mexico

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 9: Cool People

There are some people out there whose stories are cool and humbling all at the same time. They have done things some barely dream of doing. Sometimes they do them for themselves, sometimes for others. But they do not give up and accomplish what they set out to do. Over the past couple weeks I got to meet two very special people with cool stories.

 I met Heike Pirngruber when a bunch of us decided to climb Mt Norikura. She was just starting to take her camp down when we arrived at the hiking starting point. We said hello and thought nothing more of it. During the hike up we crossed the main road several times. At one crossing we were taking a breather when Heike comes around the bend on her bike. A little surprised, we stopped to chat for a little. Obviously not Japanese, we asked her where she was from and she said Germany. As we got acquainted we learned that she has been to 29 countries over the course of 28 months! She had cycled through mostly Eastern European and Asian countries to finally arrive in Japan, her last Asian country. I wanted to share about her because she set her mind to doing this adventure and has not looked back. There were months at a time when she could speak to no one, yet she pushed on. Her blog is very well written and I highly recommend reading it. Her writing is insightful and honest, something I have come to appreciate in Japan. Link to her blog is at the end of this post.

Photo: Abi Erickson

Photo: Abi Erickson

I met Asa Yuki, Morning Snow, while taking onsen. Ty and I had gone to the free onsen, a short walk from NORTHSTAR, after our Yarigatake hike (post about that coming this weekend!). We spent around 30 minutes relaxing our very tired muscles. We were just thinking of leaving when an older gentleman came in. He spoke to us in broken English, asking us where we were from. When we told him we were from the States and Mexico, his eyes lit up. He told us that in 1979 he spent 8 months in the US, Mexico, and Guatemala. Then, we understood him to ask us if we would take a picture with him. Confused, we started to leave. He got out with us and we went up to the road where his SUV was. To my surprise, instead of pulling out an iPad to take pictures, he had a photo album. Inside were over 50 pictures of his time in Guatemala, mostly of people and Semana Santa (Holy Week). As I was flipping through he told me his favorite place in Mexico was Oaxaca, where I’m from! It was so great. After I finished looking through his lovely photos he told me that he wants to go back to Guatemala and give the photo album as a present to the families he photographed. I think it is wonderful how he thinks about these people often and wants to give back. He is from Tokyo and was visiting Norikura for the third or fourth time. Yet he kept this photo album from 1979 in his car, to remember.

Sometimes it takes specific circumstances to meet someone, sometimes it’s a casual meeting in an onsen Either way, it is important to take advantage of the situation, you never know what cool people you might meet!

Heike Pirngruber’s English blog

Warsaw City Hall Show: "Mexico"

I graduated college two weeks ago. This is fact rather than pride because it means that I have to get busy on "real life." During my senior show a couple months back, the mother of one of my friends approached me about coming to the show. The only thing she told me at that point was that she wrote for the Warsaw Times-Union and wondered if she could do an interview with me. Of course I said yes!

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Undocumented Women in the United States

Undocumented Women in the United States

Lots of people (ie Jessie) have asked to see the finished series of my Mexican women series. After an extended hiatus it's time to get back on track. After teaching English to this group of Mexican women for almost three years I decided it was my duty to show America the faces behind the words "undocumented immigrants."

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Travel: Oaxaca, Mexico to Huron, Ohio

Travel: Oaxaca, Mexico to Huron, Ohio

As a missionary kid I have been blessed with the opportunities to travel and see the world. Admittedly, living in Mexico does not provide an impressive array of countries to see, especially when I go to college in Indiana. But 3,000 miles distance from home to school means that there is plenty to see!

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Documenting a Gift: A Bible Dedication

Documenting a Gift: A Bible Dedication

One Sunday my parents and I went out to the town of Chuxnaban Queztaltepec, in the state of Oaxaca. We drove up and down a whole range of mountains for about three hours before we arrived. We left early in the morning and arrived in Chuxnaban in time for breakfast. The point of the trip was to witness the dedication of the Bible in the language spoken in Chuxnaban: Mixe.

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