Category Archives: positive thinking

La lección de un boleto equivocado

Today is Spanish Friday so this post is in Spanish. If you participated in Spanish Friday on your own blog, leave your link in comments. English translation below!

boleto USA

Esta foto está circulando en las redes sociales – ¿pero qué es? Esta es una foto de boleto de avión, pre-comprado para un jugador de fútbol del equipo estadounidense. CONCACAF compraba los boletos antes del partido, con la suposición errónea que los Estados Unidos van a ganar y ir a las finales en Kansas City. La realidad? El Salvador ganó el partido y ahora ustedes pueden ver que el nombre de un jugador estadounidense (Joe Corona), está tachado, y el nombre de un jugador salvadoreño, (Juan Rodas), está añadido en bolígrafo azul.

A CONCACAF, una lección: No vendas la leche antes de comprar la vaca.

Y a “La Azulita” (equipo Sub 23 de El Salvador) y todos leyendo esto: Crean en ustedes mismos, aunque otros les digan que sus metas no son realistas. Sueñen, trabajan duro y pueden lograrlo. Todo es posible.

[ENGLISH TRANSLATION]

This photo is circulating on social networks – but what is it? This is a photo of an airline ticket, pre-bought for a player on the US soccer team. CONCACAF bought the tickets before the game, wrongly assuming that the United States would win and go on to the finals in Kansas City. The reality? El Salvador won that game and now you can see that the name of the U.S. player (Joe Corona), has been crossed out. The name of a Salvadoran player (Juan Rodas), has been added in blue ink.

To CONCACAF, a lesson: Don’t sell the milk before you buy the cow. (Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched.)

And to “La Azulita” (the Sub 23 team for El Salvador), as well as to everyone reading this: Believe in yourselves, even when others tell you that your goals aren’t realistic. Dream, work hard, and you can achieve it. Anything is possible.

Resolutions + Perspective

I don’t really do New Year’s resolutions, but this year it became a time of self-examination and a clear starting point to make some changes. The changes I’ve made have been a long time coming – some once, (or many times), attempted and abandoned, others have been bouncing around in my head waiting for me to give them importance – still others have only come to me recently, as if they knew now was the moment I would welcome them.

I don’t like to call them “goals” or “resolutions” because I prefer to think I spend every day of my life stepping toward the self-actualized version of myself – Admittedly it’s a two steps adelante and one step atrás sort of thing.

Like many others, one of my “resolutions” (for want of a better word), is to take my health more seriously. I’m starting to feel my age and that – even more than wanting to look like a bikini chica in a Pitbull video, may be enough to scare me straight. My back hurts when I wake up. My knees ache when it rains. It’s too early to consider retiring to Miami so maybe, just maybe, I need to put down the Bubu Lubus.

When my dedication to working towards these “resolutions” wavers, (as it always does), I need to try to remember that my “problem” – my “struggle” – is only difficult from my perspective.

Think about this with me. Think about the ridiculousness of the challenges we face. Some common complaints:

• Food is too accessible and abundant. I can’t get away from the temptations.
• It’s too cold out so I can’t [leave the warmth of my house to] get some exercise.
• I’ve become bored with my workout. I don’t feel motivated.
• Food blogs tempt me with delicious photos of flan and burritos.

(Okay, that last complaint is mine.)

These are what you call “first world problems.” If you just shift your perspective, you may start to laugh at the once mountainous obstacles that seemed insurmountable.

This should shift your perspective. I took this photo in El Salvador – but what does it have to do with anything I’m talking about here? Let me explain.

While we were in El Salvador we went to visit family in Chalatenango. It was a long drive from San Salvador in an unairconditioned microbus. On the way back to the city, the traffic became thick. We shoved at the already open windows to let more air into the vehicle which now moved at a crawl. We fanned ourselves, watched beads of sweat roll down the sides of each others’ faces.

At some point, we came to a stop in front of a public well just off the highway. There I watched women and children washing laundry and scooping water over their heads – bathing fully-clothed with no privacy. I tried not to stare, didn’t want them to feel self-conscious, but Salvadorans are famous starers and I was probably the only one on the highway trying to watch without being obvious about it.

The laundry now heavy and wet, was put back into large plastic tubs, balanced on sturdy heads, and walked home, who knows how far, to be hung to dry.

…Something to remember next time taking a walk around my quiet suburban neighborhood seems too difficult.

Tech to Connect at Blogalicious

I don’t love having my photo taken even under the best circumstances. My mother has always told me I have a “cat who swallowed the canary” smile. I’ve accepted my smile for what it is, but I’m still selective about which images of myself go up online.

At Blogalicious, I had to let go of the urge to control every picture that was taken of me. Within the first hour of the conference, I noticed several people taking my photo which made me self-conscious. I attempted to straighten my posture as I sat at the table trying to figure out the Sprint tablet, (which I had been loaned as part of my sponsorship.) Of course, within a minute I would forget about my posture, relax, and then a flash would go off again. I kind of had to give up on caring about those photos.

Figuring out the Sprint HTC EVO View 4G tablet - (me on the far left)

Getting good at tweeting on the Sprint tablet.

Once I accepted that dozens of “unapproved” photos were floating around in cyberspace, it was actually kind of freeing and I stopped caring.

I'm not quite at the level of not caring as my friend Roxana, who loves to make faces to annoy the photographer, but I aspire to be. (left to right, me, Roxana, Maura.)

me (left), Ezzy (right)

(left to right) Roxana, Ana, me

Blogueras! (And yes, I changed out of stylish shoes in favor of chanclas.)

So far I haven’t loved all the photos taken of me, but it’s okay. It’s not the end of the world and I’m not perfect. I’m just happy that Sprint loaned the tablet to me so that I could capture happy memories with my friends. (I can say that calmly for now because I still haven’t discovered any of the photos of me dancing. They’re out there somewhere though.)

Anyway, I took plenty of my own photos of amigas with the Sprint tablet, once I got the hang of it, if you want to go check those out.

More importantly, f you want to take your own photos, there’s an opportunity for you to win a Motorola Photon 4G smartphone at a Twitter party I’m co-hosting! (The Motorola Photon 4G has an 8 megapixels camera, digital zoom, flash, auto focus and image editing tools, among other features.)

For the official invite to the Twitter party with date, time and other details, check out the Latina Bloggers Connect Facebook page. Hope to see you there!

Disclosure: This is not a paid or sponsored post. Sprint sponsored the Latina Bloggers Connect team at the Blogalicious conference and made a Sprint HTC EVO View 4G tablet available for my use on a loan basis. All opinions are my own.

Back to School – not just for the niños

Carlos recently started college classes in Dental Assisting. We really aren’t quite sure what he’ll do with that certificate when/if he passes, since dental assistants make half of what he makes at his labor job.

College is something Carlos has wanted to do since before he even came to the United States. He actually wanted to be a doctor in El Salvador, but he couldn’t afford to go to university – He immigrated here instead. Speaking almost no English, he washed windows, worked at McDonald’s, put flyers on cars. He left his dreams of being a doctor far behind.

Fourteen years later the opportunity came up for him to take this Dental Assisting course. Everything fell into place – he received a grant that covered the entire cost, the classes are 5 minutes down the street from our house, and the class is in the evenings so it doesn’t interfere with his work day. We decided, ¿Por qué no? … Why not?

The only thing Carlos was uncertain about was his English. He questioned whether it was yet good enough to make it through a college class. I told him he had nothing to lose and everything to gain. I told him I would study with him for as long as it took until he understood everything. In the end, even if he completely failed, at least he would have tried instead of spent the rest of his life wondering what could have been.

Well, Carlos has made it through 2 weeks of classes now. On his first test? He received an 83% B.

Evenings are a little crazy here. The other night I was simultaneously helping both our boys with their homework while helping Carlos study words even I have trouble pronouncing in English, (Circumvallate lingual papillae, anyone?)

My brain was on overload, helping Carlos with dental vocabulary while trying to figure out a tangram puzzle with my 9 year old.

Sometimes I just pronounce the words the way a Spanish speaker would when I’m dictating and he’s writing so I don’t have to spell them. Other times, it just so happens that a knowledge of Spanish helps one memorize the meaning of words that are rooted in Latin.

Examples:

nonmaleficence – do no harm

The “no mal” is right there. “Not bad” makes it easier to remember that it means “do no harm” – (with “harm” obviously being “bad”.)

veracity – truthfulness

In Spanish, “truth” is “veracidad” – so again, being a non-native English speaker is actually helpful with some of this vocabulary.

Sometimes being a Spanish speaker isn’t helpful at all though.

We laughed at this one for a few minutes before we could get back on track. Apparently a “mamelon” is only the “edge of an incisor tooth when it first erupts through the gum.” (Boring in comparison to what we were thinking about!)

Anyway, even though we aren’t sure where this class might take him, I think it’s a good thing. Not only is Carlos building confidence, but he’s setting an example for the boys. He always tells them, “Go to college so you don’t have to work like a burro.” Now he is showing them what can be done when you take a chance and put your heart into it.

How many more advantages our kids have compared to what Carlos came from – and yet there he is, with a backpack full of books at 33 years old and still speaking English with an accent so thick I sometimes have to help him out at drive thru windows.

Maybe he won’t ever be Dr. López, but I’d say nothing is impossible.

On This Day, We Are All Mexicans

BY TRACY LÓPEZ
(Originally published on CafeMagazine.com on June 21, 2010 as part of their World Cup coverage.)

In a world divided by borders and intolerance, there are rare moments to be savored which bring people together, and inspire an outpouring of love and unity. Often times it’s a natural disaster like an earthquake, such as the one that shook Haiti earlier this year. Other times we’re brought together by a political event, the death of someone loved around the world, or by a religious celebration – but sometimes we are unified by an amazing triumph, such as Mexico’s historic 2-0 win over France.

When East Germany erected a wall, then-President John F. Kennedy stood on the steps of the Rathaus Schöneberg in 1963 and, declaring his support for a free and united Germany, said “Ich bin ein Berliner” – or in English: “I am a Berliner.” In the shadow of the 9/11 attacks against the United States in 2001, as the entire world stood in disbelief and grief, many countries declared in solidarity, “On this day, we are all Americans.”

And on June 17, 2010, as “El Chicharito” Hernández scored the first goal and led “El Tri” to victory, it felt as if, for a brief moment as we shared in their pride and glory, that on this day, we were all Mexicans. In the words of the English singer Morrissey, “I wish I was born Mexican, but it’s too late for that now.”

From Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane, South Africa, to El Ángel de la Independencia in Mexico City, fans cried tears of joy and sang “Cielito Lindo.” Mexican-Americans, Latinos of all nationalities, (and believe it or not, a few gringos too), couldn’t help but be swept up in the moment, and maybe – just maybe – we shed a tear or two as well as we watched the triumphant band of brothers, their jerseys stuck to their bodies with sweat, embrace each other as the song, “One Day” by Matisyahu echoed over the pitch.

“…All my life I’ve been waiting for
I’ve been praying for
for the people to say
that we don’t wanna fight no more
they’ll be no more wars
and our children will play
one day…”

-One Day by Matisyahu

Humildes Pescadores convertidos en Super Fútbolistas

[Today is Spanish Friday so this post is in Spanish. For English, please scroll down. If you participated in Spanish Friday on your own blog, please leave your link in comments!]

Por la primera vez en su historia, el equipo nacional de El Salvador, La Selecta, clasificó a la fase de cuartos de final en el Mundial de Fútbol de Playa.

La parte de la historia que más me inspiro, es que todos los muchachos en el equipo son humildes pescadores. Su primer entrenador del equipo, Israel Cruz, tuvo fe en ellos y les ayudo a pedir sus pasaportes para que pueden viajar a los partidos. También él se asuguro que los fútbolistas llevaran una dieta alimenticia balanciada porque unos de los fútbolistas tuvieron años de no comer ni una manzana. Estaban acostombrados en comer nada más que tortillas, pescado y frijoles.

Cuándo están en las islas dónde viven, los jugadores andan descalzos – y por eso, están bien preparados por jugar fútbol sin zapatos.

Hasta el momento, el equipo ha ganado casi 35 mil euros en premios. Si ganan el Mundial, Israel Cruz dijo que sus deseos son muy simples. “Ellos todo lo que piden es una lancha y un motor para pescar”.

Les deseo buena suerte, en el partido final, y en la vida.

Lee más aquí:

La Prensa Grafica

El Diario de Hoy

[ENGLISH TRANSLATION]

For the first time in their history, the national team of El Salvador, La Selecta, made it to the quarterfinal phase of the Beach Soccer World Cup.

The part of this story that inspires me most, is that the young men on the team are humble fisherman. The first trainer for their team, Israel Cruz, had faith in them and got their passports so they could travel to games. He also made sure they were eating a more balanced diet as some of the players hadn’t eaten an apple in years – they were used to eating no more than tortillas, fish and beans.

When on the islands where they live, the players go around barefoot – and for that reason, they’re well prepared to play soccer without shoes.

Up to now, the team has won almost 35 thousand euros in prize money. If they win the World Cup, Israel Cruz says their desires are very simple. “All they want is a [new] boat and a motor for fishing.”

I wish them good luck, in the game, and in life.

If you say you love fútbol, I hope you’re watching the Women’s World Cup

I am out $40 thanks to the U.S. Men’s team. Hopes were high in the beginning with a two goal lead but Mexico proved too fast and the U.S. team, too disorganized. A sampling of my tweets from last night:

• USA! USA! USA! … Don’t let me down. I’ve got $40 on this game. lol #goldcup #copadeoro

• gooooooooooool USA!

• claro – que viva mexico… pero que gane los EEUU jajaja ;) RT @soonerclone viva mexico!!

• Gooooool #2 USA & Donovan does the chicken dance in celebration lol #copaoro #goldcup

• Now 2-1 US leads MX. Goal by Barrera. #copaoro #goldcup

• Mexico ties it up. 2-2 Chicharito smartly steps over the ball to avoid offsides #goldcup #copaoro

• Mexico takes the lead 3-2 #copaoro #goldcup

• Ayyyysh! stupid porteria!

• Dempsey shouldn’t have done that. Beating up on cute little Chicharito looks bad lol

• Noooooooo :( U.S. COME ON! ergh.

• @UcCaliChic25 LOL… this is difficult to watch. Like a lion slowly eating a gazelle on NatGeo #goldcup

• Felicidades Mexico. Team USA, I’m out $40 because of you. I am disappoint #goldcup

• Carlos is unhappy. Mexican co-workers are texting him to gloat lol …He turned his phone off.

___

Okay, I wanted to get a photo of the text Carlos received but he is really, really sore about it. He doesn’t find it funny at all. (For one thing, they address him as “Pupusa” – that’s his nickname as the only Salvadoran at work.) … Anyway, he is so far from amused that I actually need a separate post to talk about it – so that has to wait until más tarde.

As for the game, I’m really disappointed but I kind of don’t understand why some people are such sore losers. I’m not just saying this because I like El Tri. I really wanted the U.S. to win, (like I said, I lost money betting on them!) – but in the end, it’s just a game, isn’t it? Look, I get totally passionate about fútbol, but I promise you, it really is just people kicking around a round object. When you think about how insignificant each human is in this universe, it seems rather silly that the inability of a handful of men to kick a ball into a net, should ruin your day.

Besides, there are other things to move on to, like the Women’s World Cup now taking place in Berlin, Germany.

Unfortunately, (*cough* due to gender inequality *cough*) – it’s not as easy to find the Women’s World Cup games on television as it is to find men’s games (of any kind.) … It frustrates me but I also find it strange to think about. The women’s team is not getting the same treatment just based on what is, (or isn’t), in their gym shorts. It’s really baffling when you look at it like that.

Ni modo, here is where you can follow the games if you can’t find them on T.V.

FIFA
ESPN 3
USSoccer.com
AOL.SportingNews.com

Other interesting links:

FIFA treats women’s game as a burden – FOX sports/JENNIFER DOYLE

Fun fact:

“Until World War I, women players had to keep their hair under a cap or bonnet and hide their legs inside voluminous bloomers. In the 1910′s, when many men were away at war, crowds flocked to see women’s exhibition games. This wider acceptance of ladies’ soccer enabled women’s teams to start wearing soccer outfits that were similar to those worn by men and more suitable for the game.” – pg. 29 / Eyewitness Books: Soccer

…two steps forward, one step back…

“Let the women play in more feminine clothes like they do in volleyball. They could, for example, have tighter shorts. Female players are pretty, if you excuse me for saying so, and they already have some different rules to men – such as playing with a lighter ball. That decision was to create a more female aesthetic, so why not do it in fashion?” – Sepp Blatter, President of FIFA, 2004 (source)

“How good does a female athlete have to be before we just call her an athlete?” – Author Unknown

Cellphone Fotos #3

Here is my week in cellphone fotos.

We went grocery shopping at Wally World as usual – but this caught me off guard. The toy aisle is right next to the fitness equipment aisle so I guess someone decided to be funny. It made me laugh, and quite frankly freaked me out a little, too. As I’ve mentioned before, dolls scare me.

Another day we ended up at Target. We went shoe shopping for the boys because all their old pairs are either out-grown or barely recognizable as footwear at this point.

Anyway, hanging from the ceiling at Target was a monster-size chancla. I said to my oldest son, “Imagine getting a chacletazo from THAT chancla!” … That inspired this photo:

On our shoe-shopping adventures, we ended up in the vicinity of a Petco, and our youngest son can not pass a pet store without asking to go and “just look.” (In case you need translating, “just look” means he is going to ask us to take home every animal in the store.)

I don’t need much convincing since I find the mice amusing with all their wheel-running and curious beady eyes – but this time I happened upon this ratoncito.

Is he not the most depressed ratoncito you’ve ever seen? Poor guy looks like he has the entire weight of the world on his furry little shoulders. (Don’t feel too sad. When I last checked on him before we left the store, he had gotten out of his food bowl in the corner and looked more cheerful. Mice don’t live long so they can’t afford to wallow in self pity for more than a few minutes. May we learn a lesson from the ratoncito!)

More shoe shopping took us to some outlets. While we were walking around, a car drove by and a guy yelled out to us, “I LOVE YOU GUYS!!!” before speeding off. It could have been a teenager being an ass, but I chose to take it as a random act of kindness. I’m thinking about doing this myself, (telling random people I love them, not being an ass, that is.)

At the outlets there are little kiddie rides here and there. The thing I love about my 9 year old is that he’s at that beautiful age where he’s aware of which things are now considered “childish” – but he’s still too fun-loving to care if he looks foolish.

He jumped right up on the carousel caballito and asked if we could insert some monedas. Unfortunately el cipote looks a little like the depressed ratoncito in that photo because the machine was already jammed with a stuck quarter. Carlos went to work to dislodge the coin but his fingers are kind of thick, so he wasn’t having much success. All of a sudden I had an idea. I pulled the gum out of my mouth, stuck it to the quarter and ta-da! We were 25 cents richer. I remembered a Sesame Street video from my childhood about retrieving a lost jack with a magnet – and that’s what inspired me. Thanks, Sesame Street!

For my last photo, I decided I wanted to show you all the “inspiration board” I have here at my desk because I want to encourage you to make one for yourself. The cork board itself costs less than $5, but you don’t even need one. You can just tack stuff to the wall – but put it somewhere you’ll see it often.

What do you put on your inspiration board? Anything that inspires you, reminds you of your goals/priorities, and makes you smile. I put a lot of quotes on mine, (including fortunes from Chinese take-out, but now that I’m eating healthier, I won’t be adding more to my collection.) … I also have a drawing from my youngest son that says he missed me, (he drew it while at school but it reminds me to spend time with the kids.) … As you can see, I also have photos of Chicharito and Espinoza Paz. Carlos objected to their inclusion. I told him that they inspire me but he doesn’t buy it. He said, “I’m going to make an inspiration board and put girls in bikinis on it.”

I told Carlos he’s being totally ridiculous. His comparison isn’t even valid – I mean, it isn’t like Espinoza and Chicharito are half-naked in the photos.

…(If anyone has photos of Espinoza or Chicharito half-naked though, you have my E-mail.)

Link: What’s On Your Phone Tuesdays

Drunk on Happiness

It was sometime last year, during the summer, that I stopped at a gas station downtown while out running errands, having found my tank on empty once again.

Suegra happened to be along for the ride, sitting next to me in the passenger seat. I pulled up to the pump and shut the car off. As I blindly rummaged in my bag to find my debit card, I watched a couple cross the parking lot, laughing so hard that they had to hold onto one another for support as they walked. I began to smile, feeling their infectious happiness, but Suegra clicked her tongue.

“Borrachos,” she muttered, shaking her head.
“Drunks?” I said, “Maybe they’re just happy?”
Suegra looked at me like I was stupid. I shrugged my shoulders and got out of the car.

The rest of the day, and even a year later, I still think about that moment because it so clearly demonstrates how one’s outlook on life can change any situation.

10 años

[Scroll down for English Translation]

Los vemos antes de que nos vean. Él es Latino, ella es una gringa – los dos son jóvenes, sin hijos, como nosotros hace más de diez años atrás. Parece que ellos están en un pleito, (de qué, ¿quién sabe?)- peleando sobre algo que no van a recordar en diez años, o aún mañana. El inglés chapurreado de él, y la voz bajita de ella, es como una de mis propias memorias. Ahora, nos ven, otra pareja igual que ellos, pero sonriendo, felices, tomados de la mano, con dos hijos creciendo a nuestro lado. Tal vez vean que una relación como la nuestra, puede funcionar, que todo va a estar bien. Que a pesar de los retos encontrados en un matrimonio como el nuestro, pueden vivir felices para siempre. Ellos caminan en la otra dirección.

Él toma la mano de ella.

_______________________

English Translation:

10 Years

We see them before they see us. He’s Latino, she’s a gringa – both young, no children, like us over ten years ago. They seem to be arguing, over who knows what – something they won’t remember ten years from now, or even tomorrow. His broken English and her hushed tones sound like a memory. They see us then, another Latino and gringa couple, smiling, happy, holding hands, with two half-grown children by our side. Maybe they see that it can work, that it will be okay. That despite the challenges encountered in a marriage like ours, you can live happily ever after. They walk off in the other direction.

He takes her hand.
___

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