I am: a U.S.-born expat living a colorful life in Nicaragua and rapidly losing my first language, a budding Buddhist, queer and proud, an unapologetic feminist, a mama-hen big sister and quasi stepmom, fearless vegetarian cook, yogi. I drive a very small car and struggle daily with my dependence on dark chocolate, preferably washed down with black coffee.
This blog takes its name from the haiku penned by the Japanese samuri and poet Mizuta Masahide in the 17th century, and has long been my tidy reminder to seek gratitude in life's unpredictability.
My life these days is a lot about yoga, learning how to teach it (to myself, mostly), memorizing terms in Sanskrit, and conquering challenges that always seemed beyond my reach.
Activists of the transsexual, gay and lesbian community participate in a protest demanding for the right to choose a name according to their gender along a street in San Salvador on November 15, 2010. The slogans on the T-shirts read, “I choose to be called… Lucero/Pamela”. (Jose CABEZAS/AFP/Getty Images)
Today was a day for being grateful that I live in a beautiful country with a tremendous sense of humor (and by sense of humor I’m referring to the truck with a painting of a skyline, that contains another semi passing through with a U.S. flag painted on its side).
I have an overwhelming new schedule since starting a two-month Ashtanga Yoga teacher training program. I love it. It’s brilliant. I wish I could dedicate every minute to it.
And as luck would have it, I got into a nasty little car accident last week, and now many of the minutes I could be spending doing my actual job and/or preparing my yoga homework, I now have to dedicate to navigating Nicaraguan procedures for appealing traffic accident resolutions. In the meantime, my trusty little hatchback gathers dust in the yard and wonders what she did wrong.
On the upside, this week I have been reminded of how lucky I am to have a net of generous and thoughtful friends and family that surround me in Nicaragua and are helping me figure out this car accident mess. Also, my kid sister introduced me to 8tracks, which is radically changing my reality of sitting at a desk, and my dear, dear friend Emily is in town for the next few days, so I will be drinking a lot of therapeutic wine and eating lots of therapeutic greasy food.
While I am touched by Obama’s video and think it’s one of many steps in the right direction, he maybe should have been more careful with phrases such as: “There is a whole world out there, full of possibilities.”
Right… that is, if that world you seek doesn’t include joining the armed forces, getting married, being protected from losing your job, being able to sponsor your partner for residency in the U.S., getting social security benefits when your partner passes away…
There is an undeniable connection between our status as second-class citizens and what is happening to these kids. If our laws say that it’s okay to discriminate, to exclude us from full citizenship, then is there that much of a difference between our state and federal governments and these bullies?
Nearly 9,000 people have moved with their scarce and humble belongings into shelters throughout Nicaragua as a result of the flooding caused by this year’s overwhelmingly heavy rains. They will remain in shelters, clawing for some semblance of normalcy, until the government builds them new homes in safer lands that don’t line the coasts of the country’s unpredictable rivers and lakes, a process that is expected to take at least several more months.
I visited four shelters this week, these are some images that I was able to take.
This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.
Tenzin Gyatso, The 14th Dalai Lama (via journeytobuddhism)
Today was an entirely uneventful day, until we found out that this small treasure needed a home filled with love and willingness to cook things like livers and kidneys to make her strong.
This is Nica, she was rescued by a few Mexican visitors who were unable to take her back home with them. So they named her after the country. We find it fitting. I think she’s happy to live at our house now, but might feel like the three other dogs were a bit more than she bargained for (note her aversion to Beto’s fountain of dribble).
Today I had the tremendous privilege of participating in a meeting at a coffee processing facility (see picture above). And by priviledge I mean that the meeting room had an espresso machine, and there was a young woman whose duties included whipping us up frothy chocolatey espresso after frothy chocolatey espresso, with coffee beans that had been roasted right next door, processed under the sun right outside, and picked on cooperative coffee farms from bushes on nearby mountains.
And for Chicago folks, there was a sack made for Intelligentsia hanging on the wall. It was a splendid moment of full-circleness, from which, 12 hours later, I’m still enjoying wide-open eyes and heart palpitations.
Creative Commons photo credit: william.neuheisel I wish this was my picture, but alas it’s better than any that I took on my cell phone and couldn’t seem to upload.