“Learn to light a candle in the darkest moments of someone’s life. Be the light that helps others see; it is what gives life its deepest significance.” – Roy T. Bennet

Posts tagged ‘america’

Domino Effect

I didn’t live in the Dominican Republic for long. It wasn’t even three years in the end. But, despite all my efforts to not assimilate to the culture, I left with several quirks because of it.

Every afternoon, someone would either invite us to have coffee at their house or someone would simply put a percolator on the stove. You would think that hot coffee in high heat and humidity would be overkill, but I found that after the initial sweating, the outside humectation would seemingly lessen. Now, I enjoy a pot of (decaf) coffee when the day begins to lull and I’m already preparing for dinner. It may be summer, but I feel as though I am better acclimatized than my husband and can stand the heat of midday enough to run in it.

The beaches of Sosua were always interesting. That side of the island is the more tourist-y side, with bars and high-priced trinket markets lining the beach entryways. The worst thing about them was the appalling amount of lecherous creeps that preyed the shoreline. These were the Speedo-wearing, beer-bellied predators blocked from their own countries. The average age was about fifty, but that didn’t (doesn’t) stop them from picking up sixteen-year-old Haitian and Dominican girls to use and abuse with the promise of a future outside the island. Unfortunately, because I grew so used to seeing this sick trend, I now assume that large, white, fifty-year-old men are all predatory and dangerous. I know this isn’t a fact of all men that look that way, but perhaps I am racist and sexist in small ways because of it. I don’t trust anyone’s grandpa until I really know them.

Lastly, the poverty in the Dominican Republic made me appreciate the abundance of America. Appreciate, and also abhor. We live in such luxury here and complain about the things we do not have. We have so much. I do not go hungry. My family does not go hungry. We have a one-bedroom apartment and I could have another child and it would still be sufficient. We have jobs. We have savings. We have clean water. I cannot complain.

After all is said and done, I do wish to go back someday.

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Japan

Life can overwhelm

All the different faces

The critiques that come with them

And the ever-changing smiles

The mindsets of millions

The styles of billions

Up and down

Like a rollercoaster

And we are just spinning in circles

Anyway

But we thrive

Fashions come and go

Some should never have come

Our cars get bigger and better

Our minds get smaller and smaller

Or so it seems

We eat

A lot

The food never stops coming

And when disasters do

What??

We lose sight of hope?

Of pity?

Of peace?

The screens are watched

The people panic

But from over here

It’s a thought

In the back of your head

Sometimes you remember to pray

Sometimes you forget

There are others out there

Beyond a haircut

Beyond a music video

Crying like children

Some of them are children

A wall is being built

A tall one

Of loving people

Of helpers

Of those who care

Whether we join them or not

That’s our choice

What do you choose?

 

America

This is the story of the naming of America. Not many people know the true story, and those who do keep it from reaching the wrong ears. I beg of you to consider the safety and welfare of America and her surrounding countries, and not tell the story around terrorists and/or the president.

I will begin by explaining what the word America means. It can be broken up into three parts. The first is A. Of course, we all know what that means. A. As in A Lobster. Or A Hairball. Though neither of those have anything to do with our story. The second is Mer, meaning Soil, or Land. The last part is Rica, the Spanish word for Rich. This form of the word is feminine, which is why I referred to America as a her. The full meaning of the word is A Rich Land. Obviously, she speaks for herself.

The real name-giver of the land was not Amerigo Vespucci, or the mapmaker from Germany, or even that elusive Piero Soderini who received a few letters. No, it goes back so much farther than that.

On a certain stormy night (of course it’s stormy, it’s always stormy in the interesting stories), an old crippled priest walked up the steps of his crumbling church. I don’t know why, he just did, because it’s interesting, in a way. The priest’s name was Aldo. He had had a vision.

Now, back then, visions were always to be taken seriously. If a man had a vision that his cow would die from the chickenpox, he would kill it in order for it to not suffer. Aldo knew that this vision was more important than a cow or any other sort of animal, and that it could change the world. He had seen a new land being formed, a land meant for all kinds and races. It puzzled him, to see Spaniards working alongside the Dutch and the English. Aldo then decided to see for himself if this land was real. Despite his neighbors’ protests that such a land existed, he set sail to reach the ends of the earth.

Then, tragedy struck. Having not thought to bring along a crew, Aldo was quickly outnumbered by the various ropes and nets that hung about the ship. He was swept overboard in a tug-o-war with the mainsail, and lost beneath the waves. For a time.

Some say it was mermaids, or dolphins. Whatever the truth, all we know is that he made it safely to shore, and, seeing the wondrous land before him, he exclaimed, “Oh, see the beautiful plants! How rich the soil must be for the trees to bear such fruit!”

The name came to him then and there. Knowing in the deep depths of his failing heart that this was the very place his vision spoke of, he used words from different languages and combined them, saying, “It is fitting for the country of many to have a name from many countries.”

So he called it America. And  it was a land that was meant to be discovered many times over before it was finally inhabited by “civilized” people. America it was named, and America it shall stay. Thank you, Aldo.

 

 

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