Genie Please

Flavors of the World

Feb
18

 

There is nothing better than having that first bite of something delicious. When a dish is truly delectable the flavor of it is something that you will never forget. There are a few flavors that will be in my mind forever.

Tiramisu – I’ve had tiramisu before and the flavor of it wasn’t that special to me. It’s a pastry of ladyfingers dipped in coffee, a mixture of eggs, sugar, and mascarpone cheese and flavored with cocoa. Don’t get me wrong it’s a wonderful dessert, but the times that I’ve had it here in America it wasn’t anything special. It was just okay. Until I went to Spain. I saw it on the menu in one of the restaurants that my travel group was at for lunch. I decided to give this pastry one last try before I would decide to never have it again. When the waiter brought it to my table it was presented in a tall glass. I could see all the layers of the tiramisu. The ladyfingers, the crème, the cocoa sprinkled on top. I started to eat the desert and like before, nothing seemed spectacular about it until I reached the crème. But it wasn’t crème. This one was more of a foam consistency. It was light and sweet and fluffy. I liked it so much I almost ordered another one! When I came back to America, I ordered a tiramisu at a bakery in Chicago hoping that it would taste like the one in Spain. Sadly, it didn’t. The crème was too thick and wasn’t as sweet. Until I can go back and visit Spain, the taste of the fluffy filling will remain in my memory.

Potato salad – I will only eat my grandmother’s potato salad. I will not try anyone else’s because I know that I won’t be as good as hers. Everything about it is just perfect. From a young age, I would sit in the kitchen with her and watch her make it. She would have all the ingredients ready to be put in a big bowl to be mixed together. The potatoes would go first, then celery, eggs, sweet pickles, these tiny red peppers from a tiny jar, then the mayo would be added and then she would mix everything together. After that, she would sprinkle some paprika on the top. Once the dish was complete, I would get a little bowl and a scoop of potato salad and eat it. All the ingredients worked together. My favorite ingredient was sweet pickles. They are tangy and sweet and crunchy. These pickles were the special part of the salad because it added flavor that the others couldn’t. It made it tangy and sweet. This one ingredient sets my grandmother’s potato salad apart from everyone else’s.

Brown stew chicken – This dish comes from Jamaica and since my grandmother Monica is from there, she makes it quite often. This dish is made in one pot with the chicken and a browning sauce. My grandmother will add black pepper, thyme, salt, onions, and a whole scotch bonnet pepper for more spice. She’ll season the chicken with onion powder, garlic powder, and a bit of ketchup. Then she cooks it all in one pot and the chicken will turn brown from the sauce. Once it’s done cooking you eat it with either white rice or red beans and rice. The best part about this dish is the sauce. The gravy is a little tangy, a little sweet, and a little spicy. The chicken is moist when finished cooking and tastes wonderful with the rice.  I prefer to eat it with red beans and rice because I think it goes better with it. It’s more filling if eaten with beans and rice. Every time I visit her, this is the dish that she makes the most. I have watched her make it plenty of times before and still do.

Orange Chicken – I love Asian food. Everything about it is just perfect. The dishes are creative and each one has a completely different flavor and spice from each other and I find that truly wonderful. One of my favorite Asian dishes is orange chicken. Now I know that this dish is not originally from China it is most commonly found in North American Chinese restaurants. Not all types of orange chicken are my favorite, there is one that I prefer more and that is Big Bowls orange chicken. Big Bowl is one of my favorite restaurants in Chicago and every time I go there, I always order the orange chicken. I particularly like it because it isn’t heavily breaded. I’m not actually sure how they make it, but it is the best orange chicken that I have ever had. When they bring it out you get this whiff of the sauce which is sweet, and you can smell the tanginess of it. The dish comes with white rice and a plethora of red and green peppers, green onions, and snow peas. The chicken is tender and cut in slices. The breading is light and makes the chicken a bit crunchy. The sauce is what really makes this dish stand out to me. The sauce is tangy and sweet but not overpowering. Whenever this dish is put together, the flavor is unforgettable.

 

 

Nina

Oct
19

I would always watch her while she got ready for bed. I would sit next to her and watch her pull out her rollers and head wrap, and comb and I would watch her put her hair up. She started by parting her hair in a section, brushed it, and began to roll up that section of hair. My grandmother was neat and organized, and she had a system for everything that she did. This included rolling her hair up at night. She had the softest hair, and it stayed this blondish greyish color. She was gentle when she rolled up her hair. When she finished putting in all her rollers, she would tie her silk hair scarf carefully around her head. My grandmother had a way of doing everything with grace. No matter what she did, she made it look graceful. Cooking, cleaning, just about anything she did she did it elegantly and with care. As a child, I wanted to be like her when I grew up. Elegant, graceful, independent just like my grandmother.

I would be watching her while she did this, talking to her about anything and everything a five-year-old could talk about with her grandmother. I would ask a lot of questions, and she would always have an answer for them. We would talk until it was time for me to go to bed. I would tell her goodnight, and we exchanged I love you, and I was off to bed. Even Though I would have loved to stay with my grandmother the entire night.

Sometimes I would come into her room, and she would be reading or painting her nails. I would walk over to her and ask her if she could paint my nails. She would say of course and start to paint my tiny fingernails. My grandmother only had one polish color, and it was this pale orangish color. After painting them, she showed me how to dry my nails by blowing on them. Another thing we shared.

My grandmother used to write beautiful poetry. I specifically remember the one she wrote about a girl and her hat. When I would come over to her house, I would ask her if she could read to me the “story about the girl and her hat.” She would say yeas read me the poem. I would tell her that it was my favorite and she was always happy to hear that. Writing is one more thing we share. It’s too bad that I can’t read to her one of my stories.

Transforming Anthropologists

Apr
05

For this week I am exploring two anthropologists, Zora Neal Hurston and Margaret Mead.  Zora Neal Hurston is a writer, and Margaret Mead is an American cultural anthropologist. These two anthropologists have interesting backgrounds and experiences that made them the wonderful people they are.

Zora Neal Hurston

Zora Neal Hurston was born in Notasulga, Alabama, On January 7, 1891, where her father grew up, and he grandfather was a preacher of a Baptist church. When she was three, she moved to Eatonville, Florida which it was one of the first all-black towns to be incorporated in the United States. Hurston always felt that Eatonville was here “home” and she claimed it has her birthplace. Her father became mayor of the town in  1897. Hurston glorified Eatonville in her novels as a place where African-Americans could live independent of white society. A school teacher gave Zora numerous books that opened her mind to literature. In 1928 there is an essay on her experiences growing up in Eatonville called “How It Feels to Be Colored Me.”

While exploring some the works by Hurston I came across one of her books titled, “Tell My Horse: Voodoo and Life In Haiti and Jamaica.” This book is based on her accounts with participating in voodoo practices during her visits in the 1930s. This book was particularly interesting to me because my mother is from Jamaica.She would tell me stories of her childhood in Jamaica and some ghost stories and superstitions from Jamaica.

Margaret Mead 

Margaret Mead was born on December 16, 1901, in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. She entered DePauw University in 1919and transferred to Barnard College a year later. She graduated in 1923 and went to graduate school at Colombia University. In 1925 she had many trips to the South Seas where she collected information for her first of her 23 books, “Coming of Age in Samoa.” The text indicates her beliefs in cultural determinism.

I found the book “Coming of Age in Samoa,” in the library. The book is very old, and the pages have turned a yellowish-orange color. This book got into what life and culture are like in Samoa. Just by looking at the table of contents it shows how Mead got in depth with her work.

Conclusion

Learning about these two great anthropologists was very interesting. I enjoyed getting to look into there works and getting to see what they wrote about and studied. Learning about there backgrounds sheds a light on their culture and the culture that they explored.

 

Links:

http://www.britannica.com/biography/Margaret-Mead

http://self.gutenberg.org/articles/zora_neale_hurston

I Saw Him

Mar
04

I can’t believe this is happening again. It’s too soon for this. First grandpa George and now grandma Nina. It seems like just yesterday we were at his funeral and now we have to worry if we have to plan another. It’s too soon. It hasn’t even been a year yet and this happens again? Why? Why my family? Why? It’s not fair. Why does life have to be this way?

My dad’s father just told us that my grandmother Nina has been diagnosed with lung cancer. Same as my mother’s father George. In a way, we all saw this coming from my grandmother, who is a smoker, but we didn’t expect it to happen so soon. Not a couple of months after my grandfather had passed away. Having to struggle that my grandfather was now gone, I would have to prepare for her passing as well. I still have hope that all will be okay in the end. Maybe she will survive cancer and continue living. Hopefully.

My family and I are on our way to my grandparents’ house to see my grandmother. She has told me that she is doing well, but I’m worried that her condition will get worse very quickly just like it did with my grandfather. I feel terrible that this is happening again. I feel terrible that my relationship with my grandmother Nina isn’t as strong as it should be. I am her only granddaughter, there is so much that I would like to experience with her. I’m only twelve and I can’t imagine what my life would be like without her.

We pull up into their driveway and get out of the car. I’m nervous to see her. I shouldn’t be but I am nervous that she isn’t doing as well as she should be. We walk up to the door and my father opens it with his key and we walk in.

“Hello we’re here,” my father announces as we walk in.

“In here,” I hear my grandfather Simon says. We make our way into the living room. My grandparents are sitting on the sofa offering us welcoming smiles. My brother and I walk over and give each of them a hug before we take off our jackets.

“How are you doing, grandma?” I ask her.

“I’m doing alright sweetie. How are you? How’s school?” she asks me. I sit down next to her.

“School’s fine.” She is in her house clothes but she has on her makeup and her hair is done. I don’t think I have ever seen her without curls in her hair. She looks paler but is still happy to see us as always. I have a feeling inside me that this image of her won’t last long.

***

     It’s the end of March and my grandma Nina is sent to Northwestern hospital. My mother, brother and I go to see her. I’m nervous for the state that she is in. All I want for her is to get better. We get off the elevator and walk down to her room and enter. My father, grandfather, my uncle, and a few of my grandmother’s friends are in the room with her. She is lying on the bed sleeping. I say hello to everyone before I walk over to her.

“She has been sleeping all day,” my father tells me. I nod and I take her hand.

“Grandma, it’s me, Sage,” I say to her. My grandmother opens her eyes and looks at me.

“I love you,” she mumbles back to me. She closes her eyes again.

“You’re the first person to get her to open her eyes,” my uncle Brian tells me. I feel a bit of glee when he tells me this. I feel special knowing this. I move away from her side to let my brother Courtland say hello to her. I sit down in one of the chairs in the room. With her treatment, she has lost all of her hair. I know that she is upset that all of her hair is gone. She always dressed the best and made herself presentable. I can’t even imagine her reaction to it. I pray that she will get back to her regular self. That she will heal and be healthy again. I feel as though our time together has been cut short. Like I haven’t really had time to spend with her, talk to her. I hope she gets better.

***

     It’s the beginning of April. April fourth to be exact. I’m at the hospital with my family to see my grandmother. My other grandmother Monica has come by to pray for my grandma Nina. Grandmother Monica has put her trust in faith that it will save my grandma Nina and make her better. At this point, my family and I put our trust in faith to heal her. She hasn’t been getting better. This is our last resort to save her. I still have my hope that she will get better and overcome this. My grandmother Nina is a strong woman and I know that she will make it through this.

“Do you want to spend the night at grandma Monica’s tonight?” my mother asks.

She’ll bring you back here tomorrow.”

“Yeah,” I say back as I get my jacket on. I go over to the side of my grandmother’s bed. I tell her goodbye and that I love her even though she won’t answer me back. I give her hand one last squeeze before I leave with grandma Monica.

By the time my grandma and I reach her house, it’s eight at night. We go inside and get comfortable, in bed watching TBN. My grandmother’s choice. Some preacher is preaching something to his church. I’m not really watching I’m just thinking. I’m thinking about what my life and everyone else’s life would be like without my grandmother Nina. I know that my father and my uncle will be crushed. My grandfather Simon is a sensitive man and this will make him so depressed. I can’t imagine what it would be like to lose your significant other. My brother and I haven’t gotten used to our grandfather George being gone. I don’t know how we will be able to recover from this. I pray that things will get better for everyone. I struggle to stay awake so I just close my eyes.

***

The sun is setting and the wind is blowing gently. I am in a field facing the sun. The clouds in the sky have a pink color to them. It’s beautiful here. A little to the right of me I see my grandmother Nina standing there. Her hair is long down to the backs of her knees. She isn’t wearing any clothing. I stand there just looking at her. I look up at the sky and I see the clouds part. A giant hand comes out of the sky and slowly makes its way towards my grandmother. I watch as it wraps around her and takes her with it back towards the sky. I watch as it retreats up into the sky, the clouds close back up. She’s gone.

***

     I am woken up by a bright light shining on the right side of my face.

“Sage, wake up,” I hear my grandmother Monica say to me. I open my eyes to her.

“I just got a call from your mother, your grandmother passed last night. We have to go meet them at the hospital, get ready.” She walks towards the bathroom. I just lie there for a moment. I remember the dream that I had. Should I tell her what I dreamt? I remember the hand that reached out of the sky and took her. I see her come out of the bathroom. I sit up on the bed.

“Grandma, last night I had a dream of grandma Nina and a hand that reached down and took her into the sky,” I say quietly and look at her. She comes back over to the bed and sits down next to me.

“I don’t think that was a dream sweetie. What you had was a vision. She is with Jesus now in heaven. He came to you last night and let you know where she is now.” She pulls me into a hug.

I saw him. Knowing that my grandmother is in a safer, beautiful place puts my worries to rest.

 

 

 

 

The Yellow Blanket

Feb
04

“Cashew, why won’t he call me?” I whine to my dog. My dog just looks at me with his big eyes and let out a sigh. I let one out too and turn my head to the ceiling of my living room.  I hadn’t seen Blake since our fight a week ago. I know that I owe him an apology, but he owes me one too after what he said to me. All I was trying to get him to understand is that I’ve been feeling a little neglected lately and I wanted him to make some time for me. But of course, he got upset and called me needy and clingy which made me angry and then I called him an asshole and then questioned his love for me. That made him extremely upset, and he stormed out of my apartment, and I haven’t seen him since.

“I mean I know I owe him an apology, but he owes me one too. Like how hard is it to just pick up the phone and call or better yet just walk down the hall and knock on the door.” Cashew lets out another sigh and gets up from the couch and walks into my bedroom. Great, even my dog is tired of me now. I sit up and reach to grab the remote control off my coffee table. Maybe a little television will calm my nerves. I turn to the animal planet because this is the only channel that won’t relate to my situation.

As the show “River Monsters” goes on, I start to get a little chilly, and I grab a blanket to the right of me. It’s Blake’s blanket. It’s a beautiful canary yellow throw. I drape the blanket around me and pull it tight. He left this over my house when we had a movie night together. That was our first date. I was so nervous that night I couldn’t get comfortable on my couch. I kept repositioning myself due to my nerves and Blake took notice of it because the next thing I knew he was pulling me into his arms and he wrapped us up in this yellow blanket. I finally stayed still once I was in his arms.

I bring the blanket up to my nose, and I take in the smell of it. Ugh, it even smells like him. I pull the blanket over my head and put my face in my hands. What have I done? If this goes on any longer who knows when things will get resolved. I’m such a terrible girlfriend he probably doesn’t want to be with me anymore. Tears start to well up in my eyes the more I think about our fight. I shouldn’t have questioned his love for me. I shouldn’t have called him an asshole for not spending more time with me. The way his face went from angry to hurt I knew I had crossed the line with him. I feel terrible knowing that I hurt him that way. I’ve probably ruined our relationship entirely. I don’t know what he expects me to think when I only see him two days a week. I mean some days we wouldn’t talk at all. I wouldn’t hear from him for days, and I just wanted to spend time with him. I don’t know what changed. We went from talking every day to only talking once maybe twice a week. I know he’s a busy person with his job but can’t he at least make some time for me? I just don’t want to lose him. He makes me happy. He is the only thing in my life that I honestly do love and care about. He’s always there for me and is my shoulder to cry on, and I’m crying now and I don’t have my shoulder. I need my shoulder.

I pull my face out of the blanket, in tears. I get up with the blanket still wrapped around me and I run to my front door to leave and go apologize to Blake. I run to the end of the hall to his door and knock on it louder than I mean and wait for an answer. God, I hope he’s there. Please be in there. He has to be in there its Sunday night. I’m about to knock again when the door swings open. Blake looks at me with a blank expression. He’s about to say something, but I cut him off.

“I know you probably hate me for what I said to you last week and I am so sorry for what I said to you. I shouldn’t have questioned your love for me, and I shouldn’t have called you any of those names and I’m so sorry, Blake,” I cry out to him. I see his expression change and he pulls me in his chest as I cry my eyes out in front of him.

“Claire, calm down, I know you didn’t mean what you said and I was just about to come over and see you so we could talk about what happened.”

“Really?” I muffle into his chest.

“Yes, now can you please relax and stop crying?”

“But you hate me.”

“Oh, Claire, don’t be ridiculous I could never hate you. I love you so much.” He pulled back a little so he could see my face. He wiped some of my tears away and held my face in his hands.

“I’ve missed you.”

“I missed you too. So much.” He leaned down to kiss my forehead and whispers “I’m sorry,” to me.

“Now why don’t we go inside and talk this out ok?” I nodded, and he leads me into his apartment. I feel so relieved that I finally got my shoulder back.

Torpedo Boat

Jan
04

“Alvin be careful with your new boat!” Casey yelled as Alvin ran towards the back door.

“I will! Bye, mom!” He yelled back as he made his exit out the door. Alvin was so excited to play with his new toy boat that he got for his birthday; he couldn’t wait to play with it in the water and to make sure it worked well. With a little bounce in his step and listing to his mother, he held his torpedo boat firmly to his so that he wouldn’t drop his boat on the way to the park.

Once he got to the park, he walked passed the jungle gym and went straight towards the pond. As he got closer he saw a group of other boys crowed around the pond talking. Once he got close enough to hear what they were talking about he stopped in his tracks.

“Woah that’s a really cool boat!” One boy said.

“Does it work well? I bet you could race it!” another said.

“Yeah, it works well! Mines is super-fast!” The boy with the boat exclaimed.

Alvin was a bit disappointed because he thought his red and white striped boat was one of a kind. But nowhere stands another little boy the same age as him with the same boat but in blue. Alvin didn’t move from his position thinking that he should just turn around and go back home. But before he could decide on what to do, one of the boys noticed him and his boat.

“Hey, he has a boat Just like yours!” the boy exclaimed pointing at Alvin. All the attention was on Alvin now. The boy with the boat looked at him with a pleased expression on his face. He was happy because he now had someone he could race with. Alvin, on the other hand, was frozen in his place now with all their attention on him. He didn’t know whether to respond or just to run away. The boy with the blue boat walked towards him and asked, “Do you wanna race?” Alvin looked at the boy and then towards the group of boys. If he said no they would tease him. If he said yes and lost the race they would still tease him. And then there was that small chance that he could win. Alvin swallowed and nodded yes to the boy with the with the blue boat. The little boy smiled with excitement and pulled Alvin over to the edge of the pond and put his boat in the water and held it there waiting for Alvin to do the same. Alvin got down to where the boy was and did the same thing he did. Before they started, one of the other boys said something that made Alvin want to leave the park right away.

“Loser has to give his boat to the winner!” He shouted. Alvin looked to his left where his opponent was. He was smiling evilly at Alvin and then looked at Alvin’s boat. This made Alvin upset. If he lost his boat his mother would be angry with him.

“Ready, Set, Go!” one of the boys yelled and Alvin turned him on as the boy said go. As both boats were off they all followed them along the side of the pond. Alvin felt a little relieved that his boat was ahead of the blue boat. His body filled with glee as his boat reached the end of the pond first. Alvin jumped with happiness and went to grab his boat out of the water as the other boys cheered for him.

In the mist of their cheering, the little boy held out his blue boat to Alvin.

“Here take it you won.” He said disappointedly.

“No, keep it I already have one,” Alvin said and started to walk away from the group with a smile on his face.

Yarrow

Dec
12

Yarrow

This sweet plant makes me smile

Yarrow

My favorite flower comes in all sorts of colors

Yarrow

Yellow, Pink, White, Red

Yarrow

It heals your wounds that have been cut open

Yarrow

It even cures you within

Yarrow

This unique flower, a rare flower

Yarrow

Makes me smile

Exciting News

Dec
10

This news has been long over due but I would like to share that my poem ‘Feels’ is going to be published in one of my schools magazines!! I’m so excited and thrilled that this is happening to me. It’s like a dream come true for me and soon I will submit one of my stories to the magazine and hopefully get one of them published. I just thought I would share this since it means so much to me.

Next Steps

Aug
27

This post isn’t one of my stories so sorry to disappoint but, I just wanted to post something since it’s been a while.

I’m about to go off to college in about two weeks and a half. I have been waiting for this day to finally come. The day that I’m going to be on my own and to get a taste of what adult life is like. Today I just finished my college shopping, and in the middle of lunch with my parents, I started to picture what my move-in day would be like.  I pictured me and my parents crying and hugging and how hard it will be to say good bye. My parents have been so supportive of me in everything that I do and are always there for me even when we don’t see eye to eye. I know that they will always be there for me no matter what.

I guess this post is to say that I will miss my home and my family even though I’m only going to be three hours away. It is also to say that I’m excited to see what will become in the next steps of my life.

6-3-15

Jun
09


Dear diary,

I can’t help but feel left out. They seem happier when I’m not there. I don’t know exactly how to explain it but, they don’t seem to think about me. I think that it’s kind of my fault though. I don’t reach out as much as I should. Sometimes I hate being as quiet as I am; I don’t really know why I’m like this. When I was younger I was bold and outgoing and confident. And now I’m shy, quite, and have low self esteem. Not sure how to get that girl back. She seems kind of lost now. 

If I was still the same girl I was when I was younger, I would have more friends, I would have been involved more with my school, I certainly wouldn’t be as awkward as I am now. I would have the social life I’ve always wanted. Even when people describe me it doesn’t feel like they’re describing me. It feels like another person. 

Is it weird that I can’t give a good description of my personality? The only things that come to mind are shy, nice, and quite. I have found safety in my room and I rarely want to leave it. I feel like I’ve wasted away my high school years in this room doing absolutely nothing. 

I don’t want to say what I’m thinking cause I will make myself feel worse than I already do.

I’m unhappy with myself right now and I can only hope that in the next few years of my life I will find myself and can be truly happy with who I am. 

– Nora