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Week 7 Post Surgery

I know, I know. It has been a long time between posts.   It just isn’t on my to do lists.

A few things to report on the past few weeks.

Cloth Drawings.

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Purpose of the Drawings.  I want to get better.  I need to work on a portfolio. I think back of Daniel Adel’s Paper drawings.  Amazing. It really is practice.  I went back to drawing instead of water color because to paint you really have to be a good draftsman.

A failed Comic book.  On my birthday I tried to do a 24 hour comic since I couldn’t travel or do anything I wanted to do like Jiu Jitsu.  I wanted to do a comic about my travels in 2017.  It was a good subject.  I just didn’t have enough skill, experience or drawing endurance to complete such a task.  It was a major undertaking.  I learned a lot from the experience.  My curiosity peaked to study the world of comics and drawing more.  I read Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud again. Then I read Making Comics. Now I’m reading Comics and Sequential Art by Will Eisner.  It is a project I still want to do in the future. 

Some provoking questions to ask myself.  What do I want to do with my Art?  Do I want to make beautiful art. Yes. But that can’t be the only reason to make art.  Anyone can make a pretty pictures.   How do I transcend the surface of it?  Story.  Maybe a narrative to connect the viewer/reader with the art. Beauty gets boring.  I like to laugh and have fun. How can I steer my work in that direction?

My friends and family came to visit.  It felt great to get out and experience Houston with my guests.  I have friends here in Spring but childhood friends have a special place.  We laugh and reminisce. They are also very creative and doing different things with their lives.  Its interesting to hear their stories.  We did a myriad of things. We visited the Johnson Space Center, watched a pro wrestling event in a parking lot in Montrose, saw the Fighting with my family movie, ate Texas BBQ at Corkscrew BBQ and tacos at Bigotes.  Larry and Fernando are going to start a pro  wrestling podcast. I fully support them because of their wealth of knowledge and experience of the industry.  I pitched them a travel show where they go to different countries and interview the wrestling scenes in each country. There are subcultures in every country and pro wrestling is no different.  I suggested the countries I’ve visited or want to visit. South Korea, Ireland. South Africa or Mexico.  I can be their camera man  I think its undiscovered territory in the Vloging world.

We went to Nasa Space Center. 

My mother and sister came.  I can’t thank them enough for their love and support.

My mom and I after 1 week post surgery. 
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Day 135. Porto, Portugal

Surfing, Jiu Jitsu and Family

Bruno, our surf instuctor, helping out Svenja with standing up.

A few days after the Copenhagen Camp I ended up in Porto, Portugal. I wondered what I would do when I got to Porto. From the start of my trip I knew my family was coming to Portugal. I had to decide what to do before I met them in Porto. My options were I would either walk another Camino from Porto to Santiago, hang out in Porto for a week, or…. wait for it. Go to a surf school.

How long does it take to not be self conscious in a wet suit?

Porto will be an unforgettable chapter in my trip.  I learned to surf and met other beginners from all parts of the world. I trained Jiu Jitsu in the afternoon and nights after surfing. I drank and hung out with cool people whose couches I could use in the future. I was reunited with my family and I had old fashion family vacation.

Food brings people together. Argentina, USA, The Netherlands, Germany, South Korea, and France.

I booked the camp when I was in Vienna after talking to Tina, from Leipzig post, who described her love for surfing.  I thought that I should try it out. One should push themselves outside of their comfort zones. How else can you grow as a person? I found Surfivor on Google.  A great place with very comfortable accommodations. Bruno and Albert are very good surf instructors.  It seems they still have a lot of enthusiasm for it after many years. There were plenty of beginner students just trying it out.  Most nights the students ate dinner together and drank together. This experience has made me really enjoy surfing.  I will continue to surf in the future.

Gabriel from Romania. He just finished the Camino Frances.

I get my recommendations where to train from the BJJ Globetrotter Facebook Group.  I simply remember or search where people go to train on the forum. So far every place I’ve trained at has not disappointed me. I account that this is also a very open community that loves the sport and showing people their love for Jiu Jitsu.


Focus Jiu Jitsu in Porto, Portugal was one of the best places I’ve trained.  Manuel Neto, the head instructor, was very friendly and welcoming.  Focus has Jiu Jitsu three times a day Monday through Friday with one class on Saturday. The location of the gym is located inside a bigger gym/crossfit/MMA place about three blocks from the beach.  I rented a bike and it took about 15 minutes from my hostel.  A large amount of higher belts, one them just came back from Worlds and was awarded Black Belt. The facilities are clean, showers and a large mat space. The majority of population of Porto could speak English and the gym was no exception. I will definitely return to this place in the future.


My family visiting Porto before they attend a wedding in Lisbon was my favorite part.  I love Jiu Jitsu and surfing, but I enjoy spending time with my family.  It’s a good recharge from the months of travel I’ve been through.  There were many times on my journey where I get homesick.  I would call my sister and see how things are doing back home.  I did this more on this 4 months of travel than my 7 years in the Navy.  I took them to the restaurants that Tiago, the surf camp owner, recommended to me. They enjoyed the Francesinha, Restaurante Ababia do Porto and eating at the grilled fish street. We spent roughly two days in Porto together but I instilled them the love for Porto that I felt.

After 4 months of traveling I am reunited with my family.

My plan is to come back for a month to Porto maybe next summer. The surfing, Jiu Jitsu, and the amazing Portuguese food are a few reasons why I will return.  I’m already planning my return to Portugal.  I want to continue surfing when I return to California so I will be better when I come back.  The lifestyle is very similar to something I imagine myself I would be when I grow older.

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Day 122. Copenhagen, Denmark


My first BJJ Globetrotter Camp. When I first decided to travel around the world this was the first thing I booked, it was also one of the cheapest camps. All I had to do was travel to Copenhagen, lodging not included in price. I didn’t know what to expect for my first Jiu Jitsu camp. I kept my mind open and trained as much as my mind and body let me.  At the end of the camp I gained many friends and invitations to different gyms all over Europe.

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Peter from Sweden, Nick from Wisconsin, Patrick from London,

Some of my favorite tips from the Copenhagen Camp Information Guide by Daniel Bertina. Pace yourself, take notes and be social. Six days of 8-9 hours of Jiu Jitsu is a lot for anyone.  I didn’t want to burn myself out so I went to open mat at least once a day and I attended an average of 2.5 classes.  I would have liked to have attended more classes but it will just be a goal for next time.  I took notes for the classes that I did attend.  A tip that I will do next time is record myself doing the moves again in sequence with a partner to accompany the written notes. I should have been more social during the camp. This is one aspect that I did not take advantage until the end of the camp which was too late.  Next time I will attend the welcome meeting/ Jiu Jitsu speed dating, dinners and a few drink afterwards. The trick is to have a right balance of socializing and rest for the next days training sessions/classes.  As you can tell I’m already convinced that I will attend another camp.  The next important question is which one?

Nikita from Ukraine and Brian from the US.

A rolled with the original BJJ Globetrotter on the last day, Christian Graugart. Many years ago he went on a trip around the world to train Jiu Jitsu in as many different gyms as possible. It spawned into the friendly travel community we now know. He is not the first to make Jiu Jitsu camps but his BJJ Globetrotter brand has the most amount with 10 camps in different locales around the world. I felt honored to roll with him. He rolls like a black belt, relaxed and very composed against a lower belt, like myself. Although very playful and fun. A very approachable guy, it was interesting to pick his brain about the camps and his travels.

I trained everyday during the camp. I didn’t go to every class even though I wanted to. I socialized more on the last few nights. I should have went out more in the beginning especially for the Jiu Jitsu speed dating session to meet people.  I should have recorded myself summarizing the techniques I just learned. A Gopro is good but my iTouch with a tripod would have been fine. I met people from all over the world and received many invitations from gyms and gave out just as many.  I wonder when and where my next BJJ Globetrotter camp will be?

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Day 116. Leipzig, Germany

Tina and I having a picnic.

How I came to visit Leipzig is one of those serendipity moments.  I met a girl from my hostel in Vienna and she invited to visit Leipzig after Dresden.  It wasn’t on my plan, but why not I thought.  At times I think about how I travel before and how I travel now. I make more room to meet different people and have unique experiences. For example, I don’t have a concrete itinerary and I couchsurf through friends of friends. I’m glad that I had room in my schedule to see this city.

 

There was a free outdoor concert in the park to celebrate end of the season.

Tina showed me around her Leipzig during her off day.  We had lunch then we walked around the city center. We went to a museum about the GDR( German Democratic Republic), it was all in German but I had a translator with me. While traveling through Czech Republic and East Germany/ Dresden I am learning more and more about that time.  Tina said Germany is a young country when you think about the unification of the West and East sides. Germany is only 26 years old. Germany is a millennial?

Völkerschlachtdenkmal, the monument of the Battle of the Nations

She took me to see Völkerschlachtdenkmal, it’s a famous monument that symbolizes Napolean’s defeat in Leipzig.  I should read more about Napolean, his legacy is still lingering in Europe. He is one of those historical figures that I studied in History but I don’t remember the details. History tends to be buried underneath new history on top of present day news.  For it’s worth learning more about a continents history because in turn it affected the United States become what it is.

​Music was everywhere in Leipzig. Not only can you find it walking around down town or in the park, but when I was at the haupbahnhof and a traveling choir started singing in the atrium. It was an incredible experience that I can only give thanks to letting things go and see where things end up. I will definitely come back especially since I didn’t have time to train Jiu Jitsu.

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Day 95. Bratislava, Slovakia

A summary of Bratislava. I arrived on a Monday and I left on a Monday.  I stayed in a Botel. I attended my first Polyglot Gathering. I also helped the event as a volunteer. I went on a tour of Devin Castle and a wine tour. I added a few more friends to my Facebook network. It was incredible new experience.

My room mates badge with the flags that represents that languages that he speaks.


I took a bus from Vienna Erdberg to Brastislava Einsteinova.  The worst part was if I just stayed bus till the end of the line I would have been closer to my hotel.  Since I got off a bus stop before the end I had to walk an extra 30 minutes to my accommodation.  Lesson learned for Bratislava.  It wasn’t a big deal, it could have been avoided if I possibly knew German or Slovak.  The growing pains of traveling, its almost impossible to not a make a mistake, cultural or logistics during travel.

My Botel on the Danube

I stayed in a Botel, not quite a hotel, not quite a boat on the Danube River.  It was the more economical choice when it came to lodging options for the Polyglot Gathering.  It’s location was the selling point.  It was about a 10 minute walk to the bus stop and it was a 10 minute walk from the city center.  It was very convenient for the conference.  Many other attendees or polyglots were also staying there.  My roommate was from Lithuania, he spoke many languages. We mainly conversed in English and Spanish, the only languages I can converse in.  Having a roommate made the experience better and put my whole anxiety at ease.

Richard Simcott

My first Polyglot Gathering in Bratislava, Slovakia.  I felt very intimidated because I only spoke two languages, and one of them wasn’t at a high level.  There were people there that spoke 4-5 languages fluently, then there were Rockstars in the community like Richard Simcott who can speak  as many as 20 languages.  I felt at awe when I was walking around and seeing all these people I watched on Youtube.  By the second day I realized that these people are just human beings, like me.  I started talking more as I got over the intimidation factor.

Devin Castle


Audrius and I


I helped as a volunteer since I got there a few days before the event started. As I wrote before I was apprehensive of my language skills so I decided to volunteer to help get over my anxiety. By being a volunteer you see more behind scenes and how things operate from a stage left point of view.  It’s something I learned in the Navy, by being behind the so called magician’s curtain we can see that some things aren’t that special or magical. I met other people that spoke only three languages, a few didn’t even speak English, they were from Slovakia.  I even saw Esperanto exist on a working level with the volunteers.  I enjoyed volunteering and had more one on one time with the other staff.  I was glad that I was able to help such wonderful event.

I took some tours that the organizers of the Gathering had set up.  The first day was non-stop talks in the morning and afternoon, it felt like school. My tour of Devin Castle was in the afternoon of the second day, it was a good break from the talks.  It was good to meet and talk with the other people from the Gathering in another setting. I didn’t want to go to Slovakia and not see some historical monuments. Another was a wine and old town tour. On the afternoon of the third day we walked around the old town and heard the history of Bratislava. Which ended in drinking wine in a cellar near the center. I enjoyed the tours more for the socializing with the other attendees than hearing the history, though it was interesting. I was engaged with a lot of interesting conversations about languages and where people are from.

Last night at the Slovak Pub.


I ended up connecting with more people in the end. I was able to open up more by the end of the conference. I think the tours were a good icebreaker to meet other people, especially when wine is involved.  I practiced as much of my Spanish as possible, usually when I practice Spanish it’s with native speakers. I hope meet all the people I talked to at future events.


If you are a language learner or if you are wondering about attending one of these events?  I recommend it and I plan on going to the next one.  Whether you only speak one or 13 languages, everyone is welcome.  As long as you have an openness to learn and speak. Where else would you meet people who are as passionate about learning languages, travel, food, and cultures. I’m glad I was able to stop by in Bratislava for this conference. I’m incredibly fortunate to attend all the events I wanted to do this year.

 

Farewell Picnic the Monday after the conference.

Langfest- Montreal, Canada.- August 25-27, 2017

 

Polyglot Conference, Reykjavik, Iceland.- October 27-29, 2017

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” – Benjamin Franklin

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Day 73. Guam, USA

Somewhere between Peru and Chile I decided to take a detour and visit my old home, Guam.  I lived on Guam for 3 years when I was in the Navy.  I look back on my time on Guam as my transformation into Adulthood.  It was the first time I really was away from home.  I lived by myself without room mates.  I paid rent, utilities, cleaned my home, cooked my food, and solved my life problems on my own.  There were many ups and downs that came with the experience which is why it feels like a home.

Guam is a small island in the Pacific Ocean.  It is a United States Territory, like Puerto Rico. Citizens on Guam cannot vote during federal elections but they do have a delegate in the House of Representatives.  The US military is the islands #1 employer.  The bases cover 27% of the islands land mass. Most of the income comes from tourists that visit from Asian countries like Japan, China, and South Korea. Here is a video by Wendover productions for an overview.

It is very expensive to fly to Guam from the United States. The average round trip ticket is around $1000 USD.  I was initially going to spend three weeks in South Korea.  My thought process was that I can take a cheaper flight to visit Guam now than when I return to the States. So I took a detour and made some arrangements with some friends that were still on the island.

 

Jordan, Emily and I in front of Naval Hospital Guam

My friend, Jordan, and his wife, Emily, were hosting me during my stay.  They live in Mangilao, Guam.  They gave me my own room and bathroom.  It was a luxury that I rarely had during my trip.  Both of them were working during my stay but we caught up at night.  Jordan even let me borrow his car while he was at work.  Jordan worked during the day and Emily at night but she comes home at 8 to 9ish. At that time we would eat dinner and have catch up on life.

 

I visited my duty station, Naval Hospital Guam.  I was a Hospital Corpsman at NH Guam for 3 years.  One of the most frustrating jobs of my entire life.  Though it helped shape the person I am today because of my experiences there.  I ran into some old peers that were still there.  It felt great to catch up but it didn’t feel good to listen to the consensus of low morale.  It was a good reminder of why I left the Navy to travel the world.  I know where their dissatisfaction comes from because I lived it.  I hope they find their peace with the Navy.  I compare the hospital visit felt like going back to your old high school, if your high school took care of sick and dying patients.

Hiro(Japanese Tourist), Jordan, me and Tyler. We went sailing on Lasers. It one of my favorite past times while on Guam.

My friend told me it would be a good morale boost to be on American soil and be around friends.  I didn’t realize until I left how true that statement was.  The ability to speak English freely without thinking if the other person understood me was comfortable.  I used to live on Guam, so when Jordan let me use his car, it felt like driving around my home town.  I revisited my favorite restaurants McKrauts, Gabriels, Cafe Tu’re, Asu Smokehouse, and Pikas Cafe.  I cooked risotto for Emily and Jordan as a kind of payment for hosting me.  I’m so thankful to have friends on the other side of the world.

 

Cooking risotto while drinking. 

I trained Jiu Jitsu twice.  I went to Vida once. It wasn’t too far from where I was staying. It had a good core of students.  Some are MMA fighters on Guam.  Every night was competition training for them.  It was a good push. They waived the mat fee too. Then I trained at Spike 22 at Steel Athletics.  I had to pay a $15 mat fee for that day.  Only two people showed up for lunch open mat.  Rohin was training for a MMA fight in July and Mike was there training with him.  It was good training with heavy weights that just used technique, especially Rohin.  Rohin could have crushed me, he looked over 250 lbs.  It was a chill rolling session.  Despite the $15 mat fee and the few people it was a good experience.

 

 

Vida BJJ in Mangilao, Guam.

I went to see Gabe Baker, my coach when I trained at Carlson Gracie Guam.  We had lunch at a Thai place next to the academy.  It was getting renovated, new mats, so I couldn’t train at my old gym. Getting a one on one with my old coach was what I needed. It felt at times that I was stumbling through the dark with what I needed to work on.  He gave me some guidance that was worth more than the two training sessions I had on the island.  He had an interesting philosophy on the belt system.  I’m grateful for the training I received on Guam and I thanked him for all that he taught me.  I will visit Guam and Carlson Gracie Guam again some day.

 

Gabe Baker in Carlson Gracie. Work in Progress.

“Purple belt is the longest belt, and is the belt most people quit at.  A brown belt is just waiting for his black belt. “

December 2020

Lone Star College

I finished this semester and my grades were A, B and C. An A in Mathematics for teachers, B in General Psychology and C in Statistics. The interesting part is I spent the most time on the statistics, the class I received the lowest grade and I spent the least amount of time on Mathematics for Teachers. Psychology was pretty straight forward, read the chapter, do the quiz, then do the unit test. As a student, it would be nice to get all A’s, but the most important part is what did I learn from the class.

What did I learn from my statistics class?

I learned that math or data is valuable. I rewatched the film, Moneyball, recently and using data and statistical analysis the Oakland Athletics were able to create wins by looking at baseball differently than the way previously viewed. This concept can be applied in many different aspects of the world. I learned how to gather data, read it, and see if it had any correlation with other variables/factors. I also learned how to create graphs, boxplots, histograms, and scatter plots with a programs called jupyter.

What did I learn in Psychology?

Like I said above, the class was straight forward. I would read the chapter, take the online quiz, then take the online unit test that would cover the last 3 chapters. There was a zoom class every week, but my zoom/webex wouldn’t work the last 4 weeks. It wasn’t a big problem. What I learned…? Psychology is an important part to life. blah, blah, blah. I don’t care about the entirety of the class. The most interesting part about it was the education part. How we learn skills? As a future educator, this part was fascinating. Learning about operant conditioning and classical conditioning concepts was very interesting. I teach kids jiu jitsu, so I can see when my students learn techniques they didn’t know before. I can also see them forget the techniques they learned before(extinction). Which is frustrating. I will look into these concepts for the future.

What did I learn in Mathematics for Teachers?

The most important thing I learned from this class was teaching math to younger students may not be as straight forward as people think. Here are some questions that are in my assignments. What concepts are in this problem? What problems or confusions do you think your student can have when undertaking this equation? How would you solve this? (Please keep in mind you may be teaching this to a K-8 student.) I never really thought about math this way, or even teaching. For example, 5x= 10. Obviously, x=2. First, is the concept of numbers, second the concept of multiplication/division, then the concept of x being variable for another number. Then I would have to think as if I never saw this before. To look through the eyes as a student again. This kind empathy is interesting because it is very difficult to forget that 2+2=4. This is just an example. I feel like this course is necessary for students that haven’t taken college math before.

In conclusion, I’m glad I finished this semester. I also learned a few things about the class.

Next Post- My Goals and what I’m reading

November 2020

I coached one of my students this month. She took second.

Here is my update for November 2020. It feels like I haven’t blogged in a long time. I have been so busy. I can easily forget that I have this site. I will try write every week. That is the goal. A few things that I did this last month. What I am also interested in doing this month.

Failure isn’t a necessary evil. In fact, it isn’t evil at all. It is a necessary consequence of doing something new.

Ed Catmull, Creativity Inc.

Last month. I wanted to do push harder in my statistics and chemistry class. Unfortunately I had to drop my chemistry class. I was unable to keep up with the material. First, I blame myself in my failure and effort. I could have been more diligent with asking for help, and seeking out resources. Second, I blame the format of learning chemistry online without a lab. I’m not strong in STEM subjects so I obviously need to put in more work. My statistics class is going well. I hope I will receive good marks on this class.

Language Learning

My portuguese studying has been stagnant. I may have studied 4 times a week in October. So far this month has been the same. I used to study when I got up in the morning. This is a plan didn’t work out, because I wanted to work out when I got up in the morning. This month I will continue to put in work.

My spanish studying has also been stagnant. I have been keeping up with my italki lessons. I need put in more time. I need to review more schedule and keep to it. I just finished Creativity Inc by Ed Catmull. I will now read it in Spanish. It is a really good book for anybody interested in Pixar or animation or managing/leading people.

I went to a Donut Shop in Colorado.

Writing

I wanted to keep writing. So I have been free writing in my journal. Only 10 minutes a day. It is a good start for the day. I can control my thoughts and organize what I need to do for the day. I have been fairly consistent this month. I want to keep up with it and journal at the end of the day as well. I also want to blog once a week. I have a trip coming up. I will update the blog while I’m on the trip.

Drawing

I have been drawing more. I will post some of my drawings.

Jiu Jitsu

Jiu Jitsu training is my favorite thing. After all these years it still keeps me interested. Training has been going well. We are going through a butterfly guard module, which is the game I am working on. Each week is a new lesson to add to my game. I just have to pick and choose what to add and edit in my game. I find that drilling with progressive resistance is more helpful than rolling.

I traveled with some of my team members to Montrose, Colorado. It was good to get away, gather data and enjoy travel again.

Update-Last day of November.

Two week until the semester is over. I’m trying not to stress out. Pause. Take a deep breath. It’s not that serious. Do your best.

A new year is on the horizon.

October 2020

What I accomplished for September

My top three things I was consistent with September was training Jiu Jitsu, learning Portuguese, and my school work. Training jiu jitsu is easy. It is something I really enjoy. Learning languages is also something that comes easy to for me. I keep a schedule and I try to stick with it. Every morning I wake up and learn Portuguese with Babel for 30 minutes. On Saturday and Sunday I review the words I learned for the week. I have a grammar book and verb conjugation book for reference. My classes that I feel that I’m strong in is Psychology and Math for teachers. The work is straight forward. Do the work, on time and get a grade. I’m weak in Chemistry and Statistics. I have to work harder on these subjects. Do I feel satisfied with this month? No, I can improve better.

My plan for October

Three things to improve. My level in Spanish has been stagnant. Even though I had seven italki lessons with my tutor this month. I suppose I have been keeping up with my speaking skills. There is still room to improve. I need to improve my comprehension. Chemistry and Statistics. I want to make these classes my strongest. I want to work on them everyday. Third. I lost my Covid weight. But I am still not at an optimal weight. I have to be more disciplined and go to sleep earlier and wake up earlier.

Inktober is this month. It is the month of October when artists try to draw everyday. They usually receive prompts(ideas) to draw for that day. I am never consistent with these. I tried to do it last year. This year I will try to draw more than last year.

Hip bump to triangle

What language should learn next?

For polyglots and language learners I’m sure this question comes up a lot. I usually stress over this question a lot. This is very difficult because I love traveling. I always want to study the language of the country I’m traveling to. I don’t always want to go to a Spanish speaking country. The whole world is just as interesting. For example, I studied French for six months before I went to Belgium and France. It helped to know a few words and be more comfortable hearing the language. When I returned home, I came to the question again. Do I want to continue with French? Or do I want to travel and study another language, like travel to Italy and learn Italian. It can be overwhelming. Youtube has helped me figure this out.

Lindie Botes advice is very good

Portuguese

Portuguese will be my next language. Here are a few reasons I came up with. I will be doing Brazilian jiu jitsu for as long as I can. I probably will be traveling to Brazil whenever the world comes back to normal. I will like to have conversation and meet people. I will most likely meet Brazilians and Portuguese travelers in my adventures. I want to return to Portugal and explore. The music and the food are something that I want experience as well. I can continue to make reasons for learning this language. Finally, I made a separate list of all the languages that I have dabbled in over the years. I had more reasons than any of the other languages. More than Korean, French, Italian, German.

One aspect of my language goals is that I want fluency in my target language. I want to have a high level of proficiency in that. Which is a huge goal. It is too daunting. I have been learning Spanish for 5 years, and I still get lost when native speakers speak. I have decided to let go of this goal. I just want to get proficient enough to enjoy my time in the target language’s country. It could be A2 or B1. It doesn’t have to be at an academic level.

I will give Portuguese a solid 12 months. I will do a lot of input. Which will be listening, studying grammar and vocabulary. I think by the beginning of March I will get and italki tutor. I don’t want to rush my speaking. I can also choose between Portugal and Brazil. I have no idea what travel restrictions will come in 2021.

I will also try to keep sharpening my Spanish.

Hello, again.

Here is a caricature from one of my favorite artist. Kosuke Miyagi. Follow him @kosukemiyagi

It’s been awhile. I have seasons or moods when I blog. But really, I should continue to write and create regardless of my mood or location. The world has really gone to another place since the beginning of this year. I choose not to write or comment too much about my situation, much less the current events of the world. Really I need to write/create for my own piece of mind. Even if it is wrong. Most of the time I take in the news and it just depresses me. There’s no place to put my opinions, frustrations or thoughts.

My plans were derailed this summer, like most people. I was planning to travel to Europe with the money I earned from Spring Break. The lock down happened during that time. So that money never came. So I’m here in Texas for the summer. Which I would rather not be, but I have to adjust and adept. Like Jocko Willink would say, “good”. I gained about 10 pounds since quarantine started. I made a plan to get in shape.

So what will I do for the rest of the summer. I have some classes on Udemy, an educational website, that I will start for a head start on the classes I will take in the Fall. Statistics, Chemistry, and Psychology. This is a strategy, I think I need to take. I have hypothesis that I am not naturally good at school. I have a concept in my mind that I have to catch up, and I’m not as quick as other students. It could be mental flaw, but what negative can come from getting an introduction to one of my future classes. Besides a bit of money and time, I will have a basic understanding of each subject I undertake with Udemy, which will further prepare me for the Fall Semester. Which brings to an important college question. Are you taking the class to learn? Or are you taking the class as a requirement and your goal is to pass?

I am the kind of person where I want my cake and I want to eat it too. Also as an education major, I would be a bad teacher if I wasn’t a good student as well. I want to learn. I have to change my mindset, I have to be curious, and I have to think critical. Especially when analyzing why are these classes necessary? How are these teachers teaching? Are they effective at transferring information? Are they engaging the students? There are so many more questions.

SPANISH

My Spanish was the one thing that improved during the quarantine. Before the quarantine I signed up to Lydia Machova’s Language Mentoring program. I felt so good that I signed up twice. There is so much to learning a language that I actually experienced during this time. You have to put in a lot of hard work when learning a language. Most Youtube polyglots don’t actually show how much consistent work they put in. My second time in the program I wasn’t as consistent with the weekly goals or activities. I had my own goals. I concentrated on reading, comprehesion, and grammar.

What I’m reading now. The Nasty Bits by Anthony Bourdain.

Review of Goals 2019

Here are my goals for 2020.

Let’s review what I did well and what I failed at.

  1. Recover from my ACL Surgery
  2. Pay off debt
  3. Travel and save money
  4. Volunteer more
  5. Spanish Level. Increase.
  6. Draw, Paint and create more
  7. German level B1
  8. Korean Basics
  9. Be stronger
  10. Try Rock climbing
  11. Go to sleep at 10pm, wake up at  430
  12. Buy work truck
  13. Paint watercolor.

My first goal of the year started with recovering from my ACL surgery. My second surgery on the same knee. January of 2019, I had surgery. I spent the next 3-4 months walking with crutches, then with a cane, and now I walk with a limp when it’s cold outside. When I’m fully warmed up I can do most of the things I did before the surgery.  The doctor said I can slowly return to Jiu Jitsu.  Jiu Jitsu brings me so much happiness to me. I will have to start slowly.  I’m very excited about this.

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I also listened to David Goggins’ book, Can’t Hurt Me, and it really motivated me.  I have to search for ways to really push myself outside my comfort zone and grow.  I want to keep growing mentally and physically.

My debt is about the same.  I will have to make a plan and stick to it.

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I traveled to Cuba, Scotland, and Spain. I traveled but I wish I saved more money. Volunteer more.  I volunteered a little bit.  I joined the Houston YangGang.  I volunteered when I could and showed support when Andrew Yang was in Texas.  I volunteered at the Edinburgh Festival. For 2020 I wish to do an activity more consistently.

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I returned to Edinburgh in 2019. It was a great experience. 

Increase my Spanish level. This was my most consistent goal.  I’ve had an italki tutor since March.  I had a lesson every week minus holidays and when I traveled. I also went to Spain to improve my Spanish.

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I really appreciate having a job that I enjoy and co-workers that I get along with.

Did I draw and paint more? I went back to a former occupation of drawing caricatures for tourists.    I miss being around artists.  I miss drawing.  It felt good to make art and make people laugh.  I also want to increase this as well. The next Pancakes and booze I want to put in six pieces.

Improve German B1. I’m shelving this goal. I just don’t have enough motivation.

Korean Basics- I’m shelving this goal. I want to return to Korea and have a better experience.

Be stronger. This goal was very vague. I did become stronger though. I need to get specific with what I want to accomplish.

Rock climb- I’m shelving this as well. I have Jiu Jitsu now.

Adjust my sleep schedule. At times I was good at this. Then I fell off.

Buy work truck. This is a long term goal.

Watercolor more. Yeah I started.

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I want to get better at drawing and water color this year as well. 

 

 

 

2020

I’m back in the United States.  I have been back for the last 12 days.  Unfortunately, I don’t think my life is very interesting when I am not traveling.  I will turning 35 this year.  I returned to college, currently I’m at my local community college.  I will be transferring in a year and half. Urgh!

What have I been doing so far?  I started school last week.  So I’m been trying to get adjusted to the semester. I started Jiu Jitsu again and I’ve been trying to get over my jetlag.

I wrote my resolutions down. I’ve been meaning to post them.  That takes way too long. Sometimes post will come without pictures. They are just posts to get started again.

My friends will visit me this week. I will do a post about that.

Paris, France

I went to Paris, France as my last leg of this European trip.  I spent 5 days there.  I decided I would go to see Paris back in September of 2019.  The last time I went to France was around 2006.  I had such a bad experience  with France that time.  This time I tried to go with an open mind.  I also used six months to learn some of the basics of the language.  I am in no way conversational.  I went to see a friend who I really enjoy talking to.

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So the last time I was in France I had such a bad experience.  There were several factors that contributed to my bad experience.  First, it was my first time traveling to Europe, I mostly touristy things, like the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower. Secondly,  I didn’t speak the language, not even a little bit.  Parisians are known for not being very nice to tourists.  Let’s flip the perspective and see it in their eyes.  If someone comes to your city and speaks another language, that’s not the official language of the country, how would react to them?  I think the reaction is pretty universal.

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Before Sunset

Instead of going to see usual things I went to see the locations I wanted to see.  I enjoy Rodin’s sculptures, so I went to his Museum.  I really enjoyed the Tecahnical Museum in Prague, so I thought the Musee des Artes et Metiers would be cool.  I enjoyed the models and architecture of old buildings.  The movies I enjoy in Paris that I know of are Amelie, obviously, Before Sunrise, and Inglorious Basterds.  I went to the bookstore in Before Sunset and I went to Brasserie in Inglorious Basterds.

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The cafe in Inglorious Basterds. Bistrot La  Renaissance 

I think that’s what makes me enjoy traveling more as I’m older.  I cater traveling more to my interests and feelings.  I try to see things and subjects that I have a general interest in.  I keep returning to Europe because I find it’s history amazing.  I also don’t try to rush so much activities in my day.  I just try to enjoy myself and go into a book shop, and relax.  If the weather was better I would be outside drawing all day.  Here are a few of my sketches from Paris.

This time I learned enough to get by and see what I wanted to.  I learned how to order food, coffee, and my check.  I felt good that I achieved these small steps.  I felt that I was received way better by the restaurants when I spoke french.  The first time I went to Spain, ordering food and interacting with the language on a daily basis was the first step as well.

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I think Paris is a great city to hang out in and take your time in.  There are so many cafes and places to see.  I did get to see my friend, if only for one night.  There was a strike so traveling was difficult the entire time in Paris. She couldn’t hang out the second day. But through coincidence or serendipity  I met a very Australian lawyer in Montmartre. I remember her henna tattoo from breakfast at the hostel. She was sitting at the same table I was sitting at. No one at the table was conversing except the Peruana and Espanola, which I was eavesdropping on the conversation. Fast forward to the afternoon and  She was having a cafe and a smoke outside in front of the Sacre Coeur. We had really deep conversation about her countries history and politics. Later that night we met again at the hostel and had another conversation on life and 2019 over some beer and bar food.

Overall a good experience in Paris, France.

 

Dunkerque and Calais, France

 

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I did one day stops in Dunkirk and Calais before Paris. Dunkirk was famous for the allied retreat during World War 2.  It was made famous by Christopher Nolan’s movie, Dunkirk.  It was made in 2017.  I actually saw it while I was in Edimburgh.  It brings a different feeling when you watch a movie in the U.K. about the U.K. Then I went to Calais.  I only knew Calais from the sculptures by Rodin, Les Bourgeois Des Calais. Then I went to Paris.

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The promenade in Dunkirk

I got to Dunkirk by Flixbus from Bruges.  It was only an hour until you are in another country and they speak another language.  Most Americans don’t really understand how crazy that can be. Not to mention Dunkirk also has several ferries a day to Dover, England.  The location of this city makes it special.  The cinematography in the film of Dunkirk is what captivated me. The massive beach and old hotels.  Sadly, I didn’t get really explore the promenade because it was getting dark, misty and cold. It appears to be a beach vacation spot for tourists on summer days.  The promenade is very modern, I assume a lot of digital enhancing was used in the movie.

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This is where I stayed. Hotel de la Plage. Nice people.

I went to Calais the day after via Flixbus.  What surprised me is the immigration issues in 2016 in the city.  There was small immigration encampment called the jungle of Calais.  I’m often so surprised of how closed off I am from the news of the world.  For example, The fires in Australia. There is strong similarity to the feelings of immigration at the time and with how the U.S. feels currently.  I don’t think anyone wants criminals coming into their country and doing bad things. The immigration encampment was eventually dismantled by the government here.  If you wish to know more, here is link of one of the videos I saw on Youtube.

Next Paris

 

Bruges, Belgium

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The Christmas Market in Bruges, Belgium

I went to Bruges after Antwerp.  I have heard it was one of the prettiest cities in Belgium.  The movie, In Bruges, is one of my favorite Colin Ferrell movies, probably the only. I did my reading assignments for my college class.  I went on a Spanish walking tour. I drank two beers, texted some friends and family then I went to sleep for New Year’s Eve. Not the best time, but not the worst time in Bruges.

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The famous red umbrella.

I did most of my reading assignments while I was in here in Bruges.  I stuck to myself and read my textbook on my phone.  I did the assignments and discussions from my laptop. I wonder if anybody else at Lonestar College is doing online classes outside of the country?  If you can work online doing freelance and be anywhere in the world, couldn’t you travel and finish college from anywhere in the world? Just a thought. We are now in the year 2020. ( A legitimate school would probably not go for that, huh?)

I took a free walking tour in Bruges.  Leonie, my German friend, whom I met in Antwerp has some influence in this.  I wondered if I could take the tour in Spanish.  So took the tour in Spanish. Did I understand all of it? No.  This was a big shocker to me.  I had to really concentrate to understand the guide.  There were so many ambient noises, people talking, cars, as well she was speaking to a group.  My comprehension was truly tested.  I can have one on one conversations but taking a tour is a challenging situation.  I wish to improve in this area.  I wonder if people that study English who think they got it down like me. Then they go on a tour and they get lost in the tour guide’s language speed or accent.  

I spent New Year’s Ever by myself in the Hostel Bar.  I drank a couple of beers then I went to sleep.  I reflected on the past year and past New Year’s Eves in general. Most of my New Year’s are pretty uneventful.  I think it just depends who you spend it with.  Unfortunately my family in California never does anything besides go to sleep or work, that is why I left to see somewhere else for New Years. I do like this tradition of being somewhere else for NYE.

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Happy New Year. Prospero Ano.