Say Something! – !Diga Algo!

Michael announced yesterday that this week is National De-Lurker Week. It is kind of midweek now, but what the heck… Post a comment people! or use the places in the website like the Guestbook and the GuestMap.

Spanish – Español

Michael me dijo ayer que esta semana es National De-Lurker Week(Semana Nacional de sacar a los que se esconden y no dejan comentarios). Ya estamos a mitad de semana, pero no importa… Digan algo, comenten! o usen uno de los lugares en el sitio como el Guestbook (Libro de entradas) o el Mapguest. (Mapita de entradas).

Weird Habits Meme

Michael tagged me for the latest and greatest meme.

The “rules” indicate that I should add this portion of text so here you go; enjoy.

The first player of this game starts with the topic “five weird habits of yourself,” and people who get tagged need to write an entry about their five weird habits as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose the next five people to be tagged and link to their web journals. Don’t forget to leave a comment in their blog or journal that says “You have been tagged” (assuming they take comments) and tell them to read yours.

1. I consider the bathroom a library.

2. I Like to listen to the radio when I am in the shower.

3. I don’t take the same way home every single day.

4. I like to sing in the car, and when I do and there is someone in the passenger side I tend to turn away from them while I sing.

5. I have to take off my watch when I type.

Hopefull they are not too weird, for my victims I choose:

April, Nitoxxx, Kamilo and Evil_Atari

Family

One of my fondest memories of my family in Colombia and growing up was the Sunday afternoons at my Grandma’s. I have only one sister, like most of you know, but I also grew up with 2 male cousins that were like my brothers. Every Sunday our whole family gathered for lunch and then spent the afternoon laughing at jokes, telling stories and just being a family. The kids would get money once in a while to run to the corner store to buy junk food. I also spent a lot of time listening to my Grandpa. While my other cousins got bored after his first story, I would stay there and listen to everything he had to say. A lot of what I believe in life everything from education to work ethic I learned from stories my Grand Father told me.

Family structure in the United States is completely different. While some of the human interaction is also centered on meal times, everyone’s busy schedules makes these times of getting together very short and lacking of real conversations. A dinner for example, does not involve sitting down afterwards and sipping coffee while you carry on a conversation. Something that I always saw as a bad thing in Spanish culture was people dropping in unexpectedly. Your family friends will show up in the afternoon and bring some kind of pastry to share over coffee. I used to think this practice was somewhat intrusive and inopportune at times, but now I miss it. I would not mind having some of my friends show up at my door and ring the bell to spend an afternoon sharing old stories.

I think therapy is a wonderful tool to help people with their mental health and overall wellbeing. I also think that our societies need for therapy should tell us that we are losing our sense of community. Our families do not communicate in an effective manner. I blame it on our schedules that leave little or no time for conversation beyond every day life monotony.

I watched an episode of CSI last night that showed how a cult had committed mass suicide. When we all heard about Heaven’s Gate it made many question how could people do something like that. I say it is actually very simple; our society is creating people vulnerable to addiction, brain washing and unhappiness. Our society has beat up the family structure to the point that the term broken family is part of everyone’s vocabulary. We all know someone that is from a broken family or currently part of one.

Do not get me wrong, I know that even from the worst background someone can overcome and be happy, emotionally stable and have a great life. I also understand that from the best family, or what would appear from the outside to be that (tere is really no perfection when it comes to humans), someone can be unhappy. What I want to discuss is how we as a society have forgotten how to communicate with one another especially at a family level.

Every day more and more kids get their values from peers, daycares, TV, and even the Internet instead of their parents.  Morals and values seem to be something you read in an old book. In a lot of cases it is due to the fact that many Mothers have had to join the workforce instead of raising a family. While I am all for woman being equal, I believe that there is no one better equipped to raise a family than a mother. I am sure a lot of stay at home Dads do a wonderful job, but I believe that we need the old family structure do make a make comeback.

While I don’t think having a strong family will solve all the problems we have right now, I do believe it will help. I think that therapy would be provided by your family structure instead of having to pay a professional to help you. Some people do need the therapy and someone neutral to help them out, but where did we take a wrong turn and created so many enemies inside of our own “family.” I have met so many people that cannot stand their blood relatives. I also have plenty of issues with the family that I have living here in the US. It is so sad that what used to be a word that comforted me so much has lost a lot of its core meaning. I know it is not as simple as the cliché, “can we all just get along,” but that families have to learn how to get back to being the cornerstone and basic foundation of our society.

Persistence

“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “press on” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”
-Calvin Coolidge

I have met a lot of talented people in my life. I remember two friends that were so intelligent and athletically superior that they constantly amazed me. Both of them however lacked persistence. Persistence does not come easy to some people, and so situations in life can kill it. In the case of both of my friends I put some of the blame in drugs. A lot of people think that smoking a little weed is not a bad thing, but I have seen it kill persistence. I say it kills persistence rather than motivation, because the motivation might be there but the persistence is gone.

I learned a lot about persistence practicing martial arts. It is one of the best lessons I think martial arts can teach. Almost everyone can accomplish perfect form through persistence. Some of the most complicated movements became second nature after you kept going. I had always heard the term getting your second wind. Even though I did sports while I was younger I had never reached that level until I practiced martial arts. I pushed and pushed past not being able to do it anymore and it was a wonderful feeling to get that extra boost of energy.

I think we can apply that same second wind mentality to life. When we feel like we have exhausted every possible option in a situation, try to push on and perhaps the second wind is right there waiting for you. So what does the quote say to you?

Best Friends

‘Best Friend’ has been a title that I have given to a lot of people but it has seldom been reciprocated. I was very surprised when my best friend from high school back in Colombia actually called me his best friend. We have kept in contact and our paths actually crossed again back in 1998 after not seeing each other for five years. He is actually a successful singer, musician, record producer and electrical engineer back in Colombia. He actually taught me how to play the couple of chords I know how to play on the guitar. He recently started blogging and posted a 50 things about him, and I am proud that he actually mentioned me as his “mejor amigo” during high school.

I remember a lot of people that have affected my life as best friends. In one way or another they have shaped who I am with their friendship and even though some of them have not ended in the most positive of terms, I have learned from all of the relationships. My first memory of having a best friend comes from grade school. I spent 5 years with the same group of kids and my best friend was Edgar. He lived around the corner from me and was a very kind, mild mannered kid. I will always remember how gentle and friendly he was to everyone and have always wanted to reconnect with him. I do know that he got married and has a couple of kids, but not sure what he became professionally.

Around the neighborhood I had two friends that I will never forget. One was Jose Luis aka (Pocho). He was an excellent athlete and soccer player. He made me a better soccer player and taught me a lot about being street smart. I remember a lot of playing soccer and playing dominos with him and a group of friends. Pocho went on to become a doctor and I am really not sure where he lives now but I do know that he actually moved to Ecuador to go to school. The second one was Jacqueline who was the daughter of one of my Mom’s best friends and the niece of my uncle’s wife. We grew up together because our families were close but we developed our own friendship to the point that she knew more about me than any other friend. She was someone I felt I could talk to about anything and there would be no judgment. One sad thing about remembering her is that she is not with us anymore. She passed away 2 years after I moved to the United States. I visited her grave when I went to Colombia and I will always remember her.

During high school I had a group of friends that through the years became a protection clique. I was always the small one and they all took care of me in one way or another. The school that we went to was very divided into different social groups and we had tons of fun with each other. We came up with our own made up words, our own practices and just overall craziness. Julian aka (NitoXXX) was part of that group along with Javier, Diego, and Andres. Julian inspired this post, Javier is now a doctor and I believe he is now in the UK, Diego is a Psychologist working with the people displaced by the war all over Colombia and I believe Andres is a teacher still in our city.

After moving to the US I did a couple of years in High School and graduated after 4 senior years. It is a complicated thing that I will someday explain in a post. While at High School in the US I made one best friend, Luis aka (Chino) he helped me survive a very tough High School without any major incidents. I also became a part of his family during those years by being over there all the time eating tasty Puerto Rican meals that his Mom made. After Chino moved away from his parents I have not heard much from him. I have seen him over the years but at times it seems like I have seen his parents more than I have seen him after High School.

College was a blast and I met some of the people that I wanted to keep in contact with for the rest of my life. It just so happens that after college you lose touch with most of your friends. Something that I should have learned after grammar school and High School, but I partially blamed it on just moving away from Colombia. I met some great people there, some I don’t talk to anymore by choice (mine or theirs depending on various situations) and some are the people that I will have stand up for me at my wedding. Travis and Eric are two of the brightest people I have the pleasure to interact with in my life. Travis is a web developer working for a firm down in southern IL, and Eric works for a big telecom company writing software (even thought he is a hardware guru) and installing equipment to deliver digital content. I still keep on contact with them in a regular basis, but we have not seen each other as much as we would like to because of geographical distances.

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