False Boulder

The plan was to go on a morning run, to embrace that cold November morning and to run. But everything changed that November morning.

She opened her eyes and there IT was. Like a boulder so heavy and dangerous. She could smell the cigarette, beer and body odor.  She felt helpless as she tried to yell.  His hand was over her mouth as he tried to……

He said, “stop or he dies”. He? Who is he? She looked to her left and there he was. An innocent child. A little boy next to his sister. Her heart was pounding, she could hear it and she wanted to RUN.

He is AWAKE! He tries to push the boulder off his sister. He is too small, he is only a child and he is afraid. The boulder throws him and the little boy freezes. Fear overcomes him as he watches his sister get…..

No! You can’t see this! She wants to scream and tell him to run. Jump out the window and RUN! No matter what, just RUN. But she couldn’t be loud. Another innocent boy laid in another room and she could not wake him up. She could only imagine how much this would scar that poor child in the other room. One little boy’s innocence is already getting tainted and that is more than enough.

The Boulder has a “knife” and she can’t risk her brother’s lives.  FALSE! It’s not a knife! It’s a fork! It’s a fork she yells to her brother. RUN! CALL THE POLICE! But he can’t. He is frozen. FEAR HAS TAKEN OVER THE LITTLE BOY. The boulder pushes the girl down and says that he can still hurt her with a fork. She manages to push him and he stops before he gets too far. He backs up and APOLOGIZES! He says that he is only there for someone else. He says that he will not hurt them anymore. He talks about it being THANKSGIVING AND THAT HE JUST WANTED TO SEE “HER”. Her was his ex-wife. A woman that was staying with her family for a while. She was no longer there and he was “sad”.  He says that he plans to kill himself in front of them and that he promised not to hurt them. She begs him to leave as she sits next to her little brother with a million thoughts going through her head. They ask him to kill himself elsewhere and to leave. The kids are so afraid, fear is cruel and one of the most dehumanizing feeling.

He asks if anyone is home, the girl quickly says no. She knew that her mother’s husband was probably asleep and she prayed that he would hear the noise. He left the room as soon as the girl confirmed that they were alone. The kids sat in silence and felt relief when he walked out of the room. They thought he was leaving.  FALSE! He returns and calls the girl out of the room.  She follows because she is afraid and her youngest brother is in the living room sleeping. He fell asleep on the couch the night before after a movie.

As soon as the door closes behind them, he grabs her and she fights back but he is too strong. She falls to the ground and BAM! She hits the floor and there it is again. The boulder is there, he is touching her and she begs for him to stop. She tries to push him off and she yells, please don’t RAPE me, don’t take my VIRGINITY away! He tells her to shut up and do as he says or he will kill her brothers, this time he has a knife. How can she be selfish? How can she risk her brother’s lives?  The knife is the kitchen knife, the one she has watched her mother use a thousand times to cut meat. Her mother’s laughter and voice come to her mind as she reminisced about the way she cut the meat. The girl feels stupid for even thinking of that and she cries. She wants her mother.  She feels helpless, she closes her eyes and imagines the after. Another victim, another 15-year-old female, another number, another poor soul among the many, she had just turned 15, how can this happen on Thanksgiving day? This will be another news story in a small town, a rape and possibly three dead minors. Where was the mother they will say? Why wasn’t she there? How did the stepfather not hear them? They will judge us without knowing. People will be cruel to her mother.

Her pants get pulled down and from fear, she fights one last time. She does not feel strong anymore. Allowing him to rape her, almost seems easier. But she tries one more time. He accidentally drops the knife and she grabs it. But she is unable to use it, her hand falls and she has zero strength. How can that be? She has the opportunity to stab him in the neck and end it all! But, she can’t. Her wrist falls and he takes the knife. He has power all over again, but then he gets up! She looks back and sees her stepfather walking out of his room. He was sleepy and confused. This was her chance to RUN! She pulled her pants up and she didn’t look back.

“Today I wore a pair of faded old jeans and a plain grey baggy shirt. I hadn’t even taken a shower, and I did not put on an ounce of makeup. I grabbed a worn out black oversized jacket to cover myself with even though it is warm outside. I have made conscious decisions lately to look like less of what I felt a male would want to see. I want to disappear.”
― Sierra D. Waters

me too printed paper wall decor

Photo by Lum3n.com on Pexels.com

How did I get here? Part 2

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I arrived early in the morning at the Madrid Barajas International Aiport. As soon as I grabbed my bags, I got on a bus toward Madrid. I got off at Puerta de Toledo, it is an impressive arch structure and it used to be the main gateway into the city of Toledo. I was impressed with the beautiful buildings and how warm it was! I had such a heavy backpack and all I wanted was to sit somewhere and eat. I was on a budget so, I could not afford to get an uber, taxi and the bus was not coming back anytime soon. I walked about five miles before I arrived at a tiny local restaurant. I hate that I cannot remember the name of it because it was delicious and cheap!

I ordered two tapas and agua con gas (sparkling water) for 5€. While sitting there, I noticed that it was not a touristy place, everyone that walked in and out knew the name of the lady behind the counter. La Sra. Rosa was a tall lady, with brunette hair and she had a sweet voice. She mentioned that she was the owner of the little place and tourists sometimes showed up by accident, just like I did. I was just hungry, the place was open and it was within my budget.

For my independent study, I was to write about the locals, compare and contrast their lives ours and getting to know la Sra. Rosa was a perfect way to start. After a while, I decided to head out and find a bus stop that would take me to Plaza España and meet up with Carla. Carla was going to show me to her AIRBNB next to the Plaza. When I finally met up with Carla, I was so relieved because my shoulders were killing me! I had about 40 pounds on my back and needed to rest up. When I settled in, I took a siesta around noon. Siestas are a common way to rest and relax in Spain. After my siesta, I grabbed my camera and a small backpack and headed out to explore, interview and write about the madrileños.

I met all sorts of people, there was a group of students eating lunch by the water fountain in the middle of Plaza España. Those students talked about their typical days in the city and they suggested some pretty cool sights. I am a native Spanish-Speaker but I was learning so many new words while interviewing people. I had a Fitbit on my wrist and that first day, I walked 15 miles!

The next morning, I head to the local coffee shop and talked to the locals about their life. From all of those conversations the one that had a huge impact on me, was the one with a homeless lady. I bought her some coffee, offered snacks and someone to talk to. Her name is Marisol and her goal was to move to America. She could not afford to live in Spain. She had lost her apartment because she no longer had a job. Spain had entered a recession between 2008-2014. I was there in 2015 and was able to see and that Spaniards were still trying to get back on their feet, even though the recession was “over”. Marisol had experience in finance and had a B.A. in Business. We talked about Madrid and Austin, TX. She liked what she heard about my city because typically she heard negative things about Texans. I also hiked to Toledo and explored the town (picture of me above). There is so much beauty there! I got to see a few traditional Spanish wedding and religious celebrations.

After a few days, I headed to Barcelona to interview people from the Mediterranean coast. While hanging out at Beach I decided to people watch and what stood out to me was the language. In Barcelona, they speak Spanish but they also speak Catalan. It is not like Spanish (many think that it is), it is closer to Italian and French. I understood some phrases because of my background in French. I tried to interview people there but everyone was moving too fast and no one seemed interested in being questioned. I decided to take a tour of Barcelona, I visited La Sagrada Familia, the FC Barcelona Stadium and my favorite Park Guell. At least I was still able to write about Barcelona, the people, and its beauty.

Along the way, I visited Valencia and interview more Spaniards. Keep in mind, during this time I was walking with a backpack, to specific destinations and sometimes taking the buses( I could not pay for expensive transportation besides my ticket to Valencia). I went down to Granada, Malaga and to Oviedo and then Lugo where I was able to hike the rest to Santiago. It was a wonderful opportunity for me to interview and experience a little bit of the famous El Camino to Santiago. I hope to someday I get to hike the entire thing. I am thankful that I was able to do a hike throughout Spain, parts of El Camino but it left me wanting more!

When I came home, I knew that teaching was the right path for me! I have now been in the field for three years and I love it!

Stay tuned for details on what to do in Spain from the North to the South! Enjoy the image below from Noia, Spain!

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How did I get here? Part 1

College was an amazing experience, I made some wonderful friends and life gave some beautiful memories. My heart was all over the place when it came to the golden question, what will I do the rest of my life? My ideas were to become a lawyer and study Criminal Justice. I literally attended SHSU because of their CJ program and my college forward coach recommended. I quickly realized that it was not for me!

When I graduated from college, I was offered the opportunity to move to LA or NYC to pursue a career in the fashion industry.  It would have been an amazing experience but I was not ready for the big move. I decided to take an accounting job in Austin, TX. Unfortunately, I quickly begin to hate my life! I was sitting on a desk, calculating numbers and working with crazy accounts. My co-workers were nice but they were also older and not very talkative. I kept going because it was a good job, decent pay and the accounting experience would be good to have.

One afternoon, I was sitting by the pool and I thought to myself. I was studying to be in a field full of action. I loved my textiles, design, merchandise, economics and finance courses. Accounting was my least favorite and I decided to enter that industry because of the money. That afternoon, a few of my teachers and college professors came to mind. They all inspired me to be a better person, to dream, to travel, to write and to love all cultures. I wanted to grow up and be like them. My end goal was to become a college professor of the Spanish language (I got my BA in Spanish too) or economics. But that was going to happen later in life after I saved money and went to graduate school. But, since I hated my job, I figured why not do it NOW! I decided to get my teaching certification and teach Spanish in Public School. I figured that it would be good practice and a perfect way to enter the world of education.

I contacted one of my college professors and submitted a proposal for an Independent Study in Spain. This study would later become one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.  I quit my job and bought a flight to Spain. I had my camera, my laptop, a hiking backpack, hiking shoes, nice shoes (for a night out) and the drive to go on an adventure.

 

To be continued….

 

Spanish Teacher

Hola maestras,

I am so thankful to you for coming and checking out my blog. I have been in education for four years and this is my third year as a Spanish teacher. It has been the craziest roller coaster and the most challenging adventure. We all remember that first year of teaching and all the questions. How will I remember all their names? Will they like me? Will I be a good teacher? Will I be valued? Will my co-worker help me? Will I get the hang of this? How can I keep all of them engaged? I am not that social, how can I stand in front of them all day?

So many questions! Did we have all the answers? Probably not! Most likely you are still trying to figure it out. I know I am. Every school year, I try something new because I know that I can be better. We are all acting ninjas because we need to keep those beautiful souls engaged. As teachers we memorize all their names, we try to work well with others and we try to reach all of our kiddos.

I know that this career will never make me rich, famous or a freaking politician. But it has made me a better person. I have learned to work with so many personalities, at risk kids, 504, SPED and focus kids. I have discovered that every child can learn something new! Even “those” kids learn something. I have failed so many times and this job has taught me that it’s okay! I get to try again every day and every school year.

I know that we are all in this because of those bright faces! As language teachers, hearing them say hello, my name is, I like etc. in the target language makes our hearts sing!

In this blog, I will not just share green life stuff or travel but I will also share activities that were inspired by TPR, OWL and by many amazing mentors. Please take what you want, share it and make it better! I do ask that you give me credit and that you don’t sell anything. I want everything to be free and I hope that you can use it all.

 

 

GREEN LIFE: Essential oils

Essential oils!!!!!!!!

They have been hyped and so many people are all over them! I for sure am one of those lovers. But if you are anything like me, then you want to know where everything comes from and is it toxins free. One of the companies out there is called Young living essential oils anther MLM among many. Lots of people I know are selling it and have been trying to get me into it. They know I am tree hugger who loves plants and anything the comes from the earth. My grandmother and my dad taught to use plants for everything! My grandmother loves to comment on how plants help you with this and that. haha

I was seriously considering selling Young Living oils! But before I decided to invest my hard-earned money, I reached out to my good friend Patricia, CEO of Overton naturals LLC and a graduate of Bastyr University, where she studied herbal science. She expressed that Young living is not a top-notch company. They are known to steal from indigenous cultures, they illegally trespass for harvesting plants and they have harvested endangered plants.

Based on her opinion and knowledge I decided to do a little digging of my own. I found that they indeed have been known to take from indigenous cultures, they promote their oils can treat many diseases and some of their products are SYNTHETIC!

According to mlmcompanies.org, “There have been many claims as well as a good amount of evidence (a lot of it buried by Young Living) that suggest their oils aren’t 100% pure and that many of them are, in fact, adulterated. [15] During lawsuits between Young Living and DoTERRA, Dr. Robert Papas of Purdue University found that both had oils that use synthetic materials. [16] The lawsuits were therefore dropped by the courts. [17]

Yikes! That does not make me want to sell or promote a company like that one. During my research, I also found a letter sent from the FDA in 2014 to YLD that basically states that they stop promoting their products as something that cures or treats diseases.

I think that I will stay away from this particular company and many of those MLM pyramid schemes. I care about the planet and I love anything the comes from herbs but I will not promote something that goes against my moral values. My herbalist chica did suggest Mountain rose herbs and of course you can always check out your local farmers market for some toxins free oils.

Let me know what you think in the comments below

P.S The letter below is what the FDA sent out to YLD.

Dear Mr. Young:

This is to advise you that in August 2014 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reviewed websites and social media accounts (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest) for several Young Living essential oil consultants that your firm refers to as “Young Living distributors.” FDA also reviewed a 2012-2013 product guide found on your website http://www.youngliving.com. Based on our review, FDA has determined that many of your Young Living Essential Oil products, such as, but not limited to, “Thieves,” “Cinnamon Bark,” “Oregano,” “ImmuPower,” “Rosemary,” “Myrtle,” “Sandalwood,” “Eucalyptus Blue,” “Peppermint,” “Ylang Ylang,” “Frankincense,” and “Orange,” are promoted for conditions that cause them to be drugs under section 201(g)(1)(B) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the Act) [21 U.S.C. § 321(g)(1)(B)], because they are intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease.  The intended use of a product may be determined by, among other things, its labeling, advertising, and the circumstances surrounding its distribution, 21 C.F.R. § 201.128. As described below, the marketing and distribution of your Young Living Essential Oil products without FDA-approved applications is in violation of the Act.

The woman who made me

She was tired of being touched, hit, yelled at by her abusive father. She would stand in front of the train tracks and think about running in front of the train, no one would miss her anyway. Her mother was too much of a coward to stop it.

At 14 she met a boy who was kind to her so she ran away with him. Things were different back then and life at home was not good. He was the best choice. His mother was cruel to her, she treated her like a maid and forbid her from getting pregnant. Too bad, she still did because at 15 she gave birth to a porcelain doll, she never had a doll. Every one told her to have an abortion but she could not do that.

Brand new mom at 15 and she was trying to figure things out. She faced abuse and closed doors. Why is life so unfair to her?

To be continued