English Competition : News Reading Text (semi final round)

17 Januari, 2014



Good morning.

This is the morning news report and this is … with the English News Service bringing you the latest report from home and around the world.

1)    The death toll from the ongoing cold snap in Central and Eastern Europe has risen to more than 100.


2)    President SusiloBambangYudhoyono,hoisted the touring FIFA World Cup trophy hope that the event would inspire the national soccer team.


Most of the deaths have occurred in Poland and Ukraine, where 65  homeless people have died from exposureover the last week as temperatures have fallen to -30°C.

In many Ukrainian cities the authorities have erected heated tents with hot tea and food.Outdoor coal braziers have been placed beside bus stops in Polish cities.

The extremely cold weather is forecast to continue for the next week. Rising demand for gas has led Ukraine to increase its imports from Russia, and Poland to introduce rationing to some industrial plants, due to fears that stocks will run out.

President SusiloBambangYudhoyono, hopes that the touring FIFA World Cup event would inspire the national soccer team. The FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour is being held ahead of the 2014 World Cup, which will kick off in Brazil in June. The trophy made its stop at the Presidential Palace, usheredby FIFA ambassador and former captain of the Trinidad and Tonational team Dwight Yorke.

Jakarta is the 57th stopover on the trophy’s nine-month journey across 88 countries. The trophy will be displayed at the Jakarta Convention Center on Wednesday before being taken to Chile. “The FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour gives many Indonesians the chance to experience the magic of the World Cup.Yudhoyonosaid  thatHopefully, this will encourage Indonesia to build a stronger national team so that one day the team might compete in the World Cup final rounds.

That’s all for this morning’s News, thank you verymuch for the attention. Goodbye.


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Snow White

25 April, 2013

Once upon a time in mid winter, when the snowflakes were falling like feathers from heaven, a beautiful queen sat sewing at her window, which had a frame of black ebony wood. As she sewed, she looked up at the snow and pricked her finger with her needle. Three drops of blood fell into the snow. The red on the white looked so beautiful, that she thought, “If only I had a child as white as snow, as red as blood, and as black as this frame.” Soon afterward she had a little daughter that was as white as snow, as red as blood, and as black as ebony wood, and therefore they called her Little Snow-White.

Now the queen was the most beautiful woman in all the land, and very proud of  her beauty. She had a mirror, which she stood in front of every morning, and asked:

Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
Who in this land is fairest of  all?

And the mirror always said:

You, my queen, are fairest of all.

And then she knew for certain that no one in the world was more beautiful than she.

Now Snow-White grew up, and when she was seven years old, she was so beautiful, that she surpassed even the queen herself. Now when the queen asked her mirror:

Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
Who in this land is fairest of all?

The mirror said:

You, my queen, are fair; it is true.
But Little Snow-White is still
A thousand times fairer than you.

When the queen heard the mirror say this, she became pale with envy, and from that hour on, she hated Snow-White. Whenever she looked at her, she thought that Snow-White was to blame that she was no longer the most beautiful woman in the world. This turned her heart around. Her jealousy gave her no peace. Finally she summoned a huntsman and said to him, “Take Snow-White out into the woods to a remote spot, and stab her to death. As proof that she is dead bring her lungs and her liver back to me. I shall cook them with salt and eat them.”

The huntsman took Snow-White into the woods. When he took out his hunting knife to stab her, she began to cry, and begged fervently that he might spare her life, promising to run away into the woods and never return. The huntsman took pity on her because she was so beautiful, and he thought, “The wild animals will soon devour her anyway. I’m glad that I don’t have to kill her.” Just then a young boar came running by. He killed it, cut out its lungs and liver, and took them back to the queen as proof of Snow-White’s death. She cooked them with salt and ate them, supposing that she had eaten Snow-White’s lungs and liver

Snow-White was now all alone in the great forest. She was terribly afraid, and began to run. She ran over sharp stones and through thorns the entire day. Finally, just as the sun was about to set, she came to a little house. The house belonged to seven dwarfs. They were working in a mine, and not at home. Snow-White went inside and found everything to be small, but neat and orderly. There was a little table with seven little plates, seven little spoons, seven little knives and forks, seven little mugs, and against the wall there were seven little beds, all freshly made.

Snow-White was hungry and thirsty, so she ate a few vegetables and a little bread from each little plate, and from each little glass she drank a drop of wine. Because she was so tired, she wanted to lie down and go to sleep. She tried each of the seven little beds, one after the other, but none felt right until she came to the seventh one, and she lay down in it and fell asleep.

When night came, the seven dwarfs returned home from the work. They lit their seven little candles, and saw that someone had been in their house.

The first one said, “Who has been sitting in my chair?”

The second one, “Who has been eating from my plate?”

The third one, “Who has been eating my bread?”

The fourth one, “Who has been eating my vegetables?”

The fifth one, “Who has been sticking with my fork?”

The sixth one, “Who has been cutting with my knife?”

The seventh one, “Who has been drinking from my mug?”

Then the first one said, “Who stepped on my bed?”

The second one, “And someone has been lying in my bed.”

And so forth until the seventh one, and when he looked at his bed, he found Snow-White lying there, fast asleep. The seven dwarfs all came running, and they cried out with amazement. They fetched their seven candles and looked at Snow-White. “Good heaven! Good heaven!” they cried. “She is so beautiful!” They liked her very much. They did not wake her up, but let her lie there in the bed. The seventh dwarf had to sleep with his companions, one hour with each one, and then the night was done.

When Snow-White woke up, they asked her who she was and how she had found her way to their house. She told them how her mother had tried to kill her, how the huntsman had spared her life, how she had run the entire day, finally coming to their house. The dwarfs pitied her and said, “If you will keep house for us, and cook, sew, make beds, wash, and knit, and keep everything clean and orderly, then you can stay here, and you’ll have everything that you want. We come home in the evening, and supper must be ready by then, but we spend the days digging for gold in the mine. You will be alone then. Watch out for the queen, and do not let anyone in.”

The queen thought that she was again the most beautiful woman in the land, and the next morning she stepped before the mirror and asked:

Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
Who in this land is fairest of all?

The mirror answered once again:

You, my queen, are fair; it is true.
But Little Snow-White beyond the seven mountains
Is a thousand times fairer than you.

It startled the queen to hear this, and she knew that she had been deceived, that the huntsman had not killed Snow-White. Because only the seven dwarfs lived in the seven mountains, she knew at once that they must have rescued her. She began to plan immediately how she might kill her, because she would have no peace until the mirror once again said that she was the most beautiful woman in the land. At last she thought of something to do. She disguised herself as an old peddler woman and colored her face, so that no one would recognize her, and went to the dwarf’s house. Knocking on the door she called out, “Open up. Open up. I’m the old peddler woman with good wares for sale.”

Snow-White peered out the window, “What do you have?”

“Bodice laces, dear child,” said the old woman, and held one up. It was braided from yellow, red, and blue silk. “Would you like this one?”

“Oh, yes,” said Snow-White, thinking, “I can let the old woman come in. She means well.” She unbolted the door and bargained for the bodice laces.

“You are not laced up properly,” said the old woman. “Come here, I’ll do it better.” Snow-White stood before her, and she took hold of the laces and pulled them so tight that Snow-White could not breathe, and she fell down as if she were dead. Then the old woman was satisfied, and she went away.

Nightfall soon came, and the seven dwarfs returned home. They were horrified to find their dear Snow-White lying on the ground as if she were dead. They lifted her up and saw that she was laced up too tightly. They cut the bodice laces in two, and then she could breathe, and she came back to life. “It must have been the queen who tried to kill you,” they said. “Take care and do not let anyone in again.”

The queen asked her mirror:

Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
Who in this land is fairest of all?

The mirror answered once again:

You, my queen, are fair; it is true.
But Little Snow-White with the seven dwarfs
Is a thousand times fairer than you.

She was so horrified that the blood all ran to her heart, because she knew that Snow-White had come back to life. Then for an entire day and a night she planned how she might catch her. She made a poisoned comb, disguised herself differently, and went out again. She knocked on the door, but Snow-White called out, “I am not allowed to let anyone in.”

Then she pulled out the comb, and when Snow-White saw how it glistened, and noted that the woman was a complete stranger, she opened the door, and bought the comb from her. “Come, let me comb your hair,” said the peddler woman. She had barely stuck the comb into Snow-White’s hair, before the girl fell down and was dead. “That will keep you lying there,” said the queen. And she went home with a light heart.

The dwarfs came home just in time. They saw what had happened and pulled the poisoned comb from her hair. Snow-White opened her eyes and came back to life. She promised the dwarfs not to let anyone in again.

The queen stepped before her mirror:

Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
Who in this land is fairest of all?

The mirror answered:

You, my queen, are fair; it is true.
But Little Snow-White with the seven dwarfs
Is a thousand times fairer than you.

When the queen heard this, she shook and trembled with anger, “Snow-White will die, if it costs me my life!” Then she went into her most secret room — no one else was allowed inside — and she made a poisoned, poisoned apple. From the outside it was red and beautiful, and anyone who saw it would want it. Then she disguised herself as a peasant woman, went to the dwarfs’ house and knocked on the door.

Snow-White peeped out and said, “I’m not allowed to let anyone in. The dwarfs have forbidden it most severely.”

“If you don’t want to, I can’t force you,” said the peasant woman. “I am selling these apples, and I will give you one to taste.”

“No, I can’t accept anything. The dwarfs don’t want me to.”

“If you are afraid, then I will cut the apple in two and eat half of it. Here, you eat the half with the beautiful red cheek!” Now the apple had been so artfully made that only the red half was poisoned. When Snow-White saw that the peasant woman was eating part of the apple, her desire for it grew stronger, so she finally let the woman hand her the other half through the window. She bit into it, but she barely had the bite in her mouth when she fell to the ground dead.

The queen was happy, went home, and asked her mirror:

Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
Who in this land is fairest of all?

And it answered:

You, my queen, are fairest of all.

“Now I’ll have some peace,” she said, “because once again I’m the most beautiful woman in the land. Snow-White will remain dead this time.”

That evening the dwarfs returned home from the mines. Snow-White was lying on the floor, and she was dead. They loosened her laces and looked in her hair for something poisonous, but nothing helped. They could not bring her back to life. They laid her on a bier, and all seven sat next to her and cried and cried for three days. They were going to bury her, but they saw that she remained fresh. She did not look at all like a dead person, and she still had beautiful red cheeks. They had a glass coffin made for her, and laid her inside, so that she could be seen easily. They wrote her name and her ancestry on it in gold letters, and one of them always stayed at home and kept watch over her.

Snow-White lay there in the coffin a long, long time, and she did not decay. She was still as white as snow and as red as blood, and if she had been able to open her eyes, they still would have been as black as ebony wood. She lay there as if she were asleep.

One day a young prince came to the dwarfs’ house and wanted shelter for the night. When he came into their parlor and saw Snow-White lying there in a glass coffin, illuminated so beautifully by seven little candles, he could not get enough of her beauty. He read the golden inscription and saw that she was the daughter of a king. He asked the dwarfs to sell him the coffin with the dead Snow-White, but they would not do this for any amount of gold. Then he asked them to give her to him, for he could not live without being able to see her, and he would keep her, and honor her as his most cherished thing on earth. Then the dwarfs took pity on him and gave him the coffin.

The prince had it carried to his castle, and had it placed in a room where he sat by it the whole day, never taking his eyes from it. Whenever he had to go out and was unable to see Snow-White, he became sad. And he could not eat a bite, unless the coffin was standing next to him. Now the servants who always had to carry the coffin to and fro became angry about this. One time one of them opened the coffin, lifted Snow-White upright, and said, “We are plagued the whole day long, just because of such a dead girl,” and he hit her in the back with his hand. Then the terrible piece of apple that she had bitten off came out of her throat, and Snow-White came back to life.

She walked up to the prince, who was beside himself with joy to see his beloved Snow-White alive. They sat down together at the table and ate with joy.

Their wedding was set for the next day, and Snow-White’s godless mother was invited as well. That morning she stepped before the mirror and said:

Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
Who in this land is fairest of all?
The mirror answered:
You, my queen, are fair; it is true.
But the young queen
Is a thousand times fairer than you.

She was horrified to hear this, and so overtaken with fear that she could not say anything. Still, her jealousy drove her to go to the wedding and see the young queen. When she arrived she saw that it was Snow-White. Then they put a pair of iron shoes into the fire until they glowed, and she had to put them on and dance in them. Her feet were terribly burned, and she could not stop until she had danced herself to death.

A phone conversation

10 April, 2013

Conversation 1
Rama is calling Andreta to invite her to the movie.
Rama : Oh hi, Andre. It’s Rama here.
Andreta : Oh hi. How are you?
Rama : Fine thanks. Listen. I’ve got a couple tickets for the new Brad Pitt’s film. Would you like to come?
Andreta : Oh, thanks. But I’m working on an essay. I have to finish it tonight because it’s due tomorrow.
Rama : Oh, what a pity. Well, never mind. Some other time perhaps.
Andreta : Sure.
Rama : Bye.
Andreta : Bye.

Conversation 2.
Tika : Hi, Nasha. Tika’s speaking.
Nasha : Oh hi, Tika. How are you?
Tika : Good. Thank you. Tika, would you come to my
sister’s party tomorrow?
Nasha : Sure, I will. What time is the party?
Tika : 7 p.m.
Nasha : That’s great. Any special dress code?
Tika : No. See you.
Nasha : See you. Thanks for calling.

Converation 3.
Wahyu : Hello, Lutfi. It’s Wahyu. How are you?
Lutfi : Hi, Wahyu. Fine. Thanks.
Wahyu : Lut, would you like to drop in after class?
Lutfi : I’d like to, but I have to be home before 3.Next time.
Wahyu : Ok. Bye.
Lutfi : Bye.

Conversation 4
Cici : Hello, Mira. It’s Cici.
Mira : Hi, Ci. How are you?
Cici : Fine. Thanks. How about you?
Mira : Very well. Thank you. Ci, I’ll have my birthday party next weekend. Could you come?
Cici : Oh, so sorry. My family and I plan to visit my uncle in Surabaya.
Mira : What a pity! But, it’s OK.
Cici : Sorry Mira.

Make a short coversation based on the situation.
1.Bintang and Ronny are classmates. Bintang tries to phone Ronny to ask him to join an English Storytelling competition on Sunday, March, 29th at 8 am. The location is at SMPN 119 Jalan Merapi no 5. When she phones, Ronny is out. Ana, Ronny’s sister, answers the phone.

2.Lina tries to phone her father in his office. When she phones him, his secretary answers the phone and tells her that he is out of the office.
She asks his secretary to tell him that her mother is sick at home and needs to go to hospital as soon as possible.

3. Your friend asks you to go with him/her to the mall. You have to take care of your baby brother because your parents are not home.
4. You call your friend and ask her/him to go with you to see a new movie. She/he agrees


Penjelasan Tentang Report Text ,Laporan dan Descriptive Text

19 Juli, 2011

Dear students…

There are so many questions about Report. I’m going to give you short explanation.I hope you’ll understand easily.

Well, it’s absolutely different between REPORT text and Laporan dalam bahasa Indonesia. Report as one of the genres that we learn does not mean laporan in Indonesia. So, what is a report text? Report means a text which describe things in general. It’s a little bit different from descriptive text which describe specific thing. To tell the facts of the things described, the writer usually uses present simple tense. Kecuali bendanya sudah punah, seperti dinosaurus. Penulis atau pembicara akan menggunakan simple past tense jika benda yang diceritakan sudah punah. Report text contains the class or subclass of the topic described, and then followed by telling the shape, parts, behaviour, etc in details.

Kalian pasti pernah mendeskripsikan sesuatu, bisa berupa hewan, tumbuhan, benda, dan hal lain secara umum. Contoh nyata jika ada turis asing yang meminta kalian menjelaskan tentang karakteristik orang Jawa kalian pasti akan mendeskripsikan orang Jawa secara umum bukan mendeskripsikan diri kamu sendiri tentunya (jika kamu orang Jawa misalnya). Atau dalam pelajaran Biologi, kalian biasanya mempelajari karakteristik hewan secara umum, baik itu kelasnya (classification) hingga mempelajari sifat-sifat hewan tersebut secara detail (description).

Dalam bahasa Indonesia kita mengenal teks deskripsi. Namun dalam pelajaran bahasa Inggris teks deskripsi dibedakan menjadi dua bagian, yaitu descriptive dan report.

Yang harus diingat adalah Report adalah jenis teks yang mendeskripsikan sesuatu secara umum. Beda dengan Descriptive yang mendeskripsikan sesuatu secara spesifik atau tertentu (alias cuma satu). Contoh: Ada dua teks tentang binatang yaitu “Cats” dan “My Cat”, kalau dilihat dari judulnya kedua teks tersebut beda jenis teksnya: Cats (Umum; jenis teksnya Report); My Cat (Khusus, kan cuma kucing saya, makanya jenis teksnya Descriptive !). Selanjutnya sebagai latihan kamu, tentukan sendiri contoh berikut apakah termasuk jenis Report atau Descriptive ?

Contoh :


For many years, many people believed that the cleverest animals after man were the chimpanzees. Now, however, there is proof that dolphins may be even cleverer than these big apes.

Although a dolphin lives in the sea it is not a fish. It is a mammal. It is in many ways, therefore, like a human being.

Dolphins have a simple language. They are able to talk to one another. It may be possible for man to learn how to talk to dolphins. But this will not be easy because dolphins cannot hear the kind of sounds man can make. If man wants to talk to dolphins, therefore, he will have to make a third language which both he and the dolphins can understand.

Dolphins are also very friendly toward man. They often follow ships. There are many stories about dolphins guiding ships through difficult and dangerous water.


Text di atas menjelaskan tentang dolphin secara umum. Di paragraf kedua tercantum jelas bahwa dolphin belongs to mammal. Ini menjelaskan bahwa dophin termasuk ke dalam kelas mamalia. Di paragraf ketiga dan selanjutnya menjelaskan tentang kebiasaan dari dolphin secara umum.   Jenis teksnya adalah Report.

Contoh lain:                                       A RAZOR

A razor is a tool which is found in nearly every bathroom. A man who has thick hair on his face may have to shave twice a day. It is a habit which can be dangerous. For many years, a razor was a handle with a long piece of steel which was sharp and flat at one end. These razors had a long open blade.

But today’s razors are safer and more convenient to use. The thing which makes today’s razor safe is that the blade is small thin sharp piece of steel. The person who invented razor blades was a man called King Gillette. He was a clever man who had many ideas for new inventions. He wanted to make a blade that was safe and which could be used several times. In 1891, he invented a new type of razor blade. It was short and it was held in a special handle. The sharp edge of the blade did not stick out very far. It was a razor which was safe to use. It was more difficult to cut yourself than with the older type of razor.

Gillette’s razor blade became popular. It was an invention which worked well and which everybody need because each blade only lasted 8 to 10 times. Gillette sold many of his new safety blades and soon became a millionaire.

Penjelasan :

Teks di atas menceritakan tentang benda mati yaitu razor. Di paragraf awal menggambarkan tentang suatu alat berupa razor secara umum. Di paragraf berikutnya menjelaskan tentang bagian dan bentuk dari razor. Jenis teks nya adalah Report.

So…. It’s clear that both of the texts above describe things in general.

Report teks biasanya kita temukan dalam buku-buku ilmiah, science khususnya.


Social Function:

Describe the way things are (for example: a man-made thing, animals, plants). The things must be a representative of their class.

Text organization/Generic Structure:

  1. General classification (Introduce the topic of the report, such as: the class or the subclass)
  2. Description (tell the shape/form, parts, behaviour, habitat, way of survival)

Language Feature:

  1. The use of general nouns
  2. The use of relating verbs
  3. The use of present tense
  4. The use of behavioral verbs

Making Meals Fit For Family

18 Juli, 2011

Polish Pierogies

Dinnertime. One recent weekday evening. George Medrek Sr. is ready for a visitor.

An electric skillet full of homemade potato-and-cheese pierogi simmers on the counter. Sour cream is on the table. All in all, he looks like the confident cook he has become.

Medrek grew up on this Polish specialty, as made by his mother and his aunt, both immigrants from Poland. Before his spotlight as a winner of our Lousy Cooks contest, he’d tried to make pierogi himself only once. He wasn’t really interested in learning how.

After his lessons with the local chefs, his prize for winning the contest, he changed his mind. He asked his aunt, Melinia Stupnckyj, for her recipe, and she walked him through the steps. His aunt, he said, makes five or six hundred pierogi at a time and donates them to her church. “She’s been doing that for 20 or 25 years,” he said. “Her recipe is the best.”

Last year, the single dad of two had only a few dinner dishes he comfortably knew how to make. He and George Jr. ate out frequently.

Since then, he’s broadened his culinary horizons considerably.

Cooking, he wrote in a recent e-mail, “has become a hobby of mine now. Since the interview, my cooking has greatly improved. I really enjoy cooking a whole lot more.”

The publicity called attention to him as a cook, or rather a non-cook, and suddenly he had expectations to live up to.

One of the first things he made last year was the lasagna he was taught to prepare at Ristorante Bartolotta, though he substitutes cottage cheese for ricotta cheese and commercial pasta sauce for the fresh tomato sauce that he said was “a little too much for me.”

George Jr., now 13, declared his dad’s lasagna to be “fantastic.” George Jr. was the force behind his dad’s selection last year as a Lousy Cook, writing a nomination letter that spelled out his father’s need for help in the kitchen.

What else has his dad been making? Lots of beef tips and mushrooms. (George Jr. doesn’t care so much for mushrooms.) Various kinds of omelets.

And beef vegetable soup – which got a big thumbs-up from George Jr. “It’s one of his best,” the seventh-grader said.

A day after this interview, when Medrek was called about his pierogi recipe, he was making breaded Sicilian steak and macaroni and cheese.

Medrek enjoys talking about what he cooks, describing step by step as someone might do who’s hosting a cooking show. He admitted to occasionally watching Rachael Ray’s “30-Minute Meals.”

One result of his heightened interest in cooking is that he and the boys eat out a lot less often. He now takes the time to plan ahead at least a couple of days.

The kids don’t seem to mind. George Jr. pronounced his dad’s cooking to be “really good.” “It’s just the flavor, the way it tastes. I can tell an improvement.”

Volunteered 9-year-old Nicholas: “He makes the best breakfast sandwiches!”

Medrek said he takes a little more time than he used to and puts more effort into his cooking.

He blushes a bit at his sons’ praise, saying only: “I try.”

But the learning process continues.

“I’m a meat and potatoes man, but I would like to get into baking more.”

He did make blueberry muffins and brownies, and the muffins weren’t bad, he said. He’s not big on sweets, but he has a weakness for a good apple pie. Perhaps he’ll try that someday.

Meanwhile, people who know him continue to ask, “What are you cooking today?”

The expectations continue, and Medrek seems equipped to fulfill them.

Recipes”Everybody’s mom, everybody’s grandma has their own version of pierogi,” said George Medrek. “My aunt’s has always been my favorite.”

Here’s that recipe.

Pierogi with Potato-Cheese Filling
Makes 2 1/2 to 3 dozen pierogi
2 ½ to 3 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 egg

2 tablespoons sour cream

½ cup lukewarm water

Potato-Cheese Filling (see recipe)

½ to 1 medium onion, diced

2 to 4 tablespoons butter (divided)

Sour cream for serving

In bowl, mix together flour, salt, egg, sour cream and water, starting with 2 ½ cups flour and adding more as needed. Dough will be sticky. Turn out onto generously floured board and knead a few times, then transfer to a large bowl, cover with a clean kitchen towel and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes to 1 hour or so.

While dough rests, prepare filling.

Roll out dough to about 1/16- to 1/8-inch thickness, flouring rolling pin as needed. While rolling out, before you get it to its final thickness, flip dough over a few times. Too thin, and dough will rip when adding filling; too thick and it won’t cook properly.

Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil.

Meanwhile, cut dough into 3- to 4-inch circles. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons filling on one side of each circle, then fold dough over to enclose. Press edges together to seal.

Drop pierogi in boiling water a few at a time and cook about 8 to 10 minutes. Pierogi will float to top as they cook. Stir occasionally. Pierogi are done when dough turns slightly opaque, and there may be slight wrinkling around filling.

Meanwhile, pan-fry onions in 1 to 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet. Lower heat and keep warm.

As pierogi are done, add to a separate skillet with remaining butter, cover and keep warm over low heat. Serve hot with sour cream and onions from pan.

Note: Alternatively, you can add remaining butter to onions and then add cooked pierogi to skillet with onions.

Potato-cheese filling:
4 to 5 medium-size potatoes

½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Salt and pepper, to taste

Peel potatoes, cut in half and cook in boiling water until done, about 20 minutes. Drain and mash with cheese until thoroughly incorporated. Add salt and pepper to taste.

There Is A Girl This Morning

17 Juli, 2011

There is a girl this morning who will wake up before anyone else in her family. She will start the fire and begin to make the matoke and beans that will be their breakfast. She has four brothers and a Mother to cook for, her Father is in the woods making what living he can for them by hunting. She empties the last of the water from her yellow plastic jerry can into the pot on the fire. As the water heats she takes the empty jerry can and begins her walk to the well. The walk to the well is pleasant enough, few people are awake and the day is still and quiet although already quite warm. Mosquitos bite her legs as she walks but she doesn’t notice them. After a short walk down a very steep and muddy hill she reaches the well. This well is nothing more than a pipe protruding out of the earth and pouring water into a little alcove. She knows better than to take water from the little pool the pipe creates. That stagnant water would bring disease and death to her family. She wades up to her knees in the pool and puts her large jerry can directly under the pipe and it begins to fill. The can gets heavier and heavier as it fills with water and her arms ache to keep it in place just a little longer until it’s full. Finally water reaches the top of the jerry can. She lifts it with all of her strength onto her head and begins the treacherous walk back up the slippery steep hill. She knows that if even a little bit of water spills she will have to go back to the well and start again. She walks slowly but confidently up the hill. This isn’t her first trip to the well. Since she learned to walk she has been making this trek with progressively larger and larger jerry cans. The one she carries today is the largest and weighs almost as much as she does. She never reaches a hand up to the can balanced on her head- this comes from years of practice and the jerry can doesn’t so much as move no matter how steep the hill or long the walk. By the time she returns home with the fresh water, breakfast is boiling and she removes it from the fire and divides it into exactly equal portions. How she does this type of division without a measuring cup is almost mystical. Mathematicians couldn’t divide this breakfast more equally. Her brothers and her Mother join her outside for breakfast. They eat quickly and quietly- this might be all they get for the day. After they finish this amazing girl washes the bowls with the least amount of water possible, she doesn’t want to have to walk back to the well until this evening, yet the dishes are somehow spotless. Her brothers pick up the rope they have made out of leaves and begin playing. They are young, they are all young the girl included, but the task of cleaning their home is left to her and her Mother. The boys have the liberty to play. She grabs the broom from outside the curtain door and enters her home. It is dark inside and cooler, she sweeps the dirt and dust into piles on the floor and then carefully, with the utmost caution, sweeps it into a makeshift pan and dumps it outside. Her back aches but she hardly notices it, she just wants to finish her morning chores so she can join her brothers outside and play for a while before it’s time for her evening chores. Finally she finishes. Outside she and her brothers and a few other children from their road create games to play. Duck duck goosie is her favorite but the boys would rather kick and throw around a worn out almost unrecognizable football they have. She doesn’t protest and just enjoys the freedom of being able to, for just a minute, play. She doesn’t go to school, none of them do, their parents don’t have the money to send them so instead she is learning everything a women needs to keep a house and her brothers will soon go into the woods with her Father to learn how to hunt. Far too soon, it seems, her Mother is calling her and her brothers to come and bathe. This is her signal that her playtime is over and chores begin again. For her brothers this is their signal to throw a tantrum and cry all the way to the bath. They hate the cold water and resent being made to bathe. She doesn’t mind the bathing but she would rather not have to start the fire, cook the dinner, and walk to the well again. The girl is grateful to have a dinner though and she holds onto that as she makes her way back home. Her day ends as it began and tomorrow morning it will begin again

The Girl Who Cried

17 Juli, 2011

There once was a girl who cried at just about everything. Movies, books, weddings, people yelling at each other on the street, old people eating alone, getting valentines from boys she liked, getting valentines from boys she didn’t like. She would bite her bottom lip and a few tears would escape from her eyes. She wasn’t loud, in fact, she tried not to draw attention to herself. Everyone in her town knew about her and everyone had the decency not to stare when she cried and to keep all of their judgement to themselves until she left and then they freely discussed her predicament. Some people called her an empath, others a nutter, and a few people called her Lou. This last group were people who actually knew her and spent time with her everyday, they called her Lou because her name was Louisa although no one in the town had ever called her that.

So, Lou cried and people talked about it. Who wouldn’t? No one knew why everything made her cry, Lou didn’t know why. Whenever she felt any emotion that was stronger than indifference she would bit her bottom lip and the tears would flow. She used to try and prevent it but that only made her cry harder. It was just her way. She knew it was considered abnormal, but what was to be done about it?

One day, when the time was right, which is to say, whatever time it was at the time, Lou met a boy she liked very much. She liked him because he stared right at her while she cried and always asked her what it was she was feeling that had caused her to cry. No one had asked her that since she was a little girl and when she was a little girl she hadn’t had the vocabulary to describe what she was feeling as she did now. Of course, it only makes sense that when she couldn’t describe it she was asked to, and when she could describe it no one cared to ask. That’s called life. Life was, coincidentally, what made Lou cry the most. It all makes sense you see. So, Lou and her inquisitive boy fell in love. He always asked and she always answered but she cried the exact same amount she always had and nothing really had changed for Lou except that everything had changed because she was in love. They went on like this for some time until the boy told Lou he didn’t love her anymore and was moving to Decatur, Georgia because that was where he wanted to move. Lou said she understood and then stared at him with perfectly dry eyes.

“Aren’t you going to cry?” the boy asked.

“Am I not?” asked Lou.

“No.” said the boy.

“Oh, sorry.” said Lou

The boy moved to Decatur, Georgia. Lou never cried again


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