California

Three-day California adventure- Six Flags and Burbank

My girlfriend Stacey and I took a trip to California on Tuesday to visit my family, go to Six Flags and see our friend Rob.

On Wednesday, Stacey I spent the morning and afternoon at Six Flags Magic Mountain. We were the 129th car to arrive to park(according to the man that scanned our parking pass at the entrance.)

We managed to get on a handful of rides including Scream, Colossus, Batman, Ninja, Viper, and Roaring Rapids. This season, they even reversed the direction of Batman and Colossus to make them go backwards!  Both rides were tenfold more fun because you’re blind to upcoming curves and loops on the ride.

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After enough coasters, we left the park and headed to Burbank to see our close friend Rob who recently moved out to California to pursue his dream of becoming an actor. We visited his apartment then ate at Islands, the restaurant where he works, the same one that my girlfriend works at in Phoenix.

In the middle of our meal, our server came up to us and said,

“The man sitting over there[at a bar stool nearby] asked me to hand these to you after he left.”

Then he handed us these.

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rob scerbo, joe previte, stacey fawthorp, islands, burbank

He had been looking at us while we were eating but none of us thought much of it till now. It was the coolest thing ever! Rob told us there are tons of artists and actors out here trying to make it big so it was kind of normal to him.

Afterwards, he and his girlfriend showed us Nickelodeon Studios and Disney Studios, which were both located less than 5 minutes from his apartment. If you look closely, you can see the Mickey Mouse ears on the fence that surround Disney. Rob said it’s inspiring for him to be so close to these places because it makes his dream feel more attainable.


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Yesterday, we spent the day at the beach then headed home in the afternoon. All in all, it was a wonderful trip 🙂 If you ever get the chance, visit Six Flags! It’s less expensive than the other parks and well-worth the fun.

A garden in southern California dedicated to unifying and educating the community

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“The purpose of the Garden is to produce vegetables and flowers for our families, to learn and teach garden methods and sustainable practices, to bring our community together and to create a project in which our community as a whole can participate.”

 

That’s the starting line of the mission statement of the South Laguna Community Garden Park. I stumbled upon this beautiful garden by accident while visiting my family in southern California. My family already knew about it but when I saw it and later researched it, I felt so fascinated by the idea of a a community project like this that I wanted to share it.

The community garden consists of 55 planting beds and is open to the public from sunrise to sunset. One of the goals of this community project is to “educate and involve youth and the wider community in gardening and sustainability issues.” I agree that we, the youth, should be educated more in gardening and sustainability because we don’t learn much in school.

My favorite part of this project is the fact that the owner graciously allows the community to use his land as a garden at no charge.  I love the fact that this is a piece of land in the city where you can garden right next to others in your community. It is a wonderful way to “unify [the] community, foster fellowship and create a sense of camaraderie and helpfulness among neighbors.”

The garden is on the corner of Eagle Rock and Virginia Way. It’s next door to an amazing tacho shop called Papa’s Tacos. I definitely recommend experiencing the garden yourself and enjoying fish tacos at a picnic table in the garden.

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Source: http://goo.gl/PSPg0b

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An unexpected conversation on the light rail home

Yesterday, the coolest thing happened on the light rail on my way home from SoMa, the area where I work.

I hopped onto the light rail near AT&T Park and sat down next to the window facing one way, while the train took off the other way. I opened my book The Lean Startup by Eric Ries and divided into the world of lean startup production. As my journey in the book continued, more people filled the train at each stop.

Before the second or third stop before my stop, a young man around his early twenties boarded the light rail and ended up next to a lady who was reading a magazine in front of me.

“Hey, so what are you reading?” He said in a half-joking manner and then laughed to himself. I couldn’t keep in my chuckle because she didn’t reply and nobody ever talks to one another on the light rail. I think people think it’s weird or awkward.

He noticed my chuckle and then decided to say, “So what are you reading then?” I didn’t even think twice and immediately started talking to him about The Lean Startup and the travel website that I’m working on with two friends.

He actually seemed interested and even gave me a few suggestions, which I may end up using. I couldn’t help but notice at least four people listening to our conversation-not because it was particularly interesting to them but because we, two strangers, we’re having as semi-in-depth conversation and that wasn’t “normal.” It amazed me because I felt like he was breaking a mini social norm.

We were still talking when the light rail arrived at my stop and unfortunately, I had to get off.

“My name’s Joe by the way.”

“Jake. Nice to meet you, Joe.”

We shook hands and I hopped off the train. I couldn’t believe what had just happened.

You’re probably thinking, “It’s really not that big of a deal. There are always random strangers who will strike up a conversation with you.” And you’re right! It wasn’t the first time ever but it was the first time on the light rail in San Francisco.

I’m not 100% sure why I felt so moved after it happened but I still think it was the coolest thing ever. I wanted to share it with you guys because of how it made me felt! It also made me realize, “Hey. Why am I not that guy who starts random conversations?”

I think most of us are scared. I know I am. But I want to at least try and change that. I’m not saying everyday I’m going to try and start a conversation with a stranger but I’m going to take advantage of more opportunities like that guy Jake did. He made me laugh and he saw me reading-a puurfect opportunity to start a conversation. You should try it to- at least once. See what happens and let me know! When I try it, I’ll share with you what happens.

Have you ever been approached or talked to by a stranger that made you feel positive afterwards? Feel free to comment below! I’d love to hear about any similar experiences 🙂

P.S- If you’re from AZ, please “like” this page for David Garcia’s campaign for Superintendent of Public Instruction: https://www.facebook.com/pages/dg4az/492602880810729

Differences in San Francisco

Before I start this post, let me apologize because I’m a day late! I simply forgot that yesterday was Wednesday because Monday was memorial day and I mixed up my days of the week-oops!

As of today, I’ve been living here in San Francisco for 13 days and I’ve started to notice a few things that are different compared to living in Phoenix and here there are:

Public Transit

Since San Francisco is a city where everything is close together and the public transportation system is well organized, it’s easy to get from one place in the city to another place in the city. I take the light rail(Muni) every day to work and I love it! It’s so much better than driving to places like I have to in Phoenix. The other cool thing is that I can read on my transit to work! I read Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh last week and this week I’m reading Learn Startup by Eric Ries because about a 40 minute commute to-and-from work. I’ve used the public transportation in Phoenix but the buses do not come as often as the light rail does in San Francisco(which makes sense) which is why I don’t use it.

Public Chairs?

I thought this was a little strange and maybe it’s only near the neighborhood I live in but there are chairs that are meant for the public. They look like this-chair in the street of San Francisco

I think they’re more there to match the style of San Francisco but I wouldn’t know because I’ve have done any research or tried to look deeper. It’s interesting though because I don’t think people in Phoenix would react the same way-I bet they wouldn’t use the chairs at all. Who knows!

Walking and Bicycling

More people tend to walk or ride a bike in San Francisco- I think this goes back to the whole “everything is closer together” in San Francisco. I think it’s awesome and I wish there was a way to make it more feasible for everyone to walk or ride bikes to work. I’m sure one day we’ll get there one day though.

Another weird thing is that since walking is so common in San Francisco(and I don’t have a car) I feel more inclined to do it. I live closer to the grocery store in Phoenix yet I always drive there-always. But here, I don’t think I would drive even if I had the ability to. It made me realize that I don’t really need a card. I could use the public transportation system in Phoenix as well if I had too.

B.Y.O.B(Bring your own bag)

I was told that this was made a law recently in California(like before, I haven’t researched so I’m going off what someone told me) and now grocery stores must charge per paper bag a grocery shopper needs if he or she does not bring their own. I know the do this in Spain and other parts of Europe and I think it’s a great idea! We could save so much plastic by buying and bringing our own cloth/plastic bags for when we grocery shop. The hard part is simply getting into the habit of bringing in the bag every time you go shopping. Nonetheless, it’s another thing different about San Francisco than Phoenix.

I thought I’d share these with you because I’m always intrigued by the little things like these subtle differences in activities, customs or whatever you want to call it in these two cities that I’ve compared briefly.

If you’ve ever lived in another city or state, what are some interesting differences you noticed compared to your hometown? Feel free to share below! 🙂

From a cold email to an internship in the heart of San Francisco

My journey with Verbling started almost two years ago when I sent this cold email, hoping to find a job working for this amazing language learning platform. Tomorrow, I set off for California to start my month-long internship with the company next week. I hope this blog post inspires you to let go of the fear of rejection or failure, and pursue a job related to your passions.

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I had used the website a few times to practice my Spanish with people from Colombia, Mexico and Peru. I LOVED the idea of Verbling- connecting native speakers with language learners-and I wanted to be a part of the team. Not thinking twice, I quickly wrote up this email and sent it to a jobs link not knowing what exactly would happen. It wasn’t until January of 2012 when I received a response from one of the co-founders. By that time, I had completely forgotten about the email I had sent during the first semester of my last year in high school.

I couldn’t believe it. I thought certainly it was a mistake. One of the co-founders of Verbling, Jake, wanted to Skype with me, an average high school kid?

I replied back with more excitement than a little kid visiting Disneyland for the first time. After I Skyped him, he offered me a job as an administrator on the website. I didn’t sleep for the next two weeks.

Life seemed too good to be true. I felt giddy as can be at the fact that I was getting paid to work with the engineers and speak Spanish and English with people from all over the world. Right then, I knew I had the most awesome job in the world. I became so passionate about language learning and learning about other cultures. I knew I was exactly where I wanted to be and that my desire was to make this company succeed.

After a few months, I hired a few friends from high school, which grew into the administration team that I lead. We were a great team. There were 7 of us and we were fantastic. We made sure the site was working properly and kept the Verbling community safe for all the users.

Then in November, I moved up to start teaching English. I felt so grateful to be given the opportunity to teach. I fell in love with it and it hit me! Whatever I end up doing after I graduate from college, teaching will be involved. It’s such a rewarding experience to teach and inspire students who are thirsty for knowledge. Languages are my passion and my job allows me to earn money for sharing that passion. I feel extremely appreciative.

Tomorrow, I begin a new path in my voyage with such an amazing team-an internship right in the heart of San Francisco at Verbling. I will fly out of Phoenix and into Laguna Niguel to spend a day with my family before heading to San Francisco on Friday. On Monday, I will start my first day working as an intern at Verbling. I cannot explain the joy and excitement built up inside of me to be able to participate in the early stages of a company that will change language-learning education forever.  It wouldn’t even be possible with the generous monetary award I have been granted by the University of Arizona Honors College. After I return from Argentina, I will share my experience with others at the university because I want to give advice and tell stories that will encourage others to embark on similar journeys.

I decided to write this post because most people don’t know how I ended up where I am. They think I got lucky. However, that’s not the case. I took a leap of faith and sent a “cold email,” not knowing where it would lead and here I am- about to embark on a month-long learning experience in San Francisco. This is my story that I have created for myself. Now it’s time for you to create yours.