A Summer Within A Summer And A World Outside A World

 

Camp Belknap

 

 

 

 

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A Summer Within A Summer, A World Outside A World

 

The two most important days of your life is the day you were born and the day you find out why.”

~Mark Twain

 

 

 

Occasionally I gaze out the window of my well organized, cleaned and perfectly formatted bedroom. A perfect bed, made, in the middle of the room with two bedside tables place symmetrically on either side of my bed. Both have identical lamps, but one has some water on it while the other one is filled with a tissue box and a digital clock. All so clean and tidy. Every cabinet, every box and every device laid out on my desk in an immaculate fashion. But one thing wasn’t perfect in my bedroom, and that is the crave for fresh air and relentless fun. 

 

After beginning at Fenn for not even a complete week yet, I received an Email prompting a camping trip from Mr. Irwin. I thought in my head:” Great, exactly what I needed.” After a summer to and from the airports across the globe, I to some extent got bored of modern, city life and wanted change gears for a bit. And here is my chance! A trip to the deep woods of New Hampshire where no one is allowed to have technology with them. Sometimes we really do need these breaks from an overall planned out lifestyle and the total reliance of technology that as humans, we have adapted very well, but isn’t necessarily the most healthy and beneficial way of communicating. Over snapchat or instagram. Just not articulate enough to me. 

 

Five O’Clock in the morning of my first, maybe second Wendsday at Fenn was spent eating a simple but highly nutritious meal, then loading up the bus. To my surprise it wasn’t packed, as we only had about 30 people to fit on a 50 person bus. I’m the type of person who despises technology but is forced to use them and perfect it’s techniques (my typing skills maybe?), but would rather do things the primitive way, by hand. For the bus ride I urged myself not to look at my phone, although I packed a spare charger, a charging case and a fully charged battery. No headphones, nothing except a book and the ever changing view outside the windows. This went on for quite some time and I eventually decided it was time to watch a movie for the remainder of the ride. 

 

Arrival at camp was smooth, everyone there greeted our cluster of people waiting to unload the bus. And we got to meet our cabin leader, Mack, who was an outstanding guy in almost every field. Sports, academics, art, you name it. As you might expect from any new place you visit, we were briefed by the camp staff, made clear of the rules and regulations and sent to lunch. It was a great lunch, you might not think at first as it was only burgers, but the assortment of topping you were able to put on it is countless, two full tables of it. I’m not sure, it places so much stress on deciding on what to fill your plate with. And went off to general swim, which is basically doing a wide variety of water activities like canoeing, which I liked the best because i won’t get wet, swimming, paddle board, kayak etc…

 

Over the course of three days, the activities had remained the same, On one day we tried some sailing and rock climbing, but I was not at all bored, I was pumped for the next day. One of the things that really stood out to me at Belknap was the respect and teamwork put into doing these activities, since the first day I began noticing drastic differences in people, people were forced to socialize, at first it was hard for people, it was hard for me too feeling so foreign to this ancient way of communication, but we adapted fast, by the next day we were up and running at 8 AM and not sleeping, still sprinting hard on the soccer field after 9 PM, a thirteen hour day in intense physical stress, somehow we didn’t feel tired, reluctant or wanting to give up, we wanted more timed on the fields, in the water and in boats. A relentless fervor. 

 

One of the most impressive things that struck me on that trip was seeing the milky way galaxy up close, no telescope, with your bare eyes. This time however I did not feel joy rushing in my veins, instead I felt confined and restrained. I realized that there was still more in this world than just smartphones, maximizing your own profits and other things that most of seemed to have forgot about the vast frontiers still left covered for us. And that was the motivation that is pushing me forwards and putting some of the building blocks on the mighty construction project of ingenuity and discovery.


Passion of Place

Passion of Place

Hidden Opportunities

Golden-opportunity




“That place is the source of derision, that derision is my impetus.”

~Steven Xing



    We all have reasons for our motivations to do things, whether it be friends, feelings or simply curiosity, we all have reasons to do things that otherwise would not be done. For me, it is a place, a place that reminds me of things that I would want changed, and this is also my motivation to continually exploit myself and constantly thrive. It was the summer of 2013, and I was at sailing camp. I was sitting in an abandoned boathouse having pizza with one other kid a grade above me who was having pasta. I was daydreaming at that moment and not even realizing that I was humming a random tune, all of a sudden I was shaken back to consciousness by a loud slap on the back of my head and a stream of swear words behind me. I didn’t turn back to look at my attacker, instead I looked at the empty chair in front of me that was occupied a minute ago and continued eating. My body was rigid as I ate the food, it felt as if one bite off of a pizza took an eternity, I was frozen, I was too young to know what to do. Meanwhile, another slap came from behind, more swear words. This time I took off, but rather a little faster than walking pace as I had no shoes on and it was sharp, uneven ground outside. Not once did I look at my adversary, I knew who it was. To this day that short scene still plays in my mind; the red brick boathouse with it’s single, long chimney and a few crooked chairs on the inside and an old dusty whiteboard that served as a makeshift classroom for the sailing camp. The rage I compiled that shameful day and the treacherous actions I had been subjected to did not shake my confidence, instead it presented me with a new opportunity, a goal that would come to shape my life, I did not desire equal revenge, I chose to supercede them not at that moment, but in the future. The symbolic importance of that boathouse was, is and will be the fence that keeps me on track to that goal and the fuel that propels me physically and mentally.




The Power of Family

The Power of Family

 

“Family is the compass that guides us, they are the inspiration to reach great heights, and our comfort when we occasionally falter.”

~Brad Henry

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    No person, no thing, no place is obligated to guide you, educate you and comfort you. But a family, my family will do just that, but even more. The wrong decisions I made, the mistakes I made, no one could understand me, no one would forgive me. I knew, deep in my heart, it is only my family that could condone my faults and wrongs. Occasionally I flounder in school, my academics fail and my grades drop. I didn’t have the courage to tell anyone, not even my family, I would lie, I would do whatever I can to make them happy, to make them proud. But I knew it was no use, they all knew me too well, no time did they come screaming at me because of the flaws and errors, instead, they congratulated me on what little achievements I gained. They don’t point fingers at my weaknesses, as I often do when I discover faults in others. Sometimes I feel guilty, not replying to their hard work on the backstage with equal or greater effort under the spotlight. I regret the negative feelings I had towards them occasionally, my misunderstanding of their perspective. I underestimate the effort they put into my learning career, the many things I love to do, I feel deep regret. Every once in a while, my optimistic feelings plummet, staring at my surroundings dull and without color, no one understood me, not even my closest friends. When I was on the verge of tears, nobody knew was was happening, except for my family, they somehow knew just the right way to comfort me, the soothing sounds of familiar voices bears the healing powers. It was like a battery getting recharged with joy, and I am myself again. The situation may be dire, when I thought I am stuck and kerfuffled, it my family, and only my family that brings me back to dry land and rejuvenate me back to my normal life.

 


The Power of Family

The Power of Family

 

“Family is the compass that guides us, they are the inspiration to reach great heights, and our comfort when we occasionally falter.”

~Brad Henry

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    No person, no thing, no place is obligated to guide you, educate you and comfort you. But a family, my family will do just that, but even more. The wrong decisions I made, the mistakes I made, no one could understand me, no one would forgive me. I knew, deep in my heart, it is only my family that could condone my faults and wrongs. Occasionally I flounder in school, my academics fail and my grades drop. I didn’t have the courage to tell anyone, not even my family, I would lie, I would do whatever I can to make them happy, to make them proud. But I knew it was no use, they all knew me too well, no time did they come screaming at me because of the flaws and errors, instead, they congratulated me on what little achievements I gained. They don’t point fingers at my weaknesses, as I often do when I discover faults in others. Sometimes I feel guilty, not replying to their hard work on the backstage with equal or greater effort under the spotlight. I regret the negative feelings I had towards them occasionally, my misunderstanding of their perspective. I underestimate the effort they put into my learning career, the many things I love to do, I feel deep regret. Every once in a while, my optimistic feelings plummet, staring at my surroundings dull and without color, no one understood me, not even my closest friends. When I was on the verge of tears, nobody knew was was happening, except for my family, they somehow knew just the right way to comfort me, the soothing sounds of familiar voices bears the healing powers. It was like a battery getting recharged with joy, and I am myself again. The situation may be dire, when I thought I am stuck and kerfuffled, it my family, and only my family that brings me back to dry land and rejuvenate me back to my normal life.

 


The Call of the Wild Literary Analysis Essay

Steven Xing

Freshman English

10/23/2018

Literary Analysis Essay

 

 

Apex Predator

 

Perseverance keeps one alive, violence helps one strive

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 “He was glad for one thing: the rope was off his neck. That had given them an unfair advantage; but now that it was off, he would show them. They would never get another rope around his neck. Upon that he was resolved.” (Chapter I, The Call of the Wild, Jack London)

 

 

    Up the mountain paths, through the bald Northern Canadian tundras and treading through the densely packed snow, the animals toiling for over three thousand rigorous miles. It was violence that introduced them to each other and to their surroundings, and it was violence that eventually tore them apart. It was perseverance that brought them the glory, but it was their unwavering steadfastness that ultimately laid them to rest. In the novella Call of the Wild by Jack London, Buck and his fellow sled mates had grown to understand that violence is what kills them and perseverance is what keeps them alive. In contrast with the apathetic and careless life Buck lived in Santa Clara, The wilderness proved itself to be a harsh and torturous environment. In the perspective of humans and animals, both show that the Alaskan tundra is a survival of the fittest, and violence is an indispensable factor.

 

    Buck, Sol-leks and the remnants of the crippled team were enduring through the snowed out Klondike paths while dogs were falling one after another and getting shot by the ignorant Hal, the dogs’ master:

“However, one of the dogs, Dave, is suffering from a strange illness that no one can diagnose. The men decide he is too weak to pull the sled and try to pull him out of his position, but he protests until they put him back into his rightful place. They realize that he wants to die working and harness him into his usual position. The next day, he is too weak to travel. He tries to crawl into his position but collapses on the ground and howls mournfully as the team moves away. The Scotsman retraces his steps, the dogs hear a shot ring out, and London writes that “Buck knew, and every dog knew, what had taken place behind the belt of river trees.” (The Call of the Wild, Chapter IV).

Dave, although severely wounded and knew he was going to die, decided that his duty to serve the humans, their masters, was more important than his own life. The dogs began to lose hope, but they were determined to serve their masters until death, especially the old, one eyed Sol-leks: 

Sol-leks, the one-eyed, still faithful to the toil of trace and trail, and mournful in that he had so little strength with which to pull…” (The Call of the Wild, Chapter V).

Sol-leks, although hungry, whipped and injured badly, remained eager to work. He found, although not joy, but satisfaction in his toiling, and persevered through the trails. Faithful, he withstood through his pains, his weakness and his abuses, and he endured an impossible three thousand miles. This perseverance eventually kept Sol-leks and the other dogs away from Hal’s deadly revolver. Sol-leks and Buck concluded that without their unwavering courage and perseverance, none of them would have escaped the revolver, other animals, or the humans who are constantly in pursue of their lives.

 

    Buck, after being kidnapped from his home in Santa Clara, began on a journey of toil, mistreatment, growth and realization. Abused and enslaved by many of his human masters, Buck was finally thrown into a camp full of other dogs. And he quickly learned that these dogs were not the friendly dogs living in his neighborhood in California, these dogs follow the law of club and fang:

“Curly was the victim. They were camped near the log store, where she, in her friendly way, made advances to a husky dog the size of a full-grown wolf, though not half so large as she. There was no warning, only a leap in like a flash, a metallic clip of teeth, a leap out equally swift, and Curly’s face was ripped open from eye to jaw. It was the wolf manner of fighting, to strike and leap away; but there was more to it than this. Thirty or forty huskies ran to the spot and surrounded the combatants in an intent and silent circle. Buck did not comprehend that silent intentness, nor the eager way with which they were lick their chops. Curly rushed her antagonist, who struck again and leaped aside. He met her next rush with his chest, in a peculiar fashion that tumbled her off her feet. She never regained them, This was what the onlooking huskies had waited for. They closed in upon her, snarling and yelping, and she was buried, screaming with agony, beneath the bristling mass of bodies…” (The Call of the Wild, Chapter II). 

Curly is an innocent, friendly dog, while on the other hand, Spitz and the other dogs at the camp are cruel, primitive beasts. This is to contradict the differences between the wilderness and the cities. But also serves as a purpose to demonstrate that the wild, especially the sled dogs are extremely brutal and violent. This taught Buck that here, in the wild, danger is around every corner and every step he takes could be his last. He must adapt to become merciless and violent. 

 

    The Call of the Wild by Jack London should be implemented in the curriculum in any middle school or high school because the book offers important life lessons and demonstrates the disastrous outcomes of violence. The Call of the Wild teaches young adults that having the courage to do something and failing at it will open new doors and give you more possibilities:

“John Thornton asked little of man or nature. He was unafraid of the wild. With a handful of salt and a rifle he could plunge into the wilderness and fare wherever he pleased and as long as he pleased. Being in no haste, Indian fashion, he hunted his dinner in the course of the day's travel; and if he failed to find it, like the Indian, he kept on traveling, secure in the knowledge that sooner or later he would come to it. So, on this great journey into the East, straight meat was the bill of fare, ammunition and tools principally made up the load on the sled, and the time-card was drawn upon the limitless future.” (The Call of the Wild, Chapter V).

John Thornton is a very brave and determined person, he would not stop traveling until he found his food. Occasionally he would fail and not find anything for the day, but he would persist and wait an entire day if it was called for. Being able to persevere is a crucial skill to have for older kids as this greatly influences many aspects of their academic skills including sports and art because these areas especially requires practicing over and over again on tedious and seemingly pointless drills and techniques. Having the ability to persist also has a means of helping alleviate stress, as giving up on a piece of work means it being piled into an insurmountable amount of work, thus creating stress. Learning to overcome obstacles will teach students to overcome hardship and find ways around that obstacle, and not trying to break something that cannot be broken. Another benefit that comes from reading this very successful piece of literature is it’s ability to engage young students to think about and assess on the myriad of unthinkable catastrophic events most likely caused by aggravated humans, but also urges students and young adults to have an introspective analysis of their own faults, and correcting them before it develops into something that is fatal to themselves and to others.

 

    Until the end of the novella The Call of the Wild, the lessons Buck had gathered through blood, sweat and injuries remained with him. The violence he face constantly reminded him of the potential dangers that surround him, and the bloody three thousand mile trail he labored through served as a perpetual reminder that his life, and everyone else’s life is earned through labor and hard work, and that nothing comes free. 


Call of the Wild Reflexion


RUDE AWAKENING

By Steven Xing

 

The blood longing became stronger than ever before. He was a killer, a thing that preyed, living on the things that lived... Surviving triumphantly in a hostile environment where only the strong survived.”

~Call of The Wild

 

 

 

 

 

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Food is expendable, clothing is disposable, tents and equipment could be ditched for a smooth, fast and stress free journey across the Alaskan tundra. Call of the wild by Jack London proved that in the wild, it’s the survival of the fittest when Buck, a house dog enjoying a lazy and luxurious life in Santa Clara, inside judge Miller’s house. He gets to do whatever he wanted and was apathetic when told to work, he ate his food slowly and secured dominance over the other dogs living close to him. But his careless life was tragically altered when he was kidnapped and sold to various travelers or business people to pull sleds for them on the snowy Alaskan terrain. Buck realized that to survive in these conditions, he must learn to fight and rob others, and follow the rules of club and fang.

 

 

In the story, Jack London uses vocabulary that us rarely seen in today’s writings, such as the word brumal, which means hibernation, makes it extremely difficult at times to understand what the author is trying to say. In addition, Some of the words London uses in Call of the Wild seem to be an unsuitable fit in a particular sentence, again increasing the difficulty of understanding his works and analyzing the underlying themes and his tone towards the story. 

 

Jack London wrote his story to portray how a person, although illustrated in the story as a dog, can adapt to any environment if it becomes a threat to his or her well being. He utilized the technique of anthropomorphism to create the characters the the animals in the story. Another subtle thing the writer did was his tone towards most of human characters in the book denoting a possible ridicule of animal abuse, “enslavement” and not viewing animals as lives during the time Call of the Wild was written. Even an already successful leader, Spitz, wasn’t able to escape the jaws of his fellow underlings when he lost the advantage against Buck. Which comes to demonstrate that in a world of perpetual competition, not even a leader who has already achieved his status could survive without fighting.

 

Overall this book took me to the window of the past, particularly the Alaskan gold rush period. What the minds of the humans were, what the dogs were and are possibly thinking, their intentions, etc… Animals, especially dogs are loyal, as depicted through the story, how when Dave was on a sliver of his strength, he strained himself to pull the sled and was reluctant in forfeiting his position to another dog. This book also taught me to adapt to the environments and change the way of doing things according to the situation and needs.

 

 

 

 


Reading Reflection

Reading Reflection

 

Night came on, and a full moon Rose high over the trees lighting the land till it lay bathed in ghostly day. And the strain of the primitive remained alive and active. Faithfulness and devotion, things born of fire and roof were his yet he retained his wildness and willness. And from the depths of the forest, a call still sounded.”

~Jack London



Call of the wild, just like any other book written in 1903, was popular back then more than a hundred years ago, but why,. Why then is this novel I still relevant today? We have to trace back into the book, the language, the message and what it ridicules. The language used in the book by London is eloquent, impactful and methodically placed so that one does not contradict or intervene with the other words. We didn’t read it because other people thought it was worth the grind. But we are reading it top pull out the juices and emotions buried within. We analyze what the other people missed about the author and infer using various techniques. A foreign place, a primitive and unwelcoming group of organisms and a different set of rules not affected by laws. A lawless haven for not just dogs but also humans.


A Primitive Essay

Turmoil and Bewilderment

 

Steven Xing

Alijah Clark

Conor Kennealy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men, no machine can do the work of one extraordinary man.”

~Elbert Hubbard



“Run, run, run! Get that thing off my ass!”

 

“It’s so freaking fast!”

 

“Quick, here’s one of those storage compartments on a hover plane, get inside!”

 

“Close the door!”

 

“Rrrrahhh, ah finally got it to close, that was rough!”

 

“I thought this is military property? How did this thing get in here?”

 

“Don’t ask me, I’m still trying to find service!”

 

“Stop worrying about texting your mom, anyone got anything sharp to pierce the skin?”

 

“Knives are gone, guns are gone, all my weapons just bloody vanished!”

 

“I have a paper clip, but I’m not sure how much help that’ll be.”

 

“I have a pen but I’ve never used it, my grandpa gave it to me as a souvenir from the past. But it’s still sharp,I think it would do the job.”

 

“Pencil? You mean the yellow stick thing people used like almost a century ago?”

 

“What the hell do those things even do? What, are you supposed to write with it or something?”

 

“I think you have to stick it in your hologram devices to charge it!”

 

“I say you’re wasting precious time.”

 

“And I will use it as a weapon now, I don’t know why but I think all the tech just sort of disappeared, no bullets for the guns, no service for our phones and all the tech just like stopped wor…”

 

“Just use the pencil thing and stick it in the lion’s neck, that should do it. Unless you guys are too scared?”

 

“Is that a challenge, because I’ll slit his throat right now.”

 

“Uhhhh, Conor, not sure if you already know this, but I think that lion out there has the other half of your leg…”

 

“...Ahhhhhh! My leg, the lion just bit it offfff! Ahhhhh! Help me!”

 

“Dude, that’s gnarly, that would be a simple surgery in any hospital to reattach it or get prosthetics, maybe a clinic could even do that?”

“Looks like Conor’s down for the count. I would go find help, trust me you wouldn’t bleed out because you remember those microbots that were injected into everyone when they were born? Yeah that should stop the blood.”

 

“Yeah I don’t really think so Alijah, all the tech has been compromised, including those robot things, so I’m dead meat.”

 

“Right, so I will go find help even if we are the second to last people on Earth. The only other people still alive are the ones who could live nomadic lives without technologies down south. But for now I guess the lion can eat Conor for dinner. That’ll buy me some time to relocate our civilization towards the south.”

 

“No! I’m good guys, I found some parts, you all run ahead, I’ll build a bionic leg! Go, there’s no time!”

 

“Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah… Hey Conor look at that, I think I found some water, finally… Conor? What the, is that blood on that plane?”




Economics and Sustainability Unit Reflection

At first it was a merely a thought, a thought of a possible course I would take in college or grad school. Never thought it would come this early. Back in 5th grade everyone was somehow concerned with what classes to take in college, I didn’t care though, but somehow my brain got to economics out of like three hundred different courses. Economics was a foreign word to be back then, what I thought was economics was basically how to maximize your assets, earn money legally and start a company. As time drew on from that day during my 5th grade career, my understanding of economics grew substantially, it was not so unfamiliar anymore, I understood the importance of economics in our daily life, how that impacts the past, present and future. It wasn’t about wealth anymore at that point in my thoughts, it was a world changing topic.

 

One of the things that I summed up over the past three weeks of Global Studies class, primarily concerning the Economics and Sustainability Unit is that one cannot master the study of economics by simply studying economics, they must study economics while simultaneously join it with philosophy and psychology. From the 3 weeks that I spent on this unit, I found that to truly grasp the key points of economics, first you must understand philosophy, which outlines the fundamental principals of economy, it is the laying stone for economics. Such as Manufacturing using JIT (Just In Time) techniques. Or that all things are balanced in a way, all things have a good side and a bad side, a pro and a con. One must learn to mitigate the negatives of a certain thing and maximize its positives. The other important subject that correlates to economics is psychology, as one would learn the consumer mindsets and how they like to spend their money. Do you want to focus your products on higher quality higher price, but have fewer customers purchase it, or do you choose to have lower quality lower price to allow for greater access by more people? How do consumers think? Are you making the product that is the most ideal and suitable for most people’s needs? Although I am only talking about the manufacturing aspect of economics, there is still hundreds more things involved in the study of economics such as investment, agriculture, education, medicines, etc…

 

One of the really challenging problems I faced during this unit was the amount of time I had to spend on finding the equilibrium of investment, or the loan to give to each country during the mock summit, profitability, or what we as The World Bank get in return, also the efficiency of each country, “are all of the countries capable of manufacturing electric ships? Or can they all be trusted to handle the money?” All of this and I had to constantly remind me and my group to consider the consumer mindset of each country and organization. Knowing what they want is key to minimize loans and get the most profit from each country. We realized that this is a team effort, about saving humanity and making earth habitable for our next generations. “All of this cannot be done by a single country.” I constantly emphasized this to my team and the class.

 

The most important skill I feel like I developed in this class is the ability to transfer techniques across different assignments, which would later become useful in many ways, some of these decisions would end up changing the world.

 

This class not just taught me economics, but I gained three sets of skills instead of one: Economics, philosophy and psychology. Also keep an open mind when considering questions in this course, thinking outside the box is key.




A Summer Within A Summer And A World Outside A World

 

Camp Belknap

 

 

 

 

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A Summer Within A Summer, A World Outside A World

 

The two most important days of your life is the day you were born and the day you find out why.”

~Mark Twain

 

 

 

Occasionally I gaze out the window of my well organized, cleaned and perfectly formatted bedroom. A perfect bed, made, in the middle of the room with two bedside tables place symmetrically on either side of my bed. Both have identical lamps, but one has some water on it while the other one is filled with a tissue box and a digital clock. All so clean and tidy. Every cabinet, every box and every device laid out on my desk in an immaculate fashion. But one thing wasn’t perfect in my bedroom, and that is the crave for fresh air and relentless fun. 

 

After beginning at Fenn for not even a complete week yet, I received an Email prompting a camping trip from Mr. Irwin. I thought in my head:” Great, exactly what I needed.” After a summer to and from the airports across the globe, I to some extent got bored of modern, city life and wanted change gears for a bit. And here is my chance! A trip to the deep woods of New Hampshire where no one is allowed to have technology with them. Sometimes we really do need these breaks from an overall planned out lifestyle and the total reliance of technology that as humans, we have adapted very well, but isn’t necessarily the most healthy and beneficial way of communicating. Over snapchat or instagram. Just not articulate enough to me. 

 

Five O’Clock in the morning of my first, maybe second Wendsday at Fenn was spent eating a simple but highly nutritious meal, then loading up the bus. To my surprise it wasn’t packed, as we only had about 30 people to fit on a 50 person bus. I’m the type of person who despises technology but is forced to use them and perfect it’s techniques (my typing skills maybe?), but would rather do things the primitive way, by hand. For the bus ride I urged myself not to look at my phone, although I packed a spare charger, a charging case and a fully charged battery. No headphones, nothing except a book and the ever changing view outside the windows. This went on for quite some time and I eventually decided it was time to watch a movie for the remainder of the ride. 

 

Arrival at camp was smooth, everyone there greeted our cluster of people waiting to unload the bus. And we got to meet our cabin leader, Mack, who was an outstanding guy in almost every field. Sports, academics, art, you name it. As you might expect from any new place you visit, we were briefed by the camp staff, made clear of the rules and regulations and sent to lunch. It was a great lunch, you might not think at first as it was only burgers, but the assortment of topping you were able to put on it is countless, two full tables of it. I’m not sure, it places so much stress on deciding on what to fill your plate with. And went off to general swim, which is basically doing a wide variety of water activities like canoeing, which I liked the best because i won’t get wet, swimming, paddle board, kayak etc…

 

Over the course of three days, the activities had remained the same, On one day we tried some sailing and rock climbing, but I was not at all bored, I was pumped for the next day. One of the things that really stood out to me at Belknap was the respect and teamwork put into doing these activities, since the first day I began noticing drastic differences in people, people were forced to socialize, at first it was hard for people, it was hard for me too feeling so foreign to this ancient way of communication, but we adapted fast, by the next day we were up and running at 8 AM and not sleeping, still sprinting hard on the soccer field after 9 PM, a thirteen hour day in intense physical stress, somehow we didn’t feel tired, reluctant or wanting to give up, we wanted more timed on the fields, in the water and in boats. A relentless fervor. 

 

One of the most impressive things that struck me on that trip was seeing the milky way galaxy up close, no telescope, with your bare eyes. This time however I did not feel joy rushing in my veins, instead I felt confined and restrained. I realized that there was still more in this world than just smartphones, maximizing your own profits and other things that most of seemed to have forgot about the vast frontiers still left covered for us. And that was the motivation that is pushing me forwards and putting some of the building blocks on the mighty construction project of ingenuity and discovery.


Deep Thoughts and Fond Memories

 

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“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched, it must be felt with the heart.”

~Helen Keller

 

 

 

So cold that you would not think it was summer, so vibrant you won’t believe it’s winter. And these were the feelings I had every single day for seven days and six nights. On the morning of the first day, we escaped to what seemed to me as the dreamland to avoid the widespread city life, with cars, factories and skyscrapers. It was calm, a calm that is soothing and healing, unlike anything one could hear in a prosperous metropolis like Boston or Beijing. The mountain, Alisan was the highest and most well preserved peak in all of Taiwan, but was also renowned for its bitter cold days even during July. At the foot of the mountain I imagined us stepping into wonderland and enjoying rich tastes of food, comfortable and relaxing rooms and most importantly a serene nature. What we got at the top an hour later was completely opposite to our expectations, except for the environment part. Freezing cold pierced every bone in my body, and rooms were lined with mold. I wasn’t expecting this so I didn’t even pack a long sleeve shirt or pants. I guess I’ll learn next time. Never give up an opportunity, even if there is a slim chance, take it and store those fond memories that happen very rarely.

At the end of the day we were worn out and exhausted, because the peaks were so high, lack of enough oxygen can severely stunt your thinking and cripple your physical strength. After a few hikes that were no more than a mile each, we were done and wanted to go back to the hotel despite similar conditions there. Very late in the evening one of the tour guides asked us if we wanted to see the sunrise, again my parents and I were pumped, excited for a change, but my brother was not feeling too good from the day before our trip, so he stayed inside for the rest of the next day. It turned out we were supposed to be leaving at three O’Clock in the morning the next day to catch the sunrise. A lack of preparation slowed us down again, this time almost missing the bus to the summit. Up there it was freezing, but I ignored it in hopes of witnessing a complete sunrise from the top of a high peak a little more than four thousand meters above ground. People say it’s always been a 25% chance to see the sunrise because of various humidity unbalances, gusts, clouds, etc… But I never understood why. We were extremely lucky that day to have made the 25%. Although it wasn’t what I had thought, like in the movies where orange stripes begin appearing and the sky gets dyed in orange then yellow then blue. It wasn’t like that, the sunrise on Alisan was unique, having a different elevation and angle towards the east meant it had a different view of the sun, no place else had this view. 

It began with some color, as if painted to the sky, then the color brighter, layered. White turned into yellow, then yellow turned into orange, then the sun popped out of its hiding behind the peaks. In an instant, rays of light resembling swords erected from the ground lit the still dark surroundings. And at the bottom of those light beams we saw it, a semicircle at first, then it’s surroundings brightened in hue, then a small, white circle emerged from behind the tall peaks of the Alisan mountains. Soon the sun was just up there, hanging in the sky, like a normal day. On the way down I looked at the photos I took, none of those scenes I seemed to remember clearly, they were faint memories to me after 5 minutes. The astonishing speed the sun was able to rise shocked me, but it’s one of a kind beauty also stunned me. To this day I still have those memorable photos from my summer.

Some memories I have are clear and recognizable, but they are always forgotten as time draws on. Some memories are obscure and faint, but those memories are the memories that follow you a lifetime. It is always worth the pain and torment if it means remembering something that few people get to see and able to recall half a century later. And this is what I try to live up to everyday, giving myself a chance at everything, even if it means difficulties and pain. Attempting it at least gives you a chance but avoiding things will give you no chance at all.