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.

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. 

 

 

 

Valencia, Spain

A week at Taronja…

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La Ciudad de Artes y Ciencias designed by architect Santiago Calatrava. I first wanted to visit because of this building.  It is also portrayed in the Disney movie Tomorrowland.

I spent a week in Valencia. I enrolled in the Intensive and conversation classes at Taronja this week. I never been to an immersion language school. I met people from all over the world. I will most likely come back.

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Taronja is orange in Valenciano

My week in Valencia consisted of class Monday through Friday. The class schedule alternated from the afternoon and mornings. Every day I had conversation class as well. That class consisted of speaking on topics extemporaneously. ( Spoken or done without preparation. I’m trying to use this new word I learned in public speaking class.) The entire experience was great. It felt like I had 5 hour long italki lessons that didn’t stop. For the most part I enjoyed every bit of it. I think my level is at stage where I can live without too much effort. Could I work efficiently in this language equally to my mother tongue? No. Hopefully some day. I enjoyed the consistent curriculum at the school as well. The class I jumped in was covering imperfect, indefindo preterito, imperatives-positves/negatives, preterito perfecto and pluscuamperfecto. I have heard, read, and spoken these tenses before. It was a review but I needed it. There is so much nuance to using these grammar tenses than the English past tense.

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Left to Right. Me. Guy. Andrea, our teacher Alberto.

I felt bad for some of the students who had to digest the language faster. For the most part my classmates did very well. I think the advantage I had was my time in the language because I have been learning it so long, 5 years. This year as well I started to use italki consistently. The trick with italki is…. you can’t stop using it. Maybe when you get competent enough and achieve your goal. If you the time, money and freedom I would have done this course a long time ago. I didn’t have all those resources. I also have a philosophy that one can learn a foreign language on your own. That is another blog post.

I will most likely come back to the school because I had so much fun. I had fun during the class, with the social activities after class, and the city of Valencia. The last time I was here I only saw the arts and science museum. I didn’t even go in the city center. This time my apartment was right across the street from Mercat Central. I will probably come back May of 2020 or winter of 2020 and spend the whole month in Valencia. The class sizes at the school were smaller and very intimate. I was able to ask all the questions I wanted, at times we had friendly debates.

I met some cool people as well. All the professors were very friendly. I felt they were generally interested in me. Even though I was just passing through the school a week. As a traveler, you can get incredibly jaded from meeting new people. There were times I felt it. The professors really cared about teaching and helping their students. As an aspiring teacher I saw that quality. I met and had some interesting conversations with the becarios(interns) at the school. Stefano, the head becario, spoke 5 languages and hailed from Switzerland. There were also a handful of Italians which made the vibe quite warm and fun. (I don’t know why I feel Italians do that). Andrea,(Italian male name), who was in my class this week, always came in late. Although that was a stereotype characteristic, he always brought something to the table when we were learning. Guy, Australian, was in my class as well, he has living in Valencia for some months now and has about 10 more. Though we are not compatriots, we both speak English as our mother tongue. In that sense I felt bonded more with him than the other students. I wonder if that is the way how most people feel when they speak to people from other countries, the common mother tongue.

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Waiting for the train at Valencia Nord.

I’m going to try to blog when I leave a location.

Sidenote: Urgh.. I got my grades for the Fall Semester. All A’s except a C in Introductory Algebra. I went to the stages of grief fairly quickly. Denial. I don’t believe I got a C. I went to every class, asked questions, and I did fairly well on most tests. Anger. I thought my professor took a shine to me as well. I’m never going to be nice to teachers. Bargaining. Maybe I can email her and ask how she tallied the score up. Depression. I’m so stupid. (sigh) Acceptance. C’est la vie. I guess I just have to double down on my weaknesses. So I can crush college algebra next semester.

Truth be told. I’m still on Bargaining,

Traveling for Winter

 

Let’s do 500 words.

I know I haven’t blogged very much. I can make excuses, but I won’t. I just choose do other things than blog.

My goals for this Europe trip. First, Improve my Spanish and receive a baseline for my level. If don’t receive this I’m going to get during 2020 somewhere. Secondly, I taking an online course for school, Federal Government. Thirdly, improve my French, I learned the basics in the last 6 months. The last few things is visit a few friends in Paris and draw and water color more.

I choose to go to Europe because I find being in the United States quite boring. I love my family but I saw them on Thanksgiving already. I also feel Christmas is overhyped holiday in the United States. We, as a society or just Americans, are too materialistic. I want to get away from that next year. I’ve never visited Europe in the Winter. It has always been the summer when I visited. Which is always the best time to visit a country, but I like to change it up and experience something different.

I’m in Valencia, Spain right now. I’m taking a Spanish course. Hopefully it can jump start my learning to a new level. I’m here for a week. I hope to take an exam to finally get a baseline on my level. Then I can better evaluate where I am. “If you can’t measure it you can’t manage it.” – Peter Drucker.

During all this traveling I’m going to do a college course online. One might think why are you taking a class while you’re traveling in Europe? I say them Why not? I am school again. I can say honestly I’m not in love with living in Texas. I might as well just keep going to school and enjoy myself in the location of my choosing. We are lucky to live in a time where we can go to school online.

I held off visiting France for over ten years. My first experience was very off-putting. I made an unconscious decision to not visit France ever again. Then over the years I’ve met many cool French people. Those experienced change my opinion on French people. They can’t all be bad I thought. So I decided back in September to visit again during winter. My experience from the first time will not be repeated. A key to the story was that I was monolingual, immature and young. I learned a little bit everyday for 6 months. So hopefully I will have a better experience.

Afterwards I will go to Belgium. I’m going to visit a few cities during the Chrismas Holiday week and New Years. I’m going to visit Brussels, Antwerp, and Bruges. Finally Paris, France. I will end in Madrid to fly back.

I have two transfers on my flight back, which I will not enjoy. MAD- AMS. AMS- ATL. ATL-IAH. I use airport code because it is just easier to write especially if you’re a traveler. There is probably a better way to write it.

I got an Idea with my language learning. I listen to podcasts on Spotify. There is speed option on the application. To increase my comprehension. I will listen to the podcasts three times. (thrice) Once at 0.8x, the second time at 1x(normal time), and the third time 1.2x. I can also do this on Youtube.

Edinburgh, Scotland

 

My friend Joao and Jenna talking to a performer on the street.

just came back from Edinburgh, Scotland. I volunteered at Edinburgh Festival Camping from 29 July to 17 August, roughly 22 days in country. It was my second time volunteering with this company. The first timie was in 2017 during my around the world tour post Navy enlistment. Unfortunately I didn’t blog it. I stopped blogging about my trip in Portugal. I regret that. I blame my lack of discipline.

The Campground is located near Edinburgh International Airport, in the Royal Highland Center. The campground is only open during August, during that month the population of Edinburgh doubles in population because of the Fringe festival. ” It is the world’s largest arts festival, which in 2018 spanned 25 days and featured more than 55,000 performances of 3,548 different shows.” -according to Wikipedia.  Most accommodation is marked up because of the high demand.  The campground is one of the cheaper options during the festival.

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I managed to draw and water color a bit while I was in Scotland. It was very relaxing. 

I came back to Edinburgh because I remember that I had a good experience. I met people from all over the world, usually people that are traveling. This year was no different. As volunteers we shared experiences of our travels and exchanged cultural ideas. There were people from England, Germany, France, Spain, Brazil, Austria, Belguim, and The Netherlands.  There were many that were practicing their English.  We were given large tents and a roommate. My room mate was Nicolas, a trained chef from a city near San Miguel de Tucuman, Argentina. We spoke Spanish to each other maybe 60 percent of the time. I invited him to Houston if he ever gets a chance and he invited me to his city as well. These exchanges were quite common. Most volunteers would share a bond, a camaraderie from the experience. Especially for the Europeans, they very well could visit each other easier than I or Nicolas could.  It was refreshing to meet so many people from so many places in such a relaxed atmosphere.

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My room mate”tentmate” Nicolas making pizza for pizza nights.

I also saw people I met last time I was here in 2017. When you go to a place even though its similar to your last experience, there is still a degree of uncertainty of meeting new people. It was good to see some familiar faces among the volunteers. Most of the staff I seen from the time I was here before. It was refreshing to see and reconnect with people you met once before. It’s like catching up with an old family member or childhood friend whom you haven’t seen in years.

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This was 2017.

Will I return next Year? I don’t know.  There is a strong possibility that I will.  Honestly I this entire week I’ve been back I have been looking for ways to go back to Europe for work or at another volunteer capacity.  I can’t deny that there is a feeling or energy that comes from a place when a bunch of strangers meet then become friends after a very short time.  There’s something that I don’t get when I travel around in the US that happens when I travel in Europe or even elsewhere.  I’m not sure what it is but the feeling just compels me to keep coming back to Europe.  I’m not sure if it’s the diversity of languages all on one continent, different cultures just hours apart from each other, or the people who live differently than me but still want the same things in life.

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One of the volunteer nights in 2019. 

Planning Ahead

 

At this point of my return to school.  I am in my first semester at community college.  I plan on finishing with an associates in teaching.  I estimate that I will transfer by Spring 2021. Then on to a university, I am not 100% sure on which one yet. I have narrowed my choices down to three. University of Houston 90%. University of Texas- Austin 8%, and Sam Houston State University 2%. I realize I can elect to go anywhere in the world, I choose to stay in Texas because I just moved here, cost of living, and the veteran’s program I am using coincides with Texas.

How do I choose what college to go to? I think about what I want to do. I want to be a teacher. Great. Okay. What kind of teacher? There’s P.E, Art, Math, Early childhood development 1-6, social studies, special education, English as a second language. There are so many options! How does one choose? At this point I’ll finish with my associates in teaching. I have yet to take any classes either. I would like to volunteer at some schools in the Fall. My initial thoughts were to be a language teacher in a foreign country. I have a lot of time think about this idea and I will use the upcoming year to flush it out.

I finished my art exam test on got off of class early one day. I used that time to take a tour of University of Houston. It was an unusually cool for a June day in Houston. So a walking tour was perfect. The university was great with all the amenities and opportunities it offered. It is one the most diverse schools in the nation. It is located in the 4th largest city in the nation, behind Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York. It was an easy sell for me because I just moved here and I didn’t want to move again.

The thing I don’t like about colleges. First and foremost it is a business. I didn’t really know what that meant when I was 18 years old. Higher education is a growing industry. In essence a school tour is a 90 minute sales pitch. I have visited a few schools in my time. I had a girlfriend who went to Cal( UC Berkeley), so I went there often and college avenue ran from my art school in Oakland to UC Berkeley. I visited Stanford University for the Cantor museum and Rodin sculpture garden. When it comes to colleges nothing really impresses me anymore. A normal tour consists of showing us buildings of where students and/or teachers gather, and so on. Unfortunately you can never know what a school is like until you go there. It is one of those experiences you can’t fully grasp until you jumped in. Much like the military me.

The tour illustrated an emphasis on college life. The first time I went I didn’t really enjoy that. I feel its probably better for young adults to start renting apartments and start being an adult sooner vs living in the dorms and life on campus. This is probably for economical reasons, city planning, and ease of access to campus. As an older student I will probably move closer to the campus but continue my activities in the city vs college activities. College will eventually end for all students. There’s no reason to switch off campus because you already have a community. No need to transition. In school, it is super easy to meet friends because they have similiar goals and interests. As an adult, making friends is very difficult. I believe people should be exposed to that as early as possible. These are a just a few thoughts on how broaden your college bubble.

What do you think? Did you graduate from college? Do you have children? What do you think they should do? Write your comments below.

Next blog post: Alaska.

Back to school

So I officially started school AGAIN.  It’s a little weird to go back.  The young students are probably wondering why I’m so old and going back to school.  That’s just me projecting and being insecure about being older.  Back when I was in college I used to wonder why the older students were so driven.  Now as an older student I know why.  I have had so much life experience and years of working in the world.  I’m going back to school more focused and knowledgeable on how to accomplish tasks.  I look back on my 20s,  I didn’t know what I wanted to do.  I’m impressed with these kids that do know what they want to do, but really they don’t know what it’s like to work in their proposed fields.

By being older I’m more focused and dedicated to my craft.  I know what I’m capable of and how the world works.  I’ve failed at many things in life. I learned resilience from getting back up.  For example, I’ve dropped out of art school, I failed out of Navy Dive school and I’ve had two knee surgeries.  These low points are necessary for the high points.  If I didn’t drop out of college, I wouldn’t have join the Navy and seen the world. If I didn’t attempt to try for special operations I would have always regretted not trying.  I’m a better person for failing at something.  My recovery from my knee surgeries gave me the opportunity to learn Spanish, something I always wanted to do.  Now I’m learning Korean and improving my conversational Spanish towards a near native level.  The experiences I’ve had from the time I’ve left college initially couldn’t have been learned by following a common archetype.  Even now I plan on finishing towards a Bachelors degree.  My future job will be an unconventional location in relation to forty years ago. My age is an incredible asset when it comes to returning to school.

I have to address that many students choose nursing as career of choice.  Nursing is an up and coming industry that will need workers.  It is a stable career.  I’m Filipino, it is ingrained in our culture, well, my upbringing.  My mothers a nurse, both my sisters are nurses, several members of my extended family are nurses.  I know very well about this occupation.  I worked as Navy Hospital Corpsman for 7 years.  I know what it is like to work in the healthcare industry, among doctors, nurses, and other specialists.  To sum up my experience, it isn’t for everyone.  I didn’t enjoy seeing people put in hospice care.  I didn’t enjoy the bedside care.  I didn’t enjoy people dying.  I think the last reason was why I couldn’t deal with it.  That aspect is a small part, it takes a toll on a persons mental health.  As a result most of the ICU staff I worked with had black humor, as most do that work with death so closely.  Its an interesting coping mechanism among first-responders.  I won’t mention the bureaucracy among the United States healthcare system or the how we heavily medicate with drugs and pharmaceuticals.  I won’t forget my time as a corpsman.  I admire any one willing to aspire to be a healthcare professionals.  I just hope they do it for the right reasons and not the money.

Some other News

I finished my Spanish intermediate online class.  I received an A.  There’s something wrong with the foreign language education system in the United States.  Is it the teaching method? The policy? America’s general attitude towards languages of foreign countries? That’s another blog post.  I have to keep studying.  There is so much to learn.  I learned many different nuances and subtleties in the class.  I still do italki.com classes with a community tutor.

I got a new/ old job.  I draw caricatures at the Downtown Aquarium here in Houston.  I drew for Kaman’s Art Shoppes from 2004- 2008 at Great America in Santa Clara, Ca.  I miss being around other artists.  It is very hot humid here in Houston.  It is something I just have to get used to.  So far my boss is cool and my co workers are warming up to me.

I started teaching Jiu Jitsu to kids again. Well, I’m the uke. (Uke: a japanese term for someone receiving the technique.)   The purple belt uke.  More to come on that.

I will try to post more.  College is about writing papers.  I have to practice writing.

Move forward

I’m in this cross roads in life.  I should either get a job or go back to school.  An unalterable fact is that I’m going through physical therapy for my ACL surgery recovery for the next 6 months.  I had to decide fairly quickly so earlier this week I went to my local community college and applied.  It is fairly daunting to go back to school, especially being 34, but if you put all the anxiety behind you everything will work out.  I took a pretest for my basic college skills.  Basic math and pre-alegebra, English reading and English composition.  I did horrible at math and English composition.  I understand that I suck at math, I hated it in school.  But English!? It’s my mother tongue.  I also write constantly in my journal, text, letters, and postcards, but rarely on this blog.  It’s honestly something I avoid trying to be good at, or even average at, because I didn’t need to write well in any of my jobs that I’ve had. (Navy Eval writing doesn’t count.) Regardless of my skills I need to improve on these subjects if I want a better life.  Not just to be good in school or avoid remedial classes.  If that is the result I will accept it.

I bought a cliff notes my review book and I’m going to read some English writing books I had on my book shelf.  My test is in 11 days. I’ll be using this blog to be an experiment of sort for my writing improvement.  I thank everyone and anyone who actually reads my writing, I know I should proofread and organize my thoughts better.  I don’t do it well because I never really was taught how to write a blog.  I usually type in a stream of consciousness way.  The way I usually write letters, postcards, or journal entries. 

I have this feeling that school gives me a new excitement for life.  A new chapter.