Staring out into the clear pool of the American conscience, 1920s America indulges in the idealistic belief of personal success and self-made wealth. In The Great Gatsby, the author Francis Scott Fitzgerald explores the pollution of the American dream, investigating the darkness residing in the depths of the fantasy. Through the descriptions of the green light, the Valley of Ashes, and the eyes of Dr. TJ Eckleburg, Fit
I saw a dead dog in the street. This happened a few weeks ago while practicing for an upcoming license exam. The small, frail body was mutilated, sitting on the yellow stripe between the lanes. Luckily for me, I was going forty miles per hour and whizzed by its small frame without a detailed image. It more or less resembled a smear of black and dull pink in my peripheral vision, though my imagination filled in most of
Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse is a relatively recent big-screen animated Marvel film, introducing a multitude of new characters originating from numerous dimensions derived from multiple comic book series. From the classic Peter Parker to a slightly more baconated Peter Porker, the wide-range of loosely-based spider (and another animal) heroes band together with the main protagonist and freshly-bitten Miles Morales
I have yet seen a movie about aliens where I felt fully immersed in their world. What I mean by that statement is that with every fictional alien society, I find myself picking holes in logic or viewing the overwhelming laziness in the details.
For example, Krypton, in the latest Man of Steel film starring Henry Cavill sporting the newest rendition of an ironically patriot
I recently wrote a small paragraph as an example to my 2020 summer writing class. It went like this.
I’ve always had this heavy question weighing down my conscious: Where do our boogers go? As children, we constantly took care to excavate the tunnels, cleansing them of gold and other nuggets of inhaled particles; however, as teenagers, such meticulous cleaning occurs at a
A dandelion sways in the sighing spring breeze— its petals glistening under the pale white moonlight. Among a field of dying weeds, the sunflower sparkles in defiance, glaring at its adjacent life forms. Please, the flower whispers to itself. Leave me alone and let me shine.
The world is cruel, but the dandelion doesn’t understand that. Yet. It doesn’t know that it too will one da
Hello everyone! I hope your summer has treated you well.
My name is Aiden, the English Writing teacher of Guanghua Chinese School, PA. I’ve been teaching for three years now, and, in light of the current Covid-19 pandemic situation, I have decided to open an online and free-of-charge summer writing program up to Ten Students in this summer break of 2020.
At the start of my freshman year, I launched a new English writing class at Guanghua Chinese School (GHCS), a local Sunday school. Focused on the fundamentals of English, my class consists of early middle school students who seek help with rudimentary writing skills. As an instructor of young students, I have grasped over the years the basics of handling responsibility as well as taking control of a situation. Furtherm
A person strolls past a plastic bag fluttering down the street. In one scenario he ignores the bag—in another, he recycles the trash. Later that day, the local news shows a report of a car crash apparently caused by a plastic bag.
In a general scope, the individual’s actions did not affect the flow of events in any meaningful way; however, based on his decision, the person may expe
Snow drifted in flurries down the dark December morning. Large flakes of ice rolled across the landscape like a scene from a Christmas commercial. The sun extended its bright holiday lights over the horizon, marking the beginning of gifts and cheer. However, my focus was directed towards the growing emptiness inside me.
“Mama, I thought you said I would get a Christmas pr
“Alright class, settle down. Everyone pretzels legs. Zip those lips and hands-on-hips!” Mrs. Cowler breathed an exasperated sigh. I could almost see gray hairs sprouting from her head like weeds in the school garden.
“Alright class, today we will be reading The Three Little Piggies…” She paused, waiting for a reaction. The class was silent. “...or we can read The
And I thought my dining experience was luxurious in Fragrant Pavilion in Hangzhou.
When one mentions "fit for a king", one sees a massive set of food in front of a gluttonous man with a gold crown and handlebar mustache. In China, that fat man is replaced by the given dictator of that generation, and he doesn't have a mustache. Disregard my tangent. Ton
Prosperous Suzhou by the Qing Painter Yang Xu (清代画家徐扬·《姑苏繁华图》)
【Aiden in English】
Up above there is heaven; down below there are Suzhou and Hangzhou.
I asked my mom what the difference was between the four attractions*, we saw in Suzhou today and yesterday. She said that some were... bigger. Amazing. Imagine the most generic Asian temple in the most generic Asian setting. Alright, you'
When people eat gold, it's the equivalent of running expensive wine through a wire mesh and throwing out the wine that passes through as if expecting to retain some nutrients. Luckily, I did not eat gold tonight. No, what a waste that would be. But I bring up gold because it certainly feels like we dined as wasteful arist
A lotus flower grows to a certain height. Within a patch, the ideal situation for all is that each grows to the same height. Life would be simple for every plant.
On my way to the hotel room in West Lake State Guest House, I spotted a grove of lotus plants bundled together near the bank. They varied in height, some shading others. The flowers on top grew in size and surfac
Nanjing is a rather interesting city designated as UNESCO City of Literature in 2019. However, among the other cities of my traveling career, it does not deserve to be revisited for a fourth blog post. Yet last night, a peculiar thought crossed my mind. What amazing flash of enlightenment entered my head? Well, I need to tell you how my night went first.
What is work? A job – a monotonous, persistent pursuit of promotion? Is it sitting at a desk, eight hours a day mulling over some characters on a computer? Is it speaking into a microphone for four hours a day to an unknown source of people? Is it smiling at the camera, waving goodbye to millions of people? Or is it pointing the camera at such persons?
If there was ever a moment of divine intervention, the past two years must’ve included some sort of magical editing. My freshman and sophomore year in my high school felt as if someone copied and pasted the same algorithm into two-time slots of my life. That isn’t such a bad thing either.
Ever watch a large wave stroll in on the beach? It starts small but eventually become
I get that a lot from my students. Normally, a prompt is slapped in their face, pencil stabbed into their hand, arms taped to the table and clock glued to their eyes, telling them “Hey, this is exactly what you should do to get a good grade.” Oddly, I respect the school system for this matter. They understand that not all
To what point has humanity crumbled. Recently, I read about complaints of Father’s Day being “offensive” to single moms and working women. While somewhat laughable, this apparently is a strong viewpoint in society. The same drastic feministic ideas that keep me up at night staring into the darkness, thinking.
Now, keep in mind, this is only an opinion of mine. Thus,
I watched the Kawhi Leonard’s shot bounced in. It defied physics.
If you don’t know what I mean, go find a clip on YouTube. The ball was short. It hit the rim at such an angle, the ball bounced straight up into the air, crossing the circular net towards the other side. It bounced on the inside of the rim, straight up again. Then it proceeded to tortuou
Recently I’ve been diving into politics. Obviously, if there’s ever a time to get interested, the Trump administration is as good an opportunity as any. While everyone is going ballistic over the allegations and frantic scramble between parties, I look back using my Advanced Placement United States History (APUSH) knowledge and say to myself…
Enter, March. Possibly the most interesting month of the year. While that same argument can be made for all other 11 months, it’s called March Madness for a reason.
It’s almost poetic that such a crazed portion of sports can reflect an equaling appalling section in my life. North Penn HS notoriously ramps up the tempo of curriculum, as they should, in the third marking pe
While being a teenage teacher has his moments, receiving an invitation to an appreciation dinner incites a rather satisfying feeling. Granted, the honor to such exclusive banquet comes from the endeavor to promote Chinese heritage in spite of hardship, because having money spent on food for teachers is exactly what Guanghua Chinese School (GHCS) would want.
A village sits in the mountains, deprived of food, fertile land, and eyes of heaven. Water is a commodity; trees, a rarity; and brief flashes of green only originate from an occasional sprout or small, slimy reptilian creatures.
Every year, a man comes to the village. He brings forth a flood of life. The village’s dry well fills with freshwater; the mountain streams
Well, it's the final day. I can't say I'm glad to go home, but YouTube and Snapchat, and Instagram do have a large hole that food can't fill. In addition, I miss air conditioning and not being sweaty all day. I would say Philadelphia is a rather hot city temperature-wise, but the air feels crisp and refreshing, not a massive wet towel plastered to your skin. Speaking of which, a cool shower would feel g
Today truly was the first day I felt this adventure in China was almost over. Thirty-six hours in Nanjing, twenty-four more in Beijing, and then fourteen hours sitting in one place surrounded by strangers while flying through freezing clouds. Oddly enough, when the finish line is in sit, mom slows the pace down, deciding now would be the best time to spend some family time.
Shanghai was fun while it lasted, and two days certainly does not do it justice. That is also why mom furiously pushed the exploration of Shanghai yesterday and today. Luckily, we covered a good bit of the touristic section last night, so all that was left near the city center was Shanghai Tower and its surrounding metal forest.
Alright, so now I'm in Shanghai... That was fast. I guess it's expected of a bullet train. Leaving Nanjing in the late morning, we arrived in Shanghai at mid-day, receiving a very, very warm welcome with delicious Shanghai cuisine. Luckily, the humidity dialed down a notch to a bearable level, and many shops in Shanghai had air conditioning.
I've heard plenty of demonic college anecdotes. In some ways, the stories line up with the Marine Corps, terrifying experiences by banding together strangers into bonds stronger than bullets. In this case, it appears college years make bonds strong enough to even survive the test of time.
You know, normally meeting old friends at a hospital isn't a good thing. However, when most of th
Mixed in between the constant ingestion of food and sweating, this summer trip sprinkled in visits to friends in China. Friends normally meant old college folks mom hasn’t seen in three decades, so most of the time, I felt detached from the conversation, hence the time to write these journal entries. Each friend often gave long, elaborate hellos that were cut short by my mom in order to fit in the time slot within a busy week.
The most annoying thing about the summer in Nanjing is the humidity. It's hot already. Then top it off with a constant layer of warm steam-like moisture coating your skins and you get the daily climate of Nanjing. It's the feeling of being hot and wet, yet somewhat dry at the same time. Your body is confused, so it sweats, adding to the already building layer of water on the skin. Your mind, also confused, wonders when the next sh
You are going to find that this trip will contain lots of food and simply me eating my way around China. Like I said before, food stands a significant part of Chinese culture. You can't expect me not to absolutely freak out whenever it's mealtime. It's been a few years since I've had authentic Chinese cuisine. In addition, much of the meetings between two Chinese friends occur around a table filled with
The thing I'm looking forward to the most in China is the food. It's that simple. Great culture, extended family, a new world, all worthy of attention, but nothing captures all categories of China like its food. Therefore, I feel completely fine when saying Chinese food is equivalent to American football. You just can't escape it, so why not embrace it.
I still remember walking into that summer camp without any hopes of having fun. A dreary, rainy day, not an inkling of sunlight to be seen. Then, I picked up a yo-yo. I can’t say I was impressed, or interested in having a long-term contract with the yo-yo culture, but what totally convinced me to join the yet-to-be-formed club was the people.
Well, I suppose all good things come to an end. While I do miss my cozy bed... and delicious Chinese food... and favorite television, there are some experiences I don't want to ever end. But first, Barcelona awaits.
Oddly enough, Barcelona, normally the highlight of most trips, is the shortest stop we're having, and not because of the time in port, but the ti