Fictitiously Yours

9 November 2014

It’s close to the middle of the month, and I have barely begun my NaNo Novel for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Given that I am stuck with classes and my Internship, it is difficult to find the time in between studying to write. It is no wonder that my word count has yet to hit the 10,000 mark, much less the 50,000 mark. Though, soon, I believe I’ll get caught up to 10,000.

For anyone else undergoing this endeavor, kudos to you. Keep going, and I wish you a blessed month of hectic writing. Just, please, make sure you don’t have a caffeine overdose. ;-)

Peace,

Bernadette Rocha

Writing Center

14 October 2014

It has been a while since I have written anything. Well, that is not entirely true. Let me elaborate: It has been a while since I have written anything on this dandy ‘lil ‘ol blog of mine. While I have been away from my desk, so-to-speak, I have been busily trying to maintain my illustrious grade-point average. Last I checked, my cumulative GPA was a whopping 3.96! I have no intention of that becoming any lower. Hence, why I have seemingly abandoned my social haven in favor of weaving together beautiful melodies¬† — ahem — sentences for the various essays of which I have been tasked to write.

While I am taking an English Composition class, in hopes of becoming a more adept writer, I still feel as though I need some extra help. This is why I take advantage of the Writing Center. The Writing Center is a center on campus where some fabulous people help students with their papers. They are not there to correct grammar or to correct any other mistakes which are commonly found in a paper. They are there to help students become better writers. They help students look at their paper in different ways so that the student can identify mistakes on their own. They are there to help students help themselves, but armed with the resources they need to do well.

And, they are good at what they do.

I took, what I felt to be my final rough draft, to the Writing Center one day. I asked the person that I was working with if he could help me identify any problems that I may need to fix. Mostly, my issues were thesis-based. Not a good sign. A poor thesis is a poor start.

While I worked on the final revisions of my essay, I couldn’t help but to wonder how I ended up writing a paper that had little to nothing to do with my original thesis. This, I found, was something that I would have to work hard to avoid in the near future. Fortunately, my final product received a fairly decent grade. My Instructor suggested that, while my thesis was fine, it could be a bit more explicit. If he only knew how bad it originally was. What would’ve happened had I not gone to the Writing Center? Best not to dwell too much on it!

Bernadette Rocha

A Book’s Smell

There’s something comforting about lighting a candle, putting on soft music in the background, kicking your shoes off, getting comfy on the couch, opening a good paperback or hardbound novel and begin reading. Old books and new books alike emit their own odors, yet they elicit that special pleasantness that book-lovers everywhere understand inherently. — Bernadette Rocha

The text which I wrote and posted above was in response to the following article:

Where Does The Smell of Old Books Come From? by Lisa Winter

http://www.iflscience.com/chemistry/where-does-smell-old-books-come

Haven

Bernadette Rocha
11 September 2014

I know that many will probably wonder at my excitement over a certain little show that I enjoy. The show is called, “Haven” and is based off of the story by Stephen King called, “The Colorado Kid”. I have never read the book, but at some point I absolutely intend to.

For those of you who share my excitement, excellent! For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about, let me fill you in. In the town of Haven, on the East Coast, there are people who go about their daily business as usual. There are also people who go about their daily business, not as usual. Strange things seem to consistently happen in the town of Haven.

Audrey Parker was sent to Haven to investigate a case, and ended up staying to work there instead. Why? Because it would help her to get clues about her own life as well as to be able to help those that are “troubled”. A “troubled” person is a person who is afflicted by the “Troubles”, which basically means that the person has mysterious abilities that may be a blessing or a curse.

I can’t really give out too many details other than these basics, because the show is very involved. If you would like to start watching, please make sure you start from Season 1, Episode 1. Do not begin your Haven viewing pleasure with this season (Season 5). Trust me, even if you think things make sense, there will be so much going over your head. If you want to skip episodes, that’s up to you, but I promise you that all kinds of twists and turns happened last season which led up to a crazy Season Finale. If you have not been following the storyline, there’s really not any way to simply “jump right in”.

For those of you who are Haven fans, you completely understand where I am coming from with this.

From Audrey to Mara, all kinds of mysterious happenings happen at Haven.

Tune into SyFy on Thursday nights at 8/7c. (I am on the West Coast)

http://syfy.com/haven

http://twitter.com/havenherald http://facebook.com/haven

http://instagram.com/havenherald

http://havenherald.tumblr.com/

Follow the blurbs about Haven on Twitter with the hashtag #Haven5

Tonight, they will be having a live stream via Twitter at http://twitter.com/havenherald

Language and Culture

There’s something about other languages that I find absolutely fascinating.

English: English is my first language, and the only one with which I speak fluently.

Spanish: I have picked up some Spanish along the way since childhood. Though I do not speak Spanish fluently, I can understand it usually enough to “get the gist of things”. I love music in Spanish, most particularly from Selena (Quintanilla-Perez, NOT Gomez), Jennifer Pena and Shakira. Though I don’t speak Spanish fluently, and have no wish to, I would like to build my vocabulary enough to improve my Spanglish – which I use daily as a result of where I live. Plus – it’ll help me when I am purchasing my favorite breads, pastries, drinks (horchata, tamarindo, jamaica), and foods (tamales, chile relleno’s, etc.). Also, I have Hispanic blood running through my veins, so it is only natural that I know at least a little.

French: Took two years of it in High School, but don’t really remember much. Not a language I particularly am fond of.

Hebrew: Learned some of the language, but had to stop as I don’t know anyone who knows Hebrew. I like to pray in Hebrew as I am more of an Old Testament person, though I am not religious and my beliefs are all over the place. Would love to learn Aramaic as well.

Arabic: Know the alphabet, but would like to learn the language. Learned about Islam and gained a more positive perspective as I learned the alphabet.

(Would love to tour Israel and the Middle East someday)

Gaelic: As my blood is part Irish, and I particularly enjoy Irish Music (Celtic Woman, Celtic Thunder), I feel as though I should learn this as part of my heritage. So far, the alphabet has been confusing, so I am just going to stick with phonetically sounding out the songs.

Hindi: I love Bollywood, my favorite film ever is Kal Ho Naa Ho. My friend said that she’d help me learn Hindi if I ever get around to it, so I have been (rather slowly as I am pretty busy) learning the Devanagari Script (the alphabet). I tried once before to learn, so I know it will be a bit complicated as the language changes due to gender.

Thai: As much as I love Thai food, I never really had any interest in the language until recently. This is because my friend has a habit of slipping into talking in Thai with her friend when she is around, forgetting I don’t understand. She also said she’d teach me, so I have been (slowly) learning the alphabet to begin with.

Japanese: Tried learning Japanese in middle school, but had to move schools so I forgot what I learned. Recently, I have been watching a lot of Anime and Japanese Horror, so I have picked up some Japanese, but not enough to hold a conversation with. Would love to learn this language fluently as I like the sound of it, and it is part of a culture which I find fascinating.

Korean: Last, but certainly not least. This language hit me hard when I realized how beautiful it is. I wonder if this is why I like Korean music and drama, which I like to watch on Netflix. My favorite band of all time actually is from S. Korea. They are called, “Nell” and have more of an alternative/rock sound than the k-pop sound, and they are an actual band that plays live with instruments – which is refreshing. Currently, I have begun actually trying to learn Korean on my own. I already know how to read and write the alphabet, and some basic words and phrases. Right now, I am working on trying to conjugate verbs, which is freaking hard in this language.

My goal is to transfer to the University of Washington from my current school within the next two years. Since I will be trying to earn a Bachelor in Communications: Journalism, I have to take two years of a foreign language as a requirement to get the degree. I want those classes to go as smoothly as possible (to keep up with my super awesome grades), so I am learning now so that when I start taking the course that they offer there, I will be able to have a slight grasp on it and not fail miserably. Then, I will see about transfering to a University in S. Korea for a semester or two. :-)

One of the reasons that I enjoy language so much, is that it allows me to learn and understand more about their culture. For example, when I tried learning Hebrew and Arabic, there was no way to escape also learning about Judaism and Islam. Since Cultures can also be defined by their religions, I indirectly began to learn about them. Due to this, I was able to set aside preconceived (and what turned out to be prejudiced) notions and beliefs.

Another way I like to learn about different cultures is through their cuisine. A friend of mine (since High School) is from Nigeria, and her mom is from Ghana. Her mom cooks traditional foods all of the time. While I do not recall the names of what she makes, I love eating over at her house. The sauces, or stews as she calls it, tastes so yummy over meat and rice.

At my Internship, there are some Ethiopian family’s. They have cooked for the center a couple of times, and each time it has been so good. This is actually how I found out that my current all-time favorite food is Injera and Wat. The only thing is, I have to use my hands to eat it! I am okay with it now, but at first it was a bit of a culture shock. Plus, I have never really liked using my fingers. But then again, don’t we use fingers for things such as pizza and fries?

In Seattle, next to the Pike Place Market, we have this little (seriously – little) Russian bakery called, “Piroshky Piroshky”. They sell Piroshky’s (duh), and they are so freaking delicious! A Piroshky is this filled pastry. The pastries they sell are filled with meats and veggies, even rice. They even have desert Piroshky’s. Ok, maybe I haven’t learned anything about Russian culture, but I did learn that, even though its a small bakery, they make everything right there, and the line generally is really long, and way out the door during the lunch hour. No wonder. The first time I’d ever been in there, I was walking past, on my way to find a snack. I caught a delicious waft in the air and followed the smell. I couldn’t help but to buy one, and since then, I’ve been hooked.

Whether through language or through food, I find learning about as well as experiencing different cultures to be wonderfully fascinating. As I feel so passionate about this, as well as writing, I have decided that my ideal career would be to travel the world (or at least to countries I want to go to such as: S. Korea, Japan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Palestine, Moldova, Ethiopia, Egypt, Russia, Ukraine, Germany, Ireland, Hong Kong, Taiwan, England, Thailand, Switzerland, Iceland, Philippines, Lebanon and Australia). I really want to immerse myself into their cultures and learn everything I can, and write a detailed account of my experience.

Either that, or I was thinking of Anthropology and Linguistics. :-)