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About Me
Northwestern University (Evanston, IL, USA) - BA in Economics & Sociology
IT Instructor for urban young adults 18-24 years old
English, Español, 中文
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Hey, I’m Robert!

Berkeley, California, United States · Member since January 2012
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I'm always looking to have a eargasmic, foodgasmic, or feetgasmic experience, which could include Conga drumming, eating, singing, dancing, biking, hiking, rock climbing, and other 'ings'.

But, when I'm by myself, I like to get lost and find myself back using a compass instead of roads, or the tree line at night, for biking, walking, running, or hiking. More time to look at people, birds, plants, and non-living things. And to learn a new path.

I read once a study about there actually being a part of the brain that puts out these little compassion/selfless hormones. While I think that part of my brain has always been relatively big or active, I think it's gotten a lot bigger from working as a special education teacher for 3 years straight out of college and then shifting to being an IT instructor for urban 18-24-year-old young adults. My heart has swelled quite a bit from all the laughs I've shared with my students.

I am committed to social justice and educating myself about groups that are disempowered and the systemic causes for that, and then figuring out what I can do individually and with others. I believe social justice doesn't have to be some huge thing, but can be as small as an act of caring.

I am adventurous, affable, and independent.

And those fixie pseudo-punks eat my non-elitist bike dust, every day!

What I'm doing with my life

Closing the opportunity divide by teaching college-level IT classes to urban 18-24-year-old young adults.

I'd rather live day to day than have a grand plan. I think success is enjoying your 20s than trying to retire at 30.
I'm really good at

teaching (most of the time)
biking 100+ miles/day
being corny
laughing too loudly

to all the ones who don't consider themselves 'singers,' I think I would consider myself to be good at singing, something I put on hold after 5th grade to learn the saxophone and violin, realizing they were really shiny but never really fusing with my mind, then picked up again in college (because I missed it so much). It's a true love of mine, confined to the bathtub and while riding my bike for now, though I did sing 'Dig' by Incubus at my friend's wedding and 'Drive' (also by Incubus) at an open-mic.

I think I'm good at keeping convos interesting, whether keeping it low-key or not so discretely working in some social justice topics. I think this particularly comes from being lucky enough to have lived/traveled in other countries, which taught me how to initiate conversations with anyone willing.

Favorite books, movies, shows, music, and food

Books: I'm currently reading 'Leading with the Heart' by Mike Krzyzewski (Duke Men's Basketball coach) - great for ideas on how to work with young adults.

Movies: Shawshank Redemption, Precious, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Dark Knight, Rocky II, Motorcycle Diaries, V for Vendetta, Hollywood Chinese, A Mighty Wind, Stand and Deliver

Music: Incubus, Young the Giant, Red Hot Chili Peppers, K'naan, Amadou & Miriam, Matisyahu, John Frusciante, South African, Miles Davis, one hit wonders!

Food: Me love me some Taiwanese food, Gioia Pizza (N. Berkeley) - NY-style, asparagus, Korean BBQ, blueberries, Indian chai tea

TV: The Wire, The X-Files (Seasons 1-6)

The six things I could never do without

1. family (in case something happens)
2. friends (in case I want to make something happen)
3. my memories (in case I want to remember what's happened)
4. the sun (in case nothing is happening)
5. Ally (my bike) - in case I want to go to where it's happening
6. music (in case I want to make it happening)

I spend a lot of time thinking about

How to be an effective teacher
Relationships and love
Social justice
The environment
How people interact (sociology)
How fortunate I am

On a typical Friday night I am

in or out with friends, catching up, looking forward to sleeping in after coming home late, or getting to bed early for a morning bike ride

Countries I've visited (in no particular order)

Czech Republic
Spain - Madrid, Bilbao, San Sebastián, Barcelona
South Africa
Hong Kong

Life mantras

"Work as if you live in the early days of a better nation." - Alasdair Gray

"Once social change begins, it cannot be reversed. You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore. We have seen the future, and the future is ours." - Cesar Chavez

"And any man who knows a thing knows
He knows not a damn, damn thing at all." - K'naan

As a guest, I strive to leave no trace in the places that I stay in, if not better than how I found them! I'm an independent traveller and enjoy figuring things out on my own, but I'd love to hear some tips, stories, and advice from some locals!

I'd prefer to stay in a place that has a laundry washer and Wi-Fi.

Thanks and I hope this was helpful in getting to know me!