Tuesday, October 23, 2007
And all of these things that I am mentioning I have been seeing more and more every day. Today I am surprised when someone actually holds the door for me or for an elderly person. It's not that I can't do it for myself, it's that it is nice to see people thinking of things other than themselves. I'm not even talking about men opening the door for women, I'm talking about people as a whole. We've become so selfish and this selfishness is accepted - look out for you and you alone. We don't live in a bubble. You left your bubble as soon as you were born so now you have to realize that there are other people surrounding you and what you do affects other people. You can not blast your music in your headphones because then I can hear it and that defeats the purpose of you listening to your peace and tranquility. Maybe you shouldn't have loud conversations on the bus because I don't really care what you did for dinner last night, and I shouldn't have to care because you are not talking to me. I get annoyed with people in the car who talk on their phones like talking to me has been ruled out. Why are we getting so impersonal? Why can't we respond to eachother? Why do we have to make so many assumptions nowadays - that if I don't reply it means I don't want to go. I'm sorry, I'm used to people not always checking their mail so I've been assuming that if you don't reply you didn't get it. My bad.
I'm just sick of it. I'm tired of people's lacksadasial attitude. People don't suck, it's just that the few that do get to you and make your angry. It's about realizing that while you may be in a hurry maybe the person in front of you has had a bad day too. Maybe they walked a mile with 10 pounds on their back just to buy a bottle of water and it's $1.07 and the only have $1.06. Perhaps the world doesn't revolve around only you. Perhaps the caption was only to catch your attention so that you would read all the way to the end.
Monday, June 18, 2007
Alright. What you all have been waiting for - my detailed play by play on my trip to Mexico. It was awesome! I had the greatest time. I'm mainly writing this for my own personal benefit, but it's great to share with anyone browsing through.
Day One (Tuesday May 29th)
After hours upon hours of flying to get to Mexico, myself and my two companions, arrive at the airport in Distrito Federal (D.F.), here known as Mexico City. We were really excited. And on my first attempt to speak spanish with a native Mexican, I of course, froze and forgot all the spanish I knew, when it came time to change the money into pesos. Eventually we get to the hotel located in Santa Fe where we are given keys to our rooms. Nice rooms with two double beds and a tv and mini-fridge. Now that's what I'm talking about. The first official event is dinner and here I meet some of my fellow participants at a round table over a buffet dinner.
Day Two (Wednesday May 30th)
My first full day in Mexico. What to expect? Well first things first - breakfast at the hotel. They had arapas (similar to pancakes), eggs, fruit, toast, coffee, most things available for our picking pleasure. I ate with my roommate and we met up with the group to walk to the university. At the university we met others in the conference and were introduced to the hosts and runners of the program. We learned about the 12 principes of green chemistry and endocrin disruptors - there are actually chemicals, namely PCBs is what he talked about (polychlorinated biphenyls), no I'm not going to get all sciencey - keep reading. Anyhow, there are chemicals which can affect your offspring and their offspring and so on, just by exposure to it. It's really interesting. And when people do toxicity studies they often forget to check for this - they usually only check that the chemical is below the lethal level and don't take into account this factor of endocrin disruptors, which the speaker was adamant that they do. One more reason to use greener chemicals - for the safety of yourself and also to reduce the exposure to hazardous chemicals for potential reproductive toxins. Look at DDT, which was banned in the US in 1971. Very harmful chemical.
There were more interesting lectures and then we played basketball/soccer/volleyball outside. Let me tell you -- so Mexico City is 7400 ft [2240 m] above sea level (as compared to Philadelphia, 39 ft [12 m] and New York, 33 ft [10 m]) and the air pressure is much lower than what I'm used to in the states. So playing basketball in the highly polluted, less air circulating, area was hmm . . a challenge to say the least. I was struggling after a quick game of 3-on-3. I switched to volleyball which ended up being less difficult and was a lot of fun.
So then we were off for our first dinner out in Santa Fe. We decided to check out a saloon called Papa Bill's. There were about 18 of us and this is my first dinner in a Mexican restaurant in Mexico. The food was alright. It was great to just relax with the newfound friends and sit back and eat. I drank Fresca, similar to sprite. Good times. This was the real tourist experience with me trying to speak with my limited espanol. Fortunately, I had some nice people nearby who helped with ordering.
Book to check out: Silent Spring, Rachel Carson, 1962
Day Three (Thursday May 31)
Our first lab day. We ran experiments made by Ken Doxsee and others from the University of Oregon. Afterwards I checked out the mall with some of the others. I bought a Cumbia cd that the guy at the store told me was a popular buy amongst Mexicans. I went around the store asking the sales clerks (Te gusta? (Do you like) and pointing to the cd). Back at the hotel there was a pool party. The water was way too cold, and the air for that matter. I think maybe about 4 people jumped in . . .and out. I will always remember trying to play music off someone's laptop and it just not being loud enough.
Day Four (Friday June 1)
More lectures. The memorable part of the school day was probably being assigned our case studies. So we were broken up into 3 groups (A,B,C) and given a problem statement. There was more information in our packet. Basically, a company that makes diapers has the product manufactured by a third-party. They use all natural products but the company discontinues the natural product and makes products using other synthetic products. Customers find out about this and are pretty upset with the company. The company has three choices - they can A) Stop selling the new stuff and wait until a new formulation comes in, which leaves the supermarket shelves empty for some time B) Sell the rest of the new stuff and wait for the formulation, which leaves the shelves empty for slightly less time C) Sell what they have and order more until the new formulaton comes. I was in group A so we had to defend that point. This was actually a real problem and we were to come up with a sales pitch to give to the "CEO's" on Monday. We didn't have much time but we pooled our ideas together and began to work.
Jorge Vanegas from Texas A&M University spoke to us about sustainability and the built environment. He's a very good speaker. Mainly he talked about how we have to build a sustainable environment. We can continue to go the way we are going but it will not be helpful if we are using all of our resources and there is nothing left to build with 20 years from now. We as a society (America, Western Philosophy, The Earth) are used to certain things that are not all that sustainable. We want to get from point A to point B. Does that mean that we all have to drive SUVs with 1 passenger 30 miles from where we live? No! We have to think in terms of means that will last. We are living a "lifestyle of excessive consumption" (Vanegas). It's about using safer materials, renewable and efficient energy, products/systems designed for value recovery, thinking across all design principles. It's about increasing technology without increasing the demand on the environment and our natural resources. It's about using our natural resources in such a way that they can be used again.
We followed with the first poster session of students presenting their work. We ended up at Papa Bill's again for dinner. This time we were upstairs. We ate and then started dancing in the tiniest of spaces. By the end of the night we were doing a congo line around the top floor. I lie to you not!! It was awesome. And everyone is really friendly so we even had some strangers join us.
Book to check out: Crade to Cradle
Day Five (Saturday June 2)
Wow. Up early on a Saturday. Yup. That's what was probably going through everyone's head. Today was similar to yesterday - heard more about sustainability and the built environment. All day long. Then we had the second poster session. We went out for dinner again, but things were different. The restaurant we were headed to was closed because it was late on a Saturday. Boo! So we ended up at Papa Bill's. Again. It was fun. I hadn't been feeling all that great all day Saturday but I was determined to feel better in time for Sunday when we went to the pyramids. And you know me. I ended up dancing. Just a smidge. :)
Day Six (Sunday June 3)
Sightseeing - Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Pyramids. We visited the beautiful cathedrals first (at Guadalupe). It was just amazing to see such a large turnout for mass. They had about 3 Churches in the central location and a vast garden and masses running probably by the hour. I could never do it justice to describe the history so please check it out on google or wikipedia or such. Outside in Guadalupe are tons and tons of merchants trying to sell their stuff. I did buy a purse for 10 pesos - a very nice looking purse I might add. It was neat being down there - kinda like haggling on the streets of NYC. They provided us with lunch where I tasted cactus - it was ok. Nothing to brag about but it was ok.
The next stop were the pyramids of Teotihuacan. Now these were beautiful. The people of Teotihuacan lived before the time of the Inca's and the Mayans. The Sun Pyramid is about 246 ft high, making one of the top three pyramids in the world! The Moon Pyramid is slightly smaller, but still amazing to look at. I climbed to the top of the Sun Pyramid - it probably took me less than an hour with the breaks. It was tough climbing - probably because I'm afraid of heights and the steps were pretty narrow or steep, but it's one of those things you have to do while you are there. Some of the flights did not have a railing so I was focusing on the step ahead of me so that I didn't get disoriented and plummit to an unhappy and rocky falling.
So it was an awesome day seeing the sights in mexico. We went back on the bus where I grabbed a quick nap and then back to the hotel.
Day Seven (Monday June 4)
Presentation of the case studies. Group C won. I really liked Group B who had a spanish interpretor - really good idea for the varied language audience.
Day Eight (Tuesday June 5)
Day Nine (Wednesday June 6)
Freida Kahlo Museum
Day Ten (Thursday June 7)
And Inconvienent Truth
Day Eleven (Friday June 8)
Party in Coayaocan at La Bipolar.
Day Twelve (Saturday June 9)
Farewell dinner. Very sad. It was hard to say goodbye to friends that we had made in only two weeks. It is amazing how close you can get to other people. I will never forget this experience.
Day Thirteen (Sunday June 10)
I had a great time at this conference. What I have written here is only a fraction of the things that happened. I can not even dream of capturing everything. Besides the fun and making new friends I really did get to open my eyes in another area of science; an area that we need to be more focused on. Contrary to Western societies fews, and even Darwinism, it should not be survival of the fittest. We do not live in a bubble. We have to think of others when we are doing things - from the car we drive to the chemicals we use. If we pollute the water because we are not drinking it, it will eventually hurt someone else and that will affect us. Droughts in other countries affect us. Loss of ozone affects us. It's not all about money and immediate change. We have to leave something for the future generations. We can not CHOOSE to be that selfish. It's about sustainability. Now and later.
Sunday, April 08, 2007
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
So I'm cutting a pineapple and realized how well it illustrates life. Have you ever cut a pineapple? I mean with your bare hands? You look at it and sure, it has those palm-like leaves, but it's really not all that pretty. And after you figure out where to start, the job just gets harder; more than what you bargained for. But you keep chipping away because you know the ends justifies the means. And if you were to judge the pineapple by it's appearance - you probably wouldn't think it's worth your time. It doesn't look delicious. It looks worn, like it needs work, like it's not perfect just the way it is. And if you were any ordinary person, you wouldn't notice the pebble covered with dirt. It takes a trained eye to realize that these "pebbles" are sometimes diamonds in disguise. So I peeled it and I still had to get those eyelets out. And I'm ready to call it quits - all this work, for what? For some delictable yumminess? Or so they say. Does my memory serve me for it tasting all that great? As the rough skin is scratching my hands as I cut it and I'm getting frustrated I'm almost forgetting the reason why I bought the pineapple in the first place - because I know it's supposed to taste good. And it smells good, so there is this purpose to continuing. It's just that, well, sometimes we get to this wall and we forget all of our momentum for running and we just slow down and get frustrated that we can't jump or climb over the wall. See the thing with the pineapple, or with life, is that we don't always know our ultimate purpose or sometimes we forget what we were supposed to be doing while we got caught doing the grunt work. But let me tell you. When I FINALLY bit into that delicious sweetness . . . it was all worth it. And I forgot how much I hadn't want to do it.Who would have thought? Now I just have to find the metaphor for the mango . . . :)
Sunday, March 04, 2007
He started out reading Mark 8:22-26 (NIV):
They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man's eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, "Do you see anything?" He looked up and said, "I see people; they look like trees walking around." Once more Jesus put his hands on the man's eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. Jesus sent him him, saying, "Don't go into the village."
The lesson we are learning today is that sometimes God does things through you or in your presence to show YOU something and not the other person. If you look at the pre-text before the quoted verses you will see that Jesus had already fed 5000 with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish, then fed 4000 with 7 loaves of bread, and performed other miracles in front of the disciples. Then they crossed some water in a boat and the disciples forgot to bring the bread. In fact, they forgot a lot of what they had seen, as though Jesus did not perform any miracles. Jesus is a little frustrated/disappointed by this behavior. He asks them in verse 21 "Do you still not understand?"
So Jesus is ministering and healing the blind man but he is sending a message to the disciples. Let's look closely at what the blind man said. When Jesus touched him the first time he said he saw people walking as trees. Now he's being honest. We all know that people look very different than trees. The point of the matter is that he was still blurry, not completely clear in vision. In between blindness and clearness is blurriness. Jesus touched him again and asked him what he saw. The text says he saw perfectly clear. Had we been in the situation what would we have done? Would we have tried to insert logic because we know that people can't look like trees and not want to sound foolish? Would we have just said that we see people? Period, no further explanation? God wants us to be honest with him, because sometimes we settle for blurriness. Instead of confessing the truth, we take the ok as good enough. Stick throgh the blurriness until you get the clarity. And He knows that we are blurry because we keep bumping into stuff. He was sending a message to the disciples that he's going to keep touching them until they see clearly. Think about it: no matter what you do, He's not going to discard you because you can't see clearly. He didn't think of the blind man as ungrateful for being honest. He asked him a question and because he was honest to answer it the blind man could get the help that he needed.
It's like when you go to the eye doctor and he tests your right eye. And you know the chart says EZBTM. So when you get to your left eye whether or not you can actually see the same letters, you just might recite what you remember so that you won't look like you have bad vision. And sometimes we get help - the doctor may know that you don't want to appear foolish and so he changes the chart FOR you so to help you with your honesty. Jesus will put us through similar tests and tribulations to help us be honest with him. It may be the reason that you just got out of a relationship and don't have a new relationship. If your vision is still blurry, why would He want to give you something new to mess up? Or if you just quit your job, why would He give you a new job when you still want to go postal on the old job? Sometimes you need to clear up your blurriness right where you are before you move on. Because if you travel with your blurriness, not only will you bump into things but you will preach your blurry messages to others. And when you are all blurry no one knows which direction to go. So let Him flip that chart for you.
Growth is not about seeing something new. Sometimes growth is seeing new something you already saw. When you look at something with blurry eyes and then with clear eyes it just may look different. God may not move the devil out of your way because when youa re blurry you may be intimidated by the devil. Maybe he wants your vision to clear up to the point where you can tell the devil to move out of your way yourself. With blurry vision - "you ain't what you used to be even if you ain't what you ought to be" (Curtis). You have to stick it out with your blurry vision - knowing that if you stick with God, eventually things will become clear. Everything in Christ doesn't become perfect for you immediately. There is this misconception that Christians don't have any problems or live a perfectly happy life. You will at times be blurry, but so is everyone else. And once you are clear don't go around judging the blurry ones as if you've never been like that. Rather, help and pray for them that they can get clarity too.
So after this Jesus asked the disciples: who do others think that I am. They answer John the Baptist, Elijah, another disciple. Jesus then asks: and who do you think that I am? And Peter answers "the Christ." Finally, the disciples see with cleared vision.
So the take home message is this: Be honest with God. Be honest with yourself. If you think of things as they SHOULD be and not as they actually ARE then you are not going to get the help you need. But if you pray with an honest heart to fix the things that you need, to repair your blurry vision, then you are one step closer to seeing clearly.
Mount Ararat's website:
Thursday, March 01, 2007
Wohoo to validation ~ estoy muy alegria.
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
If you only knew
what I've been going through
Maybe you wouldn't talk so much smack
But we only feel what we only know, and man, isn't that wack?
Tired of the game;
Tired of having to play
Dysfunctional Utopia . . .ya heard?