High. He feels alone and depressed. 

Rowdy walked away. I stupidly hoped that time would stand still if I stayed still. But I had to stand eventually, and when I did, I knew that my best friend had become my worst enemy.” - [Junior, “Rowdy Sings the Blues”]

Junior always thought of Rowdy as his friend. It seems that Junior always thought of his friend Rowdy as a given, as a guarantee, or a normal thing. Moments after their fight, Junior realizes how much he loves Rowdy and how much Rowdy means to him. The pain and realization hurt Junior badly and makes him depressed. The reason Rowdy got mad at Junior was because he was still going to be stuck with no hope and Junior gave himself some hope. Poverty has not only physical, but mental effects too. 

    Junior goes through many ups and downs, and battles depression because of poverty. Junior and his family go through living in poverty constantly. All Junior sees around him are other Indians living in poverty. It creates a narrative in his own mind about how Indians don’t deserve anything, and that all Indians are poor. Junior thinks to himself : “I knew it; all of those kids knew it. Indians don’t deserve shit.” While walking into school. Junior’s parents and sister are depressed, so they give up on trying to do something with their lives. They are so poor that they “Don’t have enough gas,” to make it to school. Junior, the main character, wants to give up many times throughout the book, and sometimes he does. The constant reality of being poor, having a depressed family, living in a depressing place, filled with people who have given up on life. Junior’s whole life, he has been surrounded with people who live in poverty and have given up on their dreams because they are too poor to do anything about them. 

“And because you’re Indian you start believing you’re destined to be poor. It’s an ugly circle and there’s nothing you can do about it.”- [Junior, “Why Chicken Means So Much to Me”]

Junior understands that his family is poor, everyone on Rez is poor after all. Everyone on the Rez has no hope. Everyone living on the Rez lives in poverty and doesn’t try to make it out. Why, it's because they have nothing to look for. Everything around them is sad and poor, so no one is successful, so everyone continues to live in poverty. Reading this book reminded me to be grateful for everything I have.

    Different perspectives create realizations. The book was enjoyable for me because of the great writing style, the sarcasm, and the interesting characters. More importantly, it made me realize how lucky I am. Reading The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian was enjoyable for me as it has a great writing style, sarcastic comments and thoughts, and peculiar characters, all different in their own ways. Even though it was an assignment to read the book, the combination of these writing elements made me laugh inside. Finally, I realized that reading this book was a thing to look forward to. This ultimately led to me reading 205 pages in one night to finish the book a couple of days before it was due. As I read through the book, I started to get hooked on it. The book was a quick and fun read, and taking notes only added an extra couple of minutes a night. I embraced the fact that I was going to have to read and it impacted the way that I read and annotated the book. Looking back on it, I definitely did not waste my time reading this book. I enjoyed it and got a reminder of how lucky I am. Reading this book was a fun experience for me. While it was fun, there were still lessons that I learned from the book; don't take anything for granted, as it can be gone in an instant. Reading about life on an Indian reservation was a reminder of how lucky I am to be healthy, have a family, a nice house, a nice school, lots of caring friends, and food on the table. When Junior -the main character- loses his best friend Rowdy in the course of a couple of minutes it made me realize that nothing is here forever.

    The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian enlightened me towards actual poverty, and opened my eyes to how lucky I am.






Letter To Friend

Dear Friend,
 
How is life down in North Carolina? How many rounds of golf do you play a week? I remember when you told me you wanted to live at Pinehurst so you could golf every day. You always wanted to live in North Carolina. The few times you've been, you enjoyed the warm weather, the golf courses, and the food. Right now I’m feeling great, I’m on the football team, I’m doing well in school and I have many friends. One thing I have to say is that there is a lot of homework in high school.
 

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Big Impact on My Life

Big Impact On My Life

 

Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.

~Jim Rohn

I was sitting on the couch, simply waiting for something to happen, bored out of my mind. I was bored of being bored, tired of spending the hot summer days in a house without AC, sitting, doing absolutely nothing. Nothing except getting fat. An active day for me was getting up from the couch, putting a frozen pizza in the oven, then going back to the couch. These days were very lonely and honestly depressing. I would simply sit and stare into my iPad, racking up the screen time to nine hours a day. This doesn’t include the TV and PS4.

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Caribou Essay

Joy and Overcoming Fear

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The whole secret of existence is to have no fear.

~Swami Vivekanada

The buildings lined up on the side of the road. The spacious fields and basketball courts. I could tell I was going to enjoy my time here. All I could think about was the fun I was about to have. It never occurred to me that I would have to overcome my fear of heights to experience joy.

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