Blogger Application-Tastic!

Hey guys, it's my first post since coming back from Ecuador. I guess when my year ended, that was the end of the blog. But now I have another reason to post! I'm applying to be an Admissions Blogger at MIT!

Here's my application:

Biographical stuff

1. Tell us your major, or (for freshmen) possibilities of your major.

I plan to dual-major in Biology and Chemistry.

2. Tell us what activities hope to become involved with at MIT, or (for upperclassmen) what you're currently involved with on campus.

I hope to do a UROP at the Broad Institute, and do (non-invasive, non-destructive, non-illegal) hacking. I also will be part of the Freshman Arts Seminar Advising Program, or FASAP.

3. Let us know your living group. For freshmen, tell us which dorm you've been temped in. For upperclassmen, tell us where you live, and, if applicable, any FSILG affiliations.

I've been temped in East Campus.

Short Answer Essays

Short answer #1 - In a paragraph or two, describe why you want to be an admissions blogger and what unique things you feel you'll contribute to the program.

When I was in a year-long foreign exchange program in Ecuador, I did many exciting activities, like volunteering at a home for children and attending an art school. Along each step of my path, I wrote about these things in this very blog, and I felt a sense of wonder at the way I could explain strange and different customs to my friends and family. I want to be an admissions blogger because I want to share my joy in math, science, and everything that is MIT with everyone. I think that my experience in trying to make the sometimes odd actions of Ecuadorians understandable to other Americans would translate well to making the sometimes odd life of an MIT student understandable to prospective applicants.

Short answer #2 - In either a video or a written post with photos, introduce us to a part of your life, house, town, etc. that you find wildly interesting.

Perhaps my most interesting experience in Ecuador was attending an art school. One day, I went to a show of some of my teachers' work.

This is my Drawing teacher, one Sr. López. He's a nice guy, really soft-spoken. He had some interesting stuff, as you can see here in this really dark picture.

This is my 2-D Composition teacher, la Sra. María Elena. She's one of the two teachers I have who teaches art the way I think it should be done, focusing on conveying information about techniques and different thought processes rather than making a painting you can sell in Otavalo for $50. She's also the only teacher who has shown an awareness of the existence of abstract art, though she does like Jackson Pollock, which is a strike against her. I like this painting the best out of all of them, though I think I may be alone. When I showed a friend of mine, Diego (who didn't go to the show, but went with me on Saturday for another reason), he said, "You like this?" I asked Sra. Elena about the painting, and she said that it's figurative of the idealism of femininity. She told me she's reading now a book about how all the leaders of the ancient past were women, and then men used their sexual powers and tricks and stuff like that to gain control.

This is my sculpture teacher's painting. His name is Carlos Torres. I didn't realize that he painted, but apparently, he does! And, he also paints naked women, unsurprisingly. Nice guy.

This is my painting teacher, Rivadellera or something like that. I think I've complained enough about my painting teacher in other posts that I don't need to do it here. But the painting's nice, if a bit typical of the paintings with the subject matter and exaggerated hands.

Other prestigious figures who showed up include:

My Social Studies teacher, the second from the left.

My school's principal, the guy in the center there.

My Literature teacher.

The school Inspector, the guy in the middle.

This man, who I think was a retired teacher, who can only be correctly described as Eyebrow Man. I didn't notice why my Weirdar was going off until I took a closer look.


MaiTe, Mishel, Valeria and I were the only people who went to the show from our class. It was shameful. Speaking of shameful, I just learned the word for shameful! Vergonzoso! I was tired of saying "It's a shame."

That's, from the right, Mishel, MaiTé, Valeria and some girl I don't know.

Additional Blog Posts:

Why I'm Online at 10AM
Art and Some Things that Annoy Me
I Make Art
The Ecuadorian Adventure

A Video I Made with Some Friends:

And I think that's everything. Thank you for reading my application.


I Have to Pee!

I have to go to the bathroom, but I'm in the internet café and I don't want to get up because then someone might take my flash drive or headphones. It's not cool. And if I take the flash drive, then I have to close out of all my programs because I run my programs off my flash drive. So I'm just holding it.

Now, more information that you didn't need to know.

I woke up on Friday morning at 2AM and proceeded to throw up the half-digested Chinese food from the night before. Now, according to Anita and Rosita (They tag-team me on these kinds of things. They're worse than Mom and Susanne. Okay, maybe not.), the reason for this is one of the following:
  1. I ate too much greasy food the day before (just fried eggs, pork chops, and the Chinese food).
  2. I ate while sitting in my bed.
  3. I went to sleep after eating and without walking to let my food settle.
  4. The Chinese food was bad (Rosita threw this one out without considering it. It was obviously that I didn't let my food settle.).
Now, they didn't really care that I've eaten Chinese food in bed before going to sleep many, many times before, and it's never bothered me... *sigh*

So it was a strict ration of Gatorade and toasted corn kernels, which I promptly ignored and went to KFC for lunch. Anita, Rosita, Carolina, and Carlos went to Santo Domingo for Salomé's (you remember Anita's granddaughter) birthday party. I stayed behind, because I didn't feel like throwing up on the bus, and went to Otavalo instead. I got some nice stuff, fabric for Mom, t-shirts for Doug and Ezra (Ezzy, if you grew too much, it won't fit you, so you better stay tiny), and some cloth bracelets I thought Anna might like. Still gotta get stuff for Jesse and Silvia's wedding present (I'm thinking some Playstation games, but I dunno) and Eve and Dad. I was thinking a nice leather wallet from Cotacachi for you, Dad. On top of that fat stack of DVDs.

So that was fun. On Sunday, I was feeling strange and mopy, and I decided not to go on the end-of-the-year trip to the beach on Monday. Which turned out to be a good thing, because I had diarrhea. I hate being sick. Rosita and Carolina asked me why I didn't go, and I said I was sick. It was one of the few times Carolina's talked to me in the past few months, and it was just to tell me how stupid I was for not going on the trip. It's starting to piss me off. I dunno. People have this weird idea that it's impossible for other people to not be like them, especially teenagers (like Carolina, who's at the awful age of 13). Carlos is much the same way. I don't think he ever really grew up. It's not just people here, of course, it's people everywhere, but it's only here that my characteristics (like not going to clubs and getting smashed) are coming into extreme conflict with the people around me. For example, when we were planning this trip to the beach in my class, we were originally going to go to Atacames and spend the night there, which ended up being scrapped for the cost ($1010). Anyways, my math teacher was planning it with us, and he said, Oh, at the end of the first day, we'll all go out to a club, get a couple of beers, dance, you know. Regardless of the fact that I'm in 10th grade here, and most of my classmates are 15, and it's illegal for people under 18 to drink and go to clubs. Mine's just a different mindset. One that Carlos says is boring.

Sorry if this sounds a little angry, but it does upset me. Especially Carolina. She yelled at me "Liar!" when I said I didn't go because I was sick. What she doesn't realize is that I could crush her with my pinkiest finger.

So I went to school today, and no one showed up. Turns out it was just for the people who have to take extra classes because they failed their course. Turns out, I didn't fail any of my courses (even though I don't know how in the world I passed gym)! They don't hand out grades for the last trimester though. Oh well. Doesn't really matter anyway. I said good bye to those of my friends who did show up. Only five people failed one or more of their classes (one kid failed four) in my course. The other tenth grade class had twelve who failed something. We win.

Anyway, it was my last day of high school. I don't have to wake up at 5:45 anymore. I've got three weeks of vacation (with FLVS... Greater-than period less-than), and I'm looking forward to using it. To sleep in and spend time at the internet.

You know what, I think that's boring by anyone's definition.

Thanks for commenting, Jesse. I think cybermakeouts are great too, though not as great as actual makeouts. Thanks for commenting too, Kris. I'm not sure if Thunder Road is still my favorite song. I've got a bunch of new ones I like too.

That's all for now.



Some Insignificant Updates

Okay, just a couple of things of no importance to anyone (except the last one).

I made a comic version of my incredible trip to Quito to take the AP exam. It's only slightly exaggerated. I've got it up on my self-portrait diary blog, so check it out. I also added in some labels that appear under each post, telling you what materials and/or techniques were used. Click on one, and it brings up a page with all of the portraits made in the same way on it. For example, click on "watercolors", and you see portraits #s 4, 5, 6, 15, and 16.

I've only got 29 days left here, so I'm gonna be hitting up the tourist hotspots in search of bona fide Ecuadorian goodies to bring back as presents. Any requests?

I got a girlfriend, Kristina, who I met way back at MITES. This means, as Jesse says, a high potential for cybermakeouts. Oh hey, Jesse, you're one to talk, for someone who calls his significant other "Schmoo," short for "Schmoochies." OH BURN. Also, Kris said to tell you to shut up. She's got a black belt in karate, too, so it's probably not the best idea to piss her off. This goes for you too, Ezra, though I don't need any help in totally destroying you, at Brawl or in real life.

Thank you, Kris, for commenting. Yeah, I love hamburgers. Thank you, Mom, for commenting. Anita's favorite color is sky blue, and I only went to McDonald's because I couldn't find a Burger King. I'm a BK man through and through. Thank you, Jesse, for commenting. I think you become a guidance counselor by taking a test. Question 1: A student comes into your office with some schedule issues. Do you: A) Tell her you're too busy, B) Tell her to schedule an appointment with your secretary who's out to lunch, C) File her request in the paper shredder, or D) All of the above?

That's all for now. 29 more days.



This IS a Tasty Burger!

So, yesterday, May 13th, I decided that waking up at 2:30 to ride a bus for 3 hours to wait around for another hour before taking a four hour test was MY IDEA OF FUN. But I'm putting the cart before the horse.

Yesterday was the AP English Language and Composition test. I'm taking the class online, which is the reason I haven't posted lately. So, yesterday morning I got up at 2:30 in order to catch the 3:00 bus to Quito, where the American school that gives AP tests is. Anita went with me to show me where to go. So, a six-hour round trip for her, for no real reason. I love her so much. I'm gonna do something special for her when I actually have some money. Traveling with Anita is really fun, because she can't handle not being in control. We're waiting for the bus, and Anita's cursing that the people who run the booth for that particular bus are late, and that the bus hasn't arrived yet, and everything. Then, about an hour into the ride, someone gets on the bus with something smelling very strongly of paint. Maybe fifteen minutes later, Anita realizes and gets up, and starts asking loudly, "WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT PAINT SMELL?" No one speaks up, but eventually whoever had the paint left, probably out of fear for his life. When we got to Quito, the taxi to take us to the terminal charged three dollars, so Anita nearly came to fisticuffs with the taxi driver, trying to barter him down to two dollars. I paid for it.

We parted at the terminal, where Anita pointed me to the bus I had to take to get to the school. That ride took about fifteen minutes, and I found out that the buses in Quito charge twenty-five cents instead of ten, like in Ibarra. When I got there, I had a little map that showed me where the school was, except the scale was wrong and it was missing streets, so I wandered for ten minutes thinking hoping I was going the right way. As it turned out, after a little while I didn't even need the map. You can tell the giant eyesore that is an American school from half a mile away.

When I got there, it was about 6:30, 1.5 hours early for the exam. I wanted to go in and wait inside but the guard (real guard, like with the bang-bang and the nightstick) said no. I'm like, You're really gonna make me wait out here on the asphalt instead of right inside on a bench, where you can still see me. He was like, *nod*. So I sat outside in the school parking lot reading Spider-Man and eating slightly warm pizza Anita heated up for me before we left (I love her sooooo much). Finally, at seven-fifty, one of the guards motioned me over and told me to go talk to one of the people, who took me up to the college guidance counselor. Her name was Tracy Galvines. Ms. Galvines was American, and talked in this really high-pitched and annoying voice. I don't think she can speak Spanish, because she only spoke English with the people. Oh, all the teachers and students speak English really, really well, even though they're all Ecuadorian. It was weird. But I guess if you're going to the most expensive school in all of Quito, you should be getting your money's worth.

That reminds me of something I hate. I hate when Ecuadorian people talk to me in English. The teachers there kept trying to speak to me in English, and I was like, "No, I understand Spanish." And they kept talking to me in English, so I finally gave up. It's kind of insulting, like they don't think I can understand them. It's even worse when people say just "Good morning" or "Hello", and that's all they know in English. It's like they're trying to show off.


Ms. Galvines asked me what school I was going to for college. I said MIT. She froze, and was like, "You're going to MIT?" I said yes. She said, "How did you get into MIT?"I thought she was kidding at first, but then she waited for an answer, and I said, "Well, I went to a summer program there, and I think spending a year here helped too." She said, "You're kidding." I assured her I wasn't kidding. She then foisted responsibility for proctoring the AP exam onto her secretary, saying "I'll be there as soon as I finish this!" She never showed.

The kids at the American school were strange. The secretary assured me that none of them were American or had American parents, but they all seemed pretty white, with blonde hair and stuff. And American accents. Totally freaked me out. Then we took the AP test, which, for National Security reasons, College Board forbids me from talking about. I can tell you that on the last page of my essay, I wrote "WHY SO SERIOUS?" in big letters and then drew a line through it. R.I.P. Heath Ledger. I don't know how the Ecuadorian kids did well on it, though. Not because it was in English, but because a lot of the questions dealt specifically about America and American culture. I threw a bunch of American mannerisms in my writing just to differentiate myself. All the kids were freaking out about the time. Every five minutes or so, someone would ask what time it was, and the proctor gave the correct time limit about 50% of the time. It was funny.

Afterwards, I made my way out of there and went to the McDonald's I saw on the way. Now, if you haven't lived out of the country before, in a place where the amenities of home are non-existent, you won't be able to understand why this was so important to me. I will try to explain. Probably the only truly American food is fast food, and the most symbolic of that is the McDonald's franchise. When you eat at McDonald's, you're tasting America. However sad that may be. But there are no McDonald's in Ibarra. The only American fast food here is KFC (which they still call Kentucky Fried Chicken, even though no one knows what that means). There are burgers, but they're all nasty and disgusting. And my host uncle owns a burger joint! Te last American-style burger I had was ten months ago. So, I go into the McDonald's and they've got the air condition set to 65º, just like back home. They've got a playpen, just like back home. I look at the menu, and it's all in Spanish, not like back home. But the pictures are the same! I say Gimme a double quarter pounder, no cheese, extra pickles, with a large order of fries and a Cherry Coke. The lady at the counter doesn't understand, so I repeat it in Spanish, except I don't know the word for "pickles" so I just leave that part out. The whole thing comes on a tray with three packets of mayonnaise and one of those large sheets of paper with advertising on it to keep the tray from getting too dirty, just like they do it back home, except with mayonnaise instead of ketchup catsup catchup ketchup. Then I unwrap the burger and eat it. It was the best meal I have ever had. From McDonald's! Who would have thought! After that I ordered a Dark Temptation, an ice crem sundae loaded with chocolate. But it was good ice cream! Not the nasty kind they have here! I was so happy, I was just sort of smiling all the rest of the day. Well, that wasn't the only reason I was smiling, but it still made me really happy.

I rode the bus home without incident. I watched this really grüesome Jackie Chan movie on the bus. It had people getting hanged and shot and stuff. Then I went to an AFS meeting where I was the only kid who showed up. *sigh*

Anyway, the upshot of the whole day was That was a tasty burger!

Thanks Jesse for commenting. I don't know. I used to wrap my entire bed in Shrink Wrap, but then I passed out from lack of oxygen. Thank you, Kris, for commenting. I wore my Obama t-shirt to the AP test for good luck. Thanks, Mom, for commenting. You know the Bahamas is there with voodoo and the stuff, right? THAT'S WHERE ZOMBIES COME FROM. Dad, can you check and make sure that Mom's not a zombie, please? Thanks. And thank you, Ezra, for commenting. I just want to let you know that your days of being able to win at Brawl are limited. Because the day I get to your house, I'm gonna just start destroying you. No mercy. You have been warned. Thanks, Stephan, a new commentor. I know I'm awesome, but I don't mind having people tell me. I appreciate it. You're pretty cool yourself. Are you going to go to MIT early for the Freshman Pre-Orientation Programs (FPOPs)? Such a cool acronym.

Sorry for the lack of pictures, but taking the camera would have been a lot to worry about.

That's all for now. 33 more days here. I'll be doing a picture tour of Ibarra sometime soon, so stay tuned.



I Think I Caught Swine Flu

Okay, this is gonna be a short post. Just a couple of things.

One, I finally made a decision about college, and I'll be attending MIT in the fall. Like that comes as surprising news to anybody.

Two, I feel kind of sick. Although I'm not vomiting, and I don't have diarrhea, or any of the symptoms of swine flu, and there have been no reported cases of swine flu in Ecuador (Ecuador FTW). My nose is stuffy, and I feel pretty tired. Which sucks. I hate being sick.

Three, I put some new self-portraits up on my self-portrait diary blog. Some good ones too, I think.

Okay, that's enough for now. Thanks for commenting, Dad. Hey, I'm bringing back a whole bunch of bad movies (and a couple of good ones) for you, but they're all packaged in a single case, so they won't take up too much space. Don't go out and buy the Dark Knight or Iron Man, 'kay? Also, there's a package coming from MIT with orientation materials. You guys can open it, but just hang on to the stuff until I get back. Won't be long now (45 days). Thanks to you too, Ben, for commenting. Did you not see that I said about three times that I was planning on doing a post about politics for the election but never got around to it? ;)



How Many Times Can I Mention My Dad in One Post?

Well, I was just thinking today about my father, who is undoubtedly the most amazing man in the history of everything, serving as the inspiration for every single amazing thing I do in my life (which is a lot of stuff), and I thought, Hey, maybe I should do a blog post about him!

Oh, and, you know, other, less important stuff like photographs of my teachers and the
orphanage home for children that I work at.

So, I've done a couple of posts about the orphanage home for children I work at, but so far I've been too afraid of the nuns to take pictures. But, since I know my dad would like to see pictures of the kids and stuff, so I bit the bullet and asked for permission. Which they gave. No biggie.

This is Erika! Now, all the kids at the orphanage home for children (I'm trying to change that word in my mind, but it's hard) love me, but some of them try to pretend like they don't in order to get my attention. Erika's not one of those. She also gets really upset easily, and is a favorite target of Sor. Linda (I figured out her name. 'Sor.' is a title, which I don't know what it stands for yet, and her name is Linda. [not kidding] I didn't get a picture of her.) She's pictured here next to a map of Ecuador, which still includes land ceded to Peru in a war back in the 1990s. She's also wearing red, which is not green, which is my dad's favorite color.

The brown-skinned girl in the back is Dominik, the girl not looking at the camera, Nicole, and the girl getting the bunny ears, some weird girl not in my study group whose name I don't know who follows me around because I give her candy. Dominik is hilarious. When she found out I was taking pictures, she tried to get into every one. And nearly succeeded. Also liked to try and put her finger on the lens. Kind of annoying. Nicole is the other girl like Erika who follows me around and grabs my arm and tries to get me to sit next to her even when she's not doing homework. I tell you, this volunteering business is a dangerous game. I'm reminded of that time when my dad worked in Mexico at a clinic with just women. That little girl is too young to be in the room where I am. The other American guy, Robert, works with their group.

The girl on the left is Anahí, and the one in the middle is María. You already met Dominik. Anahí is really energetic, always bouncing around. María is a 20-year-old German girl who lives at the orphanage full-time, volunteering and giving English lessons and stuff. She's taller that most people here, like my dad would be if he lived in Ecuador.

The girl on the right is Silvia, who managed to get her eyes closed in every picture I took of her, and the girl on the left is *gasp* Dominik! Silvia's a really nice girl, the only fully black one in my study group. I'm not sure whether Dominik is mulatto or (more likely) mestizo, but the black people here are really, really dark. Silvia is the hardest working and (coincidentally) the smartest girl in my study group. She's in the same grade as Erika (who's also really smart but doesn't want to put any effort in) and Amelia (who wasn't there that day, so I don't have a picture of her), but does her work about two or three times as fast as them. You know who's also a hard worker? My dad.

This is Anahí, holding up Friday's snack of Bread and Yogurt. That brownish blur is Dominik, trying to jump into the camera. Took me about 4 shots to actually get this much.

This is Silvia's little sister. She's like that other little girl above in two ways: One, I don't know her name. Two, she only talks to me to ask for candy.

This is a little kid whose name I don't know (noticing a pattern here?). Although this is a girl's home for children, some of the girls have brother who come to visit and hang out. Just little kids, though. Haven't seen any older guys.

Sometimes the kids try to trip me up by asking if I know their names. Luckily, they just started a few weeks ago, right after I had finally learned each of their names.

So, Thursday night, I headed out to the Earthly Terminal (that's what it's called) for my teachers' show!

This is my Drawing teacher, one Sr. López. He's a nice guy, really soft-spoken. He had some interesting stuff, as you can see here in this really dark picture. There's another painting that I didn't upload where the main figure is a naked black woman. She's got the curly hair and everything. I didn't ask him about it. Probably should have. Maybe he's married to a black woman, like my dad.

This is my 2-D Composition teacher, la Sra. María Elena. She's one of the two teachers I have who teaches art the way I think it should be done, focusing on conveying information about techniques and different thought processes rather than making a painting you can sell in Otavalo for $50. She's also the only teacher who has shown an awareness of the existence of abstract art, though she does like Jackson Pollock, which is a strike against her. I like this painting the best out of all of them, though I think I may be alone. When I showed Diego (who didn't go to the show, but went with me to the terminal on Saturday for another reason), he said, "You like this?" I asked Sra. Elena about the painting, and she said that it's figurative of the idealism of femininity. She told me she's reading now a book about how all the leaders of the ancient past were women, and then men used their sexual powers and tricks and stuff like that to gain control (not exaggerating here). She's pretty feminist, which is a bit refreshing in a place where my old history of art teacher once spent twenty minutes explaining that the woman's place was in the kitchen. You know who else supports women's rights? My dad.

This is my sculpture teacher's painting. His name is Carlos Torres. I didn't realize that he painted, but apparently, he does! And, he also paints naked women, unsurprisingly. Nice guy. Like my dad.

This is my painting teacher, Rivadellera or something like that. I think I've complained enough about my painting teacher in other posts that I don't need to do it here. But the painting's nice, if a bit typical of the paintings with the subject matter and exaggerated hands (Jesse and Silvia know what I'm talking about. Hey, you know who my brother's father is? My dad.).

Other prestigious figures who showed up include:

My Social Studies teacher, the second from the left.

My school's principal, the guy in the center there.

My Literature teacher.

The school Inspector, the guy in the middle.

This man, who I think was a retired teacher, who can only be correctly described as Eyebrow Man. I didn't notice why my Weirdar was going off until I took a closer look.


MaiTe, Mishel, Valeria and I were the only people who went to the show from our class. It was shameful. Speaking of shameful, I just learned the word for shameful! Vergonzoso! I was tired of saying "It's a shame."

That's, from the right, Mishel, MaiTé, Valeria and some girl I don't know.

Then some cowboys started dancing, and the thing was over.

So, last post was pretty big on comments! I had 6 comments on that post, the most I've ever had on a single post. The previous record was five, held by Food, FTJ: 8-28-08, and The Things People Say. I'm not sure what the big draw was, since there were no cooked pets, pictures of other AFS kids, or hilarious lolcats (the Soylent Milk one I thought was so-so). Let's get down to business, then.

Thanks for commenting, Dad. I had forgotten how important you are in shaping my life, so I mentioned you twelve times in this post. I'll get the other eight soon. Thanks for commenting, Tom. I like my dad too. Hey Anonymous! Why don't you go write a poem and not attribute it to yourself? Or, like, go give valuable information to the police without giving away your own identity! Or, maybe not be a moron! That's a thought. (Disclosure: If you're actually someone I know who just didn't put a name, I'm only kidding. If you're not, I mean every word.) Thanks for commenting, Jesse. Yeah, I think "home for children" is the best way to describe it. There's no school there. María told me yesterday that some of the kids were beaten by their parents, so it could be that too. To throw another wrinkle into defining it, though, one of the girls, Joanna, just stays there until 6 or so to do homework, then goes home with her mother. And it's not that my blog is popular enough to pick up trolls, it's that it's AWESOME enough. Also, it may not be a troll. Trolls usually have annoying usernames like "coolman87324" or "xXsexygrlXx213", and speak without proper grammar. Thanks for commenting, Mom. You got the wrong kind of troll there. You're thinking of this kind of troll. Jesse meant this kind. Thanks for commenting, Ben. I come back to the US on June 18th, and will be going (relatively) north either in July, if I go to Maryland for the summer, or in August, for college.

Speaking of college, Harvard just got back to me, saying I was accepted, and giving me $51,200/$52,700 in financial aid! They also said specifically that my parents (this means you, Dad) don't have to pay anything! So that's good.

Well, that's all for now.



In a Handbasket

I thought I'd take a little time today to talk about one of the biggest parts of my life here in Ecuador, volunteering at a local orphanage. At least, I thought it was an orphanage, and then I found out they spend holidays with their mothers. But, until someone gives me a better name for it, it's gonna be "The Orphanage next to the San Francisco church."

It's a pretty nice building, actually. It's square, and has a large open courtyard in the center. There are a couple of places for having masses and that on either side, but I don't have many occasions to go into them. There are two floors, with most of the bedrooms being on the top floor along the east and north walls. The place where I usually hang out is the study. There are three studies in a row on the top floor facing the street, the south wall. I'm in the last one on the right. There's also another courtyard where we eat snacks, and a playground with really old swings and slides, and an open pool that scared the crap out of me the first time I saw it since it's deep, empty and right next to where the kids play.

But you guys don't really care about that. You want to know about what I actually do! What? You don't care? Well, I don't care about you guys either! Okay, yes I do. I'm sorry. But anyways, I work with the girls on their English homework. Oh yeah, it's an all-girls orphanage, kind of a sister institution to the all-boys orphanage a couple blocks away. I work with girls aged seven to about twelve. Because everyone here is really short the average height here is less than I'm used to, I have a problem with telling people's age during the teen years, since I usually go by height as the determining factor. So twelve is just a guess. Some of the high school girls from other studies try hitting on me, but I just ignore them, because the best way to make a girl interested in you is to totally ignore her.

One of the nice things about being in Ecuador is that for what seems like the first time, I'm living further away than my mom can reach.

I love you, Mom.

Yes, I know I'm not going to be living in Ecuador forever, and that I have to come home sometime.

Yes, I know that you control how much money I have.

I love you soooooo much.

Anyways, I help the girls with their English homework. The quality of the education in English here is terrible. Usually, I try not to make judgments on that, but it really is. For several reasons, most outside of the control of the teachers and the students. The kids aren't taught on a daily basis (in my school, it's three periods a week), the teachers aren't native speakers, and so fail pretty hard on nuanced (and sometimes not-so-nuanced) grammar and pronunciation. But sometimes I wonder, because these kids take English from first grade, and half of them don't know pronouns or even what "the" is. Now, I'm not there enough time to do some serious teaching that would be useful, and they're not old enough that it would stick anyway, and this German woman who's staying there is doing a good job of that as it is, so I just try and make sure they get their assignments done right. Which can be difficult, since half the time the textbooks mess something up, or the teacher himself puts something down wrong on the test (This actually happens frequently. And the girls tell me that he gets mad when I correct him, and makes vague suggestions that I should talk to him so he can show me up. Or maybe it's just the febrile minds of ten-year-olds.). It's funny seeing the exact same assignments I had to do (there is, there are) in Spanish class four years ago crop up again, but in English.

The group I work with is ten girls, Anita, Amelia, Joanna, Katerine, Dominik, Erika, Anahí, Nicole, Silvia and one little girl whose face I can picture in my mind but whose name is just not there. I've almost got them all, though. There's also a nun who stays in the room most of the time. I think her name's Soycatalina. Or it may be Soylinda. Or maybe Soylentgreen.

All the nuns, it seems, are named Soy-something. I don't understand it yet. They're all really old, except one. I take Bible stories more seriously from them, because I figure they were around to see most of them happen. Now, my friend's mother Heidi has long told me horror stories about the nuns at the Catholic school she attended, so I was somewhat prepared for the way the nuns would be, but I wasn't really prepared. A couple of months ago, Soylinda, or whatever her name is, took ten minutes out of her busy schedule to yell at one of the girls for eating an apple, because she wasn't sharing with the rest of the group. Now, it's an apple. And the girl's all of eleven years old. There's no need for that kind of reaction. See, this nun, she was a prayer. And one day, she goes off cra-a-a-zier than usual. So Erika gets the sharp wit to defend herself. And Soylinda doesn't like that. Not. One. Bit. So she calls Erika an "empty-headed clown" and starts yelling about how she don't get no respect (I only wish I were kidding), and how she hates hypocrisy. Erika tells Soylinda to shut up and leaves. One of the funny things about Spanish is that you can say things inherently insulting, like "shut up," but using the formal form of the verb. I don't even know what it was about. At least she didn't start hitting the girl. I dunno what I would have done then.

That's about all I can think of with respect to the orphanage. I'm gonna get some pictures of it, probably next week, for your viewing pleasure. Stay tuned.

Thanks for commenting, Mom. I don't know why people are scared of cats and not dogs. Probably the same reason why Camille and I walk around ladders when everyone else here goes right under them. And it's true that nobody is afraid of the dogs. Kids'll go up and pet them. Thanks Jesse, for commenting as well. Carlos mentioned off-hand that Jesus wasn't a Jew, he was a "Galileo." Assuming he wasn't referring to the famous astronomer, I have no idea what that could mean. Thank you also to Diana, for commenting and following my blog. I was intrigued by your comment about being in Chile, so I looked at your blog "A Temporary Santiaguina," but there's only the one post...

That's pretty much all for now! Oh, also, I'm sick of car alarms and politics. But that's another story, and shall be told, another time.



The Things People Say


I'm gonna warn you up front, this post is going to be highly subjective, insomuchas I didn't ask people what they meant (you'll understand once you read), and it all comes through my American Lens. So, if you're the kind of person who gets upset at that sort of thing (I'm not pointing any fingers), then you may want to skip down to the bottom. It's just that things have sort of come to a head, for me, with this topic, and I like using this blog to talk about things that I can't really talk about here.

Like racism and anti-Semitism. So, the Channel (a TV station named just that) was showing a movie, one you may be familiar with. The Passion of the Christ, with Mel Gibson. And so, not being so much of a fan of whips tearing flesh off of bones, I left. Then, yesterday, Anita's son Carlos shows up, and he and Rosita start talking about the movie. Carlos specifically mentioned the whip-flesh-tearing as one of the reasons he liked the movie so much (It was so real!), and even made the sound with his mouth. I nearly laughed, but I held it in. Somehow, the topic got around to how awful the Romans were treating Jesus, and how awful it was. And then it was, Oh, and the Jews were awful too, spitting on him and no sé qué, no sé cuánto. Rosita wondered aloud why people don't blame the Jews for the crucifixtion, and Carlos said that after what happened in WWII, you can't blame Jews for anything.


I, of course, remained characteristically silent throughout the entire conversation, but then Carlos says to me, "You know how Jews are in the US, right, Jacob? They have all the money." I just sort of mumbled something, and the conversation moved on. I mean, how am I supposed to respond to that? I feel a little more sympathetic towards Hannes now (not much more, though). I could have said, "I have family members who are Jewish, friends who are Jewish, and they're not exactly rolling in dough. And I don't like it when you denounce an entire group of people, the vast majority of whom you've never met and don't know anything about." But what would that have accomplished? Not going to change Carlos's mind on anything. It's just going to put him more on edge around me then he already is (A guy under twenty thirty forty who doesn't like going out every night until 2 o'clock in the morning? What the hell is wrong with him?). It's like my Mom says, Sometimes you have to pick your battles.

But this brings up other questions to my mind. Whenever there's a discussion of crime, it's the Columbians who are entering into the country illegally. The guys who kidnapped Camille's host grandmother? The Columbian gang. The guys who broke into the house? Some Columbian hoodlums. The person who controls all the assaults in Yacucalle? That one black guy. Okay, so it's not all Columbians, but whenever the high crime rates are mentioned, it's usually Columbians who are responsible. And this is coming at me from various sources, Anita, Rosita, people on the radio, people on the TV. The scary thing is, is that I get the feeling that I've heard this all before. In the US. It's the same kind of thing as people saying the Hispanic immigrants are stealing our jobs. It's xenophobia, scapegoating. I mean, yeah, there are some Columbian criminals, like the drug cartels, just like there are immigrants who come to the US for less-than-honorable reasons. But there are far more immigrants who come to Ecuador, who come to the US, to support their family, to earn a living. And there are Ecuadorian criminals and American criminals too. It's just kind of upseting when people denounce the way Americans treat immigrants in one breath and then rant about those "Columbian thieves" the next. But, whatever. I should know by now to accept human frailty when I see it and be grateful for those acts of human kindness that there are, few as those may be.

On an unrelated note, I went and hung out with Rodrigo yesterday. We went and played basketball, and soundly got our asses handed to us by a girl and her friends. Thankfully, it was just the one girl on their side, so it wasn't so embarrassing. Still, it was like, 20-13. After that, we went and played guitar for a bit. Rodrigo's teaching me what he calls "punteado", which is playing just one string at a time. I dunno what it's called in English (I'm developing an artistic vocabulary of words I only know how to say in Spanish, like "esfumear"). He's also teaching me scales. Music is really cool. After that, he told me about how he went to the beach in Montañitas, and met this one English girl there, and he wanted to write her a love song in English. I suggested that we translate a love song he had already written, so we set about doing that. It actually turned out pretty cool. We're going to record it later today, and I'll see if I can find some way of uploading it to this page (any suggestions for music hosting?). Then we went to the internet, and Rodrigo got worried when he read an email from his German girlfriend saying that's she's going to be here in two months... Ah, the pitfalls of love.

So, that's about all. I'm planning on doing a post about the politics here, but that's another story, for another time. Sorry for the lack of Photoshopped pictures in this post. They take a long time, and I couldn't really think of one. To make up for it, here's a lolcat someone else made:

Yeah, mom, that other lolcat picture was one I got off the internet and added my own caption to. There aren't really any cats here. I think people are scared of them (not kidding). Thanks for commenting. You too, Kris.

Oh yeah, and I updated my self-portrait page, so crazy go nuts.



Why I'm Online at 10AM

It's Holy Week!

all terms translated directly from Spanish

If you're like me, then you only had a vague idea of what this term means (something to do with Jesus, probably) before actually asking somebody. You were just happy when you got Spring Break, and if it happened to coincide with Easter, then hey, okay. Things are a little different here. Holy Week started last Sunday (I think), with Branch Sunday (called Palm Sunday in other parts of the world).

Sunday morning started out with me wondering why Anita was making me get up so early. Usually she lets me lie in bed until whenever I feel like (never later than 8:30, because I'm incapable of sleeping past 7:30), but Sunday was different. I also wondered why she was well dressed and carrying branches.

It was only later that it struck me that HEY, maybe this has something to do with Branch Sunday and Easter! Upon arriving at this thrilling epiphany, I ran upstairs to change into a Florida shirt and black non-jeans that were slightly more presentable than the torn brown pants and t-shirt I was wearing. Then we went to church, arriving a fashionable half-hour late, which Anita swears was due to one of the singers telling her 11 instead of 10:30. We rushed in past the people selling pre-made branches to those churchgoers who had forgotten to get some.

Church here lasts only one hour, so in a surprisingly short amount of time, people were crowding up around the Father with their branches, and he was throwing Holy Water on them.

It was kinda like in a concert, where everyone holds lighters.

Then we went home and had a giant bowl of Fanesca with Anita's mother and notably without any other members of Anita's family. Anita was kind of upset, because usually the whole family comes to her house on Branch Sunday to eat Fanesca, and all of a sudden "No one liked Fanesca." Now, Fanesca is a mashed-up paste kind of thing made of cream, potatoes, beans, peas, weird green things in shells that I think are vegetables, fried balls of dough, fried bananas, cheese, boiled eggs, and melloco. Now, most of the stuff in here is pretty nasty, like the cheese, the green vegetable-fascimiles, the melloco, but somehow it works out to taste pretty good. But then I had to eat it for lunch and dinner on Friday and Monday because Anita made a lot of it. Trust me, you realize why they only make Fanesca here during Holy Week.

Things were pretty quiet for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and then things kicked right back up with Holy Thursday. I found on Wednesday night that Holy Thursday and Holy Friday meant we couldn't eat meat. You know what that means. Moar Fanesca.

So, the horror ends on Saturday, and we get Easter, and then I have to go back to school. Ewwwww.

Oh, and Anita's daughter's pregnant.

That's all for now. And Jesse, two points. I understand that Boston is negligibly further from Florida than Providence. I was being sarcastic. I'm taking this fact about as seriously as I am the one about H.P. Lovecraft (that is to say, not at all). Also I was technically correct. The best kind of correct. ;) Thanks for commenting.




Places I Want to Go when I Get Back to the States:
  1. The Video Game arcade (The only DDR they have here is the knock-off brand with diagonal arrows)
  2. The ocean (I'm in the mountains. It's cold. And not wet.)
  3. Barnes & Nobles (I'll have like, thirty back issues of manga to go through)
Food I Want to Eat when I Get Back to the States:
  1. Chicken wings (Homemade, if possible, from McKenna's if not)
  2. Barbecue Ribs (Homemade)
  3. Calzone (From Pepino's, only option)
  4. Pizza (Also from Pepino's)
  5. Slurpee (Volcano kind, which is Cherry-flavored on the bottom, Coca-Cola-flavored in the middle, and Cherry again on top)
  6. Beef Jerky (You'd be amazed the things you miss when you're not in America for seven months)
  7. Ice cream (First from Dairy Queen, then from the supermarket [Panda Paaaaaws], then from the Banana Split Republic)
Wait. Okay, Panda Paws ice cream is THIS:


Everyone seems to misunderstand that when I say what my favorite ice cream is. Also, I love Photoshop. Also also, pandas are sooooo cute.

TV Shows I Want to Watch when I Get Back to the States:
  1. Fringe (Tylor recommended it to me. Apparently, it's like a global version of The X-Files. Sounds good to me.)
  2. The Office (I've been keeping up with this on Wikipedia, but Steve Carell just isn't the same in text form...)
  3. I'm sure there were more, but I can't remember. Making that panda picture made me lose my train of thought.
Okay, that's all for now. Thanks for commenting, Kris. Yes, I don't understand MIT sometimes either. Thank you too, Tylor. I wouldn't buy them if I had a consistent source of internet in my home, but I don't so I do. Plus, they're really for my mom, who I know would prefer the DVDs. Speaking of which, I did buy the last two seasons of X-Files, so I've got them all now. They were pretty good, actually. I forgot. Thanks also to Vicky. I liked Brown too when I went to visit. It's a hard choice. A couple of things to take into consideration for me is that Boston is further from Florida (and my parents) than Providence, but H.P. Lovecraft liked Providence more than Boston...

Rejected alt-text for that panda picture:
  • The panda's saying, 'Why do you hate me, God?'
  • I refrained from putting tears in the panda's eyes because then I would have started crying.
  • I'm going to Hell for this picture.
  • Ben Stiller knows how I feel.
  • Their blood is actually made of candy!
  • Somewhere, someone took that picture specifically so I could Photoshop it like this. I mean, c'mon!


College Decisions

Hey! Brown University accepted me! With $50250 worth of financial aid! So that's good!

At least it balances out the fact that MIT emailed me and said they wouldn't pay for international flights, only domestic flights. Wish they'd told me that before I got excited about it. Oh well.

Harvard's still being stupid, because they screwed up my email address, meaning I have to wait for my decision to come via regular mail, which should take a few days. Not like I care about them anyway. ;)

Thank you to Kris, Vicky, and Ezra for commenting. Yes. It is MagicLand fire.

Time to go buy some X-Files. I'm thinking of only getting up to the seventh season, because after that, Mulder leaves and the show goes downhill. Your guys's thoughts?


Limited Four Day Engagement

46. That's how many events planned for Thursday mention food. About ten of those are ice cream, and another ten are Barbecue, those being two of the three things I miss most of American food (the third being Slurpees). Oh, it's good to be going back to the USA.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT, or the Awesome Place of Awesomeness) is hosting a Campus Preview Weekend (CPW) for prospective students (affectionately called 'prefrosh') to come and experience MIT. CPW lasts from Thursday, April 16th, to Sunday, April 19th. Now, I've know about this for a while, since MIT likes to send me emails about it, but I had never actually planned on going. A round-trip ticket from here to Boston costs upwards of $850. However, MIT sent me an email recently saying that they wanted to pay for the flight so that I could attend CPW. I was pretty excited. So excited that flames burst out of my stomach.

After I took some heartburn medicine, I settled down to the nuts and bolts of planning this thing out. First, I realized that while I wanted to surprise my friends from MITES who are going to CPW, it would probably be a good idea to tell at least one, so that we don't miss each other through a freak accident. Therefore, I informed Kristina, who, besides being the most likely to keep a secret of the three going to CPW, is also the only one who reads my blog. It's been fun telling the others how disappointed I am that I won't be able to attend CPW, just to watch them cry. Well, emoticon cry, by going T.T .

That settled, I talked to my brother, who gave me some sound advice. It went something like, "Yeah, MIT's going to have a lot of quote-unquote mandatory events for you to go to, but they're stupid, so just ignore them and hang out East Campus." He also asked one of his friends, one Keja Rowe, who I met at Jesse's graduation, to host me. This is good for two reasons. It means I'll be at East Campus, which is good not only because East Campus is Awesome Central of the Awesome Place of Awesomeness, but also for resolving scheduling problems, which I'll explain momentarily.

*moment passes*

So yeah. The time it takes to get from Quito to Boston is one day. Like, leave in the morning, arrive in the evening. But that doesn't work for me, because I don't want to arrive Thursday evening to be late for the festivities, nor Wednesday evening and be way too early to actually go to MIT. Arriving at Boston in the morning would require staying overnight in one of the airports, which is doable, but isn't preferred. Now that I have a host, someone I know through Jesse, it's possible that I could stay with him Wednesday evening, in addition to the regular CPW nights, and avoid an overnight airport stay at all! That is, if the T runs at 9PM. I dunno. The upshot of all this is that I have to confirm things with Jesse before making my final plans, which has to be before this Thursday.

Flight plans thus ignored for the time being, I put myself to (oh noes Spanish grammar invading my speech!) planning out what I would actually do while at MIT. Now, there are a couple of things that I have to do, like buying shoes, a Slurpee, and beef jerky, that can't be done at MIT. Unsure of what was being offered, I looked at the MIT schedule plan. Now, that's just Thursday, but there are over 75 individual activities planned. Most of them, as I noted before, mention some form of food, be it refreshments, free snacks, or the Muffins of the Patriots. My plan, therefore, revolved around the following idea: Pick a few things that are so awesome I have to do them (like the Jurassic Park movie marathon), and then as many of the food things as I can. Why yes, I will attend the Campus Crusade for Christ meeting, if it means free Pizza and Klondike Bars. Do you know when the last time I had a Klondike Bar was? AUGUST. AUGUST. I can hear Frank cheering from all the way over here ("$850 plane ride and free food? Ô_Ô"). My ill-laid plans are, of course, subject to what my friends want to do, since I want to maximize my time with them, and how long I can deprive myself of sleep. Interestingly enough, the longest time I've gone without sleep was at MIT, as was the only time I've ever experienced fatigue so intense I couldn't move (separate incidents).

So, there are three really good things about this.
  • I get to go back to America and buy new shoes.
  • I see some of my MITES friends again after several months (You Florida people are garbage for hanging out without me. Okay, I forgive you.).
  • I get to eat American food, like Barbecue and ice cream, that they either don't have here or they have in a lame, watered-down form.
Thank you, Ben, for commenting. It was Chavez who said it. Thanks, Mom, for commenting as well. And thank you Piper. Yes, people are strange. That's why I find it best to just hit them with a Carebearstare.



Art and Some Things that Annoy Me

So, I made another painting. This was a quick one, done mainly over this past weekend.

I call this one "Nighttime" and the other one I made "Daytime". This one's the better of the two. By far. I'm getting better.

But I'm not the only one who noticed that I've improved. So, I had this up on the easel, all set to work on it, and I go to get my paint. On the way back, palette in hand, I hear my painting teacher say, "This is really good!" I notice that he and a bunch of my other classmates are standing in front of my painting. He goes on to say, "Look at the transparency of the water! Brilliant! And the greens are wonderful!" I wanted to say "Who are you, and what have you done with my painting teacher?" but I don't think he would have understood the English. It's the first second compliment he's ever given me. He also broke his vow of ignoring everything I do and said, "You should make this part a little darker, BUT DON'T SCREW IT UP BECAUSE IT'S SO GOOD RIGHT NOW." He uses a lot of hand signals when he talks to me, probably because he doesn't think I understand Spanish. I know what "lejos" means, jerk. Finally, as I'm walking out, he says something much more in character: "I didn't think you could make something that good." Whatevs. I'm happy with it.

I like the stars best. They give, in my opinion, a contrast to the darker, more subtle tone of the rest of the piece, adding some cohesion that prevents things, like the left edge of the mountain, from fading entirely into the sky. I also like the reflection. Instead of making the reflection shorter than the actual objects, like I did last time, I made it the same height. I also blurred the ridges inside the mountain, which I didn't do last time. I'm getting better at this. I think one more and I should be good. BUT, we're moving on to hands and faces, now, so no such luck. However, bringing what I've learned about ignoring everything my teacher says into the future, I should be good. I really like the tone of Nighttime. I like it a lot.

So, some things that are starting to annoy me. Way back a long time ago, I remarked on the fact that sharing is incredibly important here. Well, maybe it's just my American lens, but this is starting to grate on me. Not the sharing chips, or things like that, because I'm just as often the receiver as the giver on that end. But I'll give you an example, the one that really bothered me.

The other day, we had a test in Technical Drawing. Now, in Technical Drawing, we have to make very exact measurements and things. This particular day, I had left my ruler at home, and making do with my 30º and 45º triangles, which happen to have mini-rulers on them, so I wasn't in the best of moods anyway. But then Edwin turns around (he sits in front of me) and says, "Lend me your 45º triangle." Normally, I'd give him the triangle, but I didn't have my ruler, and you need two rulers/triangles at the same time to do anything in Technical Drawing. And I'm quite clearly using both of my triangles when he asks me. I say, "No, I'm using it right now." And Edwin says, "Apurra." 'Apurra' is the command for of the verb 'apurrar', which means "to move quickly". So, Edwin was saying "Hurry up." Now, this bothered me, for the obvious reason, but it was mainly his tone. He said "Apurra" in a way that said, "I don't have time for you to be wasting by not giving me your triangle." The way he said it made it seem like he felt entitled to having my triangle, and my not giving it to him was irksome and tiring. It really bothered me.

But it's not just that. Every day in my painting class, I lend out at least three of my paintbrushes to different people, who often try to return them to me without washing them. I ask "Where are your paintbrushes?" and the answers are usually along the lines of "I left them at home" or "I've been meaning to buy some, but I just don't have the time". Now, I understand if you don't have a paintbrush one day, but on a regular basis, it bothers me. And I really don't think it's that they can't afford paintbrushes. I mean, maybe there's something I don't know, probably is, but it doesn't seem to me like this is a problem for some of these kids.

Now, I just want to say that this is a very small problem, and it's affected by all sorts of cultural things that I've only scratched the layer of, but this blog is mainly to talk about how emo I am I feel, and this is the way I feel.

Another thing that bothered me. Rafael Correa was on the radio today, responding to something that Obama said, I think about the drugs in Columbia. I quote (as well as I can remember it): "What a poor ignorant person. He should try learning something, open a book sometime." Correa is incredibly anti-American, which is probably a shrewd political move. Anita mentions a lot that Correa's a real ingrate because an American university (I dunno which) gave him a scholarship to study there, and now he rails against the US every chance he gets. It really takes living outside of the country to make one a real patriot. Everytime someone takes a potshot at America, I take it personally. Probably not the best thing to do, and I don't respond usually when this happens, but I do. Oh well. I know they (usually) don't mean to offend me.



Why Haven't I Been Posting?

Because FLVS eats my soul. That's why. Also, I have to finish a 70cm x 50cm canvas painting by Monday. Most of the people in my class haven't started yet.

However, for your viewing pleasure, I've started a self-portrait diary, wherein I draw a picture of myself every day, using different techniques. I've got eight now, not counting today's, but only six are up. I'll update this site sporadically. Also, it's really picture-heavy, so it may take some time to load. Sorry.

Also, my parents just got my MIT financial aid package. $48,000/$52,000!! Is what is being awarded! To me. If that wasn't clear. So yay me! I'm the best, AROUND, nothing's gonna ever bring me down!

Thanks to Emily, Mom, and Ben for commenting. Glad you like the site!



I Made Art

So, I finally finished my painting! The one with the mountain and the fuegote I showed you earlier! Brewskies all round! Okay, not really on that brewskie thing.


I really like it. I really do. I mean, wow. And just two months ago, I loathed art. It's not that it's spectacularly painted, it's more that I had a vision in my mind about how I wanted this to look, and it came out like I wanted it to. Yeah, the mountain's bigger than I wanted it to be (thank you, Mr. Painting Teacher Whose Name I haven't Learned Yet), but it came out all right. I think that, for me, the best part came out with the reflection of the water. I was really looking for a sunset, so I probably made the sun a little too bright, but the reflection in the water came out well.

I was working outside, so people who were walking by all stopped and looked at it. My sculpture teacher complimented me, my drawing teacher offered suggestions (which I ignored because I didn't want to risk messing it up when I had just got it the way I liked it), and my painting teacher completely ignored me. I told him I was done, and he said to the class, "Hey, the gringo's done! Hurry up!" and went back to what he was doing. Didn't even look at it. Oh well. Screw him.

Some guys from the art College that's part of the school were walking by, and one guy said that my painting was the only one he liked out of all the ones in my class. And it's not (I think) because it's the best painted (it's definitely not), but rather because it's different. I made my painting by purposely doing the opposite of what my teacher said, Landscapes don't use warm colors (red, orange, or yellow), they don't use colors not mixed with white (like most of mine), they definitely have houses and/or trees, and they DEFINITELY are made from photographs, or paintings that other people have made, and not even the SLIGHTEST tiny bit from the imagination. Everyone else followed all the rules, and even had the teacher paint parts of the painting for them. The teacher says that he's "fixing" the paintings. That's the word he uses, "fixing." When I mention this to the other kids in my class, they all say he's teaching them, but I don't see it. I mean, the kids get up and go talk to other students, or get something from the snack shop, and he keeps right on painting for them. It's like when you're helping a little kid, and you get the urge to just say "Let me do that for you," only he doesn't suppress that urge. But you know, maybe I'm just looking at it through my American lens.

Hey, speaking of that picture, I got the most amazing thing ever. Photoshop CS3 in a portable version, one I can carry on my flash drive and takes up all of 87.4MB of space. Of course, it is all in Spanish, but oh well. It's a whole lot better than Paint, which is what I was using to make my pictures before. You can tell by the effect I put on the American flag on top of making it slightly transparent.

That's all for now. Thanks for commenting, Ben and Mom.



Picture Teims!

This is my brother and I when he came here for vacation. I'm the more handsome looking one.

This is Marco. He's like that all the time.

This is Salomé. She's pretty much like Marco, though she tries to hide it.