Monday, February 15, 2010

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

Tonight I was motivated, and I decided to make a chicken casserole. The last time I tried to make something from scratch was when I tried to make my very own loaf of bread. The bread never rose and was most definitely a failure experience. My confidence that I could make something from scratch that required more than 3 steps was extremely low. Even though I did not have any confidence in my chéf skills, I decided to try and make something a little more substantial tonight. As a graduate student all I ever eat is pizza, pasta, PB&J, tacos, or the occasional restaurant meal. Tonight, I decided to fix up a chicken casserole and as you can see from the photo it came out great. I was quiet proud that I actually made a meal from scratch and so I decided to make a post about my success experience. Anyways, thanks for the viewing and if you have any suggestions for meals I should try and make please let me know! Hopefully I can broaden my horizons in the cooking world.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Mi Vacación en Mexico

Mi viaje empiecé en la ciudad de Mexico. Primero nosotros fuimos a nos hotel que es muy cerca del aeropuerto. While we were waiting to check into our hotel room this unaccompanied blonde girl asked me, “Tu eres un architecto?” Laughing I replied in English, “No, actually I am a psychology student and these are posters of my research findings that I am going to present.” We conversed off and on while we both completed the check in process. Afterwards I assumed we would go our separate ways, but I forgot that my father was right next to me. My evaluation of what would happen next did not include the possibility of my father engaging los dos and inviting both of us for a drink. Mi padre siempre encourages interactions with members of the opposite sex. Even though I often am embarrassed when my dad does this, it didn’t really bother me because she appeared interesting. Her name is Lone (Lõna) and she was here from Arhus, Denmark, so she could work in a shelter (Casa Alianza), helping the kids of a not so nice section of la ciudad de Mexico. We talked for several hours and then went our separate ways and before I knew it I was on a flight to Acapulco at 8:30 in the morning. As soon as we arrived to Acapulco we first headed to the conference was, and were injected into the neurolopsychological mindset. Attending several early conference symposiums I was enjoying the material but for some reason was not ready for the intellectual world of neuropsychology. I managed to roam around the compound asking people where I could find a surfboard to rent. I met and befriended one of the hotels salvadidas (life guards) named Oscar. We negotiated, and then oddly enough I ended riding a brand new JS, which happened to be one Andy Irons’s (3x surfing world champion) old boards. The next day my father and I wanted to surf, so we rented some boards from a local named Victor. We surfed fun 5-6+ waves until we couldn’t surf anymore. After surfing we attended the conference for the remainder of the day. On Thursday we woke up with rain, strong winds, and blown out surf. I presented both of my posters this morning at 9:30, and then I attended different symposiums with my dad and studied for my upcoming neuropsychology test. Meanwhile throughout these last couple days Lone and I had been corresponding back and forth through emails entertaining the possibility of her coming to Acapulco. Internet was difficult to come by and my cell reception was spotty at best. Long story short she ended coming to see what Acapulco was all about and met up with us on Friday morning. On Friday, Lone and I talked, swam, chilled, and enjoyed each others company. When the night came we went to an all-inclusive UCLA neuropsych. party. After the party we then went to see the clavadistas (cliff divers; sweet video if you want to check it out; which was an incredible sight. After watching these young men propel themselves from unbelievable heights we headed back to our hotel to get some rest. Before bed Lone and I hung out on the roof of La Orquidea and chatted about many different things. When morning came my dad, Lone, and I headed down to beach. Lone stayed on the beach, while my dad and I surfed very fun 5-6 ft waves. Sadly enough after our session it was time for us to head to the airport for our flight to Mexico city. Although the surfing was fun and the conference was stimulating and productive, the most enjoyable experience for myself in Mexico was meeting Lone. Everything about Lone’s upbringing was extremely different from mine, from the type of government, schooling, location, language, and culture most everything was different. Lone and I connected like none other, but this is not insinuate that we are destined to be together but rather my interaction with Lone made me realize how more there is to any given person than meets the eye. Before this trip, I would never anticipate I would be so interested and connect so well with a girl from a northern European country. Meeting Lone solidified many different things for myself and not only was it extremely fun, but was very insightful to many different aspects of my life. She was a very special person and made my trip to Mexico very enjoyable.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

El Vuelo a Mexico

Currently I am onboard an overly crowded Delta flight to Mexico City. On my left I have my dad, Tony Puente, who is sleeping like a baby who just drank an entire bottle of milk. On my right is a random stranger who is using my shoulder as a pillow. I bet that at this very moment you are probably wondering if I am going to tap him or wiggle my shoulder to wake him. For some reason I am choosing to do neither, but rather let this random stranger rest peacefully. Maybe that’s strange and if fact it is a little weird to me too, but selflessness goes unforeseeable distances. Either way you look at it, he will wake up sooner than later and it’s not that bothersome. On a different note it is incredible how far technology in our lifetime, from smart phones, to onboard wifi technology has become ubiquitous in our society. Unfortunately sometimes technology crashes. For example, my and several others’ TVs are not working. I believe that it is human nature to forget life pre-technology; as many of the customers around are complaining that it is unacceptable that there TV is not working and demanding for it to fixed. I abhor such self-centered thinking. Even more intriguing is that all of these individuals are all middle-aged adults. Why is it that once something such as on-board TVs or smart phones becomes prevalent that we automatically assume that they should always work (eg., My iphone is so terrible!) and anything less is unacceptable. Taking a big step back, and evaluating the foolishness of these statements/beliefs is often beneficial. All right enough with my soap box, but if I am describing you, maybe you try and remember when never had cell phones or personalized TVs on planes. If that is not easy then maybe you could consider how life is from a different lens. For example, think about how your life would be if you lived in Port tu prince. Maybe evaluating your life from another’s eyes will strike insight into remembering how privileged we are as citizens of free and prosperous country. Perspective can be a humbling experience and I invite you and I to entertain this point of view to improve your and others lives. By the way if you’re wondering my neighbor has awoke and currently has an embarrassed look on his face, presumably because he just realized he was sleeping peacefully on a random stranger (me). I am not suggesting that we Americans are selfish, but instead that often we lose perspective on what is important and necessary for a fruitful and enjoyable life. And by the way I just got free onboard wifi!!!