What Next?

If you’ve taken the chance to read my last blog, “How Was Mexico,” you know that since I have been back from Mexico, I have been thinking about a more vital question instead: “What Next?” And this is what I hope to somewhat answer in this blog post.

I’d like to first start off by thanking my professor, Doctor Edna Velázquez, for making this question the theme of our journal entries and final presentation. If it wasn’t for her it’s possible that I would have completely skimmed over my study abroad in Mexico as just another great experience in life, without seriously considering it’s importance in relation to the rest of my life afterwards. Yet, because of her one question I have spent a lot of time trying to figure out how I will proactively use my experiences in Merida as a growing point for my future.

In my blog “Difficult Discussions” I talked about a few conversations I had with some of my peers and the things I learned from these discussions. The conversation about my lack of pride for being a citizen of the United States, however, has probably been the most thought-provoking. It has caused me to realize that in order to change this feeling, I must help my nation work toward a future that I can be proud of. I am happy to report that, since this realization, I have fixed my voting registration information so that I can vote in upcoming elections, including the presidential election in 2016. In the past I noticed the problem of younger generations not showing up to the polls and never really thought much of it, but now I recognize that if I want something to change in this country then I need to represent that change in the form of a vote. So now the rough part is upon me as I work toward educating myself on a variety of issues. I’m also looking for ways to become an activist for issues that don’t always rely upon a vote or aren’t on that level yet.

After reflecting on my time in Merida, I also realized that what I enjoyed the most was working with organizations that gave back to their communities. For instance, I enjoyed shadowing the members of UNASSE who educated the youth about sexuality and self-esteem, and I enjoyed working with the community group in Komchen which educated people in the neighborhood about diabetes and healthful lifestyles for people dealing with the chronic disease. This has reinforced my desire to give back to my own community. So far I have spent my time researching ways to get involved in my community and I am interested in taking part in a community council. I am also applying for a job at the LA County Counsel, which will allow me to learn about the legal side of changes occurring in my community and will hopefully give me the opportunity to eventually influence such changes if I am offered the position.

Lastly, my study abroad experience has also influenced me culturally. Being in Mexico consecutively for six weeks made me notice how little I knew about my Mexican heritage; I knew little about Mexico’s history, little about the history of Chican@s in the United States, and only a tad bit more about current Mexican-U.S. relations. This discovery made me a bit sad, but it has only made me acknowledge how important it is for me to educate myself about these areas, especially if I want to make a difference in my community which is primarily Chicana. Therefore, I am taking a class in the fall about the role of Mexican-Americans throughout U.S. history, in order to being learning more about my heritage. Also, I hope to keep on continuing my practice of the Spanish language so that I can stay more connected with the Hispanic community as a whole. Throughout my life, I have struggled to understand my roots because I lacked a connection of language between myself and the older generations. My time in Merida, however, gave me the opportunity to practice my Spanish and improve my confidence in speaking the language. I hope that being back in Los Angeles I won’t regress into relying solely on English, but will continue with the progress I have made with Spanish.

These may be just a few things that I have taken away from my adventures in Merida, but I think they will be pretty important factors in my future to come. I am grateful to have had this opportunity to learn more about myself, learn more about the country my family is from, and to gain the chance to use this study abroad experience to shape the rest of my life. I thank the Jennings Family Brave Companions Fund for providing me with the scholarship I needed to embark on this journey that will last a lifetime. And again, I thank Doctor Velázquez for asking me to think critically about my experiences in Mexico so that I ensure they last beyond a simple moment in time.

How Was Mexico?

I have been back in Los Angeles for almost 2 weeks now, and since I’ve been back I have had more than a dozen people ask me “How was Mexico?”

A fair question seeing as how I was there for six weeks. But it is a very broad question with an equally broad response. How can I just as quickly describe to people how Mexico was?

Mexico was both everything I wanted it to be and everything I had never expected it to be. Mexico was both a mirror-image of my community’s culture and nothing like I had ever experienced before. Mexico was everything at once from mosquitoes with dengue to my Señora’s secret moist doughnut recipe. It’s not something I can explain in a few seconds, but for those of you who want to know more about my experience, here is a little bit more.

But please keep in mind that I spent most of my time in the state of Yucatan, which isn’t the definition of Mexico in general. Just like in the United States, one state can’t summarize the entire nation. So in reality I can only tell you how the Yucatan (mostly Merida) was.

For a strict city girl from LA, Merida had a lot of wildlife and the humidity really brought out the bugs. But with a beautiful product known as Andontol, a cream for sunburns and bug bites, and bug spray (Eucalyptus is a great natural alternative that also has a healing affect.), you can avoid most of the bugs and solve most bites (even if you’re allergic to mosquitoes like myself). But also for a LA city girl, the Yucatan had a lot of natural wonders that you can’t get in most places. Above all, I have to point to the cenotes, natural pits/sinkholes of water. The cenotes I visited were my favorite natural setting that I was introduced to in all of Mexico. And if you’d like to take advantage of visiting some cenotes, which were just recently opened to the public, and you happen to be in the Yucatan, then I would definitely suggest scheduling a visit with Los 7 Cenotes. (Click here to find Los 7 Cenotes on FB; username Los 7 Cenotes.) They gave us an amazing experience when we went with them and we had the chance to see all three types of cenotes: completely closed, half-closed/half-open, and completely open. It’s an experience you won’t regret, especially if you’ve never had the joy of seeing (and jumping into) a cenote before. (Please try and refrain from wearing bug repellent and sunscreen into the cenotes if you can avoid it though. This helps to keep the natural waters clear and clean for future visitors!)

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Since I participated in the Studies in Global Health program, it comes as little surprise that a lot of things I noticed in Merida dealt with healthcare. I thought it was amazing to see the various healthcare initiatives that were being implemented in the community. In addition to the efforts of UNASSE, there was a group that met with people (mostly women) in the community of Komchen to provide much needed (and free) educational lessons about living with diabetes and building a healthier lifestyle. In my opinion this was a great advancement to have witnessed in Merida, since the city (and Mexico in general) suffers from high rates of diabetes. But Merida still has a lot of work to do in the realm of public healthcare. For instance, the lack of a public sewage system and un-kept sidewalks made for bad walking conditions, especially in the rain, for the poorer population in the community who couldn’t afford the upkeep of a car. And the public transportation system didn’t seem much better as the buses were often un-kept and seemed to be in need of repairs.

Culturally, Merida was very much like growing up in East Los Angeles. I was excited to see familiar foods/drinks like al pastor (spit-grilled pork) and horchata (rice milk), but it was also exciting to try new dishes like pollo pibil (chicken with Achiote spice, which is oven-baked wrapped in banana leaves) and cochinita (slow-roasted pork). The marketplace was also very similar to walking through El Mercadito in Boyle Heights, where you can buy practically anything and everything from traditional clothing to piñatas. Overall, however, there were many differences in the Yucatecan culture and my experiences in the United States. Luckily I grew up in a time period where it was acceptable in my Mexican-American community to wear shorts and tank tops, but in Merida I had to respect the custom of wearing pants everyday, even in ninety degree weather. It wasn’t always easy, but it really did keep the mosquitoes away.

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Overall I really enjoyed my experience in Merida, and I can’t thank the Jennings Brave Companions Fund for providing me with the scholarship that made my whole trip possible. But there is one question that is more important to ask than “How was Mexico?” Instead people should be challenging me with the question that my professor, Dr. Velázquez, asked me to answer for my final presentation, “What next?”

And I will gladly answer that question in a follow-up blog so say tuned!

A Week with UNASSE

Up until now I actually haven’t mentioned much about the study abroad program I took part in. A bit silly huh? Well now is time to explain a bit about the program.

For six weeks I participated in Central College Abroad’s Studies in Global Health program in Merida, Mexico. For the first four weeks I took two classes (“Health in the Yucatan” and “Spanish for Health Professionals”) and visited various hospital, clinic, and health program sites. During the last two weeks I was able to live in a home-stay with a local Señora and I shadowed various healthcare professionals throughout their daily tasks.

So it was during the shadowing part of the study abroad experience that I was able to work with UNASSE (Unidad de Atención Sicológica, Sexólogica y Educativa para el Crecimiento Personal) for one amazing week. (In English this translates to something close to Attention Unit for Psychology, Sexology, and Education for Personal Growth.

Throughout the week I shadowed UNASSE, the organization visited a primary school called Pedro Pablo Echeverria to teach the fifth and sixth grade classes about self-image and self-esteem. The students already knew the organization because the UNASSE members had visited the school to provide sexual education to these same classes the previous fall. For the sixth graders this was even review, since UNASSE had had the opportunity to work with these students as fifth graders the year before. From an outsiders perspective, it seemed like a good idea to have set up a foundation of trust like this, between the UNASSE members and the students, because the students seemed more comfortable in sharing their opinions and viewpoints when discussing these difficult topics.

Each day the schedule was the same. First the students and UNASSE members introduced themselves and named a celebrity that they liked. Then the UNASSE members would discuss the importance of responsible internet usage, using the recent trend in internet challenges as an example of potentially dangerous usage. (This was a particularly interesting aspect of the lesson because it was never something that my generation was taught. It just goes to show how the technology influences lesson plans, and I am happy to report that Mexico’s education seems to be keeping up!) Next the teacher would explain the various roles that self-esteem and self-image play in people’s daily lives, which would lead into our activity.

In the activity we split the class between boys and girls, making two groups from each side. One group of girls was given the task of drawing an ideal girl and the other group of girls was given the task of drawing a typical girl. The same was done with the two boy groups: one group drew an ideal boy and the other drew a typical boy.

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Although this task was interesting to help the students with, it was difficult to watch as an adult. Assisting with this activity, however, was a valuable experience because I had the opportunity to listen to the students plan their drawings and I had the chance to try to understand their thought process. Many of the drawings of the ideal people were drawn with pale skin, blue eyes, and blonde hair — an appearance almost completely opposite of what most of the students in the classroom looked like themselves.

Along with drawing, the students also had to come up with a life story for their made-up people. Oftentimes the characters were born in foreign places, such as Spain or the United States and they always spoke English. In fact, the U.S. culture was revered so much that many of the students would rather talk to my fellow College Central Abroad peer and I than focus on their work. On the second day, the class even applauded my peer and I for being from the United States — something that made me feel a bit guilty because I felt as if they appreciated my origins more than their own simply on face-value.IMG_1689IMG_1699

After the activity, the UNASSE members talked to the students about their drawings and asked why none of their ideal drawings (and sometimes not even the typical drawings) represented themselves. On the second day one student gave a very insightful reply. She said that the things they rarely saw in their own community were seen as beautiful because they were so uncommon. The UNASSE members recognized that this is oftentimes the case, but they did explain to the children that every culture has its own beauty ideals and that they should see themselves as beautiful because they too are unique.

A week with UNASSE really helped me grow as an adult. I realized perhaps for the first time how strong of an influence the U.S. media and beauty standards have internationally. It made me realize that because of our media’s strength the United States has a responsibility to provide more representation in the media in order to provide a broader perspective of beauty standards.

Another thing that really impacted me was when some of the students told me that colored contacts were better than brown eyes because they saw their teacher use them. This made me realize how sometimes adults don’t realize what kind of impact our own actions are having on the children around us. This experience with UNASSE makes me want to be more consciously aware of my actions and ensure that I am helping the younger generations feel more comfortable in their own bodies instead of hurting their self-esteem and self-image unconsciously.

I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to work with UNASSE during my fifth week in Merida, and I am very inspired by the work they are conducting with students in the community. I truly believe their work is helping to empower the next generation, which is something that is so desperately needed at a time where media has such an impact and influence on these impressionable minds. I hope that more organizations will follow in their footsteps, both in Mexico and elsewhere internationally.

If you’re interested in learning more about UNASSE and the services they provide, like them on Facebook: UNASSE on FB (Username UNASSE A.C.).

Difficult Discussions

The thing about difficult discussions is that afterwards you always end up learning a little bit about yourself. In some cases you realize that some of your opinions are more malleable than you first thought, and in other cases you end up solidifying your stance on a subject even more than before. So even though difficult discussion are not always the ones we want to have, they are sometimes the best ones to have, especially when you’re going through a time in your life when your viewpoints and opinions are still so fresh.

To my surprise, I ended up facing a lot of these discussions throughout my time in Merida. And although it wasn’t always easy to understand the counterpoints of my fellow peers throughout these discussions, I am very grateful that I had the opportunity to discuss these issues because they taught me a little something about myself each time.

What I want to do now is talk about the three discussion that I found to be most impressionable. (And of course my obsession with lists, won’t allow me to showcase it in any other fashion so please bear with me.)

  1. FEMINISM: Actually the first discussion on this topic wasn’t a discussion at all, but it has struck me as the most important. In reality, this conversation was more like a quick fight that stemmed from another discussion, but it was rapidly put to a close by the other student’s desire not to get into a difficult discussion. (And seeing as how it was over lunch, who could blame them?) But the thing about this very quick conversation was that it went something like this: OTHER STUDENT: “Well, you’re being such a feminist.” ME: “Well I am a feminist. Is there something wrong with that?” That’s it. Two sentences. But in those two sentences, I did something that I have never done before. I finally took pride in claiming that I AM A FEMINIST. Now see, this is something that may seem weird for a woman who grew up in an all-female household, and who participated in an all women’s college-prep program known as the Scripps College Academy, but I have always been a bit ashamed of calling myself a feminist. While I have never been ashamed for the beliefs I have held as a feminist, I have been ashamed of what other people assume that I am because I am a feminist. For once, however, I was more comfortable in my beliefs than in other people’s perceptions of my beliefs. And I guess this is just a part of maturing: accepting yourself in spite of other people’s opinions. (Now I am a person who believes comedy can explain almost anything. So for those of you who may also be going through the same issue about being a feminist like I was, please watch this short video of comedian Aziz Ansari embracing feminism: Aziz Ansari on feminism. The video is 4 minutes long, but the part about feminism starts at around 1:00 and continues to around 2:40.)
  2. SAME-SEX MARRIAGE: During our time in Mexico, the Mexican government published a jurisprudential thesis, stating that defining marriage as strictly between man and woman was against the Mexican constitution. And a few days after, the Supreme Court of the United States finally legalized same-sex marriage throughout the entire nation. So needless to say, this created a lot of talk amongst the students in the program. Now the issue of same-sex marriage to me is a no-brainer; I believe sex/gender shouldn’t be a barrier to marriage. This is a belief that I stand firmly on so this discussion wasn’t something that challenged my beliefs so much as my character. This conversation in particular was a conversation that lasted about a week and a half, continuing through e-mail long after the face-to-face conversation was over. What this conversation helped me learn about myself is that there will be times in my life where I will need to end difficult discussions — an act that is difficult within itself for someone like me who wishes to avoid being rude. There reached a point in the conversation.however, where I knew I was no longer gaining anything beneficial from understanding the opposite side to the discussion; I had reached a point where I understood all that I could at the time and could not push myself further. I knew from the start that we would agree to disagree, but I hadn’t known that at some point I would need to end the conversation. Though in doing so, I tested a part of my character that I have rarely used; I admitted my limitations and was brave enough to stop a conversation that was no longer productive. Now, this isn’t to say that in the future I won’t have discussions about this topic. Afterall, with growth comes new understanding. But I realize that at this point in my life, I have understood all that I can for now about the counter-stance and I think it’s okay for people to make those limitations known.
  3. NATIONALISM: Now I don’t know if what we discussed could really be labeled as Nationalism, but it’s the closest one-word phrase I can think of. As a whole this conversation was about personal pride in being a U.S. citizen, and through this conversation I came to the realization that this is something I lack. Now again, this may seem weird, seeing as how my mother and many other members of my family are members of the U.S. military, but I have often lacked pride in knowing that I am a U.S. citizen. While I am proud of the virtues that the United States is meant to uphold (i.e. liberty and justice), I am not always proud of the actions that my nation takes (i.e. wars for natural resources and the maintenance of detention centers.) Through this conversation I also realized that I have often felt apart from the general United States community. How could I not when people continuously rage that undocumented people, such as my own grandmother, should not be in this country? How can I hold pride for a country that constantly ignores all of the great things my family members, as many other immigrant (documented and undocumented) families, have provided for it and its people? Although I always knew this is how I felt deep down, before this conversation I had never really given it much thought. And now that it has been brought to my conscious awareness I want to find a way to have pride for my country, and I think that starts with me helping to make the change I want to see in my country.

Difficult discussions like these will never go away, but I wouldn’t ever want them to. I want to thank my fellow peers who were brave enough and devoted enough to have such difficult discussions with me. And while we may not have agreed on everything, I hope like me, they have gained new-found knowledge about themselves and are appreciative for having taken advantage of the opportunity to do so.

Week One: New Understandings

Being almost done with my second week, I figured it was about time to get started on that Week One blog. Therefore here it is a list form of my random thoughts. Enjoy the chaos!

  1. Blogging and journaling ain’t easy. I started this mini-journey thinking that it would be an easy feat to journal daily and blog weekly. But, here I am, the Thursday of Week Two, trying to discuss my thoughts from Week One. I mean don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of time in the day. But every time I find myself with some extra time, I also find myself leaning more toward a siesta than a pen or keyboard. And when I am not taking advantage of my siesta time, I am out trying to explore the town or just trying to spend some time with the people I have met here in Merida. So by the end of the day, I am a bit too tired to put my entire day down on paper (digital or physical). But overall, I do think that it is important to express oneself in words, and therefore here I am trying to still capture and solidify past thoughts that I don’t want to slip away as the days continue. My only advice on this front is that if you are really dedicated to journaling or blogging, then set some time aside each day to accomplish this task. Afterall, once it becomes a habit, it will become easier to remember each and every day.
  2. Everyone has their own reasons for being abroad. Now at first this may seems like such an easy revelation, but sometimes (and far too often) it is forgotten. I for one am at fault for this. For me this trip was about finding my culture and discovering where my family comes from. With all of my being, I wanted to learn about the culture, the language, the food, the people. And while I felt this way, of course not everyone I am traveling with seems to. Not everyone wants to practice the language or understand the city’s people. But of course they have their own reasons for being here, some that I may not even know. Yet, the difference in our motives came as a shock for me, as I am sure it has been for others as well. On the flip side, here I am as an English and Global Studies double major participating in a Global Health program. I am sure that students here, who plan on becoming physician assistants and doctors, are wondering why I even came to this program in the first place just as I wonder the same about them. It’s inevitable, however, to predict everything you need to know about being abroad before you are there and I guess this is just one of them.
  3. Tijuana ain’t Merida, and Mexico City ain’t Guadalajara. So another naive point to have learned lies in the fact that Mexican states are not all the same. At first I truly believed that going to any place in Mexico would bring me closer to my roots. But in reality, Merida is definitely not the same place that my family came from. In retrospect this makes a lot of sense. Afterall I wouldn’t consider people from Texas to be the same as those from Virginia. Different states, different cultures. And just like the United States, Mexico is a big country with more than 50 dialects and languages according to our doorman, Frankie. Now I definitely don’t regret coming to Merida, but it has strengthened my longing to eventually return to the states of my family. But I also understand (moreso now than ever before) that I can never truly return to my roots. What my grandparents saw more than 40 years ago probably won’t be what I see today. But even with this understanding I would like to imagine that simply being in the same space that was once occupied by my family in their younger days would be enough to fill this gap in my own comprehension of self identity.
  4. Healthcare advances astound me. As a group we spent our first Wednesday afternoon at a healthcare fair in Plaza Grande. Not only is this healthcare fair held every Wednesday in the downtown area of Merida, but all of the services offered are free thanks to government support. The services offered vary from vision tests to hair cutting stations to blood sugar tests. I was surprised that the government was able to sponsor these sorts of preventative and informative fairs every week, but it is something that I wish existed in the United States. I think that if more people were able to gain access to these types of services, people would probably have a better understanding of their health. And since it would come at no cost, it would decrease the issue of class discrimination in the healthcare system. Furthermore, I have learned a bit about Seguro Popular, which is Mexico’s program for medical assistance for its citizens that don’t have medical insurance guaranteed by their workplace. The people who benefit most from this system are those that have jobs in the informal sector, such as a grocery store baggers or street vendors. Surprisingly, less than 50 percent of Mexico’s working population is part of the formal sector, which pays the taxes that support Seguro Popular. And although the system is not perfect, Mexico is upholding its citizens’ right to obtain healthcare assistance. What confuses me, however, is why the United States suffers with this issue so much. I don’t understand how if U.S. money is more valued, and a higher percentage of U.S. citizens pay taxes, why it is so difficult to provide every U.S. citizen with medical insurance if they lack it. But I figure that it has something to do with the privatization of insurance in the United States, and this will take some more looking into.

For now this is all I have (or recall) from the first week. And hopefully I’ll be better with keeping up with my Week Two blog! Campeche here I come!

X Generation

It’s human nature to seek your beginning, to know where you came from, and to revel in your story (or stories) of origin. And this desire may be most evident amongst individuals of the X Generation. Now don’t get this confused with Generation X, which encompasses the generation of people that followed the Baby Boomers. In this discussion, I use X Generation to stand for the generations that follow the initial migrant that set off for a new country, a new town, a new destination. X is simply a variable to stand for a number. And it isn’t always a simple number to come up with. Some people consider the initial migrant to be the First Generation, but in this discussion I define the First Generation as the generation that succeeds the initial migrant. Otherwise this discussion about the X Generation’s desire to return to their origin would be a bit complex if we also included the initial migrant. But even past the First Generation terminology dilemma, this number is still a tricky topic. For instance, I myself only become Third Generation once I average the two sides of my family (Fourth from my father’s and Second from my mother’s).

But no matter what number the X stands for, I truly believe that every individual from the X Generation eventually feels the need to return to their roots — whether it be through literature, art, travel, etc. This desire may be so evident amongst members of the X Generation because they oftentimes face the struggle of always being “Other.” They can never really fit into the culture of their birthplace where people will always see them as “Other” for their family’s origins; and at the same time they can never really fit into the culture of their origins where people will always see them as “Other” for never having fully lived that lifestyle. But for the X Generation it is impossible to be one or the other; they will always be both (or all). So eventually they will feel the desire to learn more about the side of them that is most unknown to them, which most often than not tends to be the side of their family’s origins.

To steal some imagery from the poet Dan Vera, humans are like Monarch Butterflies. The First Generation may start in Canada and fly south for many generations (it usually takes about three or four) until they reach Mexico, where they birth the next generation that will begin the journey back north. So even though the butterflies in Mexico have no way of knowing what Canada is, by nature they are inclined to fly back to their place of origin, generation after generation. This gives a little hope that no matter how great the number X is, there is always some way of getting in tune with your origins.

As a member of the X Generation, I have just recently embarked on my journey to learn about my family’s origins. Although I have always felt a desire to be a part of this culture, I have never really taken the necessary steps until about 2 years ago. And it is only now that I have begun to realize that instead of dealing with the struggle of “Other,” I would like to take on the glory of being “Both.” Thanks to the Jennings Family Brave Companions Fund, I am able to take this journey not only figuratively but also literally as tomorrow I leave to Merida, Yucatan, Mexico for my study abroad. Although it may not be one of my cities of origin, it is one step closer to understanding how both parts of me fit together as a whole. It is one step closer to being Mexican-American, not one or the other. And I invite you to join along on my coming-of-age tale (or Bildungsroman for my fellow English majors and literary admirers) as I will be writing about my adventure throughout the next six weeks.

And  to all of you X Generations out there (aren’t we all?): Stay strong in knowing that ALL parts of you are beautiful; no part is Other.

An Introduction of Sorts

I have been conflicted about how much of myself to give away within the first blog. I wonder if it would be more fun to let you all discover who I am beyond age, location, religious beliefs, political stances, etc. (as the list continues through every other possible bias I am naturally prone to.) But then again, there are those who know me personally and perhaps it’d be foolish and naive to believe that they can see me past what they have already decided me to be. So here is an informal declaration of what I currently know about myself and would like to share with you all:

I am a 20 year-old woman living in East Los Angeles, California, USA. I am Mexican-American and have faced the X-generation struggle of trying to fit into either category. I grew up in a single-mother household, but still visited with my father on a regular basis. My mother is currently on her third deployment with the U.S. army, and I am taking a year off of college to help take care of my younger sister, who is my only sibling. Religiously, I believe in God, but I do not like to partake in institutionalized religions although I admire many aspects of various religions. Politically, I lean toward the left, but I am more moderate that extreme. I am a planner and constantly fret about the future. I aspire to find love, happiness, and success (perhaps just one will suffice) as most people do, and I fear the only obstacle is myself.

As of late, my thoughts have become a burden on my mind, filling it beyond capacity allows and making it difficult for me to express myself. Therefore I hope that this blog can serve as a space where I can allow these notions to float freely amongst the interweb clouds so that I can refocus on the daily tasks I must attend to. What I write is not aimed to offend and I apologize in advance if it does. I also encourage you all to comment and begin a discussion if it so pleases you. Furthermore, I hope that this blog can serve as a place to share some drafts of my poetry as some people have asked of me. For now this all I have and know about this blog. I hope to share some more substantial thoughts with you all sooner than later.