Thanksgiving 2015

While it is very strange when you have grown up all your life surrounded by the tradition of a Thanksgiving meal, and snow, (ugh!) and then not – you realize one distinct thing.

Thanksgiving is not just food and football (WHAT?) but you look around and you realize –

you are constantly surrounded by people who have helped you create a life – that is full of friends, laughter, tears, and getting through life and making it even better.

I have the gift of always being able to be picked up thanks to the students, friends, family, places, memories, and events that do just that.

You can travel to the far reaches of th world for a different experience, but you’d still realize, without the health, positive vibes needed when most needed, silliness, and chance to be able to do all of the above, life loses its meaning.

You also realize life is full of opportunities to complain and gripe, but even more full of chances to better someone else’s life along the way – and heck, yours too.

I hope everyone of you out there has an amazing Thanksgiving celebrating it in your own way, as well as realizing, how lucky you are to have the chance to reflect on all the things that get you through the roughest of times, as well as the best of times.

There always is a controversy of saying Merry Christmas and having the word Christ in the word, can you imagine that being the case with Thanks in Thanksgiving? I hope you have a GREAT Thanksgiving, get some of the traditional football game in, as well as having a chance to thank those around you for your life up to this point :)

Hopefully you’ll grab a meal that will remind you of all this, whether it is turkey or otherwise :)

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Journeys Easing Your Total Being…

Patzcuaro. (Check out #10 at that link).

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Maybe next to Xochimilco, the hardest most difficult spelling for me, NO IDEA WHY. I knew from a coworker who lives there, how difficult the chance to reserve a spot here for Day of the Dead was, is, and will be. So when Peter WIncker’s Azteca Travels offered this, I JUMPED. I was EXCITED, what a better place to try a different take on Day of the Dead? (I really didn’t know!)

The whole trip – I could go on and on and on – but yes, worth every single photo snapping, culture immersing, archaeological- soaking – venture was WORTH IT! So much excitement approaching the Island of Janitzio, at night was was like a movie, it was amazing. I volunteered to sit in the back of the van, the ONLY thing, I really don;t want to ever do that again, EVER. ;) The trip was one more reason why Mexico is just – AMAZING – from the hotel Mision, finding a bar/restaurant late at night one night, stacked full with motorcyclists and finding out through conversation with the owner he just inherited this – inviting us back and just taking in the magic of hospitality, friendliness, and festivity among traditions – there was NOTHING like it.

I have to note, Sophia, the daughter fo one of the trip attendees was also amazing, she is in Middle School but give her a camera and wow. That was as much fun as anything seeing her talent bloom in such a place as well.

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Today, November 23rd, I find myself on my way to Puerto Escondido, the FiRST time in five years I have been to a beach in Mexico – I know go ahead, get the “No WAY’S” out of the way, but yeah, I am excited as you can imagine. Just as I see a bit of Mexico in every restaurant I take in, I also see a reason why things are time they way they do, and I see a bit of myself in the places and time I choose to visit. Some I discover as I go, but overall, Mexico has been a magical place of constantly rediscovering myself and other, and that probably is the truest gift I could ever desire.

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Forums for Growth

Looking back to an event everyone on Repentino. was excited about – the November 5th Open Mic, the first time held at a restaurant – an open air restaurant – in Roma Norte – of course we were nervous. Strip away all the amazing talent, the extensive planning, and the fact that it is an Open Mic and exciting in itself – and you are left with an experience that redefines itself, and I find my self learning something every single time.


Maybe it is the fact that November is National Novel Month (NANO) and I am embroiled in events up to my neck and I am reaching a state of euphoria? Actually, I think NANO and Open Mic go hand in hand. This is my reasoning.

While it looks like, and sounds like maybe a talent show, there is more than meets the eye. The same with NANO. BOTH are opportunities to take what you have learned in a traditional educational setting and apply them in a real world situation. There is no greater gift, no greater opportunity to learn, then to work outside of the classroom sometimes as well. both give you the time to do so. I have been lucky enough to see bona-fide – determined writers come into an Open Mic and leave their graduating year with the talents of choreography and dancing, never once having been on their mind in the beginning. They were inspired to extend themselves. Confidence, nervousness, and experimentation go hand in hand. The certainly do so at Open Mic, and testing the limits of discipline and creativity are at every turn.

So you mean to tell me NANO offers the same thing? There is no stage, there are no mics, there are no Tech Clubs and planners, organizers, admin and parents to support this. Well, you’d be wrong to think otherwise. The stage is the notebook or laptop used to record the thoughts, experiences, photographs taken, th adventures not yet ventured and still, BEHIND that layer, it is a month truly of total abandon. People rediscover what makes them alive, what makes them THEM when they furiously sprint through words that in th beginning they have NO IDEA WHERE they are headed. The virtual writing prompts allow them to experiment with ideas, not their own but that become their own by the end. The forums connect them with people all over the WORLD that share ideas, creativity, and possibility. The injection of the experiences in and out of the classroom,all right there.

You realize many things as well. If you are in a line of work that allows you to take part in these experiences, you also realize you have a job that allows you to rediscover yourself. The misconception is that a) You need to have a job where you receive the highest position the highest pay, the most lucrative location — (false) and that B) Events like Open Mic and NANO are entertainment, are completely set aside for recreation (once again, false).   Once you run through such an event, you realize, that is a small, small portion of it, but the larger aspect of that is being given time to find out a little more about yourself, rediscover your past, and celebrating the things that have happened in a variety of ways. These two venues for sure allow you to do this. What better way to truly be happy than to have the TIME to do so? For the first 10 years of teaching I never had the chance to sit down, (or stand up) and actually practice something I wrote, read, or created and present it to a larger group of individuals.

Once I did this, I found wow, my time, the time I need to reflect on things that have occurred and that mean something to me? That us just as valuable as the time I am in the “workshop” of the classroom creating new possibilities. I value the things i have been able to achieve in the last few years but that is such a half truth. The I have achieved is not even remotely possible without those around me, than enabled me to have those culminating moments. Those I speak of ? Admin that support the activities that allow individuals to grow, the participants that take a risk to put themselves  out there, the educators that get as excited as the participants and push individuals every day to take risks and think outside of the box. The enables of such programs that show education and learning is a “messy” experience, one that is not restricted to lectures and motions, but actions. The mentors that continue to support al of the above, usually in the line of colleagues, peers, business owners, parents, and so many, many more.

NANO and Open Mic? Both successes, and all you need is the support of those around you, the creativity and experiences in a life, and NOT the need to be creative, you have that already in your life, all you need is to dig down a bit and deep. You’ll  surprised what comes out and is rediscovered that you become oh so thankful for!

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A Man walks into a Grocery store…

…that’s right – not a bar, a grocery store. Here is a great story for ya!
So I am in Sumesa, getting ready for a Thanksgiving dinner, making Peach Cobbler – still in my ASF shirt but trying to get the ingredients prepared for the next day meal – and a guy walks up to me.

“You still work at the American School?” Startled, I thought, well, okay my shirt. I looked at him and he looked SO familiar. I found out why. When I first came to Mexico City, literally like the first month, an awesome massage therapist here, Screen Shot 2015-11-21 at 7.50.20 AMMark Bazzell,

Screen Shot 2015-11-21 at 7.50.36 AMtook me in and took me to places he knew I could get furniture for my apartment. One was a location in Roma Norte, a PACKED building full of furniture up to the hilt, used, by treasures (no longer there I asked!). This man was the man in the building that helped me sort through the floors of all the FURNITURE!

Now get this – I no longer have my glasses, my hair is cut short, and he recognized me five years later. It made me look bad in being able to remember anything at all. WOW. In the course of conversation, he helped me with transferring the ingredients of shortening, Baking Powder (Magy from ASF already helped me with that) and a few other ingredients, while also searching for Lemon Juice in the store – ONE BOTTLE LEFT! – HECK YEAH!

I mean, how crazy and funny is this moment? A part of my past like 5 years ago, in the form of this amazing guy and now – he fishes early in the AM and brings the fresh fish to supply restaurants in the area with! WHOA! The cool adventures he now embarks on, and just the fact that we stood there in the aisle and had conversations ranging from what our Repentino. students have been doing, his change in careers, his ambitions helping build my basket with items I still had difficulties with, and really walking out with him and just conversing like we had picked up from the first day I arrived? – moments like these, with some really genuine individuals – are moments that build to the countless days and moments we should be thankful for constantly – leading to Thanksgiving.

So MUCH has happened in the last three months, and I have lagged but catch up is inevitable. Stay tuned, so many things to celebrate and Thanksgiving is the PERFECT backdrop. That pie – yeah – it was amazing because it was surrounded by some amazing people!


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Quilted, Jilted, Gilded, and Still Learning…

An amazing and beautiful night, Dizzie Gillespie and Etta James as amazing as they always can be belting into the night, and you realize, life is absolutely amazing in so many ways.

It is difficult to describe some moments, ideally everyday, if captured in pictures would remind us of how we are so incredibly lucky to have the people and experiences around us, despite the bad that comes along with it.  My attempt at a blog here was to attempt to capture information that is deemed valuable so the use of a blog can outlive it’s life, and serve to continue to help others beyond when it was created.  Yet, along the way, just as in life, I have picked up so much more.

This past week, one of the best film festivals in the world – The Mexican International Film Festival kicked off October 15th and ends today.  Last night to me was the culmination, but more on that later.  Check out what was offered that I was able to catch in between so much going on:

Last of the Elephant Men  – The beauty of nature and the horror of humans to destroy it.

Tobias  The amazing Oaxaca-based story of a young man that is determined to use his present to determine his future.

Naked War  A deeper look into what feminism is and the efforts it takes to bring truer actions out from others – powerful.

Twelfth Man – Being on the other side of the soccer lines – awesome.

Ausencias   – The start of this film takes your breath away and then reaches into your soul and sits awhile – and then leaves you with so many emotions, you are speechless.

Chau, Beyond the Lines – Heartwrenching yet eye opening for each of us to make a difference in the world and when we think we are, there is so much more that can be done.

Memin: Cronica de un boxeador  LOVE the words and comments – and inspiration this AmazIng Mexican trophy winning boxer documents.

The Invisibles     So true, we often get used to seeing the homeless and this unique depiction of individuals that need our hope inspired me in seeing this video of an genuine man – homeless, receiving a $1000.00 lottery ticket – Screen Shot 2015-10-25 at 8.05.06 PMand he just broke down with amazement it touches you to your soul.  Check my Facebook page and scroll down a bit, it is SO WORTH THE view.



Act, Way, and Wind  – This compilation of mashed videos and montage music and images  100 different meanings an interpretations result.

Then Then Then   Amazing look at various protects and a call to awaken to civic responsiblity of the past and the future.

Tijuana Strangers   The gritty reality of live on the streets and how one individual can make a difference.

La derrota – Wow – I was taken back in seeing how hard it was to get the losing fighter out, I need to research more about this – I know nothing.

El Sudor de la agonia it is so easy to look past the reality of a country’s needs – if it were not for these type of experiences, we would go through life unflinching to those in need around us.

Amy – WOW – I mean in Parque Mexico, a beautiful sky, a beautiful night, and a story that  CAPTIVATES you and truly, heart-breaking.  I looked up at the sky, and was amazed at the beauty of the night, and being able to witness this looking the full life of Amy Winehouse and HATED the fact I watched her perform live only the last few years of her life.

Her voice is like no other kind for her age, her spirit and energy as she flipped through and was excited about Jazz records – then calling her friends and saying “You’ve GOT to listen to this one!” That was the Amy Winehouse that went on to put chills UP AND DOWN your spine when you hear the words, tones, and what she was capable of – we are very rarely to hear the likes of Etta James and Natalie Cole among us and for sure, from the album she recorded with Tony Bennett to seeing the thrill she had when she put herself into her grief and then through her singing – her mournful story and what she left behind us was felt by everyone of the hundreds that were there Saturday night, it was an experience that is once in a lifetime, and it was certainly something that changes how you feel about many things.  Sounds silly, its music right?  But there was so much more in the layers that were unveiled – an amazing night.

Screen Shot 2015-10-25 at 8.20.20 PMCan you believe it?  Aside from the five awards the 2014-2105  staff has obtained for a fourth Repentino. it is SO exciting, SO EXCITING to see a young staff come into their own building on what has been created from previous years.  Without realization, each year keeps becoming successful because of the know how and learning of the year before and even though many staff don’t know everything that has been done the year before necessarily, they rely on the energy and creativity of the staff before them to continue this belief in spreading that creativity to the communities around them.  I am so excited for the Repentino. staff and the hard work they have put for this event and am excited to be getting this streamed live – so much excitement for them that this will be a landmark moment for them, – I can’t put into words how much I love them and am proud of them  :)

I have three more amazingly important topics that have touched deep thanks to topics that those around me have brought up, so I am going to focus on those for the next blog, they are that important – in the meantime hearing All I Can Do Is Cry by Etta James and At Last brings an night of cool air, on a rooftop in Mexico, on a night full of thanks for nights like this when so many near tragedies occur around us, I am truly thankful for having the moments to reflect and appreciate all around us.  Add in Lady Be Good by Dizzie Gillespie – again – no words!

Quilted, Jilted, Gilded, and Still Learning?   Amazing how life experiences are like a quilt, sewn together and definitely connected when you have some amazing people to talk about these experiences and exchange the reactions to events that occur around us – Jilted, as is true, so many people get jilted and ask, “Why Me?” instead of – “What can I do to make this a positive situation for me and other around me?” (I am majorly guilty of this)  – Still learning?  I realize I have so much of that to do.  Amazing what a simple Amy Winehouse movie can do, but her life – just no words I can put to describe what I felt after that view.



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October and November, Cornucopia of Experiences All Around.

It’s that time of year!   Yes, it is Fall, yes, Day of the Dead Celebrations, yes National Novel Writing Month in November,  but  YES!  – Mexico’s International Film Festival is BACK!

Last year – pretty incredible and this year’s looks to be great too.  Starting the 15th of October, I only started attending tonight, and love that there are 10 different places to view the documentaries!

Seeing the first film in Parque Rio de Janeiro tonight, titled, Duda razonable.  El case de Florence Cassez, wow.  The basic info is of course listed on Wikipedia, but seeing Florence Cassez in France now, seeing the footage from a staged arrest that wasn’t really the actual thing, (that scares me ALOT that the press and police allowed a “staged” arrest to occur), on top of the eyewitnesses and victims of el secuestro (kidnappings) stated it was her, and Florence Cassez denying it, back and forth, hearing the judges, hearing the attorneys, as well as the government, police in on so many angles, your head swims.  This reminds me of the Amanda Knox incident with extrdition and two countries at odds.  It is amazing though, with international film festivals, especially those of documentaries, you don’t realize what events even occurred, eye opening is an understatement.  This is only one of many that will dazzle.  How lucky are we to have such a festival in our back yards?

This year I find myself in Patzcuaro, and I have heard this is THE place to be to experience Day of the Dead – very excited.  I always am amazed at the long list of practices, beliefs, and background, as well as the similiarities, and differences this celebration carries.  All part of the magic of enjoying the culture of Mexico and having amazing experiences in the United States with haunted houses, fall pumpkin patches, and more.

National Novel Writing Month is kicking into gear, and becoming even more exciting.  We have students who are represented on Amazon from their novels, teachers finishing their novels, and students from kindergarten in summer school gearing up to finish their stories, and just received its to reward those that meet their goals in writing, it is exciting to have the Upper School Library and Repentino. pair up to find the exciting parts of writing, more than just numbers.

Add to that the breakfast we have on October 30th in the student lounge in the Upper School first floor lounge to celebrate participants, October is definitely full and that is not mentioning it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Global Dignity Day Wednesday and tons more!

There is much ugliness in the world, we see and hear that every day.  Yet, the numbers of people who have a good heart, have access to social media that can chnge the feelings of despair, isolation, and helplessness is great, so hopefuly you can see the exciting events happening around you, and incortporate some time into adding a small, or large, aspect of how you can make a difference not only on Wednesday, but for weeks leading up to what we are thankful for on Thanksgiving!

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Ramblings of a Mexican Nature

Just when you think you have an area, a neighborhood, a country defined, it seems to me the perfect place to live is a place that constantly keeps you surprised and interested. Currently, I am intrigued with the people and beautiful situations I find myself within at Mexico City.

Taking in a variety of baseball games this Friday was a luxury in itself. Looking back over a week of struggling, working, and putting in hours to achieve what seemed to be mini goals (it felt like wading through quicksand all week!) – Friday’s simple pleasure of napping, interviewing a few artists for Repentino., (more to interview than I had time!) – napping – then simply escaping to a comfortably private nearby restaurant and viewing the baseball games coming into the World Series, this was Friday I longed for – well for ages. Yet – these simple pleasures were only the beginning.

Wanting to try out an invitingly new establishment known at La Docena in Roma Norte, I finally had my chance. After comfortably falling into relax mode, I wandered out at 10:15 PM to the nearby Oyster Grill/Bar. Immediately, I was welcomed by the manager, and we began talking about my reaction to this newly opened restaurant. Before I knew it, aside from being amazed by dish after dish of DELICIOUS and Delaware-reminding meals, without warning, I became engaged in a conversation with one of the most fascinating women I ever met. Here’s why.

I have found so many people NEEDING to be with someone everywhere they go, be it the need for a person to accompany them to the theatre, to a museum, to a restaurant, for a walk, everywhere. We talked about this anomaly (love that word) and yet discovering things on your own? Discovering people on your own unexpectedly? I admired the independence of this woman and she commented on how to her, it seemed I strode in wanting to take in everything – whether friends were with me or not. Yes we both agreed to something way more attractive than being with someone or searching out someone to be with all the time, was the fact of individuals who remain individuals, instead of trying to visibly shake off that indviduality.

I realized how exciting Mexico is and how fortunate I have been able to meet such a diverse group of friends, while being able to maintain my freedom to go anywhere I want, anytime I want, and meet extraordinary individuals who recognize the doing things on your own? – a privilege and not a stigmatism as is so applied to someone –anyone – doing something alone. What cracked me up was the perception of women, and men, who are by themselves, as she brought up, as being negative. We laughed at all the incidents where people try to cover for their embarrassment of being alone in places when in fact, they should be quite happy! True, she made my night but it is refreshing to see someone of the opposite sex dive headfirst into a conversation topic and be so passionate about it, and then go on to engage someone in how they feel and not try to agree on everything, but remain their own person – what a night.

Looking at this experience, and taking in all in the backdrop, the run for the World Series, Mexico and United States soccer tonight, and having this window of freedom, freedom to take in so incredibly much – on your own time – it is exhilarating. Every day, despite the stress many feel day to day during the work week, (still working on that one!) is a new day, new people and individuals that can lighten your load and make you feel better about each new day. Of course there is the down side that involves people you feel you are obligated to please, which feels like you are churning butter to have a inspirational conversation with, (like it’s work!) – and well, just as in life, you do much better by yourself to remove yourself from complainers, whiners, take for granted-ers, selfish seekers, and on and on and when you surround yourself with individuals that allow you to feel as if you can take on any adventure, any experience, life becomes 100 times better all over.

Relationships are funny, and tricky, and stressful, and exhilarating, and depressing, motivating, uplifting, and so much more, if I could really sit long enough, the experiences and near to death experiences I felt my heart has felt (along with others I am sure) – these scenarios still amaze me that I have come through with some amazing positive aspects at all, and some days/weeks, I certainly don’t – which makes me quite far from being close to being attractive when those days /weeks appear. Yet – the moments you truly soak in that things are going to be okay, when the conversation /ideas flow unconsciously with someone you may know or may not know at all, such experiences only add to the magic of celebrating the great things life has to offer.

It is warming to have some dynamic memories of the eastern shore waves lapping at your back as you submerge in the incoming tide, the smell of salt and the taste of boardwalk fries on your lips – the scent of pine as you corner the cross country course and feel your heartbeat and nothing else, the feel of smiling inside and outside when surrounded by students you make you so optimistic about the future, the intense feeling of happiness with just amazing people, new and familiar by your side, and just having the confidence to choose any given moment to share with others or not anyone at all – life can be absolutely amazing, and it becomes the single, individual, defining moments that linger with us and carry us through those difficult, depressing, and often hard times and weeks.

I feel very fortunate to have been allowed to delve into learning more about myself by being in Mexico City, which I felt I finally was given the gift of being able to have time to do so. To stumble across that random individual who helps bring those feelings and moments out even more – just as the slogan say, that is priceless. Moments as when I found myself in the middle of Saint Louis in 2006 when the Cardinals grabbed the World Series and I wore that very hat tonight – the feeling of being in the middle of a city that treasured such a moment – a gift.  Screen Shot 2015-10-10 at 2.32.15 AM

Finding myself in the middle of Chicago when the Black Hawks won the Stanley Cup, I just was amazed taking it all in. Sure, some of the most dynamic moments have been with sports, I always remember being whisked away in a limo as a VERY young age, seeing the Steelers surrounding the casket and mourning the Rooney family when I was in Pittsburgh and even at that young age I knew and was aware of an amazing event. This always stuck with me as what I wanted my city to reprersent, this commitment to family, the community, the people that matter in your life, this attitude of respect.  Couple these memories with the years of friends that gave me something that still remains with me, a joke, a laugh a friendship tested my hard times, and so much more, Mexico City is just the icing on a cake – of a lifetime filled with more treasure than a dragon’s lair in Lord of the Rings, (laughing).

It is amazing what can be revealed from just a relaxed, down to earth, honest conversation over an amazing meal. When I named my section of the blog, Restaurants as a Second Home, I didn’t realize the depth of how iconic every restaurant can be – how symbolic each place can be of something about Mexico or about each of us. Life is a funny thing, but everyday, worth celebrating even in the midst of so many difficult aspects that make life, rewarding.

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The Martian, Far Out but not a Disappointment In Depth!

When I saw The Martian previewed, then ordered it, and ripped through Andy Weir’s novel, I was like YEAH!  I mean YEAH!  I know it might not have been everyone’s “cup of tea” but I was hooked  – not instantly, but a slow momentum that built up into a starburst of light speed.  Many others thought so too as it won all kinds of literary awards in 2014.  The film production, by Ridley Scott, enough said –  he went leagues above what would be considered a great film.

Then, seeing a post from my buddy in New York and saying “Go See IT!” I knew what was in the space log for Sunday!!!  The thing was I was anxious when I went in knowing or wondering, what will this dreadful scene be like, I know it will happen but I DON’T WANT TO SEE IT, gripping the chair and yet wanting to see it all the time.

Was it ironic that the preview started out stating there is this instict to help others, and then later tonight, seeing the production of Everyman where we see people that are truly only self-serving, I certainly felt the Ying and Yang in one day.  I realize these kind of experiences are amazing for my soul, for exploring and reflecting on my life and wow.  Through this whole film, you are truly on the seat, in the middle, the edge, and all over.  it worked and then some, to infinity and BEYOND!

Matt Damon plays it perfectly and I felt less cocky then I felt in the novel, it was amazing to see him strong and when things went awry, it was perfect.  Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig (HYSTERICAL AND IN A SERIOUS ROLE!) , Kate Mara, Michael Peña, Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor, —– I WATCHED HIM IN THE PRODUCTION OF Everyman TONIGHT and had NO IDEA HE WOULD BE IN THIS PRODUCTION, I am SUPER FREAKED OUT!!!!!-    I walked out of the production Everyman tonight KNOWING I had seen Chiwetel Ejifor somewhere and thought SURE, 12 Years as a Slave was IT, and I had JUST SEEN HIM ON THE SCREEN – and he looked not like what I saw an hour ago – whoa it has been THAT kind of day…and Donald Glover (let me tell you Donald Glover is minimal ib the film but AMAZING just the same, and yes a good singer!) as well!  HECK Yeah, they only add to an already magnetized scenario.  I am also realizing the soundtrack to this film – WHOA –

A M A Z I N G.

The irony of seeing and feeling things never escapes me as logn as I reflect on them here.  Today was a rollercoaster of barely making thngs, last minute suprises and yet, welcome to the lead’s role in The Martian’s experience.  You feel it.  Is it ironic we are deep into mindfulness and learning to deal with one thing at a time, calmly, and sole one thing at a time, as Matt Damon as Mark Watney says at the end of this remarkable film?  I would say everythng is relative and in The Martian, you truly FEEL it.

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Everyman is Not Everyman! With Good Reason! A Night at the Lunario…

Rufus Norris is able to tap so many deep, personal, convicting resources with the production of everyman, as deep as the fear Chiwetel Ejiofor feel when he realized his life is about to change towards an ending here on earth.  If that name sounds familiar it should.  As the lead character in 12 Years a Slave Ejiofor was amazing and heartfelt, he sent chills through your soul.  He does the same on stage here but for different reasons.

It is vital to revisit the core reason we live this life, we are present in this life, and the meaning of this life.  Some find meaning in possession, worldly good, riches, money, drugs, alcohol, and spending their life full of gluttony and giving little to nothing back to those around them.  They call it living.  Yet, they often forget that living for others is a hundred times worse, a hundred degrees more difficult, and volumes deeper to struggle for existence.  Rufus Norris and takes his talents from Behind the Beautiful Forevers, is able to take Carol Duffy’s deep message and script, and reminds us from that very production as well as through this one, that life is what we make of it.  Too many times people try to make amends for gluttony and selfishness when it is too late, and Everyman, as he is called, does a superb job of showing what belongs in the world can’t be taken with us.

It is easy to take pleasure in the aspects of life that are shallow and on the surface pleasurable.  Yet, often, it is soul-searching that brings aspects of individuals to realize what is skin deep, even soul deep, is what matters more when you are alone and think about your life and it’s role among others – and as a result, how your life comes to be defined.  It is all around us, many who love the luxuries that never scratch the meaning of heart, soul, and mind, and yet these are the most precious and only realized by those that want to find and treasure those riches, opposed to the riches that can be consumed, bought, sold, and coveted.  Sound like a sermon?  So it goes in everyman and yet, the truth of how rich or how superficial one’s life can be is behind every line and scene.

Yet, I find myself leaving this production thankful for having so many things placed in front of my eyes, and ultimately, in front of my heart, and the conviction of what I want my life to be, at the end or when the end comes for me, and am grateful for this.  Some reach this understanding of their life through again, drugs, alcohol, possessions, the temporary things of life, and yet, I am lucky to have close friends that have always looked for more, the things that go skin and soul deep.  This helps me to be a better person and God (literally) knows, I have a LONG way to go to make changes.  Everyman is 100% on cue in letting you realize this through brilliant lines, modern approaches to who death is, and an even more surprising look at who God is.  Brilliant.

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Openings Meeting You Halfway – a Mini Novel Celebrating Your Hearts and Spirits.

Dear Repentino. Staffer,

6:50 AM.  On a Saturday.  Truly, your commitment to be present at a concession, on a SATURDAY, that EARLY, and even to the others who came in early today, in the middle of the day, and stayed to make sure we had a successful day and made the most of the day, making it a success – there is alot to say about the how and why, but I will try to keep it simple (a few paragraphs instead of a few pages).

I am not sure many of you just coming into the Repentino. magazine will notice since, well, you are new, but a few of the veteran staff we still have will recongize this as a fact once they hear it and then feel it.  Repentino. continully reinvents itself every year, takes on new approaches, attempts new challenges, and presents a road open to anyone willing to pave it their own way.  I feel that is what is so exciting about what the idea of Repentino. has become.

True to it’s defintion, every time Repentino. moves closer to creating new forms of assistance and programs to help others more than just publishing our magazine., but reaching out, we grow.   I hope you enjoy these moments.  An example.  As we have begun to earn money for the Bear Boosters, redefine our approaches to producing our print version, and help create scholarships that will enable students to enroll here, experiencing events that they would not normally be able to I see each of you growing.  The long hours, the extra projects, the early mornings, the late nights, all squeezed in between the challenges of letting a world know there is a publication/blog, and an Open Mic that is open to the possbilities of creativity – both here in Mexico and across the world -ALL of this means an experience that is more than simply being part of a club.

Today I saw a group of young women putting in the time, leading others to do the best job possible, and having this be one step more towards doing something amazing for others, often in moments where most people do not know we are doing these things until it occurs later in the year.  Even though you might not hear me say it immediately, the reponsibility, hard work, and hours you put in? – you make me proud every time I am lucky enough to be with you when we do these events.  The reason we have a magazine that continues to grow OUT, (covering sports, athletes that usually do not get coverage until that one crucial meet or game, exploring charities that we can help move forward, and trying to reach out to the far corners to represent authors and artists no on knows quite yet) – is because you find it within yourself to do more than the average, whether it be on a Saturday, a weekday, in isolation and not receiving praise because many do not knwo what you do, but you continue to amaze me.  You work so hard and in the process I see you appreciate so much in the work you do.

I am excited to see how you use the opportunities that come to us to reach out and benefit so many others.  Finding out that Repentino. can be a source or means to reach out to help charities, improve others’ outlook on life in gernal, as well as simply rising about what others maybe only think about doing, and doing something to change from being the normal, all of this will continue to shape your life in the future.

I was sitting on a bench today, with my three dogs, exhausted after today’s long day, and you know how it is.  People are friendly and full of energy with the weekend and usually when you, on the receivng end, are exhuasted, you find yourself full of less enthusiasm then those around you.  Still.  A couple came up and were admiring my dogs, all bubbly and positive me simply feeling, “I want to go to bed!”  Yet, they found out I had been here 5 years and I wanted to live here permanently, that I received my permanent residency the other day, and they were acting as if I hit the lottery.  Literally, you would have thought I hit the lottery they way THEY were so happy for ME.  It made me feel really, awesome – despite thinking how tired I was (I felt selfish after they were so nice).

A final example – a man sat down on the bench not 10 minutes later and was really depressesed, barely able to say hello – it was obvious this was a bad day.  Literally, in the next 35 minutes we had a conversation mostly in Spanish, ( I was like WHOA!  I can do this in SPANISH!)  – and found out, he is the head chef at a restaurant, for three- four years, and he was just upset today that he makes less than the chef before him, when he comes here from Pachuca to work every day, over 10-15 hours a day.  We talked about the philsophy that many places take the attitude well, if he/she wants to leave we will just get another person, and not appreciate the job that the worker does, or not caring enough.  He must have hit a low today and had decided to drink over this problem and realized, he actually realized, that was not the solution either. He obviously had to leave work since he was not in the right form, physically or mentally, and was so depressed about his situation of never looking as to get decent wages, and yet working in a place he loved for other reasons, for 3-4 others.  After many many moments of talking this over with him, advising him to clear his head and be up front with his boss and just tell him how he feels (he was tied to his job because he truly loved it, the people he works with, and just knowing others count on him).   He stated a few times it mattered to him how good a worker he was and yet he never jeard the words, “Good Job!” or felt he was appreicated.   He kept telling me how much it meant for me to just talk and listen to him, a complete stranager and yet, through origianlly thinking I didn’t want to talk, see, or listen to anyoe  and just go to bed, the opportunity of listening and sympathzing with someone who was hurting made my night again.

The reason I give you these examples is this – for this being my fith year, and from the beginning, the start of this idea we call Repentino, Camila de la Parra, had this vision of Repentino. becoming hard to define, yet always being something more than others can imagine and growing.

I am so so lucky to be surrounded by each of you every day, because the reason we like you on Repentino., and the reason Repentino. survives? – you believe.  No one continues to say every year, “We did it like this or that and we have to do it again like that.” Yes we do a GREAT job of looking back and seeing /using what works but for all these years, each one of you suggest and create doing something you feel is beneficial to being new, refreshing, creative and it works the majority of the time.  Because you believe.  Yes, there are those around us that simply do the minimal possible to get by, and yet you see them serve as “invisible staff”,  they linger but never really feel the power of implementing and following through the creative and hard working efforts you follow through, and have the absence of heart.

You make me feel as good as that surprising moment when you meet a stranger and hear their story, and just let it flow through you and then you respond, making you feel worthy of helping another.  This year, there will be so many opportunities to further the popularity and recognition of Repentino. through helping others and giving of yourself.  That is a good way to be represented, awards are great yes but the heart we create along the way also are priceless.  I believe that is the magic that lies in the success of Repentino. that started as six people with a dream, and now, at 46, all seeing something they see possible.  Your minds are the paths to where Repentino. can go, and that direction is exciting.

Although alot of those breakthroughs occur behind closed door, away from view, I see it just the same and see the ability you have, whether it is taking a concession and using it to further the possibilties for others to continue here at ASF, to spread to others what Repentino. is in Mexico and countries abroad, followjg the sports beat, interviewing the latest author/artist, and so much more, a part of yourself comes out in Repentino.. For those that want to strive above just being in a group by name and not action, you have created a home for many.

These initiatives you follow through and make happen will benefit you in the future when you are in that competitive world where everyone strives, climbs, and clamors for a number one spot.  You will have a major advantage above them because I am seeing first hand where your ambitions, energies, and heart goes, and can only imagaine where it will go if you strive towards directions or futures you want for yourself.

I am proud of you, and see so many examples in the students of my past,  I was lucky enought to jump on projects with that went on to be smash successes in the Naval Academy, in the classroom, in their community, on the Cross Country Course, in Key Club meetings, in the classroom, on the yearbook staff, and so many more places – their heart was in all they did and everyone arond them saw and felt it.  Each one of you are the same and that does my heart proud.  I continue to push you because I believe in the great things you will do after here, so thank you for willingly stay with me as we try to reinvent ourselves through so many directions; with you as a part of all these Repentino. moments, we will all contiunue to create a memory of challenges that will remain with us and so many others for a very long time.  I am indeed richer because of each of you  :)

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