Writing Across the Modes Collection ECI 509, Integrating Writing and Technology Student Name: May F. Chung
Part I. Expository Writing My 1-2 Page Reflection About Expository Writing
At the beginning, I treated expository pieces like academic prompts, and wrote in a clear thesis-statement prompted essay. When I got my feedback, however, it was clear that I had misunderstood the assignment. Expository writing was meant to be a description of something rather than an analytic analysis. Exposition can be relayed as a teaching style. You can teach something that is dry and remote and academic, but will your students “get it”? How do you balance between teaching the material and making it interesting and presentable in a way for the students? Will the learning of content be affected? This is something that I struggle with in my own teaching, and that I am slowly realizing the ways that technology can help me with this. Using Dr. Engel’s book, A Dab of Dickens and Touch of Twain as a model, this made me realize that sometimes I do not have to compromise on so-called “boring” subjects. There is always something interesting, and sometimes this relies on history. Dr. Engel has an amazing ability to “extract” the interesting material and his style and delivery packages the material well for audiences.
It is difficult for me to break away from the regular essay writing, after being in school for so long. Through expository writing, I was able to consider my own experiences to be valid evidence, just like an extended source. When I wrote my scribe report, this allowed me to retrospect, and remember everything that I had done that day, and what people said. I had multiple reflections and reading over, it felt like each telling was different. This teaches me to draft often and over and over and to revisit work, because each new look comes with a fresh perspective. Additionally, for me, I had to divorce expository works from expressive. With expository works, I had to think about my audience and the rhetoric that guides my explanation. I had to think about style and delivery, and shape my tone in a way that was presentable. Over the recent years, I consider revision to be one of the most crucial points in writing a paper. In looking over my feedback, there were ways that I could cut down on my wording and be more concise. One exercise that did help me think about restructuring my sentences was the one-sentence and â€“summary paragraph. I have a tendency to jump from one idea to another, and the forms allowed me to restructure them into categories and organize my thoughts. For the expository writing, I made a list of things I learned from traveling, and I feel like that format helped me group my ideas better than any other mode Iâ€™ve written in so far. It felt like I was showing or describing something in a way that was clear and presentable enough but didnâ€™t seem jarbled. Because I limited myself to 10, it focused my pursuits into tangible formats so I could only write about the most important points.
My Scribe Report On the morning of August 2nd, 2013, the (earl) gray mist settled in as the North Carolinan teachers woke up from their comfort mattresses. Those who left their windows open during the night to combat the suppressive heat clung to their blankets a little tighter. It was clear England did not want us to leave, because that would mean we took our sunny dispositions and weather with us. And so, she showered us with dew to keep us immobile and complacent. Never again will these teachers taste those tiny sliced tomatoes and baked croissants, those plump sausages, the toast always fried and never toasted, those grainy rolls of mystery “meat” loaded with the consistency of cardboard, those goopy eggs with pepper to mask the obvious incredible taste, those soft batches of ham (or “bacon imposters” as I like to call them) Oh, and Baked beans. Who could forget those baked beans? OooOoo. When we return, we will have to explain how we used to eat baked beans for breakfast to our friends at home, to which they will respond, “Who are you?” It was bittersweet. After breakfast, the teachers made our way to another location for our last class in England, hoping it would be less sweltering. The night before, there was a showing of Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper’s rom-com, Silver Linings Playbook. However, tricky iTunes with the brains of the late Steve Jobs knew somehow we were broadcasting it for a public audience, and it blocked the viewing. That’s OK, because someone narrated it last night. I’m hoping it was Kevin, with the voice of an angel and a penchant for all things juicy. Los maestros spent an hour in this room, waiting for the AC to pick up as one waits for a child to be born. Ruie and Kevin both started class with recapping what a great two and a half weeks it has been, and asked for suggestions for next year’s class. Number One: The breakfast. The class voiced their opinion that the money for breakfast be spent on cards instead at Tesco, which would offer more of a variety and at
a better price. “But the baked beans!” said no one. “I will miss those eggs” was unheard of. “Well worth $18 American!” was a thought that was never formed. Number Two: Laundry. Justin C recommended not doing laundry, and suggested bringing lots of clothes (read: underwear, drawers, pantaloons) instead. He and Amy and Elliott had spent $30 on laundry, which could be spent on 2 whole candy bars at the Harry Potter Studio Store. Not to be outdone by any machine, both Curtis and Juicy J washed their clothes in the sink for Free 99. Number Free (Three): Next up, we talked about some of the excursions the next year’s group could go on. Ruie called Oxford “a disaster” because there were so many people: the sidewalks were jammed full of visitors and graduation guests. Cambridge, she relayed, would be a better alternative. In addition, the trip to Oxford was supposed to be a global experience, of sharing cross-cultural conversations with the University of Surrey international students, but even that turned out to be a cluster-funk. For one, some of their company did not want to participate in exchanging any niceties with Americans. They had either refused us seats in favor of their boyfriends / girlfriends or they did not fancy conversation time. Some of our lot sat next to someone who did not want to sit next to them and made it clear by putting on headphones. But did anyone inquire whether it was really us? Maybe we give off a smell, a faint American smell of musky meat? Just kidding, it was definitely this international kid. Still, not everyone had a terrible time with the international kids. Jill spent the entire day being integrated in a Chinese clan. She will now be known as Jill FungChung. Spencer Zigga-Zigg-ahhh got a homecooked feast made by no less than 8 Chinese women who all glowered over his cover of Avett Brothers’ “If I get murdered in the city” and consequently all wanted to be his lover. If Spencer does ever get murdered in the city, there will be no less than 8 Chinese women moaning at his gravestone. Other suggestions were trips to Bath and possibly neighboring hamlets, like the one Amy and Sarah went to, engulfed in lavender fields. Stephanie suggested HighClere, made famous by the raunchy Downton Abbey, and Jill had an idea: Since both the tickets for Winchester and Highclere were valid all year round, half the group could go to
Winchester, and the other half could go to Highclere. Everyone thought this was a pleasant idea. You go, Jill Fung-Chung! It was time to recap all the scribe reports from the days prior (scribing about scribing!). We heard excellent updates from Spencer, Anne, Adrienne, Amy, Lauren, Jill, Elizabeth, Curtis, and Justin R. Elizabeth, in particular, knocked everyone out of the park, by imitating Will Smith (minus all the recent movies of the world ending, I mean old school Will Smith) Elizabeth throws down a rap in her scribe report to the tune of the Fresh Prince of Bel Air Theme Song (rhyming with “Chawton’s Heir”—genius!). Now that Elizabeth humbled everyone in the room, we each penned ourselves a selfrenewal contract. Ruie instructed us not to put things like “I will lesson plan” because that’s like saying “I will be a teacher”. This was for ourselves, for our own selfimprovement. It reminded me of a quote from my main man, Billy Faulkner: “Do not bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself”. This was drastically different from what my father told me one day while we were watching a Miss America pageant: “YOU NO [sic] GET FIRST PLACE, YOU GO HOME AND CRY”. Next, we indulged in the art of being succinct. How fitting that on our last day, we learn how to write summaries. Summaries are great because they are overarching and concise, get to the point, and are suitable during moments in which one can say, “aint nobody got time for this”. With that, the class was over. Mike advised everyone not to be late to the caravan because this sucker was not going to miss his flight. He said it in a Hulk like way, like when Edward Norton says you wouldn’t like it when he was angry. I believed him. MeiGuo Laoshi (The American Teachers) had the afternoon free to pack their bags and do some last minute shopping, getting their moms Mrs. Darcy shirts or having one last drink at Chancellors’. We reconvened at five to share one last dinner. Ruie drank her wine, and judging from her face, she was finally relieved to be free from entertaining Edward, the 9 year old son of Kevin’s long-time pen pal. Edward was wild and spirited, refused to go to
sleep, before he was ready, and enlisted Ruie in a whole night of making fart noises. Whether it was real gas or fake flatulence, one could never tell. As per Lisaâ€™s suggestion, everyone shared one favourite thing we learned or experienced from our trip. Curtis said how in our Library visit, how great it was that we examined language change as a natural part of life, and that no one could say your English is wrong if it is the language that you speak. This was made more surprising considering we were in England, the birthplace of the English language. It amazed me and others just how nice everyone was. People would be willing to help out individuals stranded in the northern English countryside, or give away their ticket for us. Folks would comment on our accents and admire Jill on actively writing instead of typing away at our phones. You could walk to where you needed to go, because not everything was easily accessible or in drive-thru form. Amy relayed that it was very much a biking culture, as fit people would do their part to save the environment and their bodies from obesity. Everywhere around us was culture and history. Instead of 44 Presidents, they had history of Kings and Queens to memorize, dwelling in palaces only a bus ride away. Our residential music teacher, Colleen, was surprised to hear about the REAL Penny Pocket and what was really her locket. Natalie took the time to see that stores closed strictly at five and rarely were there shops that stayed open 24 hours. This allowed persons to enjoy each others company, of their friends and family. And all the while, as Sarah G. recognized, kids were still kids. No matter the culture, the activity and spirit of childhood is still as resilient ever. During dinner, the educators shared one aspect from the technology portfoilio unless their computer was ravaged by a virus.
Started from the bottom, now weâ€™re here. Though we will go our separate ways, we thought of all the people we met:
Colin the Grease-loving, ice-cream-making bus driver. Chris the bartender. Harry Potter. Kate Middleton waving through the glass of a security car. Julian, the beautiful tour guide extraordinaire and novelist.
And how we’ll probably never see them again, but we’re glad we met them anyways.
It was clear we would keep England with us in our hearts—never waning, our collected casks cascading towards dusk and held instant like the British summer—we as cats and dogs in a ‘90s movie, were homeward bound. One-Sentence Summary BRITISH LIBRARY Beginning with the collections of ancient manuscripts, Dating back to the origins of the English language Beautiful Julian, tour guide extraordinaire, appeared to us like a dream; Calm, resolute, his enthusiasm about language change Resulted in us never looking at hovering wind birds the same way again. Summary Paragraph [Inductive Paragraphs – The Fable] For one of our excursions, we went to the British Library in London. I thought, “Oh God, another day at another museum.” Our tour guide, Julian, had the same material has every other tour guide. Here is the collection of old works including Beowulf and some of the earliest written work in the English language. Here is some middle- and old- English stuff with really nice gilded pages, but otherwise, one can hardly read it without previous study of the antique language. But then began the most mind-boggling day I spent in England, was ironically enough, at the London History Museum.
Julian was able to take centuries of the English language and relate it to current day. As a linguist, the study of language intrigues me. As soon as Julian took us under his wing, he had us examine the gendered notions of English. We closely examined terms like “hostess” and “mistress” and the implications of a certain suffix. The way Julian was able to wield his knowledge in a way that was still accessible was impressive. Even a small morpheme can lead to big changes in meaning and showcase how our society denounces women. Such is the power of language.
Our beloved tour guide introduced us to the Magna Carta, and we thought what an important document. But it was more than that. Next to the Magna Carta was another document from the church completely negating the Magna Carta. It was denounced! This was something that was never in the history books, as I always imagined the Magna Carta to be the ruling supremacy on democracy, the first to give its power to the people, rather than an uncompromising ruler. This showed us that even though a piece of paper grants us power, it is just that: a piece of paper. The true power lies in the people. Paper is something that can be denounced and negated, but the ideas remain long after the paper oxidizes to brown dust. That was so crucial for me to understand that even though legislators and law-makers can put something down in law, they can never destroy the spirit and control of the people.
After splitting us into groups and having us answer questions about a particular text found in the Special Collections, Julian led us into a discussion about how French was integrated into English as a renowned tongue, and that is why French language is still considered “exotic” today. This is ironic, considering English-only is often the consensus of many Americans. Guided by Julian the falcon (formerly known as a windf—er), we were able to challenge our notions about grammar and language. Underneath the written word are prejudices and social pressures that were made more apparent.
He opened the discussion up so that everyone had a say and a stake in the “correct” answer. He invited us to discuss our own thoughts and insights but also allow them to change with thought-provoking questions. I enjoyed that so much. What was also noticeable was that he would never correct us or tell us that something was the correct answer. What Julian did was to encourage us to challenge our own assumptions and that of our peers. That day, we learned that history is ever-changing, and extends from the past, to the current present, to the future.
1st Additional Expository Writing (see Moodle for description of additional expository writings) A Causal Analysis of Jane Eyre and Charlotte Brontë Many themes from Charlotte Brontë’s life are represented in her novel, Jane Eyre, a bildingsroman featuring a small orphan in an orphanage who becomes a respected woman in society. Even though Charlotte was not herself an orphan, she did face many trials of losing her sisters and witnessing her brother waste away. Many of her ideals, some proto-feminist and radical for her time, became realized in the novel. Writing for Brontë became a chance for her to criticize society, censure the treatment of women, and offer a chance for females to excel both in the world of literature, and in real life. Charlotte, herself, became the first best-selling female author. When their mother died, their father sent the girls to Cowan Bridge, a clergy daughters’ school. Charlotte wrote Jane Eyre to be an orphan, even though her father was still very much alive. Perhaps Charlotte was resentful of her father to deposit her and her sister so quickly after their mother’s death? Engel writes that Charlotte wasn’t particularly close with her father, even after the death of all of her siblings. Instead of
cherishing her company, he told Charlotte that she “wasn’t supposed to survive childhood” (94). The orphan figure as a character possibly allowed Charlotte to mourn the loss of her mother and sister, and battle the loneliness as a governess taking care of unruly children. Most of the novel serves as a quest for Jane to find a home, as is Charlotte eager to create a space for herself as a writer. Charlotte could also use Jane’s orphan status as a way for her to recreate her own identity, so it would not be reliant on anyone but herself. Jane could be seen as a mirror of Charlotte, created as an image of independence and strength. Even though Charlotte and Emily were both daughters of a clergyman, religious criticism is rampant throughout their novels. Charlotte wrote much about the horrible conditions in Jane Eyre in the fictional Lowood School. However, there are many similarities between her upbringing and Jane’s experience with school. Charlotte believed the school’s poor conditions hastened the deaths of her sisters, Maria and Elizabeth, as represented by the saddening death of Jane Eyre’s friend, Helen Burns. Jane in the novel becomes tormented and must serve her punishment by standing for extended periods of time and bearing the weight of her punishment, as a rejection of the pious doctrine. Jane Eyre serves as an exposition of some religious doctrines and its hypocrisy: whereas Christian religious doctrine observes kindness and compassion, but the church allows Jane’s sister and other girls of the school to perish. Jane Eyre’s character gives power to the heroine in a period in which females were not granted any freedoms. In Jane, Charlotte critiques society in which certain roles are relegated based on the possession of money. Jane initially saves Rochestor’s
life, and he becomes a man in a woman’s debt. Later, in the crux of marrying Rochester, chooses to deny his offer after finding out he has kept a woman in his attic. This is also a representation of how men metaphorically keep women in attics, or restrain women from realizing their true potential, because they must always be criticized on male assessments. Rochester, himself, is not considered particularly attractive at first, and Jane is put off by his holier-than-thou demeanor. Rochester may be based on the professor who Charlotte was infatuated with, but he was married. Thus by writing, the authors can create their own lives in which they are able to have some power and do things in which they would not have done regularly in their own lives. In Jane Eyre, the ex-wife dies, and Jane marries him. In real life, however, Charlotte did not have this option. In literature, she can enact on her love. As life imitates art, so does art imitate life. Charlotte’s future husband, Arthur Bell Nichols, who was not particularly attractive, and was “pretentious, stuffy, and dull” (95) like Rochester. However, Charlotte married him as stagnantly as the beginning of Chapter 38 of Jane Eyre, “Reader, I married him”. However, she immediately started to fall in love with his intellect, and Rochester did Jane. Most importantly, Nichols treated Charlotte like an equal, or more; he doted on her immensely. She states “I married him” instead of “we were married,” as if she was the bearer of the decision. Charlotte had finally met her match. Like her heroine, she is determined to earn her keep as a writer (Jane as a governess) and not be reliant on a male for her happiness. Charlotte and Emily Brontë’s work were so incipient in the formation of the feminist movement of the 1970s that the Madwoman in the Attic by Sandra Gilbert and
Susan Gilbar, a breakthrough feminist work and critique of female characters in literature, references a character of Bertha Mason, or Mr. Rochester’s first wife. Gilbert and Gubar state that in literature, women can either be classified in either of two ways: they can be the “angel” or the “monster”, with nothing stratifying between the two extremes. Either women are obedient and pure, or they are crazy and condemned. In Jane Eyre, Charlotte plays with these extremes in the actual imprisonment of Bertha Mason. Is her “madness” a result of rejection of societal mores for femininity, or does she become mad because of the unobtainable societal restraints placed upon her? Charlotte offers a subversive view of women as strong characters, whose power should be admired if not feared.
Men, in Charlotte Brontë’s eyes, are not spectacular creatures at first, and are never there as a saving grace for women. Charlotte’s own frail relation with her father and tumultuous, unrequited attraction with her Professor, feasibly added to her resentment. Jane, having learned that Rochester lied to her about Bertha, denies his marriage proposal, which was taken to be ill-mannered. The refusal of marriage was a rejection of societal norms that outlined behaviors for women. Jane denies his marriage proposal that would have ultimately taken care of all of her expenses, but true to her morals, decides to live on the streets as a beggar than take up a false marriage. However, she soon retains enough money from an inheritance, rejects the marriage of her cousin, and is able to be the bearer in power yet again, having rescued a blind and crippled Rochester.
As Engel writes, “the importance of atmosphere” (82) of her upbringing made a marked impression on Charlotte, as Jane Eyre is rife with vivid, descriptive settings. Jane becomes encompassed by some of the rooms in the house, most notably the red room of her dead uncle in which she begins to see visions. Later, she begins to see spirits in Mr. Rochester’s mansion of Rochester’s former wife haunting Jane. Both contribute to the supernatural madness and passion that consume the characters, culminating in Rochestor’s mystical cry heard by Jane miles away. Because Engel writes that Charlotte was simply “ugly”, Charlotte does critique traditional views of beauty in her novels. Mr. Rochester says “Thought he world considers you ugly, I see beneath that façade” (88), insinuating that he is considering himself as better than Jane, rather than expressing Jane’s other qualities. Charlotte, in this sense, rejects some of the notions of beauty that are beset upon women in society.
I challenge Engel’s preoccupation with Charlotte’s “homely” persona as a tribute to her success. While beneficial, he still places the same value upon a woman’s appearance, and even applauses her as being “the first best-selling novel written by a woman” (96). However, both Charlotte and Jane Eyre would agree that it is not a matter of appearance or gender that determine one’s character. She is considered “homely” and an “ugly duckling” only by male standards (88). To pinpoint this feature out for a woman above all others but not for any male writers is a part of the same gender-typing that Brontë would criticize herself.
Like her characters, Charlotte was both passionate, intelligent and opinionated. Such was subversive feminist notions, whether the authors intended or not. Readers can gleam much about a work from the author’s life. The autobiographical perspective gives us the depth that surrounds the literature. We, as readers, are able to look at a piece of art through a deeper, more introspective lens than before.
2nd Additional Expository Writing [composed reflection]
10 LIFE LESSONS I LEARNED FROM TRAVELING (1) I’M INVINCIBLE. I jumped off from a bus, survived a bacteria infection / bed bugs / intestinal fungus / food poisoning and diarrhea for days. I made it!
(2) I DON’T NEED ANYONE BUT MYSELF. I knew this all along of course. It’s like Bugs Bunny when he realizes that the juice he’s been drinking all along is actually water and he just needed the confidence to defeat the Mon-STARS.
(3) Along with this, I need to start doing what I want to do. and do things that make ME happy. Because if I do things for the sake of other people, that’ s just going to make me resentful in the end. and I don’t want that. It’s interesting because I feel like every single time, I think, “what do others think? or how would others feel?” only for them not to give a eff about my decisions. and that’s OK. In the words of Drake, you do you.
(4) TRAVELING ALONE IS NICE, EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE. For once, I didn’t have to wait on someone. I’m a fast walker and always end up leaving someone behind or having to wait. I don’t care if someone doesn’t like the Tate. It doesn’t matter if I get the directions wrong or end up on the wrong stop. I don’t have to base my decisions on anyone but myself. I get to choose what happens. I’m in control!
(5) WHEN THERE’S A WILL, THERE’S A MAY. I realize that rules are nothing. I’m so much more adventurous than I have been ever, and it’s not just physically, although I have been on many adventures. Partly, is that I have this new appreciation for trying things that are new and unexpected and risky. That means that when someone says “no” or has some set of rules, I’m now constantly thinking of ways that I can override it, find some sort of loophole. This came out of me taking the chance to go to the music festival even though box office was way closed, and my friend Sara getting inside the Harry Potter tour even after bus driver, security guard, and ticket person said ‘no’. Even with my China trip, I probably couldn’t have gone if I didn’t ask EVERY SINGLE PERSON IN THE SCIENCE DEPARTMENT if I could take their class abroad. Sometimes you have to beg, sometimes you have to invoke pity, sometimes you just have to be clever, but if you really want it, be persistent! I think that’s what’s so American about me, is that I’m still asking long after someone has said no.
(6) GO WHERE YOU HAVE A FREE PLACE TO STAY. I’ve slept in a tent with my professor, in a bed with two men, and in the cheapest motel imaginable (where shampoo and handsoap were the same thing, having a window view of a field cost 1 pound), but I haven’t had to pay for a single lodging place during my stay in England.
(7) BE KINDER. If the British have taught me anything, it’s that it doesn’t take much to be nice. That’s all people ask for, really, in friends, in family, in future mates is a nice person. Think about it: you can be ugly, or poor, or dumb, or have no talents or prospects, but you can still be well-regarded if you are nice. It’s not hard, but its something that people never forget.
(8) LOSE YOUR MATERIALISM. I spent all my money on gifts in Guat, and my luggage was still overweight. So when it came time to England, I couldn’t buy anything (well, I bought a few things, and a bigger bag). I learned, then, to be sparing with my purchases because I couldn’t bring it back. I think part of our culture relies on having
memorabilia, so much so that we can’t just rely solely on our memories and our experiences, we need to BUY something to ascertain we were there. Maybe souvenirs serve as a badge of our travels, to let everyone know where we went. Purely selfish, but that’s what Facebook is for. I think money is more well spent eating (which provides satisfaction as long lasting as those cheap souvenirs go—and its more organic!) and drinking (which provides either great company or hilarious stories).
(9) BE YOUR OWN DOCTOR. (until you need a doctor) One thing from Guat I learned is that you know your own body better than anyone. When you think you have bed bugs, it’s PROBABLY BED BUGS. Don’t trust what anyone says. Trust what your body is saying to you. My cures are frequent naps and orange juice with mango.
(10) NEVER SETTLE. I mean this as in figuratively, don’t settle on life and physically with one place. There will always be things you hate and miss about a place, but you will have that with anywhere. Why do we insist on having one place called “home” when there are thousands of places we can visit? Lastly, never. stop. traveling. Always keep on the go. At all times. Godspeed!
Part II. Poetic Writing My 1-2 Page Reflection About Poetics Writing I definitely struggle with poetry, because I am not very eloquent and tend to ramble—all great for both expository and expressive modes, but not for poetry. Poetry is contained, but only so much so that it allows multiple interpretations. Nothing is given away out-rightly. This also is very cultural of me, because I am very direct with my feelings and emotions, whereas in Poetic expression, it is not so. For my English language learners, I could definitely sense that they have trepidation with poetry. With poetic forms, there is much flourishing and intensity of language, not to mention meter and rhyme to think about. In writing a poem, I had to be liberate about what my subject matter was. I couldn’t write poetry on something I had no bearing in, or something I knew minimally about. Poetry, for me, was intimate. I wanted to write funny poems because they were a composite of who I was. The “Where I’m From” poem ended up being some of the best lines that ever resounded with me. I was able to draw from my own experiences so there was less pressure in having to draw from another source or text. Later on, I wrote about my dad using a frame layout, which I found greatly facilitated my thoughts and emotions about my father. The frame layout was a good way to help me get started on writing, which often is the hardest part. Writing poetically gives me an opportunity to synthesize ideas. I can take expressive or expository forms and use found poetry. If there’s anything I learned from
Julian from the British Library, it is that words change. Language changes with each form, but that doesn’t mean that new, recent forms aren’t as invaluable.
Since I always associated poetry with individual expression, I liked that I could extend the application to literary authors or characters. With English language learners, I could use this device to have students construct the main ideas of a story with a poem. Poetry is also open to creative uses of native languages, which they could implement in their writing.
Where I’m From Poem Where I’m From I am from Buddha figurines, Bags of rice, and incense Chinese soap operas that feature a love Between two dragons I am from the Western Piedmont, Where accents were different from mine Sweet like molasses, ai un-gliding and “Bless your heart” I am from large woods of escape I would take my dog, leashless and wild like me, Where we played until the evening sank Downward to darkness, on extended wings.
I am from China Where everyone called everyone Uncle Where we were known as “the monkeys” or “bananas” American by birth, Chinese in the face I am from Tiger Moms and High Expectation Dads “WHEN YOU DRINK, YOU DIE” “NO SEX UNTIL PHD” Not even until marriage, I have to get my PhD.
I am from pig intestines and chicken feet Stinky tofu, black from fermenting The horrible, horrible durian That stinky, spiky, yellow fruit
I am from the neighborhood library Everyday I would drop by after school And read and re-read Harry Potter Waiting for my own Hogwarts letter
I am from neighbors asking, “Where are you from?” “No, where are you really from?” But I always say both—both from the East and the West The best of both worlds Poems Created in Class with Dr. Buckner
If I were to see An Asian man driving a John Deere In the yard Cowboy hat and open beer can Shirtless but chest without hair And scrawny, sunken chest The color of aged tofu I would have thought it peculiar That after twenty years my father would finally realize the American Dream.
If I could see a white pickup truck A mile away In the parking lot of Big Lots Iâ€™d know there would be No Kenny Chesney But doughnuts to be had From the truck And by the dozen
He always liked those Tasty bits of dough
If I felt the agony And tears of the phone call Awoken at five in the morning That his mother had passed away And a hand clutching his face Iâ€™d know that it was the first time I ever saw him cry
If I smelled Those pork buns Full of fat and meat and plump The dough he would roll himself Knuckled with his hands Cut out perfect circles with an Old alumninum can Iâ€™d know he made them Just for me
If I saw my father Before I retired to bed I would give him the old greeting “Goodnight, Dad!” “OK”, he would respond Gruff and stoic I’d know he meant to say In his own personal way Goodnight, star of the sky, light of my eye.
Bio Poem About Self May Witty, Ambitious, Compassionate, Beautiful Daughter of two Chinese immigrants Lover of Dialects, Beards, Food Who feels happiest when surrounded by mountains, disappointed when people are careless, tired without warm breath of coffee, Who needs security, reassurance, consistency Who gives stories, hugs, and “dat teacher look” Who fears dying in Latin America
Who would like to see the world, bilingual schools, and those who strive for personal happiness Resident of Raleigh, 5 Points Fung Chung
1st Additional Poetic Writing (see Moodle for description of additional poetic writings) JANE sensible, bold, colourful, sharp sister of Cassandra, best friend and closest confidant lover of the quillpen, the company of family, a peace of mind where ideas can thrive who believed that a woman could flourish just as well a man Who wanted independence, publication, and a writing space. Who used wit as a comment against society, characters that lived outside of the page, romance that bleeds as much as it erupts in incandescent happiness Who gave us Mr. Darcy, George Knightley, and Elizabeth Bennett Who said â€œwhat are men to rocks and mountains?â€? AUSTEN
2nd Additional Poetic Writing Among the crawling city of Winchester Along the streets that Keats walked And Mr Darcy of the BBC variety once dwelled Under a clock tower that menaces the fate of time Inside its protective stone walls through which grass peeks
Bordering a river bank of fluid flowing waters Perched Swans in repose, sniffling beaks beneath feathers Obscured by webbed dark fins
Part III. Expressive Writing My 1-2 Page Reflection About Expressive Writing Expressive writing is my favorite (“favourite” in British spelling), and the one that I can definitely relate to the most. I’ve written in a journal consistently, purposefully, and thoughtfully since I was very young, and I still continue to craft my ideas in a reflection blog. I draft write in patches, expelling different thoughts at the same time. Here in expressive writing, I can tell stories, which is something that I strive to do in meeting people and in teaching students in the classroom. I felt free while I was expressive writing, I was uninhibited. Expressive writing gave me extra motive to pre-write, to establish fluency and get out all of my thoughts before I could put them in expressive mode. While I was stuck on the train to England, I had no phone and no wifi connection to my laptop. The only thing I could do was think, stare out the window, talk to strangers, and sleep. In between those sessions, I would jot down notes about what I have accomplished, what I wanted to do, my fears, and my reactions sensory elements at that moment. I remember writing in my journal, staring out at the vast fields of wheat blurring across the falling sky. It was nostalgic and ephemeral. I believe expressive writing can be used to translate into formal writing. When I wrote the script of Spencer and I at the international students’ dinner, it was so much more descriptive than me actually describing the summary. The experience is much more vivid. I like that I can use creative forms of expression to say the same thing. Expressive writing is something that I enjoy immensely.
All About Me I am a May, like the month, a Linguistics Masters student, an English as a Second language teacher, and an instructor in first year composition course in English. My life work is to teach and travel across the globe. Iâ€™m witty, ambitious, compassionate, beautiful, smart, and capable. I live the best of both worlds as an American Born Chinese, tall in loud. I study dialects and languages, and the peculiar ways people talk. Sometimes I will listen to a personâ€™s speech and instead of listening, I will be unintentionally calculating their idiolect. I will eat anything in existence. I feel happiest when I am surrounded by mountains and vast, diverse landscapes. There is nothing more disappointing than the reliance of people. I need consistency and reassurance. I fear dying in Latin America, but I made it, and I am so much more alive and stronger than ever. I want to see the bilingual schools and the world.
Design A Room
Pillows cushioned against every wall, natural sunlight filtering in on every window. A jungle of exotic flowers cover the clear windows overlooking the room, shielding heat and inviting candescence. The wafting sense of pie invites apricots and fresh flaky dough into the room. The warm beach air shines through and envelopes the room. A record player in the corner spins indie rock, moving even the most timid dancer. Concert posters fill every space in the wall in geometric shapes. The taste of fresh vanilla filters
from candlelight to the walls. A single reclining chair lays in the corner, layered in velvet, soft like a springtime bunny.
Impressions of England THE UNIVERSITY OF SURREY— GUILDFORD, UK
(1) The royal stag of Guildford reminds me of Harry’s patronus. (2) I love that I can walk everywhere and do not have to worry about my car or getting gas. It takes extra work and motivation, but I think the effort is worth it. Plus, I’m trying to get a Kate Middleton body! (3) It is difficult for me to adjust to the hours here, especially since sunset doesn’t fall until 9pm and I’ve been working with 3 different time zones within the past couple months. (4) They have a local pub on every campus and ours is Chancellor’s. It’s conveniently located next to our flats, so I’ve had the opportunity to frequent it every day. I’ve had every beer listed except the last one. My favorite, though, is the IPA, which was invented in England to soothe the appetites of those working in India. (5) Speaking of which, Indian food. Over the years, it has become somewhat of an icon, here like chinese food. They have it all supermarkets, including Tesco (kind of a cross between their Walmart and a Lowes Food) (6) I’m impressed by how immaculate and well-sculpted this. The gardens are meticulously arranged in square blocks, and flowers are placed everywhere. These are not simply a hobby. This is some peoples’ lives. They come from far away to view gardens and flowers, embracing the nature of one’s own back yard. I have not seen detail to landscape anywhere else in the world. (7) Relaxing: Second order of business! (8) Elliott, Amy, and I at the canal. I like that in the middle of historic, ancient historical monuments, there are these little canals and rivers that run across the city. In Oxford, you can go punting on them and explore the water hugging the stone walls.
I am enjoying my time here in England! Everything is beautiful, and even the food tastes better this time! Iâ€™m running on little to no sleep, including going to a music festival the second day I touched down in England. But everything is exciting and lustrous.
Post Cards Home
Everything everywhere lives in beauty like New dew dripping on a single barley leaf, amid Golden fields of expansive pastures, the Light lingering upon land for As long as possible, as long as the Narrow arches continue to hold, as long as the Dawn continues to rise A Day in the Life
Day in the Life in London!
(1) In the morning, we got off the stop for St. Paulâ€™s Cathedral. St. Paulâ€™s is an iconic figure of religious faith dating back to the 17th century, with church services still in session. We made sure to start our day off right at the columns of this historic monument!
(2) Closely connecting St. Paulâ€™s to the other side of the The Millennium Bridge, built in 2000. This bridge is a latest great design and was featured in the latest Harry Potter movie. The smell of aromatic cinnamon nuts fill the air as passersby
walk on pass such great landmarks as the London Bridge. We take photos of fellow classmates while a snobby Brit says, “It’s like you’re the only ones on this bridge!"
(3) Upon reaching land from the bridge, we see Shakespeare’s Globe! This is actually a reconstruction of the actual theatre, and features plays both in the day and in the nighttime. We cannot score tickets to Macbeth, but we do get to see the actors rehearse. In the meantime, we tour the exhibition gallery and talk to some English teachers from Nepal, who have travelled miles, just like us, to witness the play performed in original-reminiscent times.
(4) Lunch at a pub on the other side of the bridge! I order bangers and mash, an English specialty, and it is actually very good!
(5) After a relaxing calm, we head on over to the Tate Museum of Modern Art, in which contemporary pieces are held. The Tate (so far) is my favorite museum of all of Europe. The first visiting exhibit is from African painter, Meschac Gaba, who moved to Sweden and began to note the differences of the two different worlds, representing in the room display. How I love modern contemporary art.
(6) One of trio becomes bored with modern art, so we go to modern structures-the London Eye! We watch a video in 4D to prepare us for the experience on the Eye, like a bird soaring through the sky, witnessing all of London’s grand landmarks.
(7) I get to see Westminster Abbey from high above, and I’m excited!
(8) Once we get an eye ride, we venture out along Victoria pier. There is a neighborhood festival occurring and sand is actually utilized for a sort of semi mock-beach scene. I have a riot just looking out along the spectators.
(9) Finally, sunset along the harbor, placing peace upon a wonderful, eventful day.
1st Additional Expressive Writing Spontaneous Memory Monologue
“The Professor” by May F. Chung
Two years ago, I studied abroad at Oxford University on a NC State University Summer Programme. It was my first time out of the country on my own (my family frequently makes trips back to China), and I was ecstatic to see the magical island that hosted Harry Potter and the birth place of one of my favorite languages in the world. I had an amazing time at Oxford. I met friends who I still keep in touch with. I took a Shakespeare course with an Oxford-educated don named Dr. Chris Salamone, who just finished his dissertation on ghosts in Shakespeare. I read Titus Andronicus. Not Shakespeare’s best play, but the most descriptive. And hey, there’s even pie!
Dr. Chris, as we called him, was quirky. He was awk-a-ward. He would make us read and act out lines from the play while I tried eating biscuits (cookies) to stay awake. Nevertheless, he was young, he wore plaid, and he had a British accent, and really, that’s all you need to woo me over. After Oxford, Dr. Chris and I stayed in touch via Facebook. I was surprised that he shared the same music tastes that I did, including my favorite local band, The Bowerbirds. I wonder why this never came up in conversation. “So, I think Lavinia is a Christ-like figure when she mitigates death and life and DO YOU LISTEN TO THE BOWERBIRDS?!” In North Carolina, he would frequently comment on my radio station show, even though I DJ-ed until 7pm, which was midnight his time.
While I was in Guatemala, he had messaged me about this music festival called Latitude Festival in Suffolk, England for the weekend. I figured, since I was in the country, I could reunite with my old professor! Once I touched down in England, I made up my room at the University of Surrey. Apparently, “flannel” means “washcloths” in Guildford, so imagine my confusion when “bring lots of flannel” means I was the only one wearing plaid shirts in 80 degree (40 degree Celsius) weather. The night of my first night in England, Dr. Chris messaged me his number (which is awkward here because I don't have a phone), and I was going to try straight after class to make it. I made notes about the time it would get to places and everything. Total time, 4 hours and 30 minutes. I live in Guildford, which is south of England and the concert was near the beach toward the north near Scotland.
The trains in England are unbearable. The locals would tell me that they almost never run on schedule, and they rarely replace trains or railroads. The government, they said snidely, spent more money on the Olympics than they did in improving their country. And to make it worse, the trains run up and down the country instead of side to side.
The train to London only took an hour! But as soon as I got to London, the train was CANCELLED, not even delayed, because some guy tried to kill himself. Apparently, he had spent 6 pounds on a train ticket, but to him, it was 6 pounds too much? I didn’t panic, but I felt myself wondering, “What do I do?” But I'm guessing this happens often, according to some of the people I talked to, so maybe it was more dangerous. Anyways, it happened to be the TWO TRAINS (Norwich and Ipswitch) that I needed to get to the festival. One guy said that trains haven't been canceled in years. Just my luck. I've had the worst times with Transportation thus far (having jumped from a moving bus in Guatemala).
I was stranded in London without a place to say, no way to contact Dr. Chris, and no way to get to the festival. One man who I asked in anguish said his sister was picking him up and he asked if I wanted to ride along. He was so nice! Unfortunately the train for his town was leaving in like 2 minutes and I couldn't get a ticket in time. So sad. I started asking the subway station workers if there was something I could do—and they responded, “stay here”, rather abruptly.So, I had two choices. Stay in London, or try to make it to Suffolk. Somehow. Not lacking in adventure, I decided to go for it. I overheard someone say to go through Cambridge, and that train was leaving in 5 minutes. On impulse, I bought a ticket and got on the train. I asked this nice lady on a bike if it took me to Ipswitch, and she said yes, but her husband said there might not be a connecting train when I got there. But there was! I had to take one all the way around where I needed to be, and the speed at which it operated was like a depressed snail but I made it to the next station, where I took one last train (4 in total that day) to Halesworth, near the beach. Here, I shared a taxi with some festival-goers to my final destination.
After 9 hours, I had made it! But here was the problem. I had planned on going to the Box Office early, so I could buy a ticket. I couldn't order one in advance because they were mailed tickets and I needed a UK address. The box office was closed. It was
11pm. There were no hotels or hostels or any lodging near the town because it's a small coastal beach town with lots of summer homes (for rich, British families). It looked like I was going to have to find a tree and get cozy for the night. So, I explained all of this to the security guards, who were so angry when they discovered me, roaming around the tents. I asked, "Um, where is the box office?" and one of the security guards questioned me very intently ("what are you doing here? How did you get here?" He asked me "who let you in" like 5 times). I tried to explain that I wasn't trespassing, I just wanted to buy a ticket, and I had the money for it. The guy said the box office was closed. They took me to the central offices for the festival where they quarantined me for an hour where they discussed my fate. The angry security guard was whispering, "well, we can't just give out free passes". I'm guessing they felt bad about ditching this lost female outside in the middle of a foreign country. The head of security came over and asked me the previous questions from before. “I don’t know what to tell you,” he relayed, “You have no place to stay, and the box office doesn’t open until 10am.” He asked where I was staying in England, and when I replied, “Guildford,” he remarked that it was a long ways away, indeed. I told him that I had spent 10 hours on a train, hoping to win over some sympathy. Eventually, he asked, “What are you going to do?” I paused, and then asked, “What do YOU recommend I should do?” He left and then came back with a resolution. “I called to wake up the Box Office personnel.” It was midnight then. “I awoke him up from his sleep”. I felt so bad, but the guy was actually the nicest man alive. He was like don't worry about it, and gave me exact change, and lent me his phone to call Dr. Chris. I've always depended upon the kindness of the British! Dr. Chris met me and we went to dance in a tent called “Guilty Pleasures” but was mostly 90s music and Taylor swift. Oh man how the British love Taylor Swift. For the record, I am an awesome dancer, and Chris most certainly is not. He is awk-a-ward, more than ever!
We met up with his friends, who I think might even be too cool for them. I got along with them fine, but they seemed to ignore him. They worked in the music industry, apparently, and true enough, they ditched him the next night. At night, we went back to his tent, where he decided to reveal that he had a girlfriend. I wasn't really disappointed after seeing him dance, but he was being awkward about me sharing his tent with him. He was actually being super stuck-up and saying how much he needed a pillow and actually bought one from a campsite store.
The next morning, I went to take a shower, and Dr. Chris was like "yeah I'll wait for you" but when I returned back to the campsite, he was gone! He did send me a message on facebook, but we're in the middle of nowhere in a music festival, there isn’t any wifi to be found. If you watch Arrested Development, you know this is why you ALWAYS leave a note. Tsk.
Regardless, I had a really fun day and got to see 8 bands that I love! It was the best time of my life, going to a music festival in England! There were people on rollerskates and kids drinking with their parents and pastors praying and drinking at the same time. I don't regret going at all (even though it was super expensive), and I actually think it is one of the best experiences of my life. I met so many people, just connecting to people I had met while standing in line or waiting for a band to play. When I explained music festivals to new strangers I met, they acknowledged that Lattitude was composed of mostly upper-middle to high class families. I love the fact that in England, families go to music festivals together. Totally made up for the time I almost died in Latin America! Because I didn't have a phone I had to continually do the awkward thing of asking people if I could use their phone. I got really good at asking, “Hi, I’m a confused foreigner. Can I use your phone?” This happened about 5 times because Chris is ABSOLUTELY AWFUL about answer his phone. The last guy I asked actually decided to keep me company until Chris met up with us like 40 minutes later. His name was Michael and he was really nice, as I’ve grown to admire from the British.
It’s different from the South in America. They always say that Southern Americans are always really nice, but in a way, I find it a bit facetious, kind of like how “bless your heart” doesn’t always mean well. For the British, they are a composite of how Americans act. I think they are perceived to be very rude, like Northerners, and direct if you are actin’ like a fool. However, generally, they are so pleasant, and will do everything in their power to help you out!
By the time Dr. Chris arrived, he was incredibly inebriated. We talked about what we did that day, and then he said "sorry I didn't meet up with you earlier. I was in line for the peep show." I was so taken aback, and pardoned him, "sorry to keep you from your peep show". I, then, had to explain to Michael that this was my classical-educated, esteemed Oxford professor, in jorts, drunk as hell, jaunting crookedly down to the Burlesque tent to catch a peep show. Michael had to part from me but wanted to see me the next day, and I was like Yeah sure. He asked me to meet him outside of the tent, but I had to get back for class tomorrow, so he probably stood outside waiting for me all day. So sad. When Dr. Chris crawled into the tent, it was like 4am. I asked him about the peep show, which turned out more literary than physical (that's so British). He then spent a good portion of the night describing various lewd things, which I did not expect from him. It just goes to show, sometimes people will surprise you. The next morning, I came back to the tent after brushing my teeth and saw Chris off again. I asked him, and quite frightened him, “Oh, are you leaving?” He wished me a Happy Travels, but I decided that I did not want to see him ever again. What I learned from this experience is to see the humanity in people. This was surprising for me, as I always assumed British people to be stuck-up, cold, and cavalier. The impression is that they’re snotty and I was so amazed that a gentleman in the train station would offer to take a stranger to her intended destination by car, which is over an hour away. They were handing out water in the subway to make sure people stayed hydrated, even though it was only 80 degrees. Both the security guard and a box office
man wanted to make sure that I was safe in their country, even though I was pretty sure they would never do that in America. Even at the music festival, I would see small moments of kindness. The guards would take teenagers out of the festival for stage-diving, and then give them a pat on the back, and some water. They handed out small cups of water to people in the audience. Even in the drunken debauchery of nighttime, when some folks were singing loudly, a gentleman turned around and asked politely if they could stop. “I’m sorry, mate” said the previous man who was singing in his ear. I could have sworn this would have turned into a fight in the U.S. Most of all, I enjoyed time with myself, and living England a local and not as a tourist.
It was a time well spent.
2nd Additional Expressive Writing (Spencer and May arrive at an apartment complex they believe to be the international students’ dorm) May: Are you sure it’s the right one? Spencer: (whips out a piece of paper) Yeah… we just cut across here. And they said it’s on the third floor. May: Awesome. What did they say when they invited you over for dinner? Spencer: I just asked if there were any good places to eat Chinese food here, and they said there weren’t any. But then they said they would make me some. May: Oh, are they all Chinese? Spencer: Yup. Thanks for coming with me. May: No problem. I’ve been missing Chinese food too since I’ve been in Guatemala for so long. I craved my dad’s cooking. (arrives at apartment complex). Is this it? Are we here? Spencer: Seems about right. Let’s knock on the door. (He knocks on the door).
(A Chinese girl answers the door). May: Ni hao! Hi! We’re looking for… um Spencer: Christina. Is Christina here? Chinese girl: Um, Christ-in? No Cristin here. Spencer: Hmm well is this 36A? Girl: Yes but um no Christin here. (she waves May and Spencer in and lets them stand in the flat). Spencer and May: er… Girl: I will check (she knocks on every door and speaks Mandarin to the residents. They all shake their head). May: (aside) why would they give you the wrong address? Spencer: I don’t know. It says 36A, does it not? May: It does. (joking) Maybe they don’t like you, Spencer. Spencer: (concerned) Maybe. Girl (returning): No, they not Christin. May: I have an idea. There’s a number here. Could you call— Girl: Oh yes (she calls the number on the phone. They speak in Mandarin and she nods) Ohh! She is downstairs May: OH cool! Thank you so much! (May and Spencer head downstairs to the kitchen. They enter a room that is erupted immediately by delicious smells and the appearance of 8 Chinese women and 1 man). Spencer: Hi Christina! Christina: Spencahhh! (she embraces him. All the other women look at May) Spencer: This is May! She’s in the program, too. May: Ni Hao! I’m May! Like the month. (The girls are confused) Girl: Are you Chinese?
May: Yes, but I’m American born. American-born Chinese. Have you heard of ABC? Girl: OH yes! There are lots of ABC May: (relieved) Oh cool. Lucy: hi, my name is Lucy! May: Nice to meet you! Snow: Mine is snow. May: That’s really beautiful! Snow: (blushes and quietly whispers) Thank you. Weiye: My name is Weiye! Your English is so good! May: Oh Yes! I’m an English teacher! Weiye: (slowly) Oh, could you teach me English? I want to learn. May: Oh, I would love to! Anna: me too! My name is Anna! This is Bear. He is our house husband (the girls laugh). And he is musician! May: Oh really? What do you play? Bear: Guitar. (He pulls out his guitar and starts strumming a song) Spencer: Oh, should we help with cooking? Christina: No, you are guest. Please have a seat. (May and Spencer sit down at a table awkwardly while the girls prepare their meals) Layla: I am Layla! Spencer and May: nice to meet you! Layla: Would you like some orange juice? May: Sure! Spencer: Oh yes, I would, thank you. (aside) I’ve never had Chinese food with orange juice before. May: Fruit is a delicacy, I think. (Layla brings back mugs of orange juice and Christina approaches Spencer) Christina: Spencer, you play guitar?
Spencer: Yes, a little bit but very bad. Christina: Oh, you must play us a song. Spencer: Oh no, I can’t The girls: Yes, you must! Spencer: (blushes) Oh. OK. (Bear hands him a guitar) So, this is a band from North Carolina called The Avett Brothers. And this is called “Murdered in the City”. (Sings) If I get murdered in the city Don't go revenging in my name One person dead from such is plenty No need to go get locked away When I leave your arms The things I think of No need to get over alarmed I'm coming home I wonder which brother is better Which one our parents loved the most I sure did get in lots of trouble They seemed to let the other go A tear fell from my father's eye I wondered what my dad would say He said, "I love you and I'm proud of you both, In so many different ways" If I get murdered in the city Go read the letter in my desk Don't bother with all my belongings Pay attention to the list Make sure my sister knows I love her Make sure my mother knows the same Always remember there was nothing worth sharing Like the love that let us share our name Always remember there was nothing worth sharing Like the love that let us share our name (The girls clap and exclaim) Girls: That was beautiful! (They collectively swoon over Spencer)
May: (joking) I donâ€™t know. I think you messed up a little. Spencer: Whatever, May. (The girls spread out an amazing spread of food, one by one. Spencer and May happily gorge themselves on food). Spencer: Iâ€™ve never had authentic Chinese food before. May: This is the same dishes my dad would make. Thank you so much! Girls: Oh do not worry. My pleasure. Layla (whispers to her friend who nods and then asks) May, do you eat lots of chicken? May: Yes, I think so. Why? Layla: You are very tall. You must eat lots of chicken. Friend:Yes, in China, we eat lots of vegetables. But you are American, so that is why you are so tall. May: Oh, thank you. Bear: And also why you are so loud! (everyone laughs) Spencer: What do you think of British food? Anna: It is awful. (the girls all laugh and nod in agreement). May: Well, we can all agree on that. (Spencer and May have a delightful time with the international students and share many experiences with British customs, which they all find both delightful and intriguing. The Surrey teachers head home with their stomachs full and their hearts engorged).
Published on Jul 8, 2013