30 noviembre 2007

different like che, leprosy, and my jungle

thought one:

in my ESL class the other day, there came the order,

"Think of a time when you have felt different."

I like doing stuff like this, so i got down to business... only to realize, all of a sudden, that the question was wrong... not "when have i felt different?" but "when have i felt the same?" not to go all introspective but i pretty much have never felt "the same" outside of my family. then i thought, no, there's a bond in peru and @ the jones that's the same... so on the ONTOLOGICALLY soulish level, yes, i have been the same. it all depends on the criteria for difference. it was just interesting to me to realize that some people find being different... unusual.

thought two:

"Che learns that leprosy, caused by relatively non-contagious bacteria, is not usually transmitted by touch. So, unlike that colony's doctors and nurses, he decides to shake the patient's hand without a protective glove."

The Peruvian lepers' colony he visits is near Iquitos, in a town called San Pablo. I "goo-glayed" it and this is what I found:

"Looking for Mr. Guevara Diary Entries"

apparently, a "Professor of Latin American & Caribbean Studies at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida," Barbara Brodman, "retrace[d] the journey through South America embarked upon in 1951 by a young, Argentine medical student, Ernesto "Che" Guevara, and his friend Alberto Granado.

First by motorcycle, then hitchhiking on land and water, Brodman and Ugav [made] their way from Argentina to Caracas, deviating as little as possible from the original route and sites visited by the young Argentines some forty-five years ago.

"I am not interested in marketing the myth of Che Guevara," states Brodman, "I seek the essence of the man who may have best expressed the frustrated aspirations of the Latin American masses, impatient for the better life they hoped for.

"Che spoke of erasing old social and philosophical concepts and going instead 'with an inquiring mind and a humble spirit to learn at that great source of wisdom that is the people.' That is what we plan to do, but within a new framework. The end of the Cold War cleared the revolutionary playing field of ideological debris and paved the way for evolutionary change that would have been impossible in Che's time. Yesterday's subversives have become the cult heroes of today's upwardly mobile set. Now is the ideal time to assess change and continuity in Latin America and to discover their implications for the future. That we use Che's original journey of discovery as our roadmap, seems both timely and appropriate.

As to the adventurous nature of my quest... I ask you, what's so adventurous about a women with little motorcyle experience riding across the Andes in mid-winter; trekking through deserts, mountains, jungles and plains; while, at every turn, confronting physical danger and financial uncertainty? To me, it sounds like the perfect vacation!"

me say... huh!

Dr. Broadman's thoughts: almost to Iquitos

"Entering Pucallpa was much like entering Jakarta. Arriving after dark, you come to know the city first through sound and smell. Dominating the senses is the noise of the mototaxis. It grates on the nerves almost as much as the clouds of dust and dirt the vehicles throw up grate on the body. But there is something charming, even exciting, about Pucallpa. It is the river and the jungle that dominates this environment, and the energy they emit is powerful. "

sound! smell! mi peru! te anhelo! the charming dust and dirt! the lullabye of motocars! the drug of the jungle that IS the jungle...! vengo, te prometo.

27 noviembre 2007

Will and Rebels

thought one:

what if your will went away? all of a sudden i realized how much i take my will for granted... maybe it's not will only... that i would care.

thought two: re: self-actualization

self-actualization = reaching your full potential... who does? why are we satisfied with sufficient? why do i fade to "getting by" SO quickly? why am i incorrigibly late to class? the stuff of psychology... let me tell you. (if only i knew!)

thought three:

last night i remembered something: when i was 1-2 feet shorter and a good deal less advanced in age, i would, dorkface that i have always been, go jump on my siblings (not all at once) and ask more or less politely for them to "talk to me." invariably, they would reply, "well, what do you want to talk about?" to which i would respond, quite logically, "i dunno." [seriously... they were the adults. it wouldn't be that hard for them to think of SOMETHING.

the point of all this recollecting is thus: when you find a kid, talk to him. if you're tired of the doublespeak of everybody over 16, find someone under that age and have a chat. have some good questions for him; he'll have some good answers, especially when you're not expecting them. listen to him. make him think, but LISTEN.

thought four: from Comandante Che

[upon visiting a poor miner and his wife in Chile:]

"They didn't have a single miserable blanket to sleep under, so we gave them one of ours and Alberto and I wrapped the other round us as best we could. It was one of the coldest nights I've ever spent, one which made me feel a little closer to this strange, for me anyway, human species."

there's a take on the reason for suffering: makes you feel downright human. as if you actually had something in common with the miserable masses. as if you were not invincible. as if the Fall really did matter... and if i may assert an offshoot opinion ("a thought! a thought!"), the more the Fall matters to you, to closer you are, not only to understanding true and fallen humanity, but also to understanding God. we cannot experience or even take in all the pain on this 3rd planet from the Sun. one's pain is a snapshot of God's real-time panorama. we experience it; He understands/ comprehends/ encompasses it. takes it in all at once without removing Himself at all. He does not "leave it at the office." absolutely no divine self-protection. none of our human interactions with our God has been apart from Him knowing ("conociendo") the Fall... i don't know if i would say He is shaped by it, but our understanding of Him is entirely post-Fall... only in Christ do we see the love of God for an actual perfect Creature (is that word legit?); and He sent Him to die for love of wretched, chronically ill rebels. huh.

19 noviembre 2007

"So, if Brasil wins, you come here. And if Peru wins... I'll go there..." (what NOW?!)

let's meet in Cuba, yes? compromise!

12 noviembre 2007

peacocks, sectionalism, and pattern detection

thought one: on peacocks

"[T]hepeacock starts life with an inauspicious appearance....the color of those large objectionable moths that flutter about light bulbs on summer nights." But after two years, when the bird has fully attained its pattern, "for the rest of his life this chicken will act as if he designed it himself." ~ flannery o'connor, quoted in a slice of infinity

thought two: on sectionalism

The book we're reading in "my" 8th grade language arts class is set in California in the early 1970s, and Vietnam comes up. I was telling the kids how in previous times, when America went to war, everybody was like, "Me too! I'll go fight for my country!" but with Vietnam, people really started opposing the war, saying "That's stupid. I don't feel like going off and dying." (AND, they subsequently started doing stuff like burning draft letters and moving to Canada, which my kids thought was kinda funny, for whatever reason.)

And this one little one speaks up and says, "Isn't that like..." and i think he's going to say, how everybody hates the war in Iraq or somesuch, but he says, "... how gangs, you know, fight for their hood or whatever. when you defend your territory from the other gangs."

so i didn't know what to say. [i'm no good at thinking on my feet and my analogous thinking is bad already.] i said something about how it was not because gangs kill innocent people [which wars do], make it worse for the people inside the neighborhood [note: Germany- WWI, Germany/Japan- WWII, South- Northern Agression, et. al.], and just happen to sell drugs and guns and stuff on the side [eh... pirates and smuggling during blockades is different. fighting for free trade.]

now, i KNOW the issues are dissimilar. i just cannot logically think of why. i NEED to work on my logic. any recommendations? (don't mock me.)

thought three: From the ESL website Literacy Connections

"Research suggests that the brain is a pattern detector, rather than an applier of rules. If our brains are indeed "pattern detectors," then we should provide our students with plenty of opportunity to investigate and organize those patterns."

Cause... and effect...
CAUSE... and effect...
cause... and EFFECT...

actions => consequences.

really really.
even if i don't always believe it.
and my kids have never heard of it.
it's true, the Divine Will aside.

***Tupac update***
He's good; he's great; he has many great lesson plan ideas up his gills that i'm sure he'll let me in on some day. The other day in class a boy asked me,

"Is Tupac still alive?"

me: "Of course he's still alive! He's all happy, living in my living room."

another kid, lacking context, "TUPAC'S STILL ALIVE?!?! for REAL?! man, i knew it!!!!"

08 noviembre 2007

to put the periodic table of the elements into context...

... I present to you my g, Frederica, in The World and the Grail via FIRST THINGS ONLINE: 6 NOV. 2007:

"I was also arrested by the thought that matter cannot be created or destroyed. That would mean that everything that has ever existed - every tree, every jeweled crown, every house, every piece of clothing- is still here somewhere, though in a disassembled state..."

* * * *

"... atoms are not only abundant but 'fantastically durable. Because they are so long-lived, atoms really get around.'... 'Every atom you possess has almost certainly passed through several stars and been part of millions of organisms on its way to becoming you. We are each so atomically numerous and so vigorously recycled at death... "

* * * *

"Now it seems as if these atoms [that make up my body] are in a temporary federation, agreeing to live together for some decades in order to provide a habitation for 'me,' whatever that is. [...] Today atoms of my body are working diligently together like the citizens of an ant colony. One day I'll clonk over, and they'll tell each 'Bye!' and cheerfully go off to be a part of seals and salamanders and office buildings and (I don't like this thought much) other people."

* * * *

science gets downright mystical at the end. huh... the End. that could be a pun, apparently...