IRJE #7 – “Surrounded by Idiots”

The book that I have been reading is called Surrounded by Idiots by Thomas Erikson. Probably this is the book that I have enjoyed the most reading because this book is literally the vivid representation of the popular phrase that says “don’t judge a book by it’s cover”. When you read the title of the book you can think the same that I did, that the book was going to be about telling the reader that the other are idiots, but it’s totally the opposite.

“But the most important lesson that you can walk away with is that the idiots who surround you are, in fact, not idiots at all. Instead, they are individuals worthy of respect, understanding, and being valued.” (p.224)

I choose this quote because its the one that I still have fresh in my memory and I will every day from now on. The writer of the book ended this book with a phrase that he knew for sure was going to leave a mark on anyone who read the book. We are all worth of respect, we all are equal, and we have the same value. Sometimes we forget this and we don’t treat everyone with the respect that they deserve.

Romeo & Juliet

Rome & Juliet, this play has completely captivated me. Before getting to see Romeo & Juliet I already knew about it, I mean, is a very famous play but I didn’t know how it ended. When we watched the movie I felt sadness because of these two families and all of the hate that they had towards each other. I find incredible how far our ego and our sense of revenge can go and for these two families it ended in loosing their two children. On the other hand, we have love. Love has always been my favorite topic in books, songs, and movies, this one was not the exception. I enjoyed every single minute of the movie and watching the development of these characters while they fell in love with each other. I think that is very interesting how also the times have changed. Years ago it was normal to get married at 14 as we see in the movie and also that our parents made deals with our future husband to get a monetary benefit from the engagement; I don’t think this is right and when I saw it in the movie I felt impotence for Juliet because that was not what she wanted but her parents wanted to force her.

The prologue was a complete different experience. Ever since I was little I have had a very good memory, it is very easy for me to memorize things but when I have to present, that’s the difficult part. I get very nervous when I have to talk in front of people and I tend to forget everything but besides of that I enjoyed it. I liked the way they spoke before (or in Shakespeare’s plays), they used Shakespeare’s formal use of language that we don’t get to see now and that make it more difficult.

IRJE #6: Life is about ups and downs

The book that I’m now reading is “Regretting you” by Colleen Hoover. This novel is about Morgan and Clara, mom and daughter. Morgan got pregnant and had Clara when she was only sixteen years old, she has always said that she has never regretted anything, not even having Clara at such a young age but she is determined to never let Clara to do the same mistakes as she did. She always tries to keep her daughter in the right path and she gives her as many life lessons as she cans.

“Right after something tragic happens, you feel like you’ve fallen off a cliff. But after the tragedy starts to sink in, you realize you didn’t fall off a cliff. You’re on an eternal roller coaster that just reached the bottom. Now it’s gonna be up and down and upside down for a long, long time. Maybe even forever.” (p.87)

I chose this quote because it is one of the many life lessons that this book has and I think is very real. When something bad happens to us or something that we expected that was going to be great, results terribly wrong, we completely think that we have bad luck, that everything we do is wrong and the only thing that you want to do is to jump off a cliff just as this quote says. Life is full of ups and downs and that’s what I liked about this quote in specific. One day you can be doing super bad at school, being tired of life, having problems with your friends and family but when you start to change that mindset and start doing things that you like, enjoying the little and precious moments in life and taking care of the things that really matter, everything starts to be in its place. It is the same when a person that is bad, that is rude to others for no reason and that he or she feels that its on top of the world because it has money or something like that, the next day something can happen and he or she can be completely broke. Life is a complete roller coaster, sometimes you are up, sometimes you are down. You should never take something for granted.

PW #6: Spring break

I just returned back from Mexico from my spring break vacations and I am feeling a lot of nostalgia because something for what I waited so long has come to a very fast end.

Before spring break I was really excited for it because I was going to see my family and friends again and I was going to be back home but now that it’s over I just feel anxious for the school year to finish and I can finally go home permanently. It’s not that I don’t like being here, its just that I really miss everything about Mexico. The warm weather, the cozy family saturdays, the familiar atmosphere, the people, and going back to my routine.

During this spring break I remembered what it feels like to be back in home and with the people you love. I remembered the feeling of waking up and knowing that your family is right on the other side of the door. I remembered what is like to feel bad, have a headache, stomachache, etc, and having my mom right there to take care of me. I just can’t wait to be back.

IRJE #5 “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes”

“The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” is the last book of the Hunger Games saga by Suzanne Collins. In this book, she tells the story of the young Coriolanus Snow and the District 12 tribute, Lucy Gray. Lucy Gray is a young woman that her passion is to sing but her life changes drastically when she gets the bad luck of being selected as District 12 tribute to go and play for her life in the annual Hunger Games. Coriolanus Snow is a well known student from the capitol, his family has to keep the appearance even though they are broke and have no money at all. Each student of the Capitol needs to train a tribute from the different districts and make him or her win the Hunger Games and with that obtain money from the capitol for the rest of their lives. Lucy Gray is Coriolanus snow tribute to train, but eventually, they fall in love. Everyone feared the principal of the capitol, Dr. Volumnia Gaul, but Lucy Gray wasn’t going to accept this terrible killing games so she decides to say the next quote to the principal in live television.

“You’ve no right to starve people, to punish them for no reason. No right to take away their life and freedom. Those are things everyone is born with, and they’re not yours for the taking. Winning a war doesn’t give you that right. Having more weapons doesn’t give you that right. Being from the Capitol doesn’t give you that right. Nothing does.” (p. 311)

I chose this quote because I found incredible and very brave how Lucy Gray fought for her life and to defend her ideology in this movie. She didn’t agree with the fact that the government, in this case the Capitol, made all of the citizens participate in the Hunger Games just to control them or to treat them as less. What she says in this quote is very real and we get to see it in our own countries, in our daily life. People that have more privileges, more money, make people that don’t to feel inferior, to feel less, they made them think that they’re not worth anything. We have no right to treat people as objects or to punish them for no reason just because we think we are better than everyone else.  Just as her, I strongly think that we all should defend our ideologies and never think that we are better than someone else.

PR Amusing Ourselves to Death and Brave New World

“Amusing Ourselves to Death” and “Brave New World” are two different but at the same time not so different books. Both books talk about controlling people in different ways. While in Amusing Ourselves to Death they control people by inflicting pain, in Brave New World they control them by inflicting pleasure. The Brave New World society is principally characterized by using technology to keep people happy and for them not to worry about anything. The society is fully governed by the government of this world and they control every aspect of every persons life. The government maintains the stability of the society trough hypnopedia, suspension of emotions, and the promotion of consumerism. Huxley wants to basically transmit through this book that life is easier if technology takes care of us by controlling everything we do, think, or even feel.

In Amusing Ourselves to Death, Postman describes the impact that television has had on public discourse, culture and the society back in 1985. He argues that television through entertainment and visual simulation has completely ended with the society critical thinking. While in Brave New World, Aldous says that in a future technology will be used to supress and control peoples disobedience, Postman says that technology or more specifically, television, can distract or even completely destroy people’s way of thinking. A clear connection between this two books is the way they express concern about the impact that technology has on society. Both authors based their works on the ways that technology, wether through conditioning, hypnopedia, in Brave New World or on the other hand, television, on Amusing ourselves to death can shape societal values, behaviors, and intellectual engagement in potentially detrimental ways. 

PW #5 “I love being cold”

Ever since I remember I have hate hot weather. When I was little I decided that I didn’t like hot weather at all and all this because there are so many cons that the hot weather comes with, for example, extreme temperatures and that makes people being in a bad mood. I also don’t like the beach that much, I prefer mountains or cities instead and they are cooler. I hate the felling of the sun in my skin, I hate sweating, I hate the felling of stickiness on my arms for using sunscreen, I don’t like at all hot weather or anything related to being hot. I mean, who really likes feeling hot?, who likes to sweat? that’s super disgusting and in my personal opinion cold is so much better than hot. Cold weather is better because you can do so much activities like skiing, snowboarding, ice skating in a real frozen lake, hiking, etc, things that of course you can’t do in hot weather and I know it also has fun things but you can just put on a jacket and a scarf and forget about cold, instead of being sweaty and in a bad mood all day long. To conclude, cold is three thousand times better that hot.

IRJE #4, I am Malala

The book I am currently reading is “I Am Malala”. I had heard from this woman before but I have never payed real attention to her or to her story but it its really interesting how she started and all she has achieved until nowadays.

“Who is Malala?” he demanded.

No one said anything, but several of the girls looked at me. I was the only girl with my face not covered.

That’s when he lifted up a black pistol. I later learned it was a Colt. 45. Some of the girls screamed. Moniba tells me I squeezed her hand.

My friends say he fired three shots, one after another. The first went through my left eye socket and out under my left shoulder.

I slumped forward onto Moniba, good coming from my left ear, so the other two bullets hit the girls next to me. One bullet want into Shazia’s left hand. The third went through her left shoulder and into the upper right arm of Kainat Riaz.

My friends later told me the gunman’s hand was shacking as he fired.

By the time we got to the hospital my long hair and Moniba’s lap were full of blood.

Who is Malala? I am Malala and this is my story.

(p. 9 Prologue, Yousafzai, Malala. Lamb, Christina. I Am Malala. 2023)

I choose this quote because when I first read it, it shocked me the fact that a man could fire a gun to a girl in a school bus and during the day with all the other kids around her without even caring in the persons he could kill. This quote just reaffirmed that the persons are cruel and nobody cares about anything else but themselves. Why killing a girl?, it makes literally no sense to me, killing someone is the worst thing a person can do. It’t completely unfair because they don’t have the fault for anything, they haven’t even lived. I can imagine how would I react if someone stood in front of me with a gun and fire it.

PW #4, “It’s Christmas Time”

In this Personal Writing I will talk about one of my favorite topics: CHRISTMAS!!

It’s already December and my favorite time of the year has come, Christmas. Since I was a child I have loved Christmas, I see it as the most wonderful time of the year because it’s the time for love, family, be grateful, be all together, and the most important and fun thing, snow. Probably snow it’s my favorite thing on earth, I love cold and having Rudolph’s nose (all red). I love that with snow comes the exciting things such as making snow angels, snowmans, skiing, ice skating, hot chocolate, etc. Every year during Christmas my family goes to ski to Whistler, except this time because I will go back to Mexico and during Christmas and New Year we’ll be in NYC, something different but I think it’ll be fun too.

IRJE #3, The end.

This quote is from the book that I am currently reading and its called “Twisted Games”. It tells the story of a bodyguard that is in love with a princess that he is in charge of keeping safe but he fells in love with her. Even tough they can’t be together, they keep their love in secret.

“We always end up where we’re meant to be.”

(p. 176, Huang, A. Twisted Games. 2023)

I choose this quote because I am a big fan of the true love and I think this one is one of the best stories that I’ve ever read. It is a mix of feelings and the curiosity of not knowing what will happen next. I also liked this quote because it practically talks about how almost at the end of the story, they stay together because they are perfect for each other; they are meant to be. And such as in fairytales, true love always wins.

Personal Response: “All Quiet on the Western Front”

“All Quiet on the Western Front” it’s a powerful book that explores the harsh realities of World War I and the physical and psychological impact on soldiers.

Regarding on the physical and psychological impact that it had on the soldiers one of the most affected ones is Paul, he has to go through different chapters during the time that he was on war and ended up as a broken individual. I enjoyed a lot the way in which the author expressed how the soldiers spent their time in the trenches, how could they die at any moment and the sacrifices they made, I found it eye opening and also very shocking.

What struck me most about this book is that it serves as a reminder for all humans of the cost that war involves, it is an anti-war message and that war can lead to a lot of unstoppable destruction, death and pain.

Reading this book made me think about the broader implications of war and how it shapes not only those who fight in it but also the generations that follow. It’s a timeless story that continues to resonate today, as conflicts and the toll of war persist in the world.

In conclusion, “All Quiet on the Western Front” left me deeply move and contemplative; it is a masterpiece of the English literature that in my case it left me with a sense of empathy for the soldiers who endure the horrors of war.

PW #3 “Let it snow”

This personal writing I wanted to make it about something that I personally love and enjoy a lot and it’s snow and this is one of the main reasons why I choose Canada to study.

When I was little the thing that I love the most was snow and it still is nowadays, it’s just so magical. The fluffy white flakes falling from the sky covering the ground and turning everything white its incredible. And with the snow, it comes a lot of different and fun activities to do like skiing. I started to ski when I was 4 years old and loved every moment since. I also love that the best season of the year that is Christmas comes with the snow and its a time for all of us to forge connections and be cozy together.

I am so excited for the snowy season to begin, I can’t wait for all the houses to be covered in snow, drink hot chocolate with marshmallows, make snowman’s and have the nose red for the cold.


This quote is also from the book that I continue reading “One Italian Summer” and it is about a hobby that enjoy a lot, photography.

“There’s something about photography I love — a whole memory caught in a moment.”

(p. 108, Serle, R. One Italian summer. 2023)

I choose this quote because photography is one of my favorite things to do. I see photography as a way of capturing moments forever, because even though you don’t have a good memory, a photo can always be a way of remembering a specific person or memory. When I was younger I used to say that I wanted to be a photographer to capture the valuable memories of my life and that’s why I liked this quote so much.


New life, new me (PW#2)

Since I was in 6th grade I dreamt of going to study to another country and live a year abroad, everything in my mind was really different from what it actually is. In my mind it was all going to be easy and I would have a sabbatic year but now I realize it isn’t like that. School is more difficult than I expected and I am losing my mind trying to figure out how to use Manage Bac but I know that with patience and giving it is time, all will get better. Now I see that everything is not what it seems and sometimes we can make mistakes trying to choose the right choices for our future and our life.

Studying abroad is a complete life changing experience and that is the part that I am most excited about, I really enjoy taking risks and exploring new horizons, and I think this one is a great opportunity.

IRJE #1, I will always be with you…

The book that I chose to read is “One Italian Summer” by Rebecca Serle. This book and specially this quote really touched me because it talks about the real true love in life, the love from our mothers. Katy is a woman that had a really strong relationship with her mother and even after she died, that connection continued and it was stronger than ever before. Katy and her mother had always planned a trip to the most beautiful islands in Italy that her mother had already visited years before; they made this their special country. Then Carol (Katy’s mother) died and before she did, she wrote a special note to Katy for her to read while she was in Italy and Katy found it years after.

“My darling Katy, my baby girl-

Italy is so beautiful. It reminds me of you. How happy everyone is in the morning, how the stars come out at night. I know I am not there, and I hope someday to explain to you why. I hope so many things for you, baby girl. I hope you walk through the work knowing your value. I hope you find a passion, something you love, something that lights you up inside. I hope you find the peace and confidence it takes to trust where your path leads. Remember, it is only yours. Others can wave and cheer, but no one can give you directions, They have not been where you are going. I hope you’ll understand someday that just because you become a mother doesn’t mean you stop being a woman. And above all else, I hope you know that even if you can’t see me, I am always with you.


Your mama” (p. 242-243, Serle, R. One Italian summer. 2023)

I chose this quote because I think that the love from a mother is the real true love that exists in every persons life. The love from a mother cannot be trade for anything, it is unconditional; this quote expresses that even though Carol didn’t make the best choices for her daughter and even for her own life, she always had Katy in her mind. Carol left but the memories that they made together will remain in Katy’s memory and heart forever always and the most important thing, Carol will always be by her side even when she cannot see her.

My Personal Response: “They Shall Not Grow Old”

The “They Shall Not Grow Old” documentary left a huge mark on me beginning with the fact that the director Peter Jackson did an incredible work transforming a black and white story into a completely vivid experience in which the soldiers themselves become the central figures of the story. It surprised me that nowadays we can see this movie in vivid colors and images but back in those days it wasn’t like this, it was just black and white and the images were not as clear as they are today and this is an incredible advance in the filmaking process.

Watching this documentary make me experiment a lot of different emotions  because it really felt like if I was there watching all the horrible and difficult things that the soldiers went through during the war. It was really touching realizing that despite the horrors they passed, the soldiers created really good bonds and friendships between them. As I watched the film, I reflected on the difficulties of life and that not everything is what it seems. Speaking on my personal experience, I knew that war was difficult and that there were a lot of deaths, massacres and horrible and traumatic things but after watching these documentary it really opened my eyes and now I can relate in a more personal way with all those soldiers and be empathic with the situation.

The documentary’s plot is journey through the soldiers life starting with their recruitment and training for them to be prepared for whatever happens, then they have to go and fight on the trenches and after that it ends with the difficult situation that is for them to try to reintegrate into society, go back to their normal life and civilization. I think that the part of coming back home and be with their families again and try to pretend that nothing happened is the worst part because nobody could completely understand what those soldiers went through and all the traumas they have. It might be difficult not just for them but also for their loved ones.

In conclusion, “They Shall Not Grow Old” is a remarkable and truly interesting documentary that bring the World War One soldiers stories and experiences to real life. It is a reminder for all of us of the sacrifices made by all the men that participated in war and that gived their own lives for  their country and I think that the soldiers shall never grow old our memories.

PW #1, A little piece of my life

HI! I didn’t know how to start writing my personal writing because even though I like to write, I am not good at it and this time it was difficult to think about a specific topic to write on, so I started thinking and suddenly I thought, maybe writing about life experiences and memories that have left a mark on my life is worth it so I decided to do it, I just said: why not? it can be funny and interesting knowing about another persons personal experiences and special moments that they will always have in their minds. I see it as a really personal way to know another person.

First of all I’d like to talk about traveling. Traveling has become one of my favorite hobbies because I see it as a window to know different spaces, places, cultures, traditions, and of course special people that later become forever friendships. Travel is more than just going on vacation, it’s about making memories and mental photographs that will forever be in your mind. Since I was a child my ever favorite movie its Ratatouille and when I saw it for the first time I said that I wanted to go to Paris, later this idea became a dream and then a reality. In my 7 birthday I went to Paris as a present from my parents and my childhood dream came true; standing at the top of the Eiffel Tower felt incredible and I realized that traveling will be my favorite thing to do.


Getting to know Keira

Hi! My name is Keira Alacio, I am from Mexico City and I am currently studying at Brookes. I arrived a few days ago and it has been a completely new experience for me and I am excited to see what this new year brings to me. One of my favorite things to do is traveling, getting to know different countries, people, traditions, gastronomy, etc, is something that I enjoy doing a lot and probably in what I would like to work in a future.

As a reader I would describe myself with the word “curious” because is something that I enjoy doing a lot and I read since I was little. I think that a book can transport you to a completely different world, it can scare you with the most horrible and terrifying monster or it can also make you fall in love; reading a book can change the way you see things by just reading a story about any topic you like, there are infinity of books of whatever you can imagine and also reading is a really good way to spend some relaxing time with yourself.

In writing I’m not as good as I wish I was because sometimes I tend to translate exactly from Spanish to English and that gives a strange context to some sentences or even words, this is something that I will like to improve while I study at Brookes, but even though I’m not really good at it, I love to write, short stories, phrases, etc.