Monday, 16 November 2009

Cultural Encounters Blog Reflection

1. What was one thing you learned from the simulations we played in class? How did this help you understand the essential questions better?

Working with other people may have been probably the most important thing in the life of those pilgrims. Alone they were probably equal to nothing. For us, there were a couple farmers in our group who came because of religious tolerances or economic reasons. A few of the farmers had hired laborers and an indentured servant who also came to work with them in the simulation. I felt, even though it was not real life, that it must have been a hard life for the pilgrims leaving their hometown and moving to another uncivilized New World. They must have had to plow the ground to get ready for the harvest and the sowing may have been the first in centuries to have happened there. The simulations helped me understand the two essential questions ('Why do people move?' and "What do we do when people don't think, act, or speak the same way we do?') Those questions confused me until I found out about the hard or depressing lives of others, and learned more about the communications and the relationships between the Indians and the colonists. I learned that there are many answers, no right or wrong, to these questions. Everyone may have a different reason to move. Their lives might just change where they were headed to.

2. Reading was a part of Cultural Encounters. When you read the books you were asked to think about your reading. What did you learn about your reading while doing this?
I learned that laborers had usually been forced to come. Some others had been too. Some people had to escape from their country only because they were different. They may not have thought that was fair, but the people who kicked them out may have thought differently. I learned many different things about how they lived as a colony in those times. For instance, I learned that everybody, every once in a while, got together in a town meeting to report their accomplishments or complaints. Everyone in the colony was allowed to go to the town hall meeting because everyone was important. There was also another part in one of the books that told me some pilgrims may not have survived the first few years or even the boat because of poor health and food conditions, but as time went by, they had good communication between the Indians and got used to the place. The Indians helped the colonists to sow the plants that grew best in that area. Those are only some of the things I learned while reading.

3. Did the journal entries help you to better understand your character? Why or why not? Explain in detail.
Yes, they obviously helped my understandings for the character because I decided to really be in the laborer's shoes. I learned of their hard life and wrote about it. Whenever I read a book that told me more about their lives, I tried to figure out how I would write it out as if the character was writing it, so later when I read it, I would be able to figure out about what it was like. I thought that if the character did this, what would have happened? What mostly I tried to do in my journal entries was to help myself feel like I was a pilgrim living back in those times. I am sure that it was a long time ago, so I tried to really make it feel like it. I did not put any modern things in it, just to see how it felt like to not have enough technology to live luxurious lives.

4. What was the best part of your presentation? How could it have been improved?
I think the best part of my presentation is when we talked about our hopes and dreams and why we had come here to the New World. I think that the part that we were scything and pulling weeds together was pretty cool too. We did not have any modern tools such as a mower or a tractor, so we had to do them by hand. Our group decided to show the audience about how much had work you had to do back then. But I think we could still have improved by making our talking more like we were really talking, not like in a book. I felt, as I was talking, that I was the character in a book. But this was no fairytale. It had really happened. All our team members had to dress up as if we were in the 60s. It sure felt like the classroom was the town hall in the New World.

5. What was the biggest learning you gained from this unit? Explain with details.
I learned about the lives of the pilgrims back in the old time and how much they must have suffered. I always felt good acting as other people, but this was really really awesome! So, I feel that my biggest learning I gained from the Cultural Encounters unit was how much they needed teamwork in those times. When anyone has teamwork, they can experience the joy of success. It is not just those times they needed teamwork. I think we need team work now too!

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

My Journey to the New World

Dear Journal,

I do not want to go on this rotten journey! But I have no choice. My siblings are very ill, and I have to leave my mama and papa at home to take care of them. My elder sister died just a month ago, I am tired to death from the chores, but I know the boat will be worse. I do not want to leave my home, my family. But I've got to. I've got to.

I know many people on the ship will be ill, and it is crowded in the hold. I really hope we will see land, as we do not know the precise way to get there. I will have to work hard to earn a living, as a laborer, and when I have earned the money, I will bring over ma and pa and we will live in the New World together. Rest your bones, Emily. I promise I will. I am seeing the ship now, it smells of freshly cut wood... covered in dead fish. I know many people will not survive... the stench, maybe. But I am not being funny. This is a life and death matter. Many people have now crowded in around the dock, waiting to board the ship. This is a little embarrassing, but I do think I am getting a little scared.

I can only take a large sack of things. I am working as a farming helper for my Master, who will be telling me what to do. I am taking two dirty old rags and no shoes. To pay for my voyage, I had to sell all my clean new dresses and all of my shoes. My Master is a farmer, and he grows tobacco and corn. I know it will be hard work, but I also know it will give me my freedom.

I am leaving because of religious tolerances. My family and I wish to serve God alone and in peace. I will soon. But I am not so sure.


Dear Journal,

When will we see land? I miss my family and friends. I suddenly have a feeling I want to turn back, back to my home, my family. I dream for food. There is only rotten fruit and half-cooked meat. It smells in here, and I cannot sleep. I fear I will get the illnesses that other people have gotten in my cabin. There is another girl in my cabin, just about a head or two taller than me, and her name, such a beautiful name, is Star Light. I call her Starry. I tell her my name, Charlotte, and she asks for my last name, but I cannot tell. Honestly, I do not know of my full name.

Mama has never spoken of my last name, but she has explained. Before Emily died, she had made a lot of debts, and we are now being searched for. My real name is Holly, I love it, but I must change it. Charlotte. Ugh!

Starry offers me her food, as her heart was as wide as the dreaded ocean we were sailing through. But I say no. Starry is a trained basketmaker, and I love the little cloth basket she has made me. Maybe this trip will not suck so bad after all. Maybe.


Dear Journal,

We have finally landed! Starry and I were weeping in our cabins, homesick, when we heard the two most important words of our life: "LAND AHOY!" I jerked my head up, opened the door, climbed up the stairs, then peeked outside. A crowd had formed on the deck of the ship. I grabbed my sack, and leaped out onto the deck. A beautiful, aroma-filled lady with three children by her side who seemed very, very rich (lucky her) looked at me and smiled. I felt so good that my eyes filled with tears of joy! I later asked the captain, who held his nose (I smell?!) and said she was a lady, and that her name was Samantha Lee.

Samantha? Samantha??? This is my little sister's name. I feel tears right now, as she is very ill. I miss her very much, she is beautiful as a rose, she sings like a lark, and she has... has... the most kindest and the most loving smile. I miss her. I miss Little Timmy and ma and pa. But I am happy here, too. My master seems nice, he has a kind smile, like Samantha. My master, whom I am not permitted to know his name, is growing tobacco. I don't want to grow tobacco.

I asked the captain for a trip back. This place is a rock. Seriously! It is just a big fat rock, spreading out in all directions. In the distance you could see a dark, empty forest. I gasped when I stepped onto the ground. The captain laughed and pointed at me. He whispered something to his mates and they pointed and laughed at me too. I could not hold back my tears this time. I practically burst. The captain and the crew frowned and said that I would be fine here--I hope it is not a lie.


Dear Journal,

Oh, God bless the captain and crew! They did not lie. Master is giving me good pay with food and little money. He has given me a worn out pair of shoes, but I am grateful. I wear my rags every day, but it feels unusually comfy. I later learned that Master's indentured servant has sewn patches on my dresses for me. I love it here.

I sometimes go around with a few coins in my hand, hoping to buy myself a new dress. But they all have been much too expensive. I will soon have enough to by some fabric to make some at least. Then I will ask for permission to visit the tailor. I feel I am much happier and have much more freedom here. I feel full like I have never been, Master feeds me every day. The more hard I work, the more he appreciates me. If I really really try hard and get a lot of work done, he may give me a few more things to eat and a few more coins. I am lucky to have a Master who is pretty rich. Very, very lucky.

Maybe I will invite ma and pa here.


Dear Journal,

I have a cold and cannot work well because of many painful body aches. It is not bad, but I am Master's most trusted worker and I must not rest. I hope I will get better soon, as when I do not work, I cannot eat. I have tried many, many times but I am not getting much work done. It's hopeless, even though my cold is not too bad.

I have gotten better and can now fully work! I had gotten thin and pale from not eating and still working, but now I am pink and plump. I have no eagerness to return home. This is my home, the New World. Our colony's name has been chosen as Eldorado, and I love it. We also have a compact:

1. Equality for all
2. Freedom of speech
3. Town Hall meetings regularly
4. Peace
5. Fairness
6. Providing for common defense

I think it is the best set of rules, ever, that I have seen in my short life so far.


Dear Journal,

I am almost on my way to total freedom! Master is increasing my salary every single day. Ma and pa are soon to come. I hope that Timmy and Samantha are still alive. I wished my eyes out yesterday for them to be healthy. I do not smell as much, as I have bought myself some nice-smelling liquids, (I keep on forgetting what they are called... Oh right, perfume or something like that.) and I don't have to walk around with people holding their noses up at me.

Tears of joy are spurting down my eyes like a waterfall. Ma and pa are here! Pa will be a carpenter and ma will be a basketmaker. I have much money and have bought myself another two pairs of shoes and three pairs of dresses. Timmy has died but I am not as sad as I thought I would be, I am free! I still work for master, though, as I am grateful for all he has done for me. Samantha visits a lot, and Master says she is the kindest and loving girl, just like I described her smile. I think that too.

I hope this freedom will never end and I know it will, because the rules are fair and are not making my life bad. In fact, my life in the New World is amazing! I am being called Holly again, I have never known such happiness. I am now a part, and an important one, of the colony of Eldorado.This life is too luxurious for me, I need to get used to being happy all the time. I have seen Starry many times, and I have many friends. I love Eldorado. I really do.


Wednesday, 16 September 2009

A New Kind of Freedom

What convinced Johann to go to America?

Johann made a choice to finally go to America because of the land he would get and the freedom from the religious intolerants in his home country.He and his family, he knew, would be safer and happier there.

How did he feel about the decision later?

He felt that he had made a good choice for his family, because now they were free and the government was fair. He and his family were now happy and felt that this new colony were good for them. He felt he had made the right decision to go to the New World, Pennsylvania.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Molly's Dream

What dream does Molly have?

Molly has a dream to live in the house she often thinks about, and to live freely, like Mrs. Simmons. She has a dream to own her own business, to be as skilled and intelligent like Mrs. Simmons was. She would love to live in a small house with a pond and ducks and geese, like in her sampler. Molly is also in training to be a seamstress.

What will she need to do to make her dream come true?

She will need to first of all finish her indenture, because she is an indentured servant. She will also need to finish her training to be a seamstress, so she can own a business and earn money for herself. When she is done both, she can finally be free.

Monday, 7 September 2009


Why do people move?

Because some people are poor, and not wanting to miss the unlimited economic opportunity. Some try to escape a religious tolerant in their home countries. People move for money, freedom, and space. Some people move to escape war, hunger, and slavery. People move for many reasons, and some people even move for experience!

Essential Questions

Why do people move?

People move for land, money, freedom, space and jobs. If you move to a country where there is more freedom and independence, you have an endless opportunity of new land. Someone you work for may tell you to move to another country because you will have a better job there, and earn more payment. Some people move to a new land because of space. Some people may not like the crowded city and would rather live in the countryside. Some people even just move for worldwide experience!

What do we do when people don't think, act, or speak the same way we do?

Ask someone who does for help on how to speak or act their way or move to another place where they speak the same language, or have the same cultural experiences.