Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Awkward People

People are so fascinating! Have you ever had an experience where you saw an awkward person in their element and your day was brightened? I’ve had a few of those experiences the past couple days and I’d like to share.

Last week I was rather hurriedly driving in an attempt to get someplace on time. Stress was ailing me due to a large work load and I may or may not have been driving a little faster than usual. A bit perturbed by the lack of street light cooperation I pulled to a stop as the color red before me demanded. The bright white walking man appeared before the boy that was crossing the road in front of my headlights. We’ve all seen that bright white walking man before and we’ve all been perplexed at one point or another by the rather short time interval before the man disappears and the bright orange blinking hand appears. Obviously, this day the road-crossing boy, which I must clarify that by “boy” I mean grown college-aged man, was taken back by the sudden appearance of “the orange hand”. The boy awkwardly lifted his side bag, tucked it like a football, and very uncoordinatedly ran across the remaining fifteen feet of cross-walk ahead of him.

Now this experience made me smile and by smile I mean that I my whole face was grinning, accompanied by a good laugh. The best part of this story is that as I sighed from enjoyment I glanced at the white SUV to my right and realized that the girl behind the steering wheel was doing the same thing. We caught each others’ eyes and the icing on the cake was the genuine moment that we strangers shared together that day.

In a similar vein, I was studying today at a public computer and was suddenly distracted by the sound of a familiar melody behind me. Bryan Adams, Summer of ‘69. I quickly glanced over my shoulder to see who the listener might be. A very studious looking young man, obviously foreign, with glasses and big headphones was rocking out to this classic. I chuckled and continued studying. The song soon came to an end and within a few seconds the same song was blaring through the headphones again. This happened at least 10 times in the time that I was sitting there. The best part though, was when you’d get the sudden burst of, “it waz di summa of sexty nain” along with the chorus. I chuckled as a boy on the computer next to me turned to me and said, “I really need to help that guy with his playlist.”

Good times that made my day!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

What is life?

The inspiration to write began very unexpectedly when I saw a small boy who unknowingly would make a deep impact on me. I was in the back seat of a mid-size vehicle minding my own business and thinking about the daily tasks that lay ahead when we pulled up to an awkward intersection. I took little notice to the people walking through the stopped cars selling candies, magazines, and other home-made goods (cause that’s normal in Mexico). As I stared out the window my eyes caught the flash of a little red backpack with spider-man’s eyes staring back at me. The wearer of the backpack was a boy of no more than four or five years old. He was wearing a ratty oversized  t-shirt, a dirty pair of jeans, and he had an even dirtier little red rag hanging from his right hand. He hurried to the first car that had stopped at the intersection and reached with his tippy tippy toes in an attempt to clean dirty side mirrors. With his little red rag he very likely only smeared the dirt that was already covering the glass. The front window rapidly rolled-down part way to reveal a large man’s hand holding some pocket change for the boys efforts and the window was immediately rolled back up as quick as it came down. What happened next struck me to the core. With a far-away gaze, the boy slowly and with precision put his fingers together and touched his forehead and lowered his hand to his chest before crossing it between his tiny shoulders. Four or five years old… he taught me a lesson on faith and giving appreciation where appreciation belongs. I was overcome with an appreciation for my life and the possibilities before me to help and serve.

On another occasion we were approached by a young boy (also cleaning side mirrors at a stop light) and I was taken off guard. We gave the boy some change for his efforts but there was a part of me that was angry because such a young boy was out washing windows trying to survive. As those feelings started to grow I looked back to see the boy quickly reunite with his father who had been washing windshields. The father patted the boy on the head and they sat down together for a rest.

Not too long after this I was walking down our alley rather quickly to grab something from our apartment when I passed by a man and another young boy. It was a few minutes after I passed them that I realized what they were doing. The man had been digging through the trash and the young tike was holding a bag open for cans. Again, I didn’t really know what I should be feeling about this situation.
I think if you look at these situations at face value there is reason to sorrow. If you only see young boys struggling for survival than there may be even cause to question faith and maybe even God’s existence. You might even be angry at a world that would allow such things to happen. I was touched by each of these situations and the question I ask myself is, “What can I learn?” or, “What is to be done?”

Another part of me is happy about what I saw. In reality you might call me crazy after a statement like that. Let me explain… What a miracle that at such a young age our spider-man backpacked and tiny red ragged boy has developed enough faith to form a habit of appreciation towards God. Someone had to teach him that. How special that the second window-washing child is able to spend his days working along side his father and spending time with him. What principles were our trash digging father teaching to his small son as they looked for cans? I would like to hope that there was teaching taking place. Maybe these situations weren’t as devastating as I first thought? Maybe they were. These are my thoughts.

Kid Selling2

Kid Selling


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Home for a Visit

As many of you already know, I’ve made my way back to the United States for a couple of weeks. Thinking back on the last four months I find it hard to believe that I did so much in such a short period of time. I still have so many more things to blog about and I think the list just keeps getting longer day by day. I hope you all got the memo that life is wonderful!? Something happens everyday in any given person’s life that is worth writing about.

I’ve come to the following conclusion. Each and every day something spectacular happens. I mean let’s think about it… what is something out of the ordinary that happened to you today? I’m not talking about anything strangely bizarre or extraterrestrial, although I wouldn’t rule those out, but rather something small and simple. Something that you could have missed if you weren’t paying attention. What is it that made your day unique?
In an attempt to illustrate my point I’d like tell you about my experience in the Cancun airport. On my flight home there was a slight “delay”. From the following picture you can see that there was quite a line.


Yep, that is three hours of waiting time right there. I was intrigued by the difference in attitudes while listening to random people’s conversations in line. Yes, I’m a bit of an ease dropper. Many people were very impatient and quite vocal about their disapproval of the airline. Others held their peace and quietly waited without saying a word. Yet there was another kind of group who would open up to their neighbors and start conversations with complete strangers, telling each other about very personal issues going on in their lives.

It was kind of a culture shock standing in that line listening to all the English speakers that I haven’t heard for four months. But I was taught a valuable lesson as I listened to the people. The people who were complaining and being impatient didn’t get through that line any faster than the rest of us. In fact, I’m pretty sure they were miserable the whole time. Yet the people who were starting conversations with their neighbors often learned new things and found out intriguing details about people from a different background and demographic. It’s all about the people! Getting to know the people!

Was this an ordinary travel day and airport line? For some I believe it could have been. For me, I think not! Life is wonderful!

And now the view from the plane!


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Double Parking

How ironic life can be at times! Last night Camm and I found ourselves inside of our small one-room apartment with some time to spare. It had begun to rain outside and we had some time to kill. So what did we decide to do? Yep, you guessed it – watch Seinfeld, in the true Camm Clark style. We got to one episode that was almost an exact representation of many of the experiences that we have had while we have been down here in Mexico. We got a good laugh and thought nothing of it. Well, there was one thing about the episode that we hadn’t experienced, until today!

And now I present to you… Seinfeld! The Dinner Party

It just so happens that Camm and I are running some errands today and we go back to the car to fnd THIS!


The white car is the one we are driving of course and the red one is directly in our way!


Look how devastated Camm is! He can’t take it! We even decided to take a video of the action. I had just enough room to do a 50 point turn and squeeze my way out.

In some ways it was a relief that these guys showed up to drive away but in other ways I was very disappointed that I was cut short the glory of showing off my skills. Anyways, I found this very ironic that this all happened the day after we watched that Seinfeld episode. Life is wonderful isn’t it!?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Estancia de Boca Cuban Style

Tonight we went to a pretty fancy and happenin restaurant to eat dinner, Estancia de Boca. We teach English at this particular restaurant so the waiters treat us very well when we come to eat. It’s fun to have some good connections here in Veracruz.

Tonight we kicked back and relaxed while listening to some live Cuban music. We of course had to take a picture with the band.


These guys really know how to play. While we there we also got an unexpected extra show. It’s a little hard to see because of the darkness. I hope you enjoy it!

Look at that little guy dance! He really knows his Salsa! I find it rather funny that he is like 5 and dances better than I probably ever will. That is one of the big differences that I have seen in the culture here. The people here learn how to dance from a very young age and everyone knows how. And when I say dance I mean dance, nothing like most of the dancing you see the youth doing in the States now-a-days.

The infamous “Mini Michael Jackson” as they call him here at Estancia. (Or Luis as his parents call him)


I’ve picked up a little Salsa dancing myself. I REALLY like it! The other night I went out with some friends and literally danced the night away until the morning hours of 5-6.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Successful Shaving

So I was growing out my amazingly attractive facial hair for the entire month because my dear friend Josh Romero informed me of the unofficial but official Mustache March. I found it quite the opportunity to really test my machismo and see what kind of man I really am. So here are the photos at the end of the month and the current cut. Please enjoy!

The Mug Shots

The first cut is the deepest

The next gets silly

Attack of the handlebars


And the final product! I’ve been like this for a couple of days now and have some pretty fantastic pictures. It’s all coming off tomorrow but for the last couple of days I’ve been enjoying the creeper status.


Now that you’ve taken a good look at my mug for the past few minutes I hope that at least you got a good laugh. Just remember kids… March is for Mustaches! (and it's the simple pleasures in life that make it so beautiful)

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Visitor’s From The North

I realized that I haven’t been writing in my blog as frequently. Have no fear my friends! I am still alive! Life has gotten busier and I’ve found myself with less and less time. Last week was especially busy because a good friend, Robbie Jones, came to visit me. What an adventure! I came to realize last week that the crazy things about Mexico are starting to seem normal to me. Maybe that’s why the blog has gotten slow. I promise to do a little better.

While Robbie was flying from SLC to Mexico City I was on a bus from Veracruz to Mexico city. We spent two days in the big DF, as they say here in Mexico. What a different experience than I’m used to! Mexico city is truly a different world than Veracruz.It’s big, dirty, and not the Mexico I’m used to.

Our first day we spent on the metro, on a bus, and then in the ruins of Teotihuacan! They were huge! Check it out!


The Pyramid of the SUN!


And the Pyramid of the MOON!


And the Sun from the top of the Moon!


We had quite the adventure. This was an interesting place to visit because it was completely different from the past ruins experience I had at El Tajin. These ruins were a lot bigger, a lot more spread out, and in a complete desert. El Tajin was smaller, closer together, and jungle-like. Both neat but El Tajin still has my vote for the favorite. Cool experience.

One of the best parts about the experience was being pulled off the bus on the way back to Mexico city for a drug test! How exciting!


This sums up this adventure! See you soon!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Rash Decision

Well, I feel a little bit like a bum because I haven’t posted a blog for quite some time. Sorry folks. Life just grabs you by the horns sometimes and takes you for a ride. I’ve got stories to tell but find the time at a scarcity. I’ll try to be more consistent.

Today I was thinking to myself, “Self! By golly it’s hot and I’m all sweaty!”  Then my mind continued to wander and I started thinking about some other big events coming my way. One of the projects I’ve taken on is the expansion of a phenomenal business down here in Veracruz. Long story short… I decided I needed to be more professional looking and  more comfortable in the humid heat. Here is the result…




Yep, I cut my hair! I’m saddened… I’m going to miss all that hair. I keep getting these phantom feelings that I should toss the hair out of my face and when I swing my head the hair doesn’t move like it used to. Since the cut was done I’ve been accused of intentionally trying to look younger to get with younger girls and of losing my sex appeal (whatever that means). I might cry myself to sleep tonight. The one thing I know for certain is that for now the facial hair is staying!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Beware of the TV!


This picture was the closest one that I had to match the topic of discussion for today’s blog. So here is a small explanation of the picture before moving on to other matters of business. In order to promote the English courses that we are doing we made a bunch of little movies to introduce each of the topics that we cover during the classes that we teach. It was a lot of fun to make the movies and also very random. This picture is a shot of the filming process. Looks pretty legit eh!?

If you would like to take a look at the videos that we made feel free to take a look at You might enjoy what you see. You might not. If you’re lucky then maybe someday I’ll show you a hidden clip that was never posted.

A small fun fact about Mexican TV is that about a third of the TV channels are actually in English with Spanish subtitles. It makes it very convenient for a couple of gringos to enjoy a little TV every once and a while.
The other day Camm and I are sitting in a home eating dinner while a couple of people in the other room were watching a blaring television set. We were enjoying our meal and trying to keep small talk amid the blaring background noise of the TV. We could hear things blowing up, guns firing and, of course, the English was very understandable. All of a sudden we thought we heard a pretty dirty word. We brushed it off and kept our conversation going. Then, out of no where, more profanities than could be kept track of were blasting through the home at high decibels. At this very moment the people in the other room all start laughing and laughing. Camm and I took one glance at each other at couldn’t help but crack a smile. We knew that the people had no clue what was actually being said because of some fancy subtitle work. It was actually quite humorous at the time.

Since that day, and after having some other questionable experiences, we are a lot more leery about turning on the TV (especially late at night). We’ve got the news and sports channels all memorized so we don’t have to go flipping through the other stuff. Ha! Crazy world we live in ain’t it!?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Windy Day in Mexico!

I would like to say something clever here, but to be honest, the movie kind of speaks for itself. Enjoy!