Photography

Don't Ignore Your Passions

Driving back from Chicago a couple weeks ago I made up my mind to think deeply about my future and how that would be directed. As I thought about it I came to the conclusion that my life right now has several specific passions. The first is obvious thanks to my Instagram, but I love photography. It has been a big part of my life now for close to ten years and I want to see that side of me grow. Another passion is culture and cultures. I firmly believe that I grew up in Mexico, moved to the States, and lived in Japan, for a good reason. Spreading and sharing culture means a lot to me especially in the Midwest where we tend to be mono-cultural.  The other passion I have is for the Latino community, specifically in the United States. I taught English to adults most of the time I was at Grace and got to hear their struggles and victories as outsiders in the United States. Their stories impacted me as they are an unheard voice and I want to be an advocate for them.

During my job hunt the past few weeks I kept those passions, photography, culture, and the Latino community, in mind. They were clarifying for me as I discerned between jobs that would work toward those passions or not. I was offered a position as EL (English Learners) Paraprofessional at an elementary school nearby, mostly working with Mexican kids. With my handy-dandy list of passions I figured two out of three was a good ratio. So while this may not be the long term plan I feel confident that I am not wasting my time.

I encourage you to delve into your own thoughts and bring out what really motivates you, aside from what people have told you. I had to come to terms with the fact that I do not care for graphic design that much, even though that is what most people thought I wanted to do.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this, your passions, and maybe even how your mindset has changed after working through this! Share in the comments! 

Week 11: Red, Yellow, Orange, Green... Blue, White?

In October Japanese tourists travel to the mountains to witness the spectacular fall show: the turning of the leaves. While summer is relatively short, fall is prolonged, like it has a patient plan to woo us to its side. The colors start changing higher up in the mountains first, shedding its green coat. As the month passes the lower altitudes get to have some of the color until the whole mountain is colored in. Then, it snows on the peaks. Not a lot, but enough for the peak to glow in contrast to the warmth of the world around it. This is called Sandankoyou, the Blue Sky, White Snow, and Fall Colors. The Japanese have words for everything!

Fall is a season, and signifies the ending of the year. I feel like I am in a small fall right now. I have had a wonderful season in Japan at NORTHSTAR. But that season is about to end and bring to a close the college years. Now I get to look forward to the next season, the next years of life. The years where friendships are solidified and I continue seeking Father’s direction in my life. Please pray for me in my last week and a half here that it would be a growing time, and as I leave. I so appreciate your support!

Now please enjoy the fall colors of Japan!

Week 9.5: Photo Essay - Summiting Yarigatake

Welcome to the second installation of the XX.5 Series! This series is dedicated to photo essays that will not fit on my Instagram. As always my slogan is more pictures, fewer words.

Our kind full time staff gave us two days off at the beginning of this week. We knew this ahead of time so Andy, who loves hiking, organized a hiking expedition. Eventually we settled on how many of us were going, three (Andy, Tyler, and me), and where we were going, Yarigatake. The peak of Mt. Yari is the 5th highest in Japan and very popular with Japanese hikers. We left NORTHSTAR early, around 4 AM, arrived at 5 AM, and were on our way by 5:30 AM.

The first four hours were relatively easy hiking, and we went quickly. The last three hours were very steep and we slowed down considerably. Up until the last 20 minutes we had not been treated to a view of the peak, only to a view of the Lodge, mocking us as we struggled higher.

It had been warm most of the way up, but as soon as we crossed over the ridge and saw the peak the wind almost knocked us over and the temperature plummeted. We had a quick lunch and began to set up camp. We changed and decided to give the peak a try.

It was a quick clamber to the top, though there were some spots where basic rock climbing came in handy. The view from the top was awesome. It was a fantastically clear day and it was even possible to see Mt. Fuji.

Coming down took a little more time as it was rather steep. Then we had dinner, which we had to be inventive about. One of our party forgot the gas for the stove, so we ended up eating lukewarm rice and curry. We were all too ready to set up our sleeping bags and prepare for the night. However, we had to see the sunset first.

The night was very windy and rather cold, but our layers and sleeping bags kept us warm. We planned on going to the peak for sunrise, but when we woke up at 5 AM it was still windy, cold, and now, cloudy. So we had oatmeal for breakfast and called it good.

Hiking down the mountain we got to see more beautiful views. We were tired at the end but we all firmly believed it had been worth it.