To be brave

She taught me that there were two ways to be brave. The one that borders with stupidity, whilist the other can be mistaken for cowardice.

You know the first one, it’s the obvious for everyone. Fighting a dragon, to walk into a fire to save someone, or quiting it all to follow your dream.

But she told me that courage can also be to chill and play dead near to a grown bear, answering violence without violence, or trying to make comedy for hopeless people.

She said that anyone can act bravely in a moment of madness, but it’s a matter of wise to do it sober.

So, how do you know what actions make you cross the line from “a brave man/woman” to “a fool”? Or when running away doesn’t make you a coward?

That really depends on the perception of the storyteller.

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It was a “BREAK”

Yes, I admit it, I almost quit. I needed to focus on other things. I was either too busy or too depressed to write, at least for it to be a positive writing. But now I am back, no guarantee though. Let’s say just one post more every week and hope for the best.

Sometimes it seems to be so much that do not even know where to start by. It so overwhelming that your head says “Let’s do nothing better.” Anyway, here is an English writing practice from what I learned during my absense.

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Somewhere in the world, someone is getting married tomorrow, but they will be divorced in two years. In contrast, other couple won’t meet until their forties, but they will live half of a century in love with each other.

I actually know a woman who could not have children for years, and then one day, she was going to an appointment afraid that the doctor might say she would be having another baby. Why? Because when she finally got pregnant, in each of the three first checkups the doctor said “Wait a minute, I see another baby”

So, I’m not late, you aren’t late, nobody is late at all because this life is not a race. Everyone has a lifetime of their own with their own racetrack and everything. Late for what anyway?

Death is only a finger snap away from all of us. So if you are breathing and have a heart that beats, that is the perfect match you need. They are our best qualification and most valuable possession while we are here.

“Rendirse” and “Darse por vencido”

Rendirse = To give up

Darse por vencido = To give up

What is the difference? “Darse por vencido” is a bit more dramatic than “Rendirse.” Let’s see it with examples.

If a kid challenges you with a riddle, you might say: “ยกMe rindo!” I don’t know.

On the other hand, if you spend 24 hours awake refreshing a government website because it’s your only weekly-chance to do it according to the last number of your citizen ID, only to upload the data needed, so you are allowed to request the next week an appointment to go (God knows when and where) and ask them to seal a paper; and YET you didn’t get to make it because you had to deal with electricity cuts, Internet connection cuts, and fails of the system itself (again, during the 24 hours)… Then you may say:

“ยกMe doy por vencido!” I have got to be an illegal immigrant.

This world is too small for both of us.

Everytime I drive straight away from you, sooner or later I end up in front of you. Then I turn the wheel and escape one more time. But it doesn’t work.

The worst part is that it seems like you don’t even move. So, every time I have to make up excuses to justify my actions and I’m running out of the reasonable ones. It’s so embarrassing to admit it, that I’m just fine with people thinking that I’m weird and that all of my movements make no sense.

I decided to try going just a little bit far away from you and stay there. In this way, you are close enough for me to know where you are at and keep you out of my way, but far enough for not having you in my social circles. How is that going? Well, right now every inch of my skin is fighting against the wind that is pushing me towards you again.

It’s not a big deal when I only have to change where to drink my coffee, or missing some parties. The problem comes when I have to make a life decision and you’re the only item in the column “Cons” of my best option.

I have made some moves before that make me feel proud of my wit, although all of this sounds patetic. It’s like playing Chess, but against … Myself? God? Destiny?… I don’t know, but who ever it is, it’s making fun of me. I lost all of my pawns and most of the good pieces. I already heard “check” and I’m afraid that soon I’m going to hear “checkmate”

If I could go anywhere right now, I would go to the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.

I would cross it until I have burned my eagerness. I would take 2989947563638449 pictures of its details. And when my body claims for resting, I would choose a place where I can appreciate its magnificence while drinking a cup of coffee or maybe something cold and sweet (depending on the weather).

When a civil engineer is making a design, he or she has to make sure that the structure can stand and be funtional at a minimum cost. Moreover, they have to make doable the art and space distribution made by the architect as faithfully as it can be. But when there a frequent seismic activity in the area, the goal in these designs is save the lives of the people in the structure. And here it comes the craziest part: the structure is designed to save you by making you feel unsafe under extreme events.

Here is the basic idea of how it works. The structure can resist steady certain level of shaking. When the intensity of movement overcomes that point decide by the engineer, the structure starts to break down at specific places that are not critical for the stay standing, but it will scare you enough to make you look for an exit. If the movement keeps happening or increases and the building cannot stand it anymore, you will be long gone before it collapse.

This bridge is the first of its kind. The new span is a self-anchored suspension bridge. It means that its stability does not depend on the ground but on its internal equilibrium. Theoretically, if the ground moves it won’t give a “sheet”. This is the start of saving not just lives but also reducing the great economic losses characteristic of these natural disasters.

I love engineering because it makes me feel that with pacience, pasion and dedication there is no problem that humans cannot solve if we work together. I wish politics could see that.

How is my English learning going?

Well… I’m training for TOEFL (Test Of English as Foreign Language) with a simulator. I started in late January with scores from 17 to 21 out of 30 in each task (Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing).

I thought I was going to see a progress as the line in the top of the picture, but I was stuck in that range. I was like – well this constant part is taking too long – But, with the crazy grades I got the last two weeks, I’m realizing that my learning line looks more like the line in the bottom. For example, today I got 21 at reading and 28 at listening. And yesterday I had 27 at reading and 20 at listening (all this out 30).

My scores used to vary according to my distractions (I’m hungry, I’m tired, I have something else in mind…), and I used to wait without a clue for the result because most of the time I felt just guessing.

Now I can feel when it is going to be a good score or not. Some days I feel so in the clear regardless my mood that it made me reflect: If I’m going to actually know this language, this is the way I should feel about it all the time, I shouldn’t have to be so concentrated to use it. Whilist on other days I find a pharagraph in which I only understand the articles and prepositions.

Instead of walking to the goal, I feel like jumping back and forward. Yet, I’m starting to feel how 2 steps forward and 1 back, is still 1 forward.

Yucca empanada recipe.

I have to remind you in this post that I am not a writer, and that I’m an english learner. So, in the same way you’ll notice that this is not a recipe by a professional cook. Nevertheless, I had to try writing my version of this recipe below because I simply love it and I need to practice my kitchen/cooking vocabulary.

This is for more or less 12 empanadas.

Ingredients:
โ˜ 1 Kg. or 2 lbs. of yucca
โœŒ 1/2 cup of pre-cooked white corn meal (that kind of flour ground from maize that we mostly use to make arepas).
๐Ÿ‘Œ Sugar and salt as you like. I like it salty with a hint of sweetness. So I use 1 spoon of salt and 1 spoon of sugar or papelรณn (which is much healthier crude brown sugar).
๐Ÿ‘ Your favorite salty filling (It could be cheese, chicken, ground beef, ham, sauteed vegetables, combinations of them, your imagination is the limit.)

Preparation:
1.๐Ÿ”ชPeel and cut into little pieces the yucca.
2.๐Ÿ”ฅPut the pieces and the salt in boling water until they are soft enough to easily smash them.
3. ๐Ÿด Smash the yucca while it’s hot on plate, and then put it into a bowl.
4. ๐Ÿ‘‹ When it isn’t hot but warm, add the corn flour and the sugar, and knead it for 5minutes.
5. โœŠPut a ball that fits in your fist over one plastic sheet and cover it with another.
6. ๐Ÿณ Press it with something plain and heavy to get it flat until you have 5-mm-thick dough, and remove the top plastic sheet.
7.๐Ÿ“๐Ÿด๐Ÿ–๐ŸŸ๐Ÿ† ๐Ÿ Put one or two spoons of your filling ingredient in the middle.
8.โ†ช Fold it with the help of the plastic sheet to have a semicircle and cut it with a bowl to seal the edge.
9. ๐Ÿ”ฅDeep fry it.
๐Ÿ‘ Enjoy it!

They are crunchy on the outside, creamy on the inside and gluten free. I am so sorry I don’t have a good picture to show you.