Hope on the Transcontinental Railroad By Yumin Kim

August 10, 1896

I pushed the dump carts, pulled by horses, filled to the top with rock debris. Others, I saw them clear the paths of rock.

The air was filled with the cold scent of metal.

It was some continuous work, day by day, moving forward.

It was the transcontinental railroad.

After a few weeks, the manager calls me, Chen, you can start clearing the roadbed.

I can feel the bottom of my shoes getting thinner from all the laborious work.

When I first came here, I saw many foreigners, who looked so different from me, the Irish, German, and from England.

Everything seemed so different, strange. I felt a big hole in me, an empty space. And while sat down to take a break, I would take a picture and stare at it for a long time, smiling unconsciously, looking at the smiling face of my son and daughter, seeing their silly faces, and seeing the smile on my wife.

Immigrants like me never really spent time with others.

Was it how we looked different.

Or was it the different accent we had that separated us.

I could even feel the difference in their eyes, looking at us, like we were some dangerous people. I work with the thought of meeting my kids at the end, and my wife. This journey would be long. I am waiting, waiting for the day when our hopes become reality, the day when our family would not have to live in the fear of starving, or the fear of poverty.

The first friend I met since I am came to America was a man named Wang.

He was one enthusiastic man, always with an amiable smile on his face.

He would always talk about his daughters, with bright eyes like him and all of the fun pranks he did on them.

I could always see the hope in his eyes, bright and warm.


August 21, 1896

This was not a home. It was not the home like in my homeland with my children and my family, the small one, but warm.

It was dark, dry, rocky, and sandy, each day I would wake up with a dry throat, craving for water. Many of us lived in the underground tunnels, all tired with exhausted arms and legs.

We woke up one night, one of the nights among several repetitive days, by the rumbling sounds of the tunnel.

As I looked around in the dark, I felt tiny pebbles trickle down and hit my shoulders. We heard more rumbling sounds as more people in the tunnel woke up. The sounds were getting louder and louder.

Suddenly, we all realised that there was a rock avalanche, starting to crumble down the tunnel sides, slowly getting larger and larger. I ran as fast I could, dragging the painful legs that I did not know if they could hold up my body anymore.

I ran out, desperate for my life.

Several possibilities of death whipped past my head. I had to meet my kids again, bring back a better life, for them. I saw the open sky of darkness outside and turned back to notice what had happened behind me. The tunnel had collapsed. I looked around finding some people, huffing and all sweaty.

I kept looking around, trying to find something, it felt like something was missing, until I realized not everyone had escaped the tunnel.

He was still inside, the one enthusiastic man, always with an amiable smile on his face.

I missed Wang, I couldn’t talk about my family anymore, I couldn’t listen to his funny stories about pranking his daughters.

One thing I did know was that he was the best dad, friend, husband, and I will never forget the bright smile he had on his face.

September 23, 1896

I still remember the last day we saw our husband, dad, our hero.

The day that seemed like a last resort, but a new beginning, a new hope.

That day, we all went out as a family, first in a long time.

Where are we going? Our son said excited.

We are going to take a family photo, Chen said. We had never taken photos before, and I smiled in excited, as the kids laughed with him.

Maybe it was the happiness in our family, maybe it was because it could be the last.

Everything looked more beautiful than ever. The sky was such a beautiful blue, with bits of cloud, all different sizes. The breeze was so warm, but cool to the skin, shaking the leaves on the trees.

When we got to the photo shop, we were ordered sit on a bench with a grey background.

Smile. Said the person with the camera. I noticed until now, I had always lived without freedom, Always caught in the thought of going to each day.

But today, it was the first time my smile was real, full of real happiness.

That night, we sat around the table, eating dinner. It was a very quiet meal. As the time for letting Chen go, the more fretful I felt.

I kept bringing it back in my head. It is not the last, it is not a last. My thought continued to bring it back no matter how much I try.

But what if?

I notice myself asking a thousand of these what if questions.

You don’t have to worry he said.

I still remember that day, that day when Chen stood on the threshold of our house, saying goodbye, saying, I will definitely be with you again.

Goal Setting

WHICH ME WILL I BE?(Goal setting/ Reflection/ Strategic Plan) 

One strength is that I work collaboratively with my classmates when making projects.

Another strength is that I can find information and arrange it in a way that is helpful for me with the different ideas.


 To improve, I think I could read more and think about the deep ideas.

GOAL/ GOALS: (Realistic, Action steps, Measure, Checkpoints, Specific/ Targeted goal): 

 My goal is to read more each day and to think of the deeper meanings.

 My goal is to contribute more ideas to the group.


Leave some time at the end of the day so that I can read more.
Have more ideas prepared so that I can contribute.

Always remind myself of the deeper thinking.

I am accurate when it comes to measuring things or recording data.

I can understand the contents of the unit pretty well.


One area of growth is that I’m not always talking so much during class. 

GOAL/ GOALS: (Realistic, Action steps, Measure, Checkpoints, Specific/ Targeted goal): 

My goal is to check on the units from before so that I can remember the contents.

My goal is to talk more during class.

I could flip through my notebook once in awhile and read my notes.
 I could raise my hand more often during class if I have an idea.

I could go back to my vocabulary bank and check my understanding.
I can understand the problem and can find a strategy to solve it.
I can explain my work and why I did it.


 Reading the problems more carefully because I sometimes misread the numbers.

GOAL/ GOALS: (Realistic, Action steps, Measure, Checkpoints, Specific/ Targeted goal): 

To use my notebook not just to solve problems.

To make sure and read the problem accurately.

 I can use my notebook during class by taking notes for the contents.
 I can reread the problems over.

I can make sure if my answers make sense after solving it.



 I think I’m doing well on writing sentences in French.


I think I need to talk more in class when we are going over things.

GOAL/ GOALS: (Realistic, Action steps, Measure, Checkpoints, Specific/ Targeted goal): 

My goal is to work on understanding oral comprehension.

My goal is to be able to read more in French.


 Raise my hand more often when we are translating phrases or sentences.

 Taking books in French home and practicing reading them.

Listening to more French can help me with understanding French.
I put effort into moving forward in the activities that we do.

I improved on my fitness level a little bit.


 I think I need to improve my fitness skills and running.

GOAL/ GOALS: (Realistic, Action steps, Measure, Checkpoints, Specific/ Targeted goal): 

My goal is to increase the time I can run.

My goal is to show more improvement with the number of fitness exercises.


I can practice running at home and slowly increase the time I can run.

I can practice curl ups, push ups, and other exercises.

I could also work on my flexibility at home and it could help me with other exercises.




Yumin Spends Time with her Sister at Doré Doré Cafe

Yumin spends time with her sister at Doré Doré Cafe.

It was the day that Hyeamin, Yumin’s sister had planned. A special cafe called Doré Doré cafe, in Sinsa dong. The cafe had many different rainbow cakes. Yumin was very excited about it because the cafe was famous for being a unique and special cafe.

The first floor with pink walls and shiny tables.

The Uniqueness of the Cafe 

The whole building was pink with a name on the side called Doré Doré. Inside, there were three floors: the first floor was pink, the second floor was blue and orange, and the underground floor was purple. The sun shining on the clear glass tables were sparkling with colours. The sun made the tables shine with rainbow colours. Other tables were painted with so many different colours. 


There were many different types of layered cakes such as, rainbow cakes and strawberry cakes. They ordered a four layered red velvet cake with cream in between, sparkling juice, Peppermint tea, and coffee. Yumin did not enjoy the peppermint tea because it was too minty. Also, since the background wall and the sunlight was so pretty, they took lots of photos together on the different colours of the background.

Time with Yumin’s Family

Since there is an eight year different between Yumin and Hyeamin, now, it was hard for Yumin to see her sister often. When she went back to Korea for the holidays, she was excited to spend time with her. And spending time at this cafe was a fun and a meaningful experience for them.

Artifacts Project

For this project, we had to choose a artifacts from one of the four ancient civilisations and explain why the artifacts is a voice of the River valley. I chose to research about the Pashupati seal. I was able to find many different and interesting facts about it. I filmed a video of myself talking about why the artifacts is a voice of the River valley and I made a plaque of a brief information about it.


Me + Organization

My strengths

One of the strengths that I have for organisation is that I use my agenda for writing my homework for every class daily. When I go home, it helps me remember my homework for all of the classes. I also use google classroom for checking my to-do list. I useually check google classroom the most because it is very easy to check the things that I have to do. Another strength is that I think of when I have to do my homework. I like to do it before dinner and if I can’t finish it by then, I would finish it after.

Areas for growth

One of the areas for growth is to think about what kind of homework I would do. For example, I would do the homework that is due the next day before the other homework that I have to do. This would help me do all of my homework easily in time. Also I want to use my tiny calendar more often because usually, I don’t use tiny calendar and I only use my agenda and my google classroom.


One goal I have is to check tiny calendar more often and to check it daily for more accurate data about the homework that I have.

Delhi Out and About Experience

During this class, I learned more about my host country. I learned the different cultures and the different kind of arts that are being made here. The projects and field we did in classical really helped me to gain more knowledge about India and Delhi. The processes to the understanding India were the different projects that we made. 

One was about Delhi and its culture such as, food, arts, and architecture. Then, we also made different power points about the history of Delhi including the seven cities of India. Which was a good opportunity to learn about the history of our host country and the different monuments from history that still exists. Other projects that involved research was the kahoot project and the Gandhi video project. Making these projects were really fun because we got to do it with partners and we could use lots of creativity.

The field trips were so fun because with our friends, we got to experience and learn about the different monuments and what was happening around it. One good highlight for me was the trip to Gandhi Smriti because there were lots of information about Gandhi’s life that was written on the wall and pictures that showed it. It was just a good place to when you want to remember Gandhi’s actions and if you want to learn about it.