August has been a busy month for my family! In fact, it's been a very, very busy summer. We've gone to the beach here in New York many times. We went to England and Ukraine. We visited New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park. And now it was time for another adventure to somewhere we'd never been! It was such a big adventure that I needed to pack a lot of stuff.
This trip would take me to some very exciting places. I needed to pack my red REI packing cube full of different clothes, bring a camera, hiking boots, wellies, Keens, and of course my trusty passport! This would be our last big trip of the summer.
Did you go anywhere exciting this summer? What did you do?
Hello my friends! I'm reporting from New Bedford, Massachusetts. New Bedford is famous for being an important location in the whaling trade. I know, whaling is so, so sad - but it's still important to learn about the history of the whaling industry.
This summer is an especially important time to visit National Park Service sites because this August marks the 100 year birthday of the National Park Service! My first park this August was New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park. It's a really cool park! The park is in historic New Bedford, Massachusetts. There is a visitor center and a bunch of buildings you can visit.
After picking up my Junior Ranger booklet, my parents and I began our walk around New Bedford. Just outside the visitor center, we encountered these two nice ladies! Their husbands are whalers and they told us what it was like to be women back in the whaling days. They were very vocal about women's suffrage- or the right of women to vote! I loved meeting them, but I'm glad I don't have to wear so many clothes in the heat!
One of the stops on the tour of New Bedford that Junior Rangers take is the New Bedford Whaling Museum! The first photo in this post- me with the white whale- is outside the museum. This photo is at the museum too! There is a giant squid climbing the front of the museum! Inside, you can learn all about the whaling industry and whales themselves. There are even really huge skeletons of whales! One thing I learned is that whalers were hunting whales to make products from their body parts. Before electric power, many people lit their homes whale oil lamps! Whoa! Some women wore whale bone corsets. Finally, a third thing people used whales for was ambergris, which you can sometimes find in whale intestines (Yuck!). Ambergris was used in perfume and in wine.
The ships that carried the whalers were pretty large with lots of men and boys aboard. Women and girls only rarely came along. In fact, the only job a woman could do on a whaling ship was shout "There she blows!" when a whale was spotted! Whaling ships killed whales by launching harpoons at them from whaleboats, which were smaller boats carried along on the ship. The whale would pull the whaleboat along until the whale was exhausted- the process was sometimes called a "Nantucket Sleighride!" It was very sad, I think.
I loved seeing all the older buildings in New Bedford. I imagine that many of them were built with funds from whaling. I asked my moms to take me to New Bedford because of a song by my favorite band, The Decemberists. The song is called The Mariner's Revenge Song and it's about a young man seeking revenge for his mother's ruin and death.
I really loved going to the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park! When I finished my self-guided walking tour, I headed back to the Visitor Center to receive my badge! (You can also take a guided tour, but we arrived just a bit too late for it.) After giving me my badge and helping me take an oath, Ranger Andrew and I posed in front of this whaling ship for a photo! I was so proud.
I think whaling is really sad, but in the past, I don't know if people realized how dangerous it was to kill so many whales. Whales reproduce so slowly that it is very difficult for their populations to recover. Today many whales are endangered or extinct.
If you'd like to learn more about whaling and New Bedford's role in the whaling industry, check out their website at www.nps.gov/nebe! What do you think, would you want to visit this National Historical Park?
Hello my friends! As I haven't been traveling since my trip to Europe, I've decided to really focus on introducing my friends. I hope that's okay with everyone! We'll get back to my adventures as soon as I have a new one.
So! Today I am introducing my friend Sonali! Sonali lives in my neighborhood with her family. Her dad and uncle run a chat house, or South Asian snack shop, around the corner from our building. Her mom works at the local elementary school, which Sonali also attends. The school focuses on cultural and performing arts, so Sonali gets to attend lots of cool performances and events.
Sonali is such a fun friend! She and I love to go to the local library together. The children's room is great! It has tons of books to read and computers to use for play or studying. Sonali and I both like adventure stories- her favorite book is Katherine Rundell's Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms, while I love Arthur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons series.
Sonali is learning to play violin! She is learning using the Suzuki method and is very disciplined. I really admire how hard she works. Sonali looks so cool carrying her violin in its case on her back around the neighborhood.
I'm really lucky to have a good friend like Sonali right in my apartment building. She's had a scooter for years, but now that I have one too, we love riding them to her family's chat house for kulfi popsicles! Kulfi is a kind of Indian ice cream. Sonali and I love the mango and pistachio flavors best!
I love having Sonali nearby! Do you have friends who live in your apartment building or neighborhood? Do you hang out together a lot?
Hi everyone! Today is really hot and muggy outside, so I'm stuck inside for a bit. Since I'm indoors this afternoon, I decided to do another post in my Meet My Friends series! You can click on a list of all my previous entries at this link.
Ready to get started? This is my friend Ksenia! Her nickname is Ksyusha and she lives in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. Ksenia is from Almaty, Kazakhstan. She's of Russian and Kazakh descent.
Ksenia is really, really intelligent. She goes to a school with a special program for gifted kids who are bilingual in Russian and English! She loves to play Erudit, which is a Russian version of Scrabble, and is hoping to join her school's Scrabble team. Living in a high-rise apartment in Brighton Beach means she lives right next to the ocean! She loves to walk on the boardwalk and get ice cream from the trucks that park by the ramps that lead up to the boardwalk.
Like me, Ksenia loves animals. Her favorites are deer and giant pandas. She's a fantastic friend! We both go to a youth group for kids who speak Russian and other Slavic languages; that's actually where we met.
Ksenia is so nice. We don't see each other as often as I'd like, because of school and other commitments, but I always enjoy hanging out with her.
Do you have any friends who go to a different school than you do?
Hello, hello! It's time for another edition in my Meet My Friends series for my blog. I've been slowly making a special page of all my friends. You can get to it at this link, or by clicking on the "My Friends" link below my header image.
Most of you know my friend Coral. Her full name is Coral Jade Takiwira. She's from Wellington, New Zealand! Coral lives in Brooklyn now with her dad and her au pair (a kind of nanny). Coral's dad works for the United Nations in Manhattan! Coral is half Māori. The Māori are the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand!
Coral loves to dance! This picture shows her in her traditional Māori dance outfit. I initially met Coral through a mutual friend, Maiki. Coral doesn't just do traditional Māori dance though!
Coral is an accomplished ballet student! She practices every single day- even when she's on vacation!
Coral studies ballet at a famous school in Lincoln Center- do you like her school sweatshirt? Her bedroom has its own ballet barre and the walls are covered in posters from her favorite ballet company, the New York City Ballet.
One of Coral's first performances in New York was as a Golden Hour in the ballet Coppélia! Isn't her costume beautiful? The Golden Hours appear at the end of the ballet. They dance to celebrate the new bell tower!
Even though Coral's costume for Coppélia is very detailed, her favorite ballet is A Midsummer Night's Dream! This is Coral in her costume. She played a fairy, one of the many bugs and fairies who accompany the fairy king, Oberon!
Coral's biggest role so far was Marie, the main character of The Nutcracker! She danced every other night for over a month. Wow!
When Coral's not dancing, she loves to relax and read. She's also pretty good at making bracelets on her rainbow loom, as you can see in this photo!
I love how friends can be so different but still get along like two peas in a pod! I love camping, hiking, and playing outside. Coral loves dressing up in beautiful costumes to dance. She also likes wearing dresses and soft colors when she's not dancing. Do you like her dress and floral crown in this photo?
Coral is a great friend. I'm so glad she moved to New York City from New Zealand!
Do you have any friends who have moved to your town from far away? Tell me about them!
Hello my friends! Now that I'm back from my trip to Europe, the summer is in full swing! It gets really hot in New York City in July and August, so I've been trying to stay cool. One of my favorite places in my neighborhood is the public library. You can read one of old blog entries about the library here if you want. The library is great because the kids room has books, DVDs, computers, and air conditioning! It's several blocks away though, so I have found a great way to get there quickly!
That's right! I ride my scooter! It goes pretty speedily down the sidewalks. Since many families in NYC don't use cars, it's important to get places on foot. However, I'm a kid- so I get pretty tired after a lot of walking. A scooter is a great solution! Plus? When I'm speeding down the sidewalks, the air feels nice and cool.
Summer is so fun! Sometimes it's too hot and I wish it were winter. I remember then how much I miss the summer when it's freezing cold outside! Hmm. What do you think is worse, heat or cold? I don't like being sweaty and hot, but I really, really don't like having to put on tons of extra clothes in the winter! My least favorite part of summer is how hot it gets on the subway platforms. The subway cars are air conditioned, which is nice, but the platforms get very, very warm.
Off I go! What's your favorite mode of transportation? Bicycle? Scooter? Airplane? Leave me a comment and let me know!
While I was in the United Kingdom, something very important was happening. The country had a referendum to decide whether or not they should stay in the European Union. I asked lots of questions about it and decided that I was on the remain side. I think the European Union is a great idea. Plus, our close family friends rely on the rules of the European Union to live in the UK. I was very sad when the news came out that the UK had decided to leave the European Union (EU). I decided to go with my mama and our friend to a protest of the referendum results, which is called Brexit. I carried my own European Union flag and brought my camera. Even though I am not British, I thought it was important to participate to show my support for the European Union.
Supporting the European Union and its goals does not mean that I am against the United Kingdom! I am very lucky that I have gotten to visit the UK twice plus one time that I went through the airport on the way home from Ukraine. The people are really nice and it's got great history! However, I was really sad that so many people voted against staying in the European Union because they were scared of immigrants. Immigrants make countries stronger!
Even though the referendum did not turn out that way my family and I would have liked, I am glad that I was in London to witness the days before, during, and after the election. I think it's very important to participate in your country's political system by voting! I am too young to vote, but I am very excited to vote someday.
Have you ever felt strongly about a political issue? Did you agree with your family?