Native Roots

Since Bea and I are going through Dexter withdrawals when it comes to TV we have been watching all The Office episodes we have available in Netflix. We rarely watch live TV now (except for the Hawks games) since we have so much available via Netflix. I am a documentary junkie and while most people will fall to sleep during some of the ones I watch. This weekend included The Mark of Cain and one of my new guilty pleasures (the marriage of documentaries with “reality tv) 30 days.

30 Days is a great show from the dude that stuffed his face with McDonalds and brought painful memories of my years as a burger flipper. I have seen most of season 1 and I started working on season 3. My favorite show until this weekend was when a Minute Man was sent to live for 30 days with a family of Illegal immigrants. However this weekend I watched as Morgan spent 30 days in an Indian Reservation.

My involvement with Native Americans outside of some extended family and friends that have percentages of native blood but have never been in a reservation; has been limited to a professional relationship with the Pottawatomie tribe while I worked on some of their computer systems. I never made it into the reservation when I was up there, and all of the facilities I visited were “luxurious.” Everyone I worked with up there in northern Wisconsin was extremely nice and it was very interesting to see how their facial features were extremely similar to people down many in Colombia.

My ancestry is hard to track, I know there are roots of many colors in both sides of my parents. One of those sides I did not learn about until I was 12 years old when I met some of my Mom’s distant relative during a summer trip. We spent some time up in a mountain in a small coffee town and I had the chance to learn about not just how coffee grows but also how a cow makes it in to a burger. A lot of the people I met up in Wisconsin looked eerily similar to some of my not so distant relatives. It makes sense, they are also in some ways Native Americans… you know the whole continent was at one point full of them.

My other weird coincidental connection with a tribe is interestingly enough the Navajo. I have extreme astigmatism, without my glasses I have a hard time focusing on detail. One of my ophthalmologist after letting me know that my eye color is actually pretty rare (gold and olive, her words, not mine) told me that she has only seen my level of astigmatism in one population before, the Navajo. A little research (google search) showed me that in fact the Navajo have a high occurrence of astigmatism, and while some of it can be environmental it seems that it is also genetic.

Genetics is a topic for another post, interesting subject for sure that I would like to learn more about beyond what I know from reading a lot about amateur fish breeding at one point. The thing that really stuck with me from the Navajo show though was the fact that the people from the tribe are stuck in two world with two cultures. I can relate to that quite a bit. One of the ladies that taught the language actually cried at the thought that her native language is disappearing. Also interesting was their view of mother earth and how connected they are to things that to the modern world seems to simply ignore.

I don’t know if I will ever get to discover where my roots really come from genetic wise or not, but it makes me somewhat sad that I have embraced civilization and I am almost allergic to the outdoors. Being connected to the earth we live in is not such a bad thing… who knows maybe some day I will actually get into the grove of a morning run to go face the sun before I start the day.

Rite of Passage

One of my cousins’ graduated from high school this weekend. Class of 2010 seemed so far way when when I knew he was going to go to the same high school I attended and yet it is here. I graduated high school here in the US with the class of 96, back in Colombia I was supposed to graduate with the class of 93… that is a whole other post for some other day. I graduated from college in 99, so it has been at least 11 years since I have been out of school and I miss those days quite a bit.

The ceremony was pretty much the same as I had experienced during my own graduations. The only difference here was that since it was at the UIC pavilion there were food and drinks available, which meant that since I was sitting at the end of the isle I got to smell the cheese fries and nachos as people were going back to their chairs. I had a full meal before heading there from previous graduation experiences without proper meals made them seem like they lasted days instead of hours.

Graduations make me go back to school. I still want to get a masters and maybe even a PHD. I love the process of getting more knowledge and discovering how little I really know about so many different subjects. I would love to go back to drawing, get better at photography and learn to ballroom dance. If I was to be completely selfish I think that if I had all the resources in the world I might just spend the rest of my life learning.

Maybe the time is getting closer to make the switch from the corporate world and become a teacher. The easy transition would be to get into the field of technical training. I miss the classroom environment and sharing knowledge is the only thing more fun about education than actually learning.

As we get older there are less and less rites, I guess what most people call a midlife crisis is one of them. I might be getting close to one even though I am not near 40 (is 30 the new 40?). All I know is that change is inevitable and I as much as I want to get comfortable with a straight 9-5 being a teacher would be a lot more fun. I dish out this piece of advice quite often… if you love what you do for a living it will never feel like work… maybe it is time for me to take my own advice.

What a Week!

We had planned to be heading down to KC today or tomorrow to make a friends graduation. We are really sad that we could not make it but sometimes you just got to take care of things that you did not know were going to pop up.

The appliance Dexter came and mercefully dispossed of two of our appliances. The dish washer seemed super new but it stopped working and we deal with it for a bit. The new one is going to be delivered today which kind of put a little strain on our travel plans but we were still wanting to do it, then the fridge kicked the bucket. Thankfully both of them are going to be replaced today and should already be on the same truck heading this way.

I have been writing lots but not finishing much. My posts seem to go into three directions and until I have the chance to maybe separate them and expand on those ideas I am going to just keep my draft count getting fatter. Work is still super crazy and busy, but there is some help coming and having good bosses is a huge plus. I am still probably still spending too many hours glued to the laptop. Today though we should be heading to see Iron Man 2 and probably a nice dinner if the delivery is on time.

We do owe Kansas City a visit and should be taking care of that soon, we miss you guys and cannot wait for the people that are coming up this summer! The weather is getting better each day and Chicago is looking awesome with green all around!

Remembering Mi Abuelito

My Grandpa was a very special person in my life. I have a great family and awesome friends, but the one person that always believed in me and encoraged me was him. He is probably the person that I will always consider my mentor and the thanks I have to give him will have to wait for heaven. On a phone call with my Dad sometime last week he reminded me that it was four years ago when we lost him. In a weird way the death of his father brought us a little closer because we both admired him from different perspectives but for the same reasons.

I have spent most of the time since thinking about him a lot. I have always wanted to write about him and some of the life lessons he shared with me. He had the most wonderful stories about his childhood and was a great story teller. Last time I saw him I asked him to write some of that stuff down so we could share it with the future generations in our family. I do hope my niece and nephew get to hear about him from my sister and I, but I know that it will not compare with having met him and spent time with him.

Most people search their whole life trying to find someone that will back them up no matter what, a partner in crime… I was lucky enough to be born and have him waiting for me. I now have my wife to be my other half, and honestly one of the reasons I am so in love with her is that she has backed me up even when it was uncertain or scary when we were taking a step. It takes a lot of love to have faith in someone. I wish she would have met the person that first showed me what unconditional love looked like. I miss you abuelito, I miss you a lot.

A little help from my friends

So, it seems like this week I got asked to provide a little help and I am more than happy.

First a friend of a friend is am pursuing a doctorate degree in Adult Education at the University of Georgia and needs professionals to answer a survey. Simple rules are, you have to wor for the man, but not be the man. It is about mentoring and promotions so lend Mr. Chase Westray some minutes of your day and instead of herding sheep online or whatever it is you do in farmville, answer this simple survey.

My research area of interest is mentoring. I am writing to request your voluntary participation in an online survey; the data obtained from this survey will be used to complete my dissertation research. The research will identify the role of Human Resource Development activities, like mentoring, in career development. This survey also requests basic demographic information such as age, gender, racial/ethnic group membership about you and your mentor. Please be assured that none of this information will be used to identify you as an individual; rather it will be used to group you with other participants like you, in order to understand unique group experiences. These data will be used to complete my dissertation research. Completing this survey should take no more than 10 minutes. You may skip any questions that you do not feel comfortable responding to.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/L5WFC7D

Next and just as important its about giving a little piece of yourself. About a month ago when I donated blood I also did the whole DNA swab thing and joined the National Marrow Registry. This week they sent me an e-mail letting me know that they are starting a campain including Mr Shazam. Watch the Video, put it on your Facebook and maybe even sign up. t does not hurt, and if you are a match hey don’t need to use the big needle…only some extreme cases, most of the time just blood works… so learn more, be informed and look and link the video.

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