UPR interviews

On Tuesday, we went to the UPR (University of Puerto Rico) to interview people and see how traditional schools affect their levels of happiness and satisfaction in their lives. We interviewed three people: two college students, and 1 teacher. It was interesting how you could see the difference in answers based on age gap and interest. But, there was 2 things they agreed on (without ever talking to each other because we interviewed them seperately). The funny thing is, those 2 things contradict each other, but somehow all 3 of the people said the same thing. They all said “Yes. Traditional school helped me in my levels of satisfaction in my life”. But they also said “No. The traditional education in Puerto Rico does not work properly and should be improved.” How can they all agree to contradict their own selves? It is quite peculiar. They all had gone through different walks of life and had diverse answers talking about their lives and their relationships with the adults as kids yet, they said the same thing. The same contradicting thing. I don’t know how to explain it but I think we should keep doing interviews to see if this is a recurring thought amongst people or if it was a total coincidence that we found those 3 exact people. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see

Sleepover at ExAlt pt. 2

On wednesday, we had a sleepover. So, at 3pm, when our ExAlt day ended as it usually does at that time, I stayed for the sleepover because I already had my clothes and whatnot to sleep with. Everyone else left to  either stay at their house or prepare for the sleepover. So it was just Alex and I at ExAlt; I was playing Minecraft while he was watching Naruto. And I was like: “Alex let’s go do something that isn’t being absorbed by the matrix like a couple of couch potatoes” and he was like: “Like what? Do you have any ideas?” I said “I don’t know. Anything. We can go out or stay here and play something or whatever”. He got the idea that we should put the Sneaky Cards to work! So he took 5 cards. They were the “Play a board game with a stranger”, “Challenge a stranger to a duel and win”, “Take a selfie with a stranger”, “Lay down in a public place until someone checks on you”, and “Start the wave in a food court or cafeteria”. We were able to hand out the first 3 cards. For the first one, we were walking around the UPR and I asked a random person that walked by us if he would play a short game of Mancala with me (we brought a Mancala set with us for that card). We ended up playing 3 games and he beat me 2-1, which is kinda embarrassing because he hadn’t played Mancala ever in his life. But that’s okay. We got to know a bit about him. He told us his name was Alex and he studies History of Art. He absolutely LOVED Mancala. He asked to play the 2 extra times. He also asked us what we do and where we’re from and we explained to him about ExAlt. When we finished, we gave him the Sneaky Card, and we left. We then kept walking around the University and Alex wanted to go to a class and enter a course just because. So we looked around the classrooms to see if there were any classes, but there wasn’t. Most classrooms were empty except 1, which had 3 people inside. Alex then dared me to put the “Take a selfie with a stranger” Sneaky Card to the test. So I knocked on the door, went inside, and said “Excuse me. Would any of you be willing to take a selfie with me?” Their reactuons were PRICELESS! They were all like “No, what?” and one of them was really scared. Her eyes bulged and everything. They asked “are you gonna publish it on the internet?” and I said no. But they were still really skeptical about it. To ease them, I told them that it didn’t have to be from my phone, it could be from one of theirs. One of them agreed and she took the selfie with me using her phone. She also told me that she WOULD be posting it online. I handed her the card, explained it, and then left. We kept walking around and we saw a lady in a bench and Alex challenged her to Rock, Paper, Scissors and won. He then handed her the “duel” card. After a while, we went back to ExAlt and afterwards @danithemaker @naborinyah and @naio and her mom were there for the sleepover. But then Naio’s mom felt kinda sick and they had to go back home. So basically, it was just males who stayed at the sleepover. We had a lot of fun. We played some Monopoly (that Alex won), we ironically listened to death metal music, and stayed up till like 2-3am. The Monopoly was fun but Alex had to leave for a bit to answer a call and it took about 45 minutes so we got so tired waiting for him all that time that we almost didn’t keep playing it afterwards. But we finished it anyway. While we waited, we listened to death metal and Dragon Force. I showed Dani the hardest song on any Guitar Hero (Through the Fire and the Flames by DragonForce). We also talked a lot and goofed around and the whole day was really fun, in general.

This week with the NYC learners

This week, the people from NYC ALC visited us! I  finally got to meet Ryan and play The Game with him. I also met Douglas, the computer whiz. Together, both of them showed us a really awesome game called Werewolves. Werewolves is an awesome role-playing card game that’s easy to make, but hard to understand and be a part of. Every card has a different role, and you assume the role of your card. Your goal is to survive with certain people depending on your role and the circumstances of the game. It’s a bit too complicated to explain with words only. Besides playing Werewolves, we also went to Altitude Trampoline Park. As you can guess from the name, it’s a park full of trampolines. It was soooo much fun jumping around and learning new tricks. @danithemaker was going crazy with all the tricks and moves. It was fun to watch him while I took my breaks. Since he’s so used to this, he went completely insane and barely ever stopped. I also raced @danithemaker @alex and @ryanshollenberger across trampolines and back. I wasn’t able to beat the first 2, but I was able to beat Ryan by just a hair. It was really exciting and I’m very tired. Overall, the whole week was amazing and I can’t wait until they come to visit again or until we go visit them.

Sneaky Cards are awesome!!!

Sneaky Cards is a game that is played for several days. Maybe weeks, or even months! The goal of the game is to get rid of all your cards. So, you have a deck, and whenever you complete a certain task on a card, you give that card to someone else. For example, one of the cards says “Hold the door open for five consecutive people. Hand this ard to the fifth person to walk through the door.” Another one says “Find a stranger who will take a picture with you. Take a picture with a total stranger. Once you’ve taken the picture, give them this card.” The point is, that you get to play this game with the whole world!!! My two personal favorites say “Lay down in a public place until someone checks on you. When they do: hand them this card.” and “Sincerely compliment someone. Give a stranger an honest compliment, anything that you think would make them feel nice. When you do, give them this card.” I already did one that said something along the lines of “Give this card to someone without them noticing.” I did this by putting it inside someone’s purse when they weren’t looking (I’m not saying who it is, though!). So yeah, it’s a crazy game with a bunch of things to do and I can’t wait to be able to give all of my cards out!

For more information on this game, you can go to sneakycards.com

This week there have been a few changes in ExAlt. It all started on Monday. We got to ExAlt and we saw that most of it was closed except the living room. In the living room, the floor mat was missing and replaced by some chairs formed in a semi-circle in front of a table with some pencils and paper on it. So, we just sat down and waited. Alex told us we would be starting by assistance instead of the usual on time. When everyone arrived, Alex began talking to us about how he didn’t see that some things were working. He explained how we weren’t running an ALC the way they’re supposed to. We’re supposed to go to ExAlt to set intentions and carry them out. There shouldn’t be a day-to-day “i don’t know what to do” kind of vibe. We’re supposed to be agile and we’re supposed to make things work. It’s okay to not know what to do every now and then, but it shouldn’t be a common practice. So we started changing some things. We’re now using the Kanban board more efficiently and effectively to be able to carry out our intentions. We’re also making every morning meeting standing up and together, by assistance instead of on time. We’re also having a 5-minute cleanup every afternoon (except on the days when we do actual deep cleaning of ExAlt). We’re trying to do change-ups more intentioned and with their purpose: to decide something we’ll try out for a week for the things in consciousness, and to evaluate implementations of past weeks. I think that’s basically it. Or most of it, at least

Learning the sewing machine

This week, I started learning how to use a sewing machine. On Wednesday, I looked up a video on the parts of the sewing machine and what they’re used for. Then a second video on how to use the sewing machine. It was really exciting whenever Roxy (anaiomy’s mom) and I learned a new technique and were able to do it succesfully. I traced some lines on some loose-leaf paper with the sewing machine. Sheyla the next day told me they came out really well! She then printed out some patterns on some paper and I traced them with the machine and she told me I was actually pretty good at it! I was even able to do some curvy lines with a lot of precision (still room for improvement, but for my first time, I did really well). Then, Sheyla showed me how to sew two pieces of cloth together, and I was able to make a really cute pocket thingy!! I’m really excited to keep sewing and making more things and even finish the cosplay!

Rock Climbing

Today we went to the Monaga forest in Bayamón to go rock climbing. So, when we got there we started walking and we found a little exhibit that had information about some animals, such as bats, crocodiles, and iguanas. It had some magnifying glasses with some bugs and microscopes with some rocks under it. We left that place to keep walking towards the rock-climbing wall. On the way, we found some really cool bunkers. I went inside one of them and then someone closed the door behind me. It was really awesome because it was pitch black and I couldn’t see an inch in front of my face. I then headed out and we kept walking. It started raining so we went and took some shelter at a big tower. I was going up the stairs quickly in order to get as least wet as possible, and then I stepped on a snake. I felt HORRIBLE after that. I wanted to apologize to the snake (even though it can’t understand me and that won’t help in any way) but it had left. Anyway, at the tower, we had some snacks and waited for the rain to stop. When it did, we went towards the rock climbing place once again. There, we put on some hammocks and Jose (@amaro2001’s father) showed us how to use the rock-climbing gear. I went first after they set everything up, and only got halfway to the top. After that, I just stayed in the hammock talking to @amaro2001 and @naborinyah. After a while, everyone went climbing at least once and then we left

Spring break

During the spring break, I had plenty of activities and hangouts with friends. Some of the things  I did include: going to San Patricio mall with my best male friend, going to Old San Juan with my girlfriend on a date, and going to Plaza Las Américas mall with a large group of friends (including @amaro2001).

The first hangout was planned so that my best guy friend, whom I hadn’t had alone time with for a long time, and I could catch up on each others lives. We talked a lot and joke around. We also played some Super Smash Bros. on the 3DS and we played some air hockey in the arcade. It felt so nostalgic because back when I used to study at the same school he studies in, we used to talk all the time in our lunch breaks and free periods, allowing for much more alone time. But now, since I’m at ExAlt and no longer at the school, we never have conversations like that anymore. I really treasure that opportunity I had to see him again and hangout just like old times.

Now let’s go to the second hangout, or should I say the date. My girlfriend and I went to Old San Juan and we had a really fun time and it was really cute. First, we went to a natural soap’s shop. Why a soap shop? Well, it’s the same store where my mom buys the soap for our house. Once, my family and I went with my girlfriend and my best female friend to Old San Juan and we visited the store because we were low on soaps and my mom needed to buy more. My girlfriend instantly fell in love with the organic soaps and the varying smells. They also sell some body scrubs that we tried out and it feels amazing the way it removes the dead skin cells on you. After that, we went to a popcorn shop and bought a bag each. She bought cookies and cream popcorn and I bought cinnamon popcorn. We shared it, feeding each other  the popcorn; it was super adorable. After that, we just went walking around and talking next to the ocean with a fresh breeze until her mom came by to pick us up.

For the third activity, I invited a bunch of friends to Plaza Las Américas mall so that they could meet Amaro and Amaro could meet them. Sadly, out of the 9 people that I invited (besides Amaro), only 4 came. Even still, we had a great time and walked around to different places. We went to the Disney store where we were all really happy with all the cute things and I bought an adorable Dumbo pencil case Tsum Tsum that my mom asked me to buy for her. Then we went to Hot Topic where I bought a Harry Potter Ravenclaw shirt for myself (which I just so happen to be wearing right now). We also visited some other stores like Microsoft (where we played Just Dance on a Kinect and made a goof of ourselves) and Spec’s (where we just looked at the merchandise they had). Everyone had fun and liked Amaro and Amaro liked everyone.

Amaro came back!!!

Amaro is an awesome person who used to be at ExAlt with us from September-November 2015. He left to go back to Mexico, where he lives with his mom. This week he came back! It feels relieving to have him back with us. We played Weiqi together and it feels so good to beat him again :,) We played some Minecraft and had so much fun. We’re back to sharing jokes together and hanging out and I’m so glad. It’s absolutely swell to have him back, even if for a few weeks. He’s leaving the Wednesday after spring break and I will miss him dearly.

The North Carolina-ers

The people from MosaicALC visited us at ExAlt and we had an awesome time! We went to Old San Juan, the beach, and Alex’s farm. In Old San Juan, we went to El Morro and stayed there a while, enjoying the wind. Then we went to Poet’s Passage, a store with a lot of frames with poetic words for sale. After that, we went to Señor Paleta, a popsicle store, and I bought an extremely delicious dulce de leche popsicle. At the beach, I put on some music on a speaker. But after a while, Alex wanted to put his own music, so I let him have the speaker. I tried some slackline, but failed miserably. I also had a lot of comversations with a lot of people. At Alex’s farm, we tasted some delicious oranges, we went to the lake and fed some fish, we ate soup and hamburgers (I stuffed myself by eating two hamburgers and a bowl of soup), and we went to a river