Monday, April 26, 2010

You grow, you learn, you live

Education… a privilege, a right, or a journey that will change your life?

I remember how I hated school. I used to think it equaled imprisonment. And the only reward was the friends I earned in exchange for serving my time. Many of the correctional officers, or teachers, were intolerably obnoxious and seemed to think very highly of themselves - though to this day I cannot explain why. The walls of the school seemed not only to effectively keep students captive but to retain an environment full of hypocritical views, superficial values and shallow conversations. Amidst this restrictive ambiance, my learning experience was like being put in a stray jacket.

This image of high school hasn’t changed for me. However, once I graduated and continued my studies, my perspective about schooling began to take a big change. No longer was it an obligation I had little say in… I suddenly had a choice. I could choose whether or not to attend the classroom, or to participate in it, or to dispute a point if I disagreed. I had the freedom to do as I pleased (within reason that is.) I was now responsible for my own education. And that, is a GREAT feeling.

Once I was in the driver’s seat, I soon realized that if I didn’t commit time and dedication to learning, I’d be… well, plain dumb. And I’d have no one to blame but myself. The world was a bigger place now, and if I wanted to move around in it I would have to learn. Little by little I started to understand a few facts: I couldn’t grow as a person if I was ignorant; I couldn’t gain knowledge by indifference; and, I couldn’t acquire an education through negligence. The significance of my instruction had little to do with proving my intelligence or the ability to pass tests or obtain high scores… it was all for me.

When I finally understood the importance of my education, and how it affected me in so many ways, I stopped resisting my role as a student. It began to feel more like a privilege rather than a task. Recognizing the truth was liberating: I wanted to be there, I wanted an education and I wanted to learn more. And I was given this opportunity, encouraged even. Able to voice my own opinion, without being lectured for it; able to stretch out and open my mind, and not be judged for it; able to share my disagreements, and not be silenced for them… it was a gratifying experience. Before I knew it, I was growing, I was learning, I was living a life I didn’t know I could have.

I believe this is a journey I’ve yet to conclude, and I hope it never ends.

By: V.S

Friday, April 16, 2010

An adventurous heart

My adventurous heart beats harder in my chest
It is a calling to my wildest desires
The thumps rumble with tireless effort
A persistent reminder of the dreams I’ve yet to attain

The blood in my veins thickens with longing
For the prayers I wish to be answered
To feel a river of accomplishment rush through me
To live free of restraints, self-deception and limitations

A heavy craving in my spirit swells
It ripples through my being
Igniting my fears and aspirations alike
Though a seed of hope blooms with open vulnerably

My pulse thunders against my skin
It drills pure determination into my soul
A startling willpower fills my lungs
Knowing no risk of unpredictability will deter me from the taste of adventure

By: V.S

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Oscar Niemeyer, a 102 year old Brazilian architect, shares his view on life:

“Life is a gust of breath, it’s a minute. A person leaves here his little story and goes away. So it should be a worthwhile one.”

“La vida es una ráfaga de aliento, es un minuto. Alguien deja aquí su breve historia y se marcha. Así es que debe valer la pena.”

"La vita è una raffica di fiato, è un minuto. Una persona lascia qui la sua piccola storia e se ne va. Allora, dovrebbe valerne la pena."

"La vie est un coup de souffle, c'est une minute. Une personne laisse ici sa petite histoire et s'en va. Donc, il devrait valoir la peine."

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Atlanta... I see you

Atlanta it is.

I don’t ask what I’m doing here.
I know how I got here.
I even know for how long I’m staying.

Shabby, grungy, slightly dark and perhaps faded... these are things I expected to encounter. (Please don’t ask me where I got this image… damn T.V spoils the brain.) However, I was completely mistaken in my ignorant perception. There was so much in Atlanta that caught my attention I couldn’t stop from taking pictures and walking the streets, studying the structures, tasting the variety of foods, and just breathing in the city. I was, quite simply, swept off my feet by the sights, the sounds, the smells… it was all startlingly magnetic.

I was surprised, but not fazed, that things were not at all the way I pictured them. Though every city has its darkest most questionable corners you wouldn’t even think to cross by mistake, I hardly hesitated to walk into unfamiliar territory. To the contrary, there was a thrilling sense of discovery urging me onward with every step I took. It wasn’t enough to be told what I would find ahead. I had to know what was behind that building, had to see what I would find in the next street, had to view what there was beyond each park. Then suddenly, like some superabsorbent sponge, I started taking in all the details surrounding me: the cold biting through my clothes, the warm sunlight beaming from between the buildings, the sharp fresh air hitting my lungs like a shot of rum, the cars zipping down the street too fast to survive crossing, the faces of those walking by me on the wide sidewalks… Faces, that’s one of the things that stood out the most.

The pace in this city wasn’t so rushed you couldn’t even remember who was standing next to you in a two-hour-waiting-line. I constantly found myself wondering about the people I came across, even in the briefest of terms. It wasn’t like a sudden curiosity to know the statistical body count of the inhabitants in the metropolis area. No, nothing so detached. It was more… personal. There was just so much to discern from each person: unknown mannerisms, amused thoughts, concerned expressions, bored eyes, hesitant hands… Each time a person drew my attention, I wondered about their aspirations, what they were working so hard for, who they had to go home to every day… I remember the considerate taxi driver taking me to the airport, the shy elder woman placing my order at the bakery, the young lady fixing my reservation at the hotel, the waiter with a starling young expression, the stranger asking for food at the church, and the men sleeping on the ground in the park. So many people, that in any other place might have actually remained faceless.

But in Atlanta, it felt like I could see it all. There was a sense of unpredictability in the atmosphere, like you can step outside and anything is possible. Impatience didn’t make people scurry from one end of the city to the other in obvious intolerance. One can really SEE the people that keep the city alive and moving. Combined with an open and inviting ambiance, as though the city were exposed to me, I was overwhelmed. And it was well worth it, to be proven wrong.

I wouldn’t have asked what I was doing there.
I knew how I got there.
I even know how long I stayed.

Atlanta it was.

By: V.S

I see church windows burning brightly in Atlanta.

I see white blossoms in the air in Atlanta.

I see warm open spaces, with a refreshing invitation of freedom, in Atlanta.

I see buildings differentiated by styles in Atlanta.

I see history imprinted in the streets of Atlanta.