"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. Security is mostly a superstition, it does not exist in nature." -Helen Keller

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Delphi is one of Greece’s most sacred places. It is situated on the slope of Mt. Panassus, where the god Pan and his nymphs were believed to have lived. It was home to the world’s most famous oracle and was thought of as the very middle of the world.

Apollo is the god that is most commonly associated with Delphi, though there were others before him, such as Gaea, Themis and Phoebe. According to legend, the monster Python protected the site and Apollo slew him and founded the first temple there. The Pythian games were held first every eight years, and then every four in remembrance of the deed. They eventually became mostly musical performances and the winner was crowned with a laurel wreath, as the Laurel was Apollo’s tree.

Delphi was thought of as the center of the world, and that belief is based on the myth that once upon a time, Zeus let his two eagles fly around the world and the place they met was Delphi. A stone called Omphalos, the Navel, was used to mark the spot. It is currently on display in the Delphi Archaeological Museum.

Anyone who had enough money could ask the Delphic oracle a question. They had to go through purification rituals and pay a tax, but then they could speak with Pythia, who was a young virgin from a nearby village. Her head was most likely clouded by some kind of narcotic, and she would mumble incomprehensibly and then a priest would relay her message to the visitor. The fortune was always vague, ensuring that the oracle was almost always correct. The sanctuary was a very wealthy one.

An earthquake destroyed a lot of Delphi in 373 BC, including the temple of Apollo. The city-states surrounding it rebuilt it by 323, and it was then that the well-known inscriptions that read “know yourself”, “keep the measure” and “E” were made.

The Delphi Archaeological Museum has many amazing finds from the site. I’m looking forward to visiting both the site and the museum, because the place holds many legends and stories of mythology, which are quite interesting to me. This is one of the places I’m most excited to see.


Monday, December 19, 2011

a·crop·o·lis/əˈkräpəlis/ (noun)
1.      1. A citadel or fortified part of an ancient Greek city, typically built on a hill.
2.    2.  The ancient citadel at Athens, containing the Parthenon and other notable buildings.

Today I’m going to spend some time writing about the Acropolis, which is probably the most important archaeological site in Greece.

Greece has many acropolises, but the Athenian one is the most famous. It reflects the culture and traditions of 5th century Athens, and is dedicated to the goddess Athena.

The word “acropolis” comes from the meaning of the two Greek words “acros” (“upper” )and “polis” (“city”). It is situated on a plateau and is eighty feet high and fifty feet wide. It was used partly for defense purposes during war -- as a way for the Athenians to study their enemies from above. It is home to some of the most recognized buildings in history.

The Parthenon is one of those buildings. Although often mistaken as a temple to Athena, it is more of a treasury. The statue of Athena inside the building had gold clothing on it that could be taken off in time of need. The architecture of the building is extremely unique; there are no straight lines. The floor is convex and bulges up in the middle of the building and the columns around it are wider in the middle and closer together at the corners.

The Erechtheion is another famous building on the Acropolis and is also renowned for its architecture. On the south side of the building there is a porch called the Porch of the Maidens (or caryatids), which uses six statues of women as columns supporting the roof. Each statue is slightly different. The style of using human figures as columns is copied after the Erechtheion. When visiting the porch, the maidens that you will see are not the originals. They are replacements, because the originals were being destroyed by pollution. They are currently safe inside the Acropolis Museum, which is newly remodeled home to many artifacts found on the acropolis. And also on the itinerary for our trip.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Second post in as many days! Well – almost.

Today I’m going to write a little about the Theatre of Dionysus, which is located in a hollow in the south slope of the Athenian Acropolis.
The Theatre of Dionysus was first constructed in the fourth century BC to honor its patron god, Dionysus, during the City of Dionysia festival, which included on-stage performances. But festivals were not the only use of the theatre; dramatic contests were held in the theatre, where famous playwrights such as Euripides, Aristophanes, Sophocles and Aeschylus displayed their work.
As the styles of Greek drama changed, so did the theatre. It went through many phases of construction.  When it was first built, it could seat around 25,000 people, but what is left of it today (which dates back to the time of the Roman Empire) and could seat 17,000 people.
It is believed that the ancient Greek plays that still exist in recorded history were first performed at the theatre, so it truly deserves the epithet “birthplace of drama”.
In 2009 a reconstruction plan on part of the theatre began and is scheduled to be finished by 2015. So right there is an excuse to visit Greece again.


Monday, December 12, 2011

The outside of the museum

Gold funerary mask. I wrote a research paper on Mycenaean burial customs, so I'll get to see what I researched and wrote about!
 Hello, blog readers. It’s been a while.
I’m going on a trip to Greece (!!!) in May with a tour company called EF Tours, let by my online teachers. My history and Latin teachers take groups to Europe annually, and this year I’m fortunate enough to go with them. As preparation I’m checking out different places that I’ll be visiting and getting a more in-depth look at them.
Today I looked at the Archaeological Museum in Athens.
As someone who wants to be an archaeologist, going to this museum will give me good idea if it’s something I love. I really like museums and history so I’m looking forward to it.
The museum was founded in the late eighteen hundreds to house artifacts and antiquities from all over Greece. It was originally just a place to house said artifacts, but now it’s a nationally renowned museum that people from all over the world come to visit. It has artifacts dating from the prehistoric times until the time of the Roman conquest of Greece.
It has over 11,000 exhibits and six main collections; the Prehistoric Collection, Sculptures Collection, Vase and Minor Objects Collection, Stathatos Collection, Bronze Collection and the Egyptian and Near Eastern Antiquities collection. Out of these, the one I’d most like to see is the Sculpture Collection, because throughout my fist semester of Greek History this year, we studied a lot about how art changed during the different periods, and getting to see the masterpieces in person would be amazing. The Stathatos Collection is interesting too, because it’s a little bit of everything – “minor objects of all periods” is what the website reads. I’d like to see everything, though.
Though we’ll only be spending one day at the Museum, and that is definitely not enough time to see it all, I can’t wait to see whatever it is we see.
There will be more posts to come about other places I’ll be going and things I’ll be seeing.

Artifacts that were found in a shaft grave in Grave Circle A

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Sunday, May 8, 2011

Something to think about...

 Do you ever realize that you’re not the only person on Earth?
                That’s a dumb question; of course you do. You interact with other people every day, most likely live with other people, and talk to your friends often. But do you ever think about if you were the other people you see? Do you ever wonder how their life differs from yours? For me, that always happens when I’m driving on the highway.
I look out the window and into the cars next to me. I can always see the occupants in the front seats, and it gives me a strange feeling. We only see the world through our eyes, but when I look at the people in the other cars and realize that their heading somewhere for a reason I’ll never know. I’ll never see them again in my life, I’ll never know their name, and I’ll never talk to them. We might be on the same road now, but we’ll end up going different directions. It makes me think; What is life like through their eyes?
What is the driver’s story? Are they happy?  Is the person sitting next to them a husband? Sister? Friend? Who are they talking to on their cell phone? Where are they going? I’ll never know. It puts a different perspective on my life.
                Just something short to think about for the day…We’re not alone. Everyone’s on a journey of their own.


Quote of the Day:
“To know what would have happened, child?” said Aslan. “No. Nobody is ever told that... But anyone can find out what will happen.”
-The Horse and His Boy

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Famine Experience

This past weekend I participated in a retreat at my church called The Famine Experience. During the weekend we spend together, we fasted from solid food for thirty hours and did service projects in the community. Along with the service projects, we also collected donations that went to the Women’s Resource Center and the Belize Outreach Program (a missionary program for St. Michael’s Parish).  During Friday evening, we met and made a banner with our theme for the year on it. This year’s theme was “Fast, pray, love” and the Bible verse was, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink…is not life more than food and drink?” (Matthew 6:25).
The same evening, we had a Confession service in the church and some silent prayer time. Then we left for the YMCA and spend a couple hours there. After we came back to the church, we went to sleep and then the service projects began Saturday morning. I was with the group that went to the City Mission, where we cleaned the kitchen, dining area, chapel and tool shed. Some other groups went to the Habitat for Humanity store to volunteer, and others cleaned out garages. After a few hours of service, we met back at the church and made cards to pass out to residents at a nursing home we visited. We spent time there talking to the residents, and then we once again returned to the church to reflect on our weekend and get ready for Mass. After Mass we broke our fast with a Pancake Dinner that sponsors the Belize Outreach Program.
This was my first time participating in the Famine Experience, and I have to say that I enjoyed very much. Not eating for thirty hours wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be, because we got to drink as much liquid as we wanted, though at times I did get pretty hungry. It made me more aware of the reality that a lot of people have to feel that every day, and made me more eager to help them. Learning more about the City Mission also made me aware of the fact that there are less-fortunate people even in my own community. All in all, it was a great experience and I can’t wait for next year.


Quote of the Day:
"Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow and fantasy."
-Walt Disney

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The unnamed story, more commenly known as "Chip, Ellie, Rio and Storm"

So...hey guys...ANOTHER STORY! ...WOW! 

You: How many is that now?
Me: -mutters something indecipherable-
You: what's that?
Me: Twenty-mmph...
You: speak up, now!
Me: TWENTY-SEVEN! -hides face-
You: -sweat drops- and you've finished....?
Me: Shut up.

Chapter Four

                When the sun rose the next morning, Leo gave the “all clear” to all the kids to go back to their respective houses. He gave the girls permission to go back upstairs and after everyone was dressed the girls and boys each headed to their kitchens for breakfast.
                The day was brighter and sunnier than it had been yesterday; there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the only evidence that it had rained was the numerous puddles that dotted the country landscape. Ellie, Storm, Rachel and Rebecca each grabbed something to eat and headed outside to the pond behind the two houses. Their daily meeting was about to start, and they planned to discuss their next move over breakfast.
                Rachel and Rebecca each took seats at edge of the dock overlooking the blue-green water of the small pond. Storm sat down not far from them, her back against one of the poles that supported the railing on each side of the dock. Ellie sat across from her and barely said anything. All four of the girls were tired from their sleepless night.
                A few minutes later, the boys joined them.
                “Isn’t it usually the other way around? Don’t we have to wait for you?” Wiley said by way of a morning greeting, yawning loudly and stuffing half a piece of toast in his mouth at the same time.
                “Manners,” Ben reprimanded jokingly and thumped his best friend of the back. They each took seats on either side of Storm and looked up at her with large, interested eyes.
                Storm rolled her own grey ones up at the sky. “I’m sure you’ve heard everything already,” She said to the two younger boys who seemed unfazed by her dismissal. “But I guess if you have any questions…”
                “Did you know what was going on?” Zach put in before either boy had a chance to speak. He took a seat next to Elle who glanced up at him diffidently and then blushed.
                “Look, we told you everything,” Rio cut in as he knelt down near the front of the dock. Chip sat beside him.
                “Yeah, don’t bother Storm, she’s been through enough,” He added.
                “I’m fine, Chip,” Storm said offhandedly. “Honestly, it wasn’t all that –”
                “It was too!” Wiley spoke up while Ben nodded, his sandy-blonde hair falling into his face.
                “Yeah it was Dark Technology, that’s what Leo always warns us against,” He agreed.
                Storm paused. “Well, yeah, it was kind of bad, but that’s not –”
                She was cut off again, this time by Ellie.
                “Look, guys, we came here to have our meeting and let’s have it,” She said, clearly annoyed at all the attention Storm was getting. “We all know what went down last night and there’s nothing we can do about it but be more prepared next time. Nothing happened – thankfully -- but the annual King’s Ball is coming up and that’s out last chance to get at the Princess before they leave this region.”
                Rachel and Rebecca nodded in assent, and though the Ben and Wiley looked slightly let down, they ceased to ask any more questions.
                “Okay,” Chip said, “back to the Princess then. We have sources that tell us she’s against her father’s support of the Beginners which is good for us – but we already know that. She’s very influential even though she’s young, like us. I don’t know if we’re supposed to actually do anything during the Ball tomorrow night, but it would be good if a few of us go and talk to her. It’s open to anyone with an invitation.”
                Since he was one of the oldest refugees living under the care of Leo and Wisteria Reynolds, and because he had been there the longest, Chip was looked upon as one of the leaders of the group, along with Storm, who was the oldest of the girls. They made most of the decisions and together they planned many of the incursions and excursions the group made. Rio, who was sixteen (also the same age as Chip and Storm), was something like a co-leader, and Ellie, as Chip’s sister, was usually included as a given leader despite the fact that she was two years younger and still did not know all the ins and outs of the small Society of children.
                The Society was started as just a safe-haven for concerned parents to send their children, away from the turmoil of the large cities under the rule of the King; which really meant that they were under the rule of the Beginners and their New Government. Though it did not appear so to the outside world, some were smart enough to realize that the title of “king” and his “royal family” was just a pretext; the country of America was fully run by the Beginners.
                The king, Nathanial Vang, and his wife Bindali “ruled” over America and were backed entirely by the Beginners. His daughter, Margaret, though seemingly meek, humble and respectful towards her family’s administration, revealed only recently to a different Society to have complete hatred toward what her father was supporting. Bindali also had a son of her own from a previous marriage, Rashesh. He was young, handsome and had a reputation of being in entire support of his parents.
The Beginners mission was to build a New World -- and that involved almost obliterating the old one. Their goal, though it was to some extent unknown by the ordinary citizens, was world domination and crushing their populace into complete subservience. One step in this plan included annihilating cities in order to rebuild them, so at times the cities where the children had lived before were not always safe, so parents sent them away to the rural regions that were yet untouched. After being sent to live with  Leo and Wisteria, the group was revealed to be part of a Society that tried, in small almost unobserved ways, to rebel and fight against the Beginner’s New Government.
The main thing the Society did was refusing to change with the rest of the country; staying true to the past and its ways, not conforming, and rescuing relics of history that would have been destroyed. With the knowledge that someone within the upper-workings of the government was on their side, the Society was about to break into a new form of rebellion that was far more impactful than merely being unusual.
                “I think only a few of us should go,” Storm suggested. “The less there is, the less likely it’ll be to draw attention to ourselves.”
                There were a few disappointed looks on some of the younger faces of the group, but no complaints; they knew that the older members would be the ones to go as they had the most experience.
                “Who do you think should go, then?” Rachel asked from the end of the dock.
                Chip shared a sideways glance at Storm. “I think it should be Rio, Storm and I,” He said.
                “Why couldn’t we come?” Ben asked, pointing to himself and Wiley. The latter nodded.
                “Yeah, we’d be great as spies.”
                “That’s just the point though,” Zach said, sitting forward. “The goal isn’t to be a spy, it’s to blend in. Right?”
                Chip nodded. “Yes, we need to blend in, talk with the Princess and get out. Hopefully before we’re noticed.”
                “Why can’t I go too?” Ellie said, outraged. “If we’re trying to look like we fit in, we’ll need older-looking people, there isn’t likely to be any kids there. I look older than everyone here. I think I should go too.”
                Chip shot her an annoyed look. “You’re fourteen. I think that’s a little too young. Zach’s older than you, if we needed another person it should be him.”
                Rio spoke for the first time on the subject. “I think it should be two boys and two girls. You know, so it looks more professional, like we have ‘escorts’ or something. Everyone has an escort these days.”
                Storm thought for a moment. “I think you’re right,” she said to Rio. “An even number’s good. We’ll need more than two for backup, so we might as well make it four.”
                “In that case,” Chip said resignedly. “I guess Ellie would be able to come.”
                Ellie cheered silently, doing a little dance in her seat.
                “Unless either of you two wanted to come,” Chip added, looking at Rachel and Rebecca.
                “Us?” They said unanimously, raising their eyebrows.
                “I hate balls and dances,” Rachel said.
                Her sister nodded in agreement. “Me too. They’re torture.”
                The group was silent for a moment, surprised that the two seemingly opposite twins had something in common.
                “Well, okay then,” Chip said glancing around at the group, who had, by now finished their morning meals.
                “What about invitations?” Zach spoke up. “We don’t have any, I’m sure.”
                “I’ll make some, just tell me what they look like,” Wiley said. “You know how great I am at forging stuff.”
                Everyone nodded in agreement; Wiley’s specialty was making fake copies of licenses, pass cards and other important documents they were unable to attain.
                “Yeah, get on that as soon as you can,” Chip said. Wiley gave a little nod, pleased to be given a job.
                “Storm, come with me,” Ellie said suddenly, standing up and grabbing her arm. “We need to get you a nice outfit. It’s formal, right?”
                “Yes, but…” Storm began to protest, but Ellie shook her head.
                “We need to sort this out now. The earlier the better!” She began to pull Storm inside.
                “Ellie, my gosh, it’s not till tomorrow night!” Storm said as her friends snickered at her situation. She turned around and stuck her tongue out at them before reluctantly following Ellie inside.


Quote of the Day:
"I would challenge you to a battle of wits, but I can see that you are unarmed."
-William Shakespeare

Friday, March 18, 2011

Urbem Fallax

Hey everybody! So I'm finally back with another post. And, surprise surprise, I have started yet another story! It's called "Urbem Fallax" (I'll let you figure out what that means ;) ), and though I haven't written much for it yet, I think I have somewhat of an idea of where it's going so, hooray! I might actually finish this one! Of course, that's what I say about all my new stories...
Either way, here's an excerpt from Chapter One:

When I awoke, the first thing I saw when I opened my eyes was darkness. I was perplexed; why was it dark? Whenever I wake up, it is light. In fact that is exactly why I wake up. I always sleep through the entire night, and when the sun rises, I rise along with it.
I sat up slowly, as though if I did the reason for waking up would manifest itself to me. I looked around the shadowy house and could barely make out the figures of my parents – asleep, in the bed across the room. The silence was deafening and I, though I have no need to be, was terrified.
I’ll admit it: I’m afraid of the dark. That’s another reason why I always sleep through the night. If I ever wake up before dawn, I get a horrible, prickly, hair-standing-up-on-the-back-of-my-neck, feeling that someone else is in the house that shouldn’t be there.
I settled back down under my thin covers, pulling them up so my entire head was hidden beneath them. I’m too old for this senseless fear -- at sixteen I’m practically an adult – but I still couldn’t shake the vulnerable feeling. I closed my eyes and tried to push the emotion away by taking deep, slow breaths. I wanted to jump out of bed and run outside, the moon casts enough light to see by out there, but I didn’t. Instead, I waited vainly for sleep to return.
After ten minutes, it was clear that I was no longer tired, so I pushed myself into a sitting position once again. As I did, I heard something crinkle under my hand. I looked down and, visible by a sheath of moonlight coming through the small window above me, I spotted a small, neatly folded slip of paper with a crease running down the middle from where my hand had crushed it accidentally.
I unfolded it and held it up close to my face to make out the words.
You are in danger. Leave soon.
I felt my stomach drop. What did that mean? And how did it get here? I dove under the covers once again. So someone was here, that’s why I woke up. I closed my eyes and tried to sort out the meaning of the message. Danger…why would I be in danger? I’ve never done anything questionable to my knowledge. Maybe it was a jest, but who would think it funny enough to sneak into somebody’s house in the early hours of the morning to plant a fake threat? And, more importantly, why would they do it to me?
The words of the strange note seemed to be burned into my eyelids; I watched them swim around in front of me until I finally drifted into an uneasy sleep.


Quote of the Day:
"She had, of course, left the door open, for she knew that it is a very silly thing to shut oneself into a wardrobe."
-The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe