First Few Weeks at Sam Houston

This is my post about the first few weeks at Sam Houston State University. It is a little daunting to finally be at a university. So far I am enjoying it. Although, I am not a doe-eyed 18 year old. I’m a 36 year old adult. This means that it is difficult for life to surprise me. A new place is just a new place. I’ve been nomadic for most of my adult life. I still have a lot to learn. Here are a few things that helps me settle in a new place. It takes time and patience to get accustomed to a new locale. You have to actively search and discover your new location. Find a system that works for your and constantly improve it, be it for work or school.

Adjusting to a new school in a new city will take time. I still live in Spring, Texas so I don’t have too much to acclimate too. There is also a campus in The Woodlands. I try to have most of my classes in The Woodlands. I have two classes at the Huntsville Campus, which is approximately a 45 minute drive from my apartment. I have 2.5 years left at Sam Houston. I have time. What does that mean? 2.5 years is a long time but when comparing it to the length of a 80 year old life, it really isn’t that long. I enjoy the Huntsville Campus. It is a beautiful green campus. I already have spent a lot of time in the library. I should draw on campus, so I will have memories and practice my drawing skill.

I think people neglect the part of knowing where you live or work. It is easy though because people only seem to drive to work, home and grocery store. I’m guilty of this as well. The search for secrets, sub cultures, or cool dive bars is my favorite part of about discovering a new place. I’ve live in Texas for 3 years and I have not really seen the state. It takes effort to search out and discover something new, especially if you don’t know what you’re looking for. I suppose you just have to keep your eyes open and be willing to experience things that could be interesting. Stay Curious.

I need a system for handling school and home life. Every semester is different. Now life is somewhat going back to normal, going to class in-person feels new and awkward. I have to organize my school work, my job, and the other things I enjoy. The main thing is time management(or Priority management as my former professor J would say). I have to make time to make sure I dedicate time to accomplish everything that will be due and the needs immediate attention. I write my weekly goals on butcher paper.

To summarize this post. I started school. I need time to adjust. I want to get to to know Huntsville, as well as Texas better. I have a process of time management which is a large paper taped to the wall.

Summer is over

On July 25, 2020 I completed my first sprint triathlon. I was apprehensive because the idea of it seemed so unsurmountable. I thought that I might as well do it before I’m too old or injured. What did I do to prepare? I didn’t train consistently. I crammed running and biking sessions six days before the event as if it were a college exam, which is never a good thing in athletics or academics. I didn’t practice my swim, a bit arrogant on my part. As a result, I gassed early in the swim because my technique was no efficient. I finished though. During the race? It was actually pretty fun, minus the swim. I knew I could do a sprint triathlon because I have done all the disciplines and distances separately before at least once in my life. The curve ball is to, do all three in a row. A sprint triathlon is roughly 550 yard swim, 12 mile bike, and a 3 mile run. I was tired during the race but I still enjoyed myself. The whole experience was an adventure. From getting up early, to staging my bike, to preparation of equipment, and my nutrition. The only negative was that I had no one to share the experience with. Will I do it again? Yeah, Sure. I feel that I should give this sport an honest try. An honest try would be one year. My next triathlon is a relay triathlon in Katy, Texas on September 5th. I will do the swim portion and my two teammates from Jiu Jitsu will do the bike and running portions.

Chemistry

I was a bit worried but completed the class with a C. It took a lot of studying to understand the material. I took the class online. The amount of individual study time was challenging. Especially without a teacher to break down the material with multiple examples. I had videos, but it is not the same. As I write this, a month and a half after I completed the class, I don’t remember a majority of the material. It is a shame that these science classes are just prerequisites. It would have been beneficial for me to be in class and learn with solid examples (chemistry pun). The take away from the experience is that I need to ask for help sooner with tutoring or email the teacher for more guidance. Repetition and constant reviewing was also something that could have helped my understanding.

Spanish 2312.

I’m just about done with my summer semester at Lonestar North Harris. I’m really disappointed with the foreign language education here in the U.S. I wish there could be an efficient way to teach students foreign languages instead of the sink or swim method. The current way of online education is very archaic. (That last sentence was an oxymoron?) I will continue learning and improving my level. I will have to find other methods. U.S. Education falls short in this aspect. I will look to polyglots to expand my level.

Water color.

I will let show my work and let this post be a baseline for my water color progress. I switched my journal to a watercolor sketchbook. By doing this, I hope to paint everyday. Hopefully.

In conclusion, this summer I completed the tasks I wanted to accomplish. I finished my first sprint triathlon. I need to be more consistent with training to become better at it. I completed my chemistry class, which was the last class I needed for my Associate’s. I will complete my Spanish class with an A. My watercolor progress has started. In my next post I will write about my fall semester at Sam Houston.

Summer 2021

My vision board. I probably will make some changes.

My plans for the summer. I just finished Spring semester at my college. I have a few more things lined up to accomplish this summer. I have to finish two more college classes, Introduction to Chemistry and Intermediate Spanish II. I want to practice watercolor consistently. I signed up for a sprint triathlon. These are my three objectives for the summer.

This would be my official last semester at Lonestar College. All I need is this chemistry class to receive an Associate’s degree. Science is not one of my strengths. I had to withdraw from chemistry in the Fall 2020 because my grades were so bad. I would like to blame the teacher or the online teaching format, but that’s nonsense. It was my fault for not putting the sufficient effort for the material. I want to be more accountable for my life and the things that happen as a result. Is this what becoming an adult means? I will do my best with the time I have. I will tell you my grade when I finish.

The second section of my summer semester is Intermediate Spanish II. Recently I was thinking of taking a break from Spanish and study another language. Although, I am not comfortable in my current level. I can travel, order, have conversations, even follow shows and movies with subtitles. I would say my level is good enough. If I’m tough on myself, which I am. I have a below average to mediocre level. I wonder if I ever will be satisfied with my Spanish level? Is there an end game with language learning or does it turn into maintenance of learned languages? Regardless of these questions. I am going to keep going. Would you rather speak 3 languages at a basic level or one foreign language at a high level? I choose the latter. The depth over breadth argument. This is a side of language learning that a autodidact beginner never really encounters until they are fully invested in their target language.

Watercolor. I always loved the feeling of the medium. Something about the freshness of how the paint and dried water mixed, which made it beautiful. If I want to get better at something I have to practice, especially without a teacher. My plan is to study the art form. So far, this is what I have discovered for me. 1. Proficient drawing skill is vital 2. I must consider composition. This means I have to frame the picture within a square that is pleasing to the eye. 3. A pencil outline is necessary for beginners. (I hate this part, it takes too much time.) I would like to post my research on this blog. I have so much more to say on this subject.

On my vision board I have a square for a triathlon. I was going to give it up. Then I thought about it. I didn’t even try. I didn’t even attempt it. Why kind of person doesn’t even attempt something to set out to do? So I’m going to do a Triathelon on July 25, 2021. I have to train, which is the hardest part. The consistency of training is the difficult. As I write this, I have less than a 30 days to prepare.

I will give everyone an update on my progress with my objectives when the summer is over. I’ll let you know my grade, and my strategies for chemistry. How I my Spanish level is doing. Once I complete my triathleon, I will give my review.

Some of the art I did from the last few months.

Thank you.

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

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.

img_20190912_164706

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.

pano_20190417_154709.vr_

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.

img_20190810_222015
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.

img_20190901_142145
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.

img_20191230_140835
I want to get better at drawing and water color this year as well. 

 

 

 

Dunkerque and Calais, France

 

img_20200103_104952

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.

img_20200101_172644
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.

img_20200103_101139
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

 

Antwerp, Belgium

I spent roughly 3 and half days in Antwerp, Belgium. I went on a walking tour on Saturday. I went to a jazz club and I drew and sketched more than I did my entire trip. Why did I go to Antwerp? I had the time. I knew nothing of the city besides it being in Belgium. It was cheaper to see more Belgian cities than spend more time in Bruges and Brussels.

img_20191228_152226
Museum aan de Stroom on the roof.

I went on a walking tour, from the recommendation from my German hostel room mate. I used to go to a walking tour where ever I went. Then I got tired of walking and listening to someone talk. After giving it another try, its good to take a walking tour. You kill 1-2 hours, get some exercise, and you get someone information on the city you are visiting. During that time I used that time to draw and I got some ideas of the places I wanted to return to after the tour was over.

img_20191228_111841

De Muze is a jazz club in Antwerp. There was a calendar of live music every night. With my new friend, Leonie, we tried a few different beers. Mort Subite was a sweet cherry beer. We went to this jazz bar two nights in a row. We did look at other options the second night. It made me think about the bars that have live music in Houston. I didn’t know. I also never watch live music in California, besides the occasional concert. Maybe I should look into this more.

img_20191228_234854

I hung out with my German hostel roomate, Leonie. We spent a day and a half together. We were tourists together. I think that the serendipity factor of traveling is a one of the most unique things to traveling. I would never meet certain people in my life, if I wasn’t traveling. Some of these people whom I met only a short time has a made profound impact on me or even given me important life advice for that moment in my life. I’m glad to have met her.

img_20191228_134447

Sketches

Back to school Fall 2019

It’s back to school for myself and many of us who still attend. I will try to post once a week. For those you have been in school, know it is very difficult to have free time for yourself. I’m essentially writing this blog as a record of my life. This will be the summary of my classes and my initial thoughts of the classes.

My classes are English 302, History civilization before 1877, Introductory Algebra, Public Speaking and Introduction to Teaching. English 0302 is similar to English 2 in most colleges I suppose. I will have to write papers that analyze and interpret subjects. History is basically history of the world until 1877 as it relates to the United States. Though I always think that history is always taught with bias, no matter where how impartial one tries to be. Introductory Algebra, I had to take a remedial class because it’s been so long since I’ve taken a Math class. The highest math class I took in high school was geometry. Public Speaking is a class, teaching us how to speak well in public. Introduction to Teaching, It’s funny how a teaching class is being taught online. Overall 15 credits.

How do I feel about this semester? I feel like It will be easy I just have to put in the work and show up. I get paid to go to school. You can’t beat that. I have it better than most college students right now. I should be glad, unfortunately my mind is constantly somewhere else most days.

What keeps my hope up is the light at the end of the tunnel. It helps to have a goal. I plan on going to Europe for my winter break. I want to take a Spanish course in Valencia, Spain. Then see Belgium and France.

Until next time. I will also be participating in INKtober2019.