Remember the days of being in middle school and learning about all the places in the world you could travel to? I couldn't either until I was cleaning my room last week and found my old, 250+ bullet list of things I wanted to do before I die, also known as my bucket list. Let me tell you that this was one of the stupidest things I have ever written. I decided to update it and shrink it. After careful consideration, I have created my new version of my bucket list, comprised of 25 items.
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In shortcomings, faults and weaknesses.
"The Lord, my God, lights up my darkness." Psalm 18:28
I have so many shortcomings. I have struggles, insecurities, doubts, faults, times I fall short… The list goes on. I remember going into the summer praying God would reveal my weaknesses; exposing anything in my life hindering me from living a life of fullness in Him. Honestly, this is a dangerous prayer. The Lord is faithful and has answered this prayer in ways I have not expected. It has been both one of the best times where I have seen such monumental growth, but also difficult continually realizing faults and flaws about yourself. All of this, God already knew and knows everything I am continuously learning.
But thank God for God. Despite all of these things, He still uses me in ways I never thought tangible. He takes us— brokenness and all— and continuously crafts us so we may be molded into someone who does something that was once unimaginable. This is not for us, but all for His glory. Through our brokenness, His light is shown. It is when we look in the mirror and see everything we do and are is the byproduct of God at work within us. With complete surrender comes complete raw dependence on God, which is right where He wants us. Because it is when we do or accomplish something that is so far out of our realm of competence, it is not us, but God entirely.
I have so many shortcomings. Each day I am in need of God’s mercy, love, grace, strengths and forgiveness. But thanks be to God that He meets all of us no matter where we may be, and each day forms and molds us to all He has created to be so that whatever we may do in the world, we may do it big and for His glory.
A look at the legalization of marijuana nation wide.
A piece of history that has carried news across the nation for centuries is the newspaper. As technology has grown, people looking to read updates in the world open up their computers or phones and read online. A news source that has made a change to the writing world is The Denver Post: they have create the first ever pot Editor. Ricardo Baca has worked for The Denver Post for the past 12 years and now is the well recognized American publisher of The Cannabist.
As Colorado continues to reach record numbers with marijuana sales, The Cannabist allows a different perspective for individuals who don't know or understand the uses of marijuana. Ricardo Baca was filmed in the 2015 documentary called "Rolling Papers" that focuses on the spread of success stories and provides insight on the medical uses for marijuana and the levels of THC in items sold at shops.
While The Cannabist spreads joy of the legal abilities that Colorado allows its citizens to have, it also shows the powerful growth across the United States with articles related to New York City and other major cities. The movement that Ricardo Baca has created is a revolutionary idea that will continue to spread around major American newspapers as marijuana becomes legal in other states.
The creation of the first 'pot Editor' opens up many more doors for individuals to have success in a field that is still yet to be explored. Many citizens of the United States hear the words marijuana and immediately stereotype it, believing it is bad and will ruin your life. However, The Denver Post and Ricardo Baca attempt to show the medical success and the importance of legalization.
In May of 2016, Colorado had sold $270 million dollars worth of Marijuana in three months of operation according to "http://www.thecannabist.co/". Demonstrating that the taxes and well balanced structure that Colorado has created in marijuana laws is something that the rest of the nation should look upon. Laws that state that an individual over 21 is able to purchase marijuana would be sufficient, just as alcohol is legal at 21 years old.
While marijuana is still illegal for recreational use across the nation, The Denver Post and Ricardo Baca will hopefully shine light to legislation in D.C. and help push the movement of legalization state-wide. People forget about the power of a writer and Ricardo Baca is illustrating the importance of speaking your mind on topics people find sensitive.
The most fun things are the things that aren't really planned, right?
Back when I was in the second grade my class would have to write about what we did over the weekend every Monday morning in our journals. Some kids would write one sentence or maybe a paragraph, but not me. I loved to write from the start and wrote pages upon pages about every single thing I did from the time I left school on Friday all the way through Sunday night and would get mad if I forgot to include anything. I haven’t written about my weekend in a long time, but I had such a great Saturday two weekends ago that I’ve decided to write all about my day just like I did at age seven.
My original plan for the weekend was to go to Hershey, Pennsylvania with my parents and brother because my brother had a baseball tournament. I really wanted to go to Hershey Park because I haven’t been there since I was 10 and my mom wanted to go to Gettysburg. In the end, however, I stayed behind because I had volunteering on Monday afternoon that I didn’t want to miss and my family wasn’t going to get back until Monday night. Oh it’s fine, I thought when I realized I was being abandoned for the weekend. I’ll find other things to do.
I decided that spending a day down the shore by my grandfather’s house would be nice and asked my friend Jeremy if he wanted to come with me the next day. He said yes, and then we asked our friend Brian to come along too. Our plan was to leave at 8 the next morning and come home sometime in the afternoon or early evening.
Even though I planned on getting up early to get ready I could not fall asleep and started pacing around my house. Sometime around midnight I got a text from my friend Sara. She asked if I wanted to do something really spontaneous. She and our friends Jen and Jess were planning on seeing Justin Bieber the next day in Newark but they didn’t have tickets yet and she wanted to know if I wanted to join them. Did I? I would be lying if I said I was the world’s biggest Justin Bieber fan, but I like a fair amount of his songs and I love concerts. I knew that we would have a blast, so I obviously responded with a “yes!”.
About 6 and a half hours, give or take, later, I was up and getting ready for the beach. I got my things together, took a shower, fed my dog and waited for the boys to show up. They came a little after eight and we were on our way. Along the way Jeremy and Brian fought over the radio stations, we had to stop so Brian could pee and Jeremy made us drive down a 25 mph street for longer than was necessary because it was the street his own shore house was on, but eventually we made it and went up to the beach. It was so cloudy out that we basically had the whole beach to ourselves. A cloudy beach day is not necessarily a bad beach day, though, and the three of us had a great time. We went for a walk, took some fun beachy pics and played volleyball before heading back to eat lunch. Shortly after lunch we headed back home. Brian and Jeremy continued to fight over the radio stations and Brian’s portable charger. I also went the wrong way at one point which caused a five minute detour (if you know me well enough that is not surprising information), but, once again, we made it back to find Sara and Jen in my driveway (the poor girls were probably in my driveway for more than an hour. Sorry guys!).
After my friends briefly met each other and got a look at my (messy) room, the boys went on their way and Sara, Jen and I got ready for the Biebs. After some outfit try ons and putting on of make-up, we went off to the concert. There was just one problem. We still didn’t have tickets.
We were almost to the Prudential Center, where the concert was taking place, when the tickets were finally purchased. We found $15 parking a few blocks away and found our friend Jess, who had flown in from Seattle. We had to walk through a fancy hallway to print out or tickets since they were on Sara’s phone. The hallway wasn’t actually fancy but it made you feel like you were going backstage.
Two of our tickets were for one section facing the front of the stage while the other two were on the side of the stage. Jess and I took the tickets for the front and Sara and Jen took the tickets for the side. We agreed to switch seats halfway through the concert.
Some dude named Post Malone opened for Biebs. I knew one of his songs (apparently it’s called White Iverson) and Jess didn’t know any of them. He wasn’t bad at all, though.
Bieber made his grand entrance in a giant box in a very interesting choice of wardrobe. Ahhh!! This was my eighth concert, and six out of the eight I’ve been to have been country concerts, so Bieber’s performance was a whole new experience. The backup dancers were incredible, the lights were perfect, Justin did a backflip and a DJ was in charge of the music, except for when Bieber pulled out his guitar and played on a couch. We were all so drawn into the concert that it was more than halfway through when we switched seats.
When Jess and I got to our new seats, we saw that we were so far off to the side that there weren’t any people to the right of us. We were, however, so close to the stage. On top of that, we could see everything that was going on backstage; the backup dancers getting ready, people making preparations, and, when the time came, Bieber sitting in a chair waiting for his encore. His encore was Sorry, and it was definitely my favorite song that he performed. Rain poured down on him, and I have to say, he looked super hot dripping wet. At the end he held his little brother and thanked the crowd for coming. Jess and I then got a perfect view of Justin walking down the stairs to backstage with his brother and saw a man hand him a towel and then wrap his brother up in one.
Overall, the concert was even more fun than I thought it was going to be; easily worth every penny. When we left the building, it was raining profusely and the car was several blocks away, so we ran through the rain singing “Is it too late now to say soorrryyy?” just like Justin just did. We went to McDonald’s and indulged on chicken nuggets, fries and McFlurries.
Sadly, all good things have to come to an end, and the night did indeed come to a close, but that day was one of if not the best day of my summer so far. With the summer going by as fast as it is it’s important to make the absolute most of it, and I’m happy to say that that day I did. It was a perfect day with perfect company all around from start to finish. Random fun fact: we're still talking about the concert.
The phenomenon of Chicken Tikka
As I sat and had lunch with my colleagues in London, we got into a conversation about British food that I need to try before I leave. Immersed in a conversation about Sunday roasts, mashed potatoes and sausages, I almost fell off my chair when one of my colleagues looked right at me and told me to try chicken tikka masala “the national food of Britain.”
I stared her down with a look of bewilderment until she finally caught on and went on to clarify that though chicken tikka masala was technically South Asian, its popularity in Britain had made it the national food. I went back home and immediately Googled “chicken tikka masala” and was brought into the world of controversy and scandal surrounding a dish that tasted bland and underwhelming.
As I swallowed my chicken tikka masala, I read about how Robin Cook the British foreign secretary in 2001 announced Chicken Tikka Masala(CTM) as “British national dish.” Cook passed CTM for being delicious and achieving the status of British national food “not only because it is the most popular, but because it is a perfect illustration of the way Britain absorbs and adapts external influences.”
*coughs, Brexit, coughs*
The origination of tikka masala is said to have happened in a restaurant in Delhi when a European traveller asked the cook to change his chicken tikka (an actual Indian dish) and make it less dry. Frustrated, the cook stomped into the kitchen, opened a box of Campbell's soup and dumped it onto the spicy chicken tikka and that was the birth of your beloved chicken tikka masala
Tikka masala represents a phenomenon that Indians have been observed to undertake frequently - the molding and fixing of something authentically Indian to fit the taste of Britishers or the Western world in general.
I studied in a private English school, where I was told to speak in English whenever I could. Hindi, my native language, was seen as something you spoke at home or when talking to lower classes. The elite in India conform to this strategy of molding their authentic Indian-self to one that is more Western in order to uphold their class status and identity as someone who is not inferior.
When I came to the states, I conformed to an American lifestyle by dressing a certain way and talking a certain way in order to match the taste of the American elite. My parents warned me against activism or anything else that would make me stand out as a brown woman who did not comply to the bland taste of the white elite of the world. I was told to become their chicken tikka masala.
While Britain differs in the states in the sense that Britain has done a stellar job in “absorbing” Indian culture with numerous South Asian restaurants, stores, chai chains, made in India clothes and whitewashed Indian food, they seem to struggle accepting brown people. (ahem, Brexit)
With a substantial rise against South Asian and brown individuals in Britain, the media refuses to cover stories and give due importance to attacks against brown, specifically Muslim women in Britain. Living in East London, an area well known for acid attacks against South Asian women in London, I am surprised by the lack of safety measures taken by the government in order to protect individuals belonging to the same culture whose food they so thoroughly enjoy.
How can we go about decolonising this phenomenon of chicken tikka masala?
Who doesn't love potatoes!?
Potatoes are great. All these different types of potatoes come from just one single plant: the potato. Let's take a scroll and appreciate the potato and all of its various forms.
1. Baked potato
2. Loaded baked potato
3. Mashed potato
4. French fries
5. Curly fries
6. Waffle fries
7. Steak fries
8. Potato wedges
10. Roasted potatoes
11. Potato chips
12. Potatoes gratin (Scalloped potatoes)
13. Potato skins
14. Tater tots
15. Potato soup
16. Potato salad
17. Cheesy potatoes
18. Sliced potatoes
1. Brittany Morgan,National Writer's Society
2. Radhi,SUNY Stony Brook
3. Kristen Haddox, Penn State University
4. Jennifer Kustanovich, SUNY Stony Brook
5. Clare Regelbrugge, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign