Wednesday, August 23, 2017


During the Summer of 2017, approximately a month after my spinal fusion surgery concluded, my parents decided to celebrate the new masterpiece form of my back by traveling to the island of Maui in the Hawaiian islands. Previously, my parents had taken me there when I was only 6-months-old, and we decided to revisit the island to give me a fresh opportunity to see the landscape and recall it better. In addition, we planned on bringing along my older cousin, Jorge from Mexico City to join us on our Summer trip. In his next semester, he will be attending Warwick University in Coventry, England near Stratford. We thought it would be fun for him to join us to pass the time in Maui before he moves on with his classes. Just like me, Jorge had a surgery on his appendix due to a dead tissue a couple years ago when he was 16-years-old, around my age (15) when I had my spinal fusion surgery. My parents thought the surgery made my back look "stronger than titanium but flexible" like the magic invincible tree in our imaginary roofless greenhouse garden with the power to regenerate injured forests. And I believe Jorge is just the same. 
Maui was a sight to see! We first docked in Honolulu, Oahu, where me and my cousin each bought leis made from real flowers. We had a drink, and from there we proceeded to the island of Maui on a plane. There, we rented a condo in Lahaina with a balcony view facing the ocean and the islands of Molokai and Lanai on the horizon. In the mornings and evenings, we would have our daily meals on our balcony as we watched to sun set and rise each day. We also saw rainbows every now and then casting celestial light on the water. The condo also included a swimming pool. 
We also had some remarkable unforgettable visits and sights. The stuff we did during our stay included snorkeling in the ocean where I saw sea turtles up close for the first time. We ate fresh fruit, such as the tropical dragon fruit, and other local foods and drinks. We tried out various restaurants, watched luau dances where I was aloud to join the dance along with other kids, and we listened to concerts. They even sold albums for free, so we brought one as a little souvenir. Along the way, we stopped by many beaches where I would play in the waves, as long as I went easy on my back after its surgical operation. Jorge also taught me how to skip stones, although I'm still improving on that skill.
We even drove along the country side, checking out the diverse landscapes of the island. We saw the church and cemetery where war hero aviator, Charles Lindberg (a.k.a. "Lucky Lindy") is buried. We passed by several vistas to and from Hana, such as a dried lava formation on the rocky shores called the Dark Side of the Moon. We hiked rural mountains with waterfalls and vegetation grew in abundance, just like in my magic roofless greenhouse. We also saw buddhist monasteries and all kinds of sights, including Iao Valley, an area with Asian architecture and tropical plantation where it usually rains. And above all, we visited my favorite part of the whole trip, Haleakala National Park. Haleakala is a volcanic crater for hikes. The area looks like a Martian terrain. The views there are phenomenal, and what's cool is the canyon goes 10,000 ft above sea level. That's even higher than the clouds, so when you're touching the rooftop of the clouds, you feel as if you're on top of the world! Of course I had to go easy on my hikes due to my surgery. Yet, I hardly felt any pain at all! Instead I was free! 
Returning home, we brought a couple souvenirs to go with our free album, such as two tikis, a wooden bead necklace and bracelet for me (the bracelet beads were fashioned to look like skulls), and a couple head bands for me and Jorge, which made us look like pirates. They also sold really cool T-shirts in Maui, like the one with Darth Vader clutching a surfboard and the quote; May the Surf be with You. It was a gorgeous paradise! After our trip, mom published a book titled Maui Tiki Tiki. She named it after a Hawaiian god. The book is full of photos of our trip. I look forwards to sharing it with my others. In the years that follow, I'll be seeing new countries and I'll have boatloads stories to tell! And it's all thanks to my surgery which made me turn into what I was destined to become, a powerful tree stronger than titanium but flexible!


- Hiking in Haleakala National Park

-The Road to Hana

As we passed Hana, we stopped at Hamoa Beach where I tried to float a piece of driftwood I found out to sea, but the tide kept bringing it back in.

My mom, cousin and I pose together for a picture at Hamoa Beach.

A bit farther on, we came across a cliff facing the ocean.

Mom, cousin Jorge and I together stand on that very cliff as we face the ocean breeze.

Jorge and I explore the jungles located near the cliff.

Our next stop from there was Lucky Lindy's Grave.

A front view of the church in Lindy's Grave.

On the freeway, we passed somebody's shack.

The Dark Side of the Moon.

-Rural Landscapes

My family and I visiting the Upcountry.

One day, we went for a little drive to visit the mountains of Waihee Valley Trail. From there, we took a hike.

I climbed to the summit of Waihee Trails. Dad suggested I'd better not go any further and turn back, because he was concerned about me inadvertently damaging the surgical residue on my spine. The man who scheduled my surgery earlier before, Dr. Newton, would kill me if he found out about this.

Together, the three of us pose in front of a landmark in Iao Valley. This picture was photographed by my dad.

-In the Deep Blue Ocean

Cousin and I walk along the shores at Big Beach.

Here in Baby Beach, we watched the sun set.

At Kaanapali Beach, I walked along the sand and carelessly took a dive into the waves. 
I was later accompanied by my cousin, Jorge. The two of us drifted on the surface for
several minutes, until mom and dad came by.

-Exploring the Culture

During another day at Kaanapali Beach, we watched a luau dance. The best part was being
aloud on stage with other kids. We followed the moves demonstrated by the hula dancers.
Mom and Dad thought my dance moves among all the other kids was the best! 

After we left the luau that evening, we checked out a gallery displayed there. The pictures
showed generations of hula dancers. Here is a sample we photographed.

Here we are visiting a buddhist monastery at Baby Beach. My dad took a picture of myself,
mom and cousin Jorge posing together with a buddha statue in the background. It's some
funny coincidence that the beach where this monastery is located at is called Baby Beach,
because at 6-months-old during my previous trip to Maui, dad helped me pose in front of this
very statue.

Here we stand by a temple at the same buddhist monastery.

Here in one of the local towns, we sat to listen to a concert play. They also offered us an album
for free.

Cousin Jorge and I sit together in rocking chairs next to the Whaler's Village in Kaanapali Beach.

-Views from our Condo Balcony

The morning air felt fresh outdoors.

Every evening we'd watch the sunset from our condo balcony. 
It was beautiful!
The afternoon gave the skies and ocean a charming blue.

Saturday, August 19, 2017


Sunday, March 5, 2017

A scene from Matt de la Peña's book Mexican Whiteboy

At Ideate High I am reading Matt de la Peña's book Mexican Whiteboy with two other classmates. I did this drawing last night of an intense scene where Danny and his sister Julia meet their mother Wendy's boyfriend for the first time. He tells them she is moving for the summer to San Francisco to live with him and brother and sister are shocked. Randy lives on Russian Hill with a view out his window to Alcatraz. Danny refuses to go and wants to try to find his real Dad who is living in Mexico so he stays with cousins in National City. Julia decides to go to San Francisco but is heartbroken and they hold hands to comfort each other.

My first pastel portraits

After life drawing that one time I decided I wanted to try portraits using pastels. The one on top is for a school assignment and the other two were for fun.