My Self Portrait Project—Taaj's Self Portrait
For my self portrait project, I decided to make a map showing some places I have traveled. This combined two of my favorite things to do: traveling and drawing maps. I also wrote several essays talking about my travels and a collection of items related to those trips. In the essays, I talked about why I love to travel and how it teaches me so many things about people, life, and history.
Each part of the project represents me in some way or another. Let’s start with the map, the largest part of the project. This was the first part of the project I made and the hardest part to do. I did it because it shows where I went and how I love to make a visual representation of everything I learn. I made the map by sticking a real map to the wall where I was working so I could copy it. I also put a grid on the map and another gird on the board. This way the map was divided up into sections and way easier to draw. I made sure to take a lot of time to get the details as accurate as possible.
The second part of the project consists of essays describing my trips and souvenirs to go along with the project. This part really explains why I like traveling and gives some context for the rest of the project. Each one of these essays is two to three paragraphs long. They detail when I went, who I went with, and what I did there. I made an essay for every single place I visited. Those places are India, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, France, New York, and California.
The third part of the project was the little model plane I built. The reason I built it is because I enjoy building things. Building has been a passion of mine for many years now. The fuselage of the plane is a piece of construction paper wrapped into a cylinder. The nose is a sheet of aluminum wrapped into a cone to be on the tip of the plane. The wings are sheet cardboard stuck through the plane. For one last touch, I put a picture of myself in the cockpit as a joke.
Overall I had a great time making my project and really think it represents me as a person. As I made the project I learned many things about myself. I actually I have a much better memory than I thought I did. I also realized that I really enjoy making detailed maps, but I’m also quite slow at making them. I also learned that nothing is impossible if I work hard enough.
The essays for each destination is included below:
In 2018 my dad and I went to India for the summer break, to see my grandparents who live there. I had been to India several times before but this was the most memorable trip. We arrived at Delhi airport at night time and made our way through the large crowds to our taxi. The taxi took us to Chandigarh, Punjab where my grandparents lived. My grandparents were extremely happy to see me. It took me and my dad a few days to get used to the time difference. During my stay, I really loved going to grandfather’s farm and eating the mangoes from there. The mangoes are very sweet and tang. I spent a lot of time playing with local kids who I had met before on previous trips. During my time there I learned a lot of things about the family. Like how my grandfather received a letter from the King of England for his service in World War II. One thing I also really loved in India was that the food was wonderful, especially the street food.
The United Kingdom
In the spring of 2015 my mom and I went on a trip to the United Kingdom. This was my first trip outside of America and India. When I arrived at Heathrow Airport I was overwhelmed by how crowded it was. After my mom and I checked in at the hotel we took a walk around the block. I was constantly amazed by how old and beautiful the buildings were. My mom also found a nice park nearby. At a restaurant I tried fish and chips—they were not that good. A few days into our trip we decided to go to Stonehenge. I was amazed to learn that Stonehenge was built before people had invented wheels. During the remainder of our trip, we saw many museums and landmarks. When I finally had to leave I was quite sad because I had enjoyed my time in England.
In spring break of 2016, my mom and I went to the Netherlands for a vacation. Mom and I traveled around the Netherlands with a tour group. At the start of my trip to Amsterdam, we walked around and saw the many beautiful canals and bridges. We went into several museums and learned about the rich and interesting history of the Netherlands. We then took a bus ride through the picturesque Dutch countryside. We stopped at windmill farms and ate their delicious cheeses. During this trip, I was able to understand how Dutch people lived and really expand my knowledge of that part of the world. This was mostly thanks to the wonderful tour guide we had who was very intelligent and could answer everyone's questions.
After my trip to the Netherlands, my mom and I went to France. We were very excited to see the beautiful city of Paris. Paris was an amazing city with beautiful buildings and great food. We took several tours of the city, learning about its history and seeing its beautiful landmarks. Later that day my mom and I went up the Eiffel Tower and from there we could see the whole city. All of the buildings in that part of Paris had blue roofs. It was truly an amazing sight to see. It turns out that the Eiffel Tower is actually just as tall as it is in the movies. The next day we went to several museums including the French military museum. It was a very in-depth museum and taught me a lot about French history. On the following day, I went on a trip to Normandy to learn about the D-day invasion and ate a delicious French lunch. On the last day, I saw the Eiffel Tower one last time and left to America. Paris was the most beautiful city I have ever seen.
I left from home to visit New York in December of 2015, during winter break, and returned on New Year’s Eve. I stayed with one of my family members in Manhattan. My mother and I were surprised by how cold it was, below freezing at several points. My mom and I saw many iconic New York buildings like the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty. Even though it was crowded, it was an amazing experience. On every block there was something to see. Huge skyscrapers appeared to reach the clouds. There was delicious street food sold by vendors and food trucks. They sold chili dogs, falafels, and churros, all of which I ate. I visited many interesting museums. I have returned to New York several times since my December 2015 trip. I hope to return again as I think it is an amazing city. I want to see the Statue of Liberty again.
In 2017 I went to California for a few weeks during summer break. I stayed at my cousin’s house in Yuba City. It was above 90 degrees most days so I stayed inside and watched movies. I ventured out of the house and went to several places in California. I went to San Francisco and Sacramento. In San Francisco, I learned a lot about the Gold Rush, John Stutter, Bear Republic, and California history in general. I was amazed to see that San Francisco was just like the movies with its steep streets and old houses. At my cousin’s house, I had to do a lot of farm work on the orchard with my aunt. This included picking peaches, fixing sprinklers, cutting weeds and trimming trees. This was very rewarding because I got to eat those delicious fresh peaches! During my time in California we went to several arcades and movie theaters and just had a really fun time. Since then I have returned to California several times and never have been disappointed.