Saturday, December 3, 2016

Final Anthology Introduction

Overall, the majority of my blog posts were personal narratives or analytical pieces that had my voice in it, meaning that the reader could identify that I was the narrator, through the type of language or evidence I used. The smaller blog posts helped prepare me for the letter-graded assignments because I got to experiment with different writing styles, without having to worry much about it affecting my grade. For example, in my post “Eat Drink Man Woman Voiceover”, I experiment with an exciting writing narration that would appeal to people who watched a travel show. This assignment prepared me for the later-on graded cooking show script that I wrote. The blog posts fit very well into the course learning objectives as I thought about many key terms when writing them, such as who will the audience be and what type of genre is best for this assignment. Also, I wrote academically and expressively, and I learned how to review and revise my own work. These posts taught me that writing is a process, and that there is always room to improve.

I chose the following blog posts to include in my anthology: “Want to Trade for a CowTongue Sandwich?”, “Underrated Meatballs”, “Food and Gender”, Eat Drink Man Woman Voiceover” and “Anxious for Class Registration Pie”. I decided to put them in this order because the first post I ever wrote was “Want to Trade a Cookie for a Cow Tongue Sandwich?”. This post incorporates many of the course learning objectives, for example I revised my personal essay several times thinking about key terms, such as audience and genre, to improve my writing. The next post, “Underrated Meatballs” follows my personal essay because this post is also reflective of my Russian Heritage, but it takes a more academic spin, as I discuss the dictionary definition of meatballs and compare it to Russian meatballs. The following post “Food and Gender” comes next because it likewise is an academic writing, as I refer to a scholarly source that we read for the assignment, but I still include personal anecdotes like many of my other blog posts. The next post “Eat Drink Man Woman Voiceover” followed because it shows a shift in the type of blog posts that I wrote. This piece is more of a creative work, and less of a personal piece. Similarly, the last post “Anxious for Class Registration Pie” was a very creative work, and mirrored my personal thoughts about next semester, but there were no anecdotes like some of the earlier pieces in the anthology.

Revised "Want to Trade for a Cow-Tongue Sandwich?"

            “Want to trade a Twinkie for a cow tongue sandwich?” was not a very good conversation starter with my American classmates. Many kids consider lunch their favorite “subject”, but it was never easy for me, as a grade-school student.
The first time I walked into the cafeteria in first grade, I froze. My eyes opened wide and a smile immediately sprung across my face—it felt as if had I stepped into Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. This place seems like heaven, just look at all the American food in sight! I thought. There were rows and rows of students trading string cheese for Hot Pockets or Twizzlers for Laffy Taffys. At lunch time, everyone would rummage through each-others’ lunches in hopes of trading something in their lunch for something better in someone else’s. To my dismay, I was not one of the lucky six-year-olds who had a prized possession in their brown bagged lunch. 
I never had a fruit roll-up, peanut butter and jelly, Lunchables, or a Reese's peanut butter cup for dessert. I was lucky enough to have a sandwich of Black bread with “Doktarskaya Kielbasa” (Russian salami), which looks like bologna with air pockets and smells 'interesting', as many of my classmates would say. I also had Russian ground turkey and chicken meatballs, which smell strongly of garlic and onions, and “sirniki”, a chocolate-covered cheese cake with raisins, for dessert. If I was really lucky, my mom would pack me “kholodets,” meat and vegetable jello—yum! I thought this was completely normal and would always think about which food I could get if I traded in my personal favorite, chocolate covered cheese or cow tongue. This was the food that I grew up with and loved to eat for breakfast, lunch and dessert. However, when no one wanted to trade anything with me I was bewildered because I thought what I was eating was normal, but my classmates acted like I was an alien from outer space. 
I was the first generation born in America in my family. My mom was a refugee from the Soviet Union and immigrated to America in 1987. My dad came soon after in 1990 right before the Soviet Union deteriorated. As a child, I spoke mainly Russian at home, with the exception of speaking English with my sister. I treasure my Russian heritage because of my connection to the Russian traditions—food and culture—and because it makes me unique. 

            At first I was embarrassed whenever lunch came around, but eventually I grew to appreciate my family and value them for all that they have done for me, in coming to America in search of a better life. As time went by, my classmates would plead and bother me to give them one of my Russian chocolates or a taste of my “kholodets” meat jello, because it was unique, tasty, and something they had never tried before. Through my diverse lunches, I brought cultural diversity to my peers and classmates around me. Instead of begging my mom to buy me a normal Hershey chocolate bar to pack in my lunch, I would beg her to pack me a few extra Russian “Ptichye Mleko”—chocolate covered Russian Marshmallows. To this day, every time I eat a Russian food, I proudly realize how far I have come from the time when six-year-old me was embarrassed about having peculiar treats in my bagged lunch and tried to hide my lunch from everyone. I take pride in my meat-jello and cow tongue, just the way that all first generation Americans should.