I don't know if I feel good about describing Form 8 (12th grade) as "the cherry on top," because Form 8, the last rung of the graduation ladder, is so much greater than a cherry. A part of me feels that I would be making less of the Form by relating it to a cherry.
See, the cherry on top is basically optional. Being little more than a detail, the cherry on top can be safely discarded, and your sundae will still taste just fine. It is not so with Form 8. Form 8 is more like butcher's twine—the kind you use to tie up fowl prior to putting it in the oven. It completes the Delphian program. It isn't a detail; it holds everything together. The problem with comparing Form 8 to butcher’s twine is that, somehow, it isn't an awe-inspiring picture you get when you think of a tied-up turkey. You can’t really appreciate Form 8 in its fullest glory when summoning a picture of meat string.
I could try this analogy: Form 8 is like velcro—the kind you used as a kid to keep your shoes nice and snug.
Velcro? Really? Okay. No. That wasn't a good analogy either.
Maybe I can’t really analogize it, but I can describe it. Form 8 is fantastic. The final step before graduation, it complements the knowledge gained in all Forms prior. You learn immensely important life-skills here. You learn about public speaking, about leadership, about effective communication. You even learn how to take good care of your body: something many people do not know how to do too well. The Delphian experience wouldn’t be the same without Form 8. Form 8 truly completes the Delphi Program.
Okay, that was better.
I'm not even done with Form 8, but I am loving every second of my time on it. What I’m learning every day is so valuable. I know it will help me for as long as I live. The periodic table of the elements may be only periodically useful, but communicating in a public setting and leading groups are skills which are useful on a daily basis. I am very happy to be learning all that I am learning, and I could not think of a better way to end off high school than by doing Form 8. It is the ideal way to end such a significant educational stage in a person's life.
The butcher twine keeps unfolding, and I, like a pigeon about to be delicious, am picking it up eagerly. Wait. No.
As I explained on my earlier post, mole is the product of a cultural symbiosis. The Spanish arrived in Mexico, and with them came their ingredients and spices. When mole was born, it was the result of both European and Mexican ingredients. It worked. This dish is an excellent example of mestizaje through food, as it contains the best of both worlds.
Mole is chiefly said to have originated in two states: Puebla and Oaxaca. Puebla is the home to the super traditional, and perhaps most well-known, mole: mole Poblano. However, Oaxaca contends that it, not Puebla, is the birthplace of mole, and even calls itself "the land of the seven moles."
Part of the wonder of some traditional dishes around the world is the myth that revolves around it. The origin of mole is quite obscure. There are many stories which attempt to describe its origin.
One story of mole's genesis tells of a monastery somewhere in Mexico which is carrying on its daily activities. Without prior warning, the monastery is told that the bishop is going to pay them a visit. The monastery has no time to buy or get food, so the cook simply takes everything he has in the kitchen and throws it in a pot: clove, sesame, peppers, chocolate, and whatever else there is to find. He cooks this with a turkey, and prays for the best. Apparently God answers his prayers. The bishop loves it. All of a sudden there is a new creation which is nothing short of a miracle.
A second story has the same sort of layout, but it involves scrambling nuns and an archbishop. Yet another story claims that at the convent/monastery, the spices were put on the windowsill. The draft, deciding to passionately enter through the kitchen window, blew all the spices from the windowsill into a pot; hence mole.
Some even say that it was merely a sauce in the making, and a slab of chocolate fell in and it was too late to pull it out.
There is also a theory (kind of lame) that purports that mole came about as a sort of evolutionary process. Mole was simply molli, a sauce, with indigenous ingredients. As the Spanish began influencing Mexico, this molli slowly began adopting New World ingredients. Eventually, the magnificent state of mole was attained. But I like to think of monks running around and a miraculous accident. It makes for a better story.
Mole can contain anywhere from 26-35 ingredients. That's right. A lot of ingredients need to come together to make this dish happen. Some of these ingredients are pine nuts, cilantro, plantains and grapes, as well as chipotle, pasilla, mulato and ancho chiles. Depending on what ingredients you end up using, you will get a certain color; anywhere from green to black to red. You have to get a lot of ingredients ready if you want to make this deceptively simple sauce.
Now, for the prep, below is a link that shows how it's made. It also shows some pics of the kitchen where it was supposed to have originated.
One of the academic courses I recently finished is called Public Speaking. The title gives away what the course is all about. During this course you learn to be a better orator, as well as learn different forms of presentation. One of the speeches I made was on the famous Mexican dish: mole. Since I gained so much valuable info researching this topic for my talk, I thought I'd share info on this traditional Mexican dish.
There are ways to explore a culture. You can explore a culture through its architecture. You can explore a culture through its religion. You can learn and explore a culture through its people and their customs. You can also explore a culture through its food; three times a day the roots of that culture, its influences, its history and habits are exposed in a mouthful.
I'm not talking about a California Roll as a valid exploration of Japanese food, or Orange Chicken as "that dish" for the Chinese, and I am definitely trying to stand as far away from Taco Bell as even a reference to Mexican food as possible. You gotta dig deeper than that. Beyond spring rolls lies a culture to be explored. I am talking about shabu-shabu, or carving a duck. These are the kinds of dishes to explore. Mexico has a few of these. I will share some history on the quintessential dish of Mexico.
Mole is a deceivingly simple dish. It is turkey or chicken, more rarely other proteins, blanketed by a sauce. The sauce can range in color from green to nearly black, each sauce having a distinct flavor. Pretty much all Mexicans know this dish. I believe the fancy encyclopedia (rhymes with "tiki" and "media"—tikimedia?) I use tells the reader that 99% of Mexicans know or have tried the dish. It is not surprising. From the tip of the Yucatan peninsula to the top of this beautiful country, everyone seems to know this dish. I eat it often when at home in Mexico, and when we want to wax traditional, us Mexicans make meals with mole.
Let us remember that the Mexican culture is not one culture. Mexican culture is a combination of native people and Europeans—mainly the Spanish. Therefore, the Mexican culture comprises a New World-Old World mix. The Spanish visited (invaded) and mixed with the natives of Mexico to produce what we (more colloquially) know as mestizo. Mestizo is the outcome of the coming together of the Europeans and the natives of Mexico.
This forceful symbiosis had wide ramifications. These can be seen in the architecture of Mexico, the religion of Mexico, the holidays of Mexico, and most certainly it can be tasted in the foods of Mexico. Mole is a mestizo dish. It contains nearly a million ingredients (well, not literally, but you get my meaning), of which a major portion originated in Europe. Yet the name Mole has its roots in the native people. Mole comes from theword molli in the native dialect, Nahuatl. Molli means "sauce." Fun fact: the word guacamole, which everybody knows, comes from a Nahuatlroot. Ahuacatl is "avocado," and molli is "sauce." AHUACAMOLLI! There, now you know something not even your Mexican friends will know. Use it to win some bets or something.
Part two of this post will talk about the actual history of Mole, how it’s made, and will have a cool video on the making of this delicious dish.
See you soon! Remember that if you have any questions, you can leave me a comment.
I said I 'd write about it, so I will. I'm going to talk about the application process for a Theater major at NYU (and others), and some of the preparation, as well as some tips that helped me out.
NYU, like many universities, uses what’s called the Common Application. It is an annoying but necessary process. You fill out your info: address, DOB, etc. Then there is a "supplement" for each college you want to apply to. Krill oil, vitamin C, iron. Just kidding. It is a custom page of the particular things your particular college wishes you to include. Make sure you answer the questions well, and be very honest! Also, make sure your essay is your best work. Do not get lazy and forget to proofread. Have the eye of a hawk when analyzing your writing. Also, Google some tips on how to have a solid college essay, you'll find some great advice there.
After you're done with your Common Application, you will have to go to the Tisch website (or your particular school's art department's website) and find out what you need to prepare as part of the application process. Because you want to be an artist, there will be certain things you need to do in order to show your merit beyond what the regular application asks for. For theater, this means a live audition (for some other schools, it means an online audition which could be followed by a live or Skype audition).
On the Tisch website you will create an account. Then you have to choose a date and a location for your live audition. Some of the places are: Seattle, Miami, LA, NYC. I chose NYC. Then you have to choose two contemporary monologues, which are basically monologues from plays written after 1900. They also should be contrasting. The advice I can give you, which a teacher also gave to me, is to make sure it fits your age and person, and make sure it is not so overdone it is trite. Keep it fresh!
I spent several hours trying to find the right monologues. I ended up picking The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams, and Latins Anonymous by Rick Najera et al. Once you have your monologue picked, practice, practice, practice.
You will also need to print out a resume and have a picture. Make sure you get all the info for this with time so you don't have to worry about it. There are many websites that give you the template, NYU included.
After this, you have all you need in order to finalize the application. Just make sure you reserve your audition with time by paying for it, because spaces do become more limited as time goes by.
The audition process is a warm-up, an audition, and an interview. I made it my policy to be very honest with my interviewer. Also, don't let the nerves get to you! While this is easier said than done, if you know of any way to cool down before you go in and audition, do it. There were warm-ups at the audition, which helped with this too. The most important thing is to be well-prepared. If you are, you are not likely to feel nervous.
The audition and interview are crucial. Also, for NYU, if you do not get accepted to Tisch it means you're not accepted to NYU. I say this because Pace University for instance, may not accept you to their arts program, but they may accept you to the university.
High SAT/ACT and GPA scores are important. Also, the spirit of challenge is appreciated. What I mean by this is, what are you doing beyond what is required to prove that you are eager to learn and take on challenges? If you take advanced courses, it shows this type of interest. I received this advice from an NYU representative when I went to Portland for a little event NYU was hosting.
Analyze your writing like no other when you answer questions on college applications. Bad writing is a very silly mistake on something so important.
Take the time and challenge yourself so you can stand out and show that you are interested in a strong and rigorous education.
Keep it fresh on the monologues! I found both my monologues in monologue books, which helped a lot. Do make sure you read the entire play though!
Practice. I don't think I need to explain why.
If you still have some time before you graduate, prepare by doing as many activities as you can. Explore your interests. You may come up with an interesting college essay, or at least you will have a strong extracurricular background. Plus, it is really fun. Delphian made it very easy for me to get involved. I was part of Student Government, plays, acting classes, worked in the audio/visual area, and worked at Delphian's summer camp for seven weeks one summer, which was awesome and life-changing.
Work towards a good SAT/ACT score and keep that GPA high. I found the GPA part of it to be a minor concern for me. It is almost as if good grades are a byproduct of the education I receive here. I love that here I don't really have to worry about my grades. The way we study here and the way the program is designed puts the priority on learning and application instead of grades. So what happens is that you don't even think about it, but you know the subjects so well because you're actually learning, enjoying and applying, that you are of course going to get good grades! On the SAT part, it is a necessary evil. I don't think it is the best way to test ability, but that is the way that it is now. Preparing for it well will be of use.
Be very honest. Be yourself. It may sound tacky, but it's true.
I AM SO HAPPY. My Spring Break was awesome. I was in Florida having a great time with my friends, and then I went to Mexico to spend some needed time with my family. This was great, but it is not the reason I am writing this blog post. The reason is that on the last days of break I found out I was accepted to New York University! (More officially, the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University.)
This has been my dream school since I visited New York City for the first time, when I was about twelve years old. I did not know what I wanted to do then, but I was captivated by it; something about Washington Square and the majesty of those purple banners dancing in the wind. In the end, when doing my college search, NYU re-emerged as the top school for me, particularly the Tisch School of the Arts.
Waiting to be notified for my acceptance was stressful, to say the least. I obsessively refreshed my email, checked my phone, and looked in my mailbox to see if I had been accepted. I then found out I'd know the decision on April 1st. So I grudgingly resigned to the wait ahead. Fortunately Spring Break was on its way and I wouldn't have to think about it so much.
I received my acceptance email on Friday, April 29th. It was unreal. Having been rejected by another university, I was beginning to worry. So receiving this acceptance from the top school of all my choices was an incredible surprise. Tisch was the most prestigious school I applied to. It feels good and is an honor to receive an acknowledgement like an acceptance letter from them.
I still kind of can't believe it. As I write this, I am wearing my purple sweatshirt with those three words, and it's still something of a dream. I think it will remain this way until I am receiving instructions on voice or movement or whatever else I am to learn from my teachers, and even then I know I will be occasionally amazed.
If you're curious, I applied for a BFA in Theatre. I am so excited for this new experience!
I will keep you posted on my developments. My next post will be about what I did as part of the application process. Stay tuned.
I'm not sure if I have said it before, but it feels as if once you're a student at Delphian, you enter a time-warp and time just moves faster. Time flies. It thunders through so that you blink and your time is almost up, and you have to get ready to move on. I believe any other student will agree with me. The only exception to the rule is the last day before vacations. Then it feels as if a second is a minute, and the end of class is a millennium away. But that's another story.
So here we are: Spring Break looming over the students, and the seniors cannot help but ask, "How did this happen? Winter Break happened two weeks ago!" Every year is like this. Through my studies into the matter, carefully done in my head right before I go to sleep, I have come up with a theory of why time shrinks when in this wonderful center of edification: that is simply that you have to do so much, all the time. You're constantly active, responsible for something here and something there and having so much fun, so that the day is not enough, and you have only a short respite before you have to do more. And so the days blend into a blur and you find yourself feeling as if a month was a day and you have to go on break yet again. Seriously, I feel as if I had just returned from my vacation!
I am looking forward to this break. It is only ten days, but I will get to see my friends and family, and I can't wait. I will get a chance to go fishing, every day if I can, and hopefully catch something bigger than a herring, which seems to be the average catch for this novice angler. I'm still learning. I have never mentioned fishing on this blog, and that's because it's a new hobby that I did not know I would love so much.
Aside from this I will do some reading. I will read Boris Pasternak's Dr. Zhivago. Frankly, I don't know what to expect. For some reason I don't feel as excited to read it as I do Orwell's 1984. But I also have a prediction: I get a feeling I will love this book once I start it. It's the same thing that happened when I read The Agony and the Ecstasy of Michaelangelo by Irving Stone. I didn't want to read it at first, but it is now one of my favorite books in the world.
Aside from this, I'll be going to Charleston, SC, for a few days. From what I hear, it's a very beautiful city, certainly with a lot of history. I look forward to eating at Husk, a restaurant that's been getting a lot of attention recently; the reputation of their chef, Sean Brock, is growing as his talents in Southern cooking captivate diners. It should be fantastic.
That is what I expect to do this break. It should be fun, and then back into the time-warp I will go. It gets busier by the second, and I can't wait to see what comes my way!
There are two major drama productions each year at Delphian. One of them comes early in the year, on Thanksgiving. The second performance is in June.
This year's Thanksgiving play is going to be something I have never really done before. We are having a murder mystery. The play is called Cards on the Table. It is an adaptation of Agatha Christie's work. I am so excited for it!
The play is very fun, very packed with intrigue. The twist in the end is very dramatic and unexpected (as it should be). It will be a very entertaining play, and I can't wait to perform it.
This update is regarding my literature program. Each Form (grade) at Dephian has certain books you're required to read. The later Forms (7 and 8 - eleventh and twelfth grades) have pieces of literature where the goal—more than enriching vocabulary—is to develop viewpoints and bring the reader into contact with philosophies, cultures, and experiences.
Recently I finished reading Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. It was unbelievable. It is one of my favorite books I have ever read. It was actually life-changing.
Now I am reading part of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. The prologue is quite funny, and Chaucer's wit shines through in every passage. I also read part of Beowulf, the epic. It was very engaging and was not lacking for action.
I very much enjoy reading older literature so as to have the chance to immerse myself in the lore of centuries past. It is a great and most enjoyable experience.
by Eduardo Olmos
on Wednesday September 19, 2012 at 10:52AM
The year is coming to an end very, very fast. I am working hard on the rehearsals for the upcoming Upper School Drama Department production of the Broadway musical, Anything Goes. It is such a wonderful musical! I love the script. It is hilarious and silly but so clever. I know it is going to be a fantastic performance.
Aside from this I am doing lot of reading, which is great. Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, the book I am halfway through right now, is simply amazing. I cannot get enough of it. The characters are truly incredible people, and the philosophy in this book is certainly life-changing. One of the jewels of the program at Delphian is without a doubt the Literature Program. The books we read (like Atlas Shrugged) are works that make you think and can give you a new perspective on life. This book is unlike anything I've read before. I cannot wait to continue to see how the story unfolds, and also to read the books that yet await me on the Form 8 Literature Program—books like Dr. Zhivago, 1984, De Tocqueville's Democracy in America, and many more wonderful books.
My last Literature Seminar is nearly over! I finished all of the reading assignments in Plato's Republic. This was an incredibly interesting seminar. I found myself thinking hard about definitions of words that everyone is used to taking for granted. In truth, I also found myself disagreeing with a lot of the views expressed in the book. Censorship, for instance.
In all, it is bittersweet that my last seminar at Delphian School is about to end; I have read so many wonderful books and have had so many incredible realizations that I kind of wish there was another seminar still on the horizon.
We are starting on play practices now as well. This year the Upper School Drama Department is producing the show Anything Goes, which is currently being performed on Broadway and just won the Tony Award. I am practicing hard on my lines so I can have them ready by the end of Spring Break, which is when our rehearsals really pick up speed.