Monday, July 31, 2017

Politics in Hip Hop?

Morning came very fast and I woke up feeling a little sluggish from last night. Kendra dropped us off pretty late last night, and I ended up sleeping at around 2 AM because I wanted to do laundry and organize so badly. But it was fine, I started to feel myself waking up as I joked with Esmeralda and Kelsey as we ate breakfast.

8:50 AM came around quickly, and we all met up with Ashley outside of the Ratty. She led us to the Varian Quad, where we found Grace waiting for us. She started off our day with a little bit of card stacking in our groups, which I found weird. I didn’t really understand the meaning of the activity, because each time we tried to stack as much as we could outdoors, it would eventually fall down from the wind. Some people were able to do it, but Grace never said anything about a lesson we needed to learn from it.

The next activity we did was practice using “elevator speech” with a partner. An elevator speech is a message about yourself in a brief amount of time, typically twenty or thirty seconds. We practiced this by changing partners, and then trying it out with multiple partners at once. It was a very relaxed, yet formal experience for me.
This was our scavenger hunt list.
Next stop was the International Students Experience Center, where we stopped to meet Christina Phillips. She is the program director for ISEC and is actually fairly new to the job. I was amazed by how interesting her life story was, I especially wanted to know more about the Japanese host family program she attended in high school. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the opportunity to because many others also wanted to ask her questions. 

We all gathered back at the Varian Quad, and this is where the fun comes in. Grace gave us a sheet of paper with several sections that listed down people, places, and things. We had to go on a scavenger hunt to find them, and take a picture with the following items on the paper as proof. Our class had five rules before we started the game: use the honor system, stay as a group, use one item or person just once, stay hydrated, and have fun!
Kudos to this guy, who was the only one in the library
who could define intersectionality.
The Dancing Dolphins with Mary Grace!
I was with my team, the Dancing Dolphins. We started off with finishing the puzzle that was neglected the tables. When we started to walk around the campus, I found myself struggling to keep up with Tori and Spencer because they walked a lot farther and faster than my little legs did. It sure was the biggest workout I’ve had this whole summer!

I finally got to take it easy after the scavenger hunt finished, and it was just in time for lunch. We had another lunch and learn today, each of us had to ask other people what they thought of when they heard Women and Leadership, and who they thought of too. I tagged along with Kat and Spencer and we each took turns asking questions. I was surprised when I heard several guys mention female Disney characters, such as Mulan, Moana, and Pocahontas. I didn’t expect people to mention anything outside of real life people, their answer felt really refreshing because I was able to imagine young girls looking up to these characters as their role models.

After I ate my fill, I returned to class and prepared for the Power Hour that was scheduled today. We were able to meet with several women with positions of high power and authority. We had to have an elevator speech ready for them, create connections, and overall, “network” with them. I’ve done this several times before, so I’m used to talking easily but formally. I decided to partner up with a classmate named Sarika, because I wanted to see how they would react to her action plan. They were very supportive of her, and by the end of the event, I felt proud of her.

Of course, I talked to the women as well. I was able to gain the contact information of Cindy, Christina, Yolanda, Emily, and Kisa. I’m sure having their contact info accessible to me will help me a lot later in the future.
I wasn't able to speak to all of them, but I could feel the positive energy in the room.
I left class and headed to the workshop called the Politics of Hip Hop and Time Management. I traveled with Johari since she knew where the class was located. Another thing I didn’t know was the fact that the class was so small, there were only six or seven people in that class! Even so, I found myself becoming engaged in the topic. I learned that hip hop was rooted in jazz beats, and it became a heavy catalyst and political influence during the 1950s through 1960s for the Civil Rights Movement. Our mentors dug deep into a song’s meaning by giving us the lyrics to follow along through several songs Beyonce, Tupac, and Kendrick Lamar.
We began the session with this picture, which summarizes the roots of hip hop.
This was Imani's favorite quote.
We switched into Time Management after an hour of the Politics of Hip Hop. Most of the things that were mentioned were things I’ve been trying to do already, but I guess this means I’ll have to try even harder in order to be the most productive I could be.

I came back to the dorms after eating dinner, and decided to work on my Action Plan. I’m very excited by how it’ll turn out, and hopefully my school’s robotics team will like it too.

The Great Hunt!

Today within our groups we were told to do a scavenger hunt, and to find certain things. Ask people what internationality was, find a family visiting brown, and visit some attractions and great places on campus. So right off the bat my group mate and I became very competitive and wanted to finish everything on the list before everyone else. However the other two members of my group weren't competitive and were very relaxed. One of the rules was to stay as a group. Me and my group mate found this challenging since we were literally running to some places and the other two in my group were behind us chatting casually. 
 K.A.T.E. group with the lovely Mary Grace!
There was one point when my group mates even stopped at a nitrate coffee stand. Me and my competitive group mate wanted to move on without them but remembered that we had to stay as a group. So one difficulty we ran into was learning how to make sure everyone is working towards the same goal and having common purpose. I think that we needed to have better communication and explain what each person wanted to accomplish.
Group warm-up

After the time was up, we weren't able to complete every task on the list but we did complete a lot. After the hunt was over it was a time or our lunch and learn. For today's lunch and learn we had to ask strangers what names came to mind when we asked about women in positions of leadership. For the group I asked they said Emma Watson, Miley Cyrus, and Hilary Clinton. This wasn't that much of a surprise to me so then I went over to another group and asked them. I got a better reaction with this group because instead of listing off famous people or celebrities, they listed family members. This response made me happier because I liked how people could think of a leader as just a regular person and not a famous one. It made me feel like being a woman in a position of leadership wasn't uncommon and is easily achievable. 

After discussing our lunch and learn, we decided to network with fourteen amazing women in positions of leadership. The amazing women we met were:

  • Ms. Imani Blake, a leader fellow
  • Ms. Princess Bomba, Director of Unity and Diversity at the Wheeler School
  • Dean Yolanda Castillo-Appollonio, associate Dean of Students and Director of Student Conduct & Community Standards
  • Ms. Yvonne Diabene, Undergraduate Student
  • Ms. Emily Gonzalez, Program Director at College Visions
  • Ms. Ashley Huntington, Leader Felloww
  • Dr. Loren Intolubbe-Chmil,  Executive Director of JWU Global at Johnson & Wales University
  • Ms. Renata Mauriz, Undergraduate Student
  • Ms. Christina Phllips, Prograam Director of the International Student Experience 
  • Dean Yolie Rome, Associate Dean of the College for First-Year and Sophomore Studies
  • Dr. Felicia Salinas-Moniz, Assistant Director of the Sarah Doyle Women's Center
  • Ms. Kathy Tameo, Chief of Staff and Director of the Finance & Administration
  • Ms. Kathy Toro, Program Coordinator of Pre-Professional Advising Center
  • Ms. Cindy Umanzor, Senior Manager for Research & Development at Pro--Change Behavior Systems, Inc
After meeting some of these amazing women and learning about their stories, I couldn't help but feel so inspired and appreciative. They all have such inspiring stories and showed me that you don't have to be president of the united states to be considered a women in a position of leadership. Even if you are just in a position of leadership for something in your community that is still big. I am so proud of these women and can confidently say that they have all become role models for me. I can also say that the women that I am surrounded by in my class are also amazing individuals that inspire me everyday. I have learned so much from them and continue to everyday. This is my last week of this program and I can't help but already start to miss the faces I've gotten so familiar with and have come to love. I am going to try and make the most our this week and cherish every moment of it. 

Stopping for a Drink

Today we meet for class at the Vartan Gregorian Quad.

When we arrived we began by getting into a line by order of birthdays. Next, we were partnered up with the opposite person in line so since I was in December I was partnered up with a Kelsey who was born in January. We began by doing a simple exercise of just answering questions that Mary Grace asked us, most of with Kelsey and I knew about each other.

Next we broke off into our groups and we were given a stack of cards. Using the cards we were tasked with building a card house. Building the base was not very hard; we manage to build the base to be pretty stable. We had a really hard time building up, and one of my team mates overestimated the base and caused it to topple to the floor. Quickly we moved on and rebuilt but ran into the same problem and could not build up.

Our next challenge was a scavenger hunt, which consisted going around to different resources centers on campus and getting photos of some people/families. I worked in my team which is one of the only groups of four, now our team was very split on our attitudes towards the hunt. When it was given to us Mary Grace did not call it a competition or say that we had to complete it. So myself and one of the other members, Thea, did not feel the need to be as competitive as our two other partners. So we took our time exploring the different places on campus and urged our teammates to actually go into the buildings and take pictures of the actual centers rather than outside in front of the doors and exploring what each place had to offer. Now it began to get very hot on the way to one of the buildings, Thea and I felt very thirsty and stopped to get something to drink at a cart to keep from overheating, but my competitive partners did not agree with the small stop. Now we when we stopped they did not convey their feelings so Thea and I did not know how they felt if we had known we would have been more mindful.

After coming back we headed out to lunch, where we had our lunch and learn. Today’s lunch and learn was to ask someone or a group what people came to mind when the words women in power were said. I asked a group of people who responded with a lot of celebrities. When I asked why they choose these they said that it was because they openly acknowledge the fight for women to be equal.

After lunch we had our Power Hour, this is where we have the opportunity to talk to many women in power and have a networking session. We spoke to many women the one who stood out the most to me was Kathy Toro. Ms. Toro is a Program Coordinator of the Pre-Professional Advising Center. Throughout the whole experienced I felt empowered because all of these women had made it and it was a really nice way to get contact information to be able to ask more questions down the road.
Some of the women(Left to Right): Yvonne Diabene, Cidny Umanzor, Emily Gonzalez,  Kathy Tameo,
Dr. Loren Intolubbe-Chmil, Dean Yolie Rome,Dean Yolanda Castillo-Appollonio, Imani Blake
In the front: Ashley Huntington

After class we all headed out to our Symposiums. Kelsey and I both had our symposiums around our Action Plans. We used the time to bounce ideas off of and question each other on possible questions or problems the other would run into. 

I ended the day with Imani for office hours. We ended up doing a face mask while talking about our action plans. As well as a few things I should do before leaving. 

Hunting for Seals

When I say the Women and Leadership course is the most fun here at Brown's Leadership Institute, I mean it. Today was the epitome of that. We went hunting for seals, literally.

Okay it's not what you think. On Friday, Mary Grace told us to wear comfortable clothes and meet her outside in the Vartan Gregorian Quad for Monday. Did I know why? Not really, but that's how my Monday morning began. I woke up at 8 and was at the VG by 9. We started class by debriefing, and then were assigned another team building exercise: building a house of cards. Now this may or may seem all that difficult, but not having an entirely flat surface and a slight breeze made it much more difficult. My group managed to build only 2 layers, but even that took a while. I feel as though with each team building activity we participate in, we, as a class are getting better at working together. Every mistake we make with each activity, we learn from and take it as a learning experience to improve upon  in the next activity.

We then made a quick trip to the International Student Experience Center and learned a bit about what they do and what they have to offer. At the center, which is fairly new, we met Christina Phillips, who is also fairly new to Brown. This center takes care of everything and anything related to studying abroad. Christina herself lived in Japan for a few years, and also chose to study abroad there as well. We only stayed there for about 10 minutes, and made our way back to the VB.

Now came the real challenge: a scavenger hunt. Mary Grace split us up into our small groups (mine being team California), and handed us each a list of the items we  needed to complete before. We took one look at the list and realized that this was definitely going to be a bit of a workout. This past week has required so much walking, I'm expecting to have incredibly toned legs by the end of this program.

Our first task what to ask someone who knew what "intersectionality" meant. We knew just the place to go: the Sarah Doyle Women's center. There we killed three birds with one stone. We managed to get a picture of the Women's Center, a picture with a Brown employee, as well as get an answer to our question. From there we went all over campus, which I typically would not mind, except it was becoming increasingly hot. I do not handle heat well, and running around in it? Definitely not a fan. We were able to check off everything on our list, except finding the Pembroke Seal, so I guess you could there was no dinner on the table tonight.
One of the items during the
scavenger hunt

After our time was up (1 hour), we met back at the VB. We were assigned our lunch and learn, and were then excused for lunch. During our second half of class, we were supposed to be having a Power Hour networking session with multiple deans, directors, and officers of Brown. I was sweating buckets after the scavenger hunt, and so I knew I had to clean myself up. I walked backed to the dorm, freshened up a bit, changed, and then made my way back to the Ratty to grab some lunch.

I surprisingly ate lunch quickly, and still had 30 minutes to spare. I decided to sit in the Main Green on the grass with my friends Gracia and Hyein for a bit. Just sitting there on such a lovely day was really relaxing. It was so peaceful, and all you could really hear was the cars passing by and the leaves swaying in the wind, it made me want to take a nap (what a surprise).

I went to class at around 12:50, to find out that I was the only one there. I took it as an opportunity to review the list of people I would be meeting with today, and the list was impressive. While we waited for our guests to arrive, our class played a game of Ninja, in which you must use your hands to hit the person's next to you's hand in order to get them out. The games our TA's plan for us are always fun, and this was nothing less.
The Main Green

Our guests finally arrived and the excitement in the room grew. The ladies introduced themselves, and they all seemed like such kind genuine women. After introductions, we got straight to talking and had only 15 minutes to do so. I tried to snake my way to all the people, but of course, some conversations  lasted longer than others so I only got to about 5. I spoke with Kisa Takesue, who is the director of the Leadership Institute here at Brown, Olivia Mcneill, who is a coordinator/counselor at the Brown Center for Students of Color, Yolanda Rome, who is an Associate Dean for incoming students, Kathy Toro, who is a program coordinator for pre-professionall advising, and Dr. Loren Intolubbe-Chmil, who is the Executive Director of JWU Global and Johnson and Wales University. All of these women were absolutely incredible and I had a wonderful time speaking with each and every one of them. Just speaking with them, you could sense their strength and power. Speaking with them made success seem more attainable than before. These women were confidently able to say that they loved their jobs, and there really aren't many people in the world who can say that while being truthful.

At the end of the hour, we all gathered around the class and were told to say one word about how we felt from the past hour. The most common word used was "empowered". It ties in with one of my favorite quotes, "Empowered women empower women." There was so much positive energy in the room, one could truly feel these women wanted to see one another succeed and that is something so valuable, it was wonderful.

After the session was over, Mary Grace excused us and said we were free to go if we liked. Before heading out, I spoke with her about my Action Plan and now have a solid plan ready to put into essay form. I intend on creating a type of mentor mentee program within De Anza High School, which is where I currently will become a rising junior. I would create this as a way to reach out to the children in elementary and middle schools to provide them with the support they need to thrive. I still have quite a bit of work to do on it, but I have high hopes.
Rockefeller Library

After class, I went to my assigned symposium: action plan working. This essentially was a study hall for working  on our action plans, and I was actually able to get quite a lot done. No one was allowed to talk, which was really nice since I get distracted very easily. After the symposium, I went to the library to get some work done, and the view was simply gorgeous. It made me want to get into drawing again. I hate to keep reminding myself of it, but I truly am going to miss Providence and the Leadership Institute especially. I don't say I love things often, but I love it  here.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Block Island more like Blocked this Island

This day we went touring in Block Island, which is an island south of Rhode Island. We took a ferry at 11 AM, and it was expected to be a 40 minute trip until we get there. I found a striking similarity between this ferry trip and the one I had the previous year in the Philippines, it was was a refreshing return to the past. I’ve always loved boat rides, and I have a habit of falling asleep in those rides too. It made the trip a lot quicker, and it almost felt like a blink of an eye.
This was the dock as we left.
When we arrived there, the heat felt unbearable even when I was wearing shorts and a tank top. The first thing we decided to do was eat, it was very difficult to find a menu that everyone was satisfied with- since the prices were high due to seafood and the choices were sparse. We eventually agreed on eating at Rebecca’s Seafood Take-Out.

Afterwards, we all agreed on Kelsey’s idea of going to the lighthouse that was half an hour away. I didn’t have anything against it, so we all agreed on sticking together instead of splitting up and going to the beach. There were many areas full of flowers, lakes, and brightly colored houses- looking back at it now, I should’ve suggested all of us to take pictures around the area but we were too busy walking to our destination.

Halfway through our walk, a guy with a bike drove up to Esmeralda and I and creeped us out. He said, “You two should hold hands, it would be safer”. We were both very shocked and heated by the weird comment he made, but he doesn’t stop there. He drives up to Zunarah and Kelsey, and tries to make a dangerous stunt right in front of them. They were a bit farther away from us, since the Esmeralda and I were struggling to keep up with our sandals.

This first encounter led to a chain of multiple ones across the trail, and each one left us more and more creeped out by him. I suggested we call the police but we were almost there so they dismissed it. We tricked him turning the other way as we walked, which led to him driving down the hill opposite to where we were going.

There was another encounter we had, but I think it was a different person. Kelsey- bless her heart- tried to lighten up the mood by playing a game where we would take turns forming a sentence by shouting out words. During one of these games, a guy from the bushes shouted at us in Spanish, we all ran as fast as we could to the nearest tourist site.

We were able to identify his presence through the sound of dangling keys (we checked if any one of us had keys, but we didn’t). The only time the sound completely stopped was after we came out of the cliff’s edge of the tourist sight and found a police car coming our way. It turns out that someone, or some people, reported a similar incident around the area before and they were there to investigate.
This was the cliff's edge we came to.
After a little bit, the four of us were picked up by a taxi Esmeralda called and dropped us off at the line of souvenir shops we started at. It took a while for us to recover, but Zunarah, Kelsey, and Esmeralda ended up spending time at the beach in order to destress. I decided to go with Kendra and look around the stores since I found the beach had too much loud music and weird smells.
I watched a little kid work on his sand sculpture before I left a few minutes after.
We didn’t do much after that, we ended the day going to the ferry and it took about two hours for Kendra to go past the traffic and drop us all off. The highlight of my day was probably dinner, since I was able to eat a tasty cheeseburger wrap right before we went into traffic.

This experience was definitely unsettling and unpleasant for all of us, I hope we will be able to avoid any other situations like this during the last few days in Providence.

What Island?

Today was Sunday, which can only mean one thing--tomorrow is Monday!!  Today was just like yesterday, except a bit more relaxed and laid back. The group and I made our way to Block Island today. My high expectations of a peaceful beach had been stifled when I saw a tourist packed island. 

We caught the 11 a.m. ferry over n Narragansett, which was already a 40 minute drive. Lately no matter where I am or where I'm going, if I am in a  moving vehicle, I fall asleep within 5 minutes. It's actually nice being able to take mini naps throughout the day. Continuing on that pattern, I fell  asleep for portions of the car ride and on the swaying ferry when I could see nothing but ocean.
We sleep a lot

The ride itself was incredibly relaxing though. The view was gorgeous, the breeze was wonderful, and there was just enough warmth to call it perfect. It was actually my first time ever being on a ferry, so I wasn't sure whether or not I would become sea sick, but luckily enough the boat ride just made me feel sleepy and nothing else.

The ferry docked at around 1:30, and we decided to grab a bite to eat before we start exploring since we were all hungry. We asked the visitors' center where they would recommend to eat, and they directed us to this little place called Rebecca's. The food was definitely not the best I've had so far on the trip, but it had something for everyone to eat.
I liked this picture

Once we finished eating, we planned an excursion to the bluffs, which was about a 30 minute walk away. As we were walking, I couldn't help but feel like I was in A Little House on the Prairie. All the houses resembled one another, giving off a beachy feel. Nonetheless, the walk was peaceful, and not to mention--beautiful. There was so much more greenery there than we have in California during the summer time, where the term 'Golden State' definitely comes into play.  

Once we reached the bluffs, we took in the view, as well as a few photographs. Rather than walking the distance back to the town, we called a cab. Our cab driver was a man named Lesly who has lived on the island his entire life. It was interesting to think someone can spend all of their time on such a tiny island.

We grabbed some snacks when we came back  to town and decided to visit the gift shops. There was honestly nothing unique or eye catching, and everything was ridiculously over priced. It was still nice to walk around though.
A lake we found during our hike

Our main incentive for coming to Block Island was to spend some time on the beach, and so that's what we did. Esmeralda, Kelsey, and I chilled on the beach for about an hour or so, while Bianche went back to the town with Kendra. Sitting on the beach, in the warm sand felt so nice after feeling so exhausted. It may have been overcrowded, but  I tried my best to make the best of things. 

We then caught the 6:10 ferry, which would be about an hour or so. My attempt was to stay awake and get some work done; however as the ferry rocked back and forth, it was nearly impossible to keep my eyes open, and so we all decided to take a nap while we could. (I slept on the car ride back too, but there is nothing wrong with that). Once we docked, we got dinner from a place called Gansett Wraps, which was surprisingly delicious. They had a sign on the door saying "No shoes, no shirt, no service" and I thought that was interesting.

The car ride back home ended up being much longer than expected since there was quite a bit of traffic on the freeway. The stop go motion once again made me fall asleep and when I woke up, we were miraculously in Providence.

Block Island

Today's adventure took us to Block Island.

We began the adventure with a ferry ride to the island. This was my first ever ferry ride. In total the ride took about an hour. It was beautiful to see the waves and the outlines of the buildings.

Once we made it to land we grabbed a quick bite and a local place called Rebecca's. It was a nice small place with a large variety that had something for everyone. Once we finished our meal the girls and I began our journey to the bluffs.

On the way up we ran into two problems. During the first half of a trial a bicyclist tried to talk to us. He continued to follow us. We made a group decisions to head back down since he was going up. Once we turned around he also turned and went back down, so at that point we continued our journey up. During the last stretch we heard a voice from the other side of the bushes. The unknown person was speaking Spanish, but was not saying anything threatening. As we continued to walk the girls heard keys following our trail from the other side of the bush. That is when we began running to the bluffs where we know more people would be. Once we reached them we called for a taxi ride. While waiting for the taxi the police arrived and we described what happened.

After being driven down by the taxi we sat for a few moments to compose ourselves.

After rearranging our plans to leave on an earlier ferry we headed out to the beach. Kelsey and I began by getting used to the temperature on the calm side. After we didn't feel cold we headed to the other side with contained waves. We had so much fun jumping and swimming in the waves. It felt like a rollercoaster.

After the beach it was time to leave, hopping on the ferry we began our journey to the mainland. My fellow ILCers took advantage of the hour for a quick nap.

Island Bluffs

Me and Esmerelda got up super early this morning since we thought we were meeting up with Kendra at her hotel. Instead I later learned she was picking us up at our dorms. I was a little irritated with myself since I wanted to sleep in so badly.

Today we were taking the ferry to Block island. I navigated the way there while everyone else slept in the car. Ever since this trip started I have become a great navigator, before I was used to letting someone else do the navigating but now that I have been up to the task I’ve really improved my skill.

Once we arrived at the port we boarded the ferry. We got good seats on top looking out at the water. The movement of the boat makes some people sick but it's really relaxing for me. I could sleep so well to it. It's like sitting in a rocking chair for me or like a cradle. The water was a deep blue color with calm waves, and sea gulls flew above our heads. There was a slight breeze blowing against my skin, which felt like a caress on the check, the ride was so relaxing it felt like I went to the spa. On the way there I sang Beatles songs and talked to Kendra about various topics. It was such a beautiful day! The sun was out and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. 

It was great to be out on the water again. I honestly don’t think I could live too far in land. I need there to be water around or near me. That’s why I love the coast so much. I can visit the great big ocean whenever I want. 

Block Island is located off the coast of Rhode Island. The island was named after the Dutch explorer “Adriaen Block”. It is in the Atlantic Ocean and 13 miles south Rhode Island.

Once we docked at the island we decided to grab lunch at Rebecca's, I got monster veggie wrap. It was pretty good. We decided to walk to the Mohegan Bluffs. The Mohegan Bluffs are huge clay cliffs about 150 feet high, sited on the southern shore of Block Island. They got their title from the battle of the Niantic and the Mohegan. The battle was over control of the island, and the interfering Mohegans were forced over the bluffs to their death by the native Niantic.

On the way, up to the bluffs it was extremely hot and I was sweating bullets. However, the scenery was absolutely breath taking so I couldn’t complain.
Then we went to the beach, I went into the water with Esmerelda since we were the only ones who knew how to swim. We first went into a calm part to just get used to the freezing temperatures. It was really cold but with a bit of determination we were able to get in quickly. I taught her how to duck and dive into a wave so that you won't be taken away or slammed onto the ground. It was really fun jumping on the waves despite the stinging salt in our eyes.

We swam at the beach until it was time to go back on the ferry. Once we were back on the ferry thee swaying of the boat and peaceful waves got to me and I ended up falling asleep on the ferry. I almost fell forward a few times when I was falling asleep. Eventually I found something to lean on and got a little shut eye. 

Seeing this island was really interesting and fun. I am so glad that I was able to visit such a beautiful place.

Monkey Fights and Lobster Rolls

Every time I would bring up my trip to Brown, every one would mention how hot it would be, and I'm slowly starting to realize that they were wrong. The weather here the past few days has felt just like home: cold. Don't get me wrong, I love the cold, but it's not what I packed for.

Nonetheless, today was an amazing day. We met up with Kendra at around 11 a.m. to take the bus to the Roger Williams Zoo. I had sworn off zoos a long time ago, but this time I was actually a bit excited. After about 10-15 minutes, our bus arrived, and I wondered why the AC Transits back home couldn't be that nice. The bus itself had a very nice, old fashioned feel to it which I adore.

Within 20 minutes we had arrived at the park. We purchases our tickets and then made our way over to the African wildlife exhibit. While finding the exhibit, we stumbled upon the children's physics area, where we played with xylophones, this turning window pane, as well as a few others. 

The first animals we saw were Wildebeests, which were unstrategically placed by the cheetahs and elephants. We continued strolling around for about half an hour, and seeing animals like cheetahs, boars, birds, and my favorite--the elephants. I may or may not have gotten emotional seeing the living conditions of the poor babies. They deserve to be happy just as much as we do. 

We took a  quick lunch break, (burgers, fries, hot dogs, and typical park foods, and then moved onto the rest of the zoo; however while we were eating I took a quick look at the map and soon learned that they actually have a petting zoo!! I knew if I visited there, all my troubles would melt away. So we walked around the Asian exhibit, as well as the wetland exhibit, which were both filled with adorable animals. My favorite was definitely the lethargic red panda that could hardly keep its eyes open, and a pair energetic of monkeys that loved to play around. 
Sleepy baby

My absolute favorite however, was the petting zoo. I have loved farm animals my entire life, and nothing makes me happier than being surrounded by them.  When you reach that part of the zoo, they have a station where you can purchase animal feed and feed it to the animals. You can then walk in or choose to stay outside the fence. I, of course, chose to go inside. I am not exaggerating when I say I was ecstatic. I was surrounded by a bunch of goats and sheep, which if you did not know, were my favorite animal. Sheep are so gentle and kind, while goats are much more playful and energetic, but both equally precious. 
The love of my life

That being the last part of the zoo, we made our way back to the bus stop. The weather had finally warmed up, so walking around felt quite nice now. The bus ride back was much more quiet than on the way there, since we were all tired from all the walking. Luckily, our transfer tickets expired at 6 pm, and our connecting bus from downtown to the dorm was around 5:50. 

I came back to the dorm, and still had some energy to burn. You know when you pack and you keep thinking you're forgetting something and then shrug it off and realize it probably isn't important anyway? Well for me that something was a belt, and so I decided to make another trip to the mall. I ate some food at the Ratty before walking to the mall. I may have mentioned this is the previous blog, but my go to snack lately has been oranges. I stuff my bag with at least two from the Ratty everyday so I have something healthy to munch on, so I did that as well. I could have called an Uber to take me to the mall, but my friends Helen and Hyein just finished eating at the Ratty as well, and the weather was gorgeous, so we decided to make the half hour walk.

Helen was supposed to meet up with her family from Boston at the mall today so that they could give her a few things. By train, Boston is only about 30 minutes. Unlike California, which is 6 hours by plane. Once Helen's family arrived, she introduced us to them and they were all incredibly sweet. Hyein and I decided to let them spend some time together, and so we split. I managed to easily find a belt, and then I helped Hyein find shoes for her action plan.

We exited to the mall, and to our very right was the Rhode Island State House. The sun was setting, and the marble building looked absolutely gorgeous in the last few rays of sunlight. I wasn't sure if I would have time to make another trip to take pictures, and so that's what we did. I have had many beautiful moments here at Brown, but this one definitely tops the list.
Simply bresthtaking

Ever since Hyein and I arrived at Brown, neither of us had gotten anything to eat out, no pizza, no Insomnia Cookies, no nothing. We knew we wouldn't be able to eat out during the week either. Even before getting accepted into the program, there was one thing I wanted to do if I had gotten into Brown: eat a lobster roll. I managed to find a place about 2-3 blocks away called Hemenway's. We entered, and the aroma of the food struck us immediately, making us even more hungry than we already were. We got seated, ordered our lobster rolls, and let the wait begin. We received our within 10-15 minutes, and I am not exaggerating when I say that that was some of the juciest, most succulent lobster I had ever eaten. I was definitely satisfied, and so was Hyein.

We chose to walk back to the dorm to aid our digestion. The summer night air felt so different than it did back home, but at the same time it made me feel a bit nostalgic. I would always go on walks with my mom at night when I was younger, and that's what it reminded me of. We reached the dorm in about 15 minutes, and I knew I wanted to sleep. I got ready for bed, expecting myself to fall asleep the moment my head hit the pillow; but for some reason I was't able to sleep. Regardless, I still had an amazing day and am incredibly appreciative for those who made my day for what it was, even you Don. 

Hyein and I 

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Whew, What a Zoo!

Today we all traveled to the Roger Williams Park Zoo, which was a very sudden but exciting change from the Newport Mansions. The Roger Williams Park is a historical site, it's one of the oldest zoos in the country. Kelsey, Zunarah, Esmeralda, and I met up with Kendra in the Biltmore hotel, and even though we were on time, Kendra ended up being late by more than half an hour because she had to get breakfast. Afterwards, she gave us tickets to the shuttle that was located across the street. In about twelve minutes, our shuttle arrived to take us to our destination.
I liked how my outfit also matched the shuttle seat colors.
 We got there, we arrived about half an hour later. I would have been more excited, but it was freezing cold and I only had a thin jacket throughout the whole tour. I struggled keeping body warmth when we walked around, I ended up having to stay indoors to keep warm.

After a few minutes of discussion in the bathroom, we decided to go through the zoo by following the trail that went in a circle. We started on the route of Africa, the first thing we saw was the bison area then the cheetah enclosure. Zunarah pointed out how the cheetahs were attracted by the bison, and it was really cruel that their cages were right next to each other.

Afterwards, we visited the play area and treehouses that were at the end of the Africa route. The play structure was very unique, especially with the tree houses in the zoo. The tree houses had several mechanisms that I usually don’t see in amusement parks and historical sites. For example, there was a machine controlled by four wheels which controls the leaf painted glass and makes them go in circles.
I always thought red pandas were bigger.

The next place we went through was the Asia route, which had several animals that I remembered from the Kung Fu Panda movies. Most of the animals- such as the crane, rattlesnakes, red pandas, and moon bears- were species I've never scene before. I was excited to see and interact with them.

Zunarah and I both had a favorite animal we were looking for. While I became jittery and excited to see the snakes in the zoo, Zunarah also had a passion for goats and similar species with it. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to hold any of the snakes there because they were venomous. But I'm glad Zunarah was able to interact and touch the goats there.
This rattlesnake kept on looking at me, I was surprised.
It was nice seeing snakes after a long time, I really love them.
The rest of the day was spent preparing my Action Plan, which is definitely robotics and engineering based. I've talked to several of my classmates and they were willing to discuss the project with me. I was glad to have such hard working friends, even though we came from different backgrounds all over the world.

Rodger Williams Zoo!

This Saturday, the Ivy League Connection Brown Cohort was venturing to the Rodger Williams Park Zoo. To make sure we got their early I woke up with Esmeralda and got ready. Accidentally forgot so many things and had to keep coming up three flights of stairs to grab something. Finally we were on our way to the ratty to grab something to eat before heading out. I was really excited about going to the zoo since at home I love to visit the San Francisco Zoo and Oakland Zoo for fun. Learning about wildlife has always been a passion of mine ever since I was little. In fact, my favorite television channel growing up was Animal Planet
Main entrance.
Midway into our meal we had to call Bianche and Zunarah because they were still sleeping. Thankfully though they were still able to wake up early enough to not be late. We packed them some fruit to-go and began to walk to Kendra's hotel to meet up with her.

Later we got onto the trolley and headed to the zoo. I looked at all of the cool buildings out the window. Some reminded me of home and some looked like something out of a movie. The trolley was actually a bus, but it was disguised at a trolley and made me think of the San Francisco ones. 

Before arriving at the Zoo, I was reading the pamphlet about it. I learned that the zoo was founded in 1872. I also learned that the Zoo covers about 40 acres of land. At the zoo I was really excited. I grabbed a map and went into the first enclosure. This happened to be one with wildebeest, and some type of ox or cow. The wildebeest were energetic and were running around their enclosure. 

The enclosure right next to the that was a cheetah exhibit where all of the cheetahs were at one corner looking at the wildebeest run around. I observed the behaviors of these big cats and noticed that they shared similar behaviors to my cats! Such as shaking their tail impatiently or grooming each other. Did you know that the cheetah is also the only big cat that purrs just like a hour cat. The cheetah is also the fastest land animal on earth, reaching up to speeds of 70 mph!

After admiring the cheetahs we headed over to my favorite enclosure! The red river hog enclosure. I thought that these wild hogs were extremely cute and playful. They were a rusty red/orange color and had a white strip going down their back. These hogs also originate from central sub-Saharan Africa to northern South Asia. Their diet mainly consists of fruit, tubers, roots, small mammals, small reptiles, eggs, birds, and insects. These hogs also use their long and shovel like snout to dig in the ground for roots and tubers. I loved their long ears and cute face. 
To the right of that exhibit was the elephant enclosure, the graceful giants. Since we were there early most of the animals were active and getting breakfast. The elephant was eating hay hanging from a bag being held up by a rope. Elephants are such beautiful and amazing creatures, they are also extremely smart and have amazing memories. Elephants can recognize themselves in a mirror which only a few other species can do. They are also one of the few that are known to use tools. Elephants use tree branches to swat flies away or scratch themselves. Aside from being intelligent creatures, elephants are also capable of feeling remorse when a family member dies or if they see an animal carcass. 
Later we went to an exhibit where we saw a bald eagle who had an injured wing. We later learned that this eagle was rescued by the zoo and kept here due to the severity of the injury. A very interesting fact about bald eagles are that they stay with one mate for the rest of their life. Another interesting fact about eagles is that they actually return to the nest where they were born to breed. 
Next we saw one of natures most adorable creatures, the red panda! It was dozing away on its tree house and watching the world go by. Usually the mammal is awake during the day but is a very lethargic creature. Despite being called the red panda and looking like a raccoon it actually doesn't belong to either family, instead it it categorized into its own specific category. The red panda is native to southwestern Asia. 
I was able to see one of my favorite animals. The snow leopard! The snow leopard originates from central and South Asia. This creature is actually very vulnerable to becoming extinct which makes me very sad since they are such magnificent creatures. They have such an intense gaze and look so mysterious. The snow leopard is actually a solitary creature, except for when mating and when females raise cubs. While watching it I couldn't help but admire its beauty for several minutes before moving on.

Before leaving the zoo we stopped by Zunarah's favorite part, the petting zoo. Apparently Zunarah's favorite animals are actually goats, so this was very fun for her. I tried to buy food to feed the goats but the machine just ate my 50 cents and spit out one mere pellet. All around the petting zoo they were head butting and trying to eat my back pack! I realized at that moment that I wouldn't be able to take care of a goat since they are so troublesome! 

Visiting the zoo today was extremely fun, and I learned so much about animals that I didn't know. I am so glad that I was able to see them today and appreciate them. I also learned how important it is that we take care of our environment since it has a direct impact of these amazing creatures.