Monthly Archives: October 2014

“Ni modo”

Dear readers,

I have been extremely busy of late with work and wedding plans that I have not been able to do much for my blog, which I must apologise to followers.

We will be sending invitations out soon to family and friends. The civic ceremony takes place on 23rd July, then two days later will be the Catholic ceremony.

I have been reading an interesting book of late by Malcolm Gladwell called Outliers which is about how success has more factors than just good luck and a bit of graft. It talks about life lessons, how success and opportunities come to those being, kind of, right place at the right time, culture features that affect our personalities and character traits (and how it can conflict with others (and boy do I know a bit about that) especially in communication and society hierarchies), when and where we were born, educational inheritance from our parents, as well the clichéd, commitment and dedication, and hours of practice and self education. It’s not based so much on our IQ, but how we use our intellects, our attitude and how we go about things. Sometimes we make big and little decisions that have huge impacts on our level of success.

It’s very inspirational. I do recommend it. I wouldn’t call it self-help, but it has helped me to think of my attitude. It also made me think of how my attitude fits into Honduran society, how even today after three or more years living here that my thoughts and values clash. Punctuality for example, expecting people to be on time, when there is far less importance on it (I’m sorry Hondurans and Latinos, but it is a huge flaw in your culture), but also a willingness to try something new. It’s a traditional culture; people are happy with it. Creativity isn’t always appreciated (but that doesn’t apply to many Hondurans, I must add). I like to push ahead with things. It’s a kind of Brummie attitude. We don’t hold back. We get on with it. Here though, if people aren’t on board with it, they will block you. I don’t know if it’s through cultural inheritance from having past dictatorships, but being halted and having a no attitude does not help Honduran society.

Another thing which I clash with are people’s feelings. In the UK, we say it as it is. We, or I, don’t mind criticism. Constructive criticism on well found observations and facts, of course. The same goes for compliments. I don’t see it in Honduras as much. I consider it a guide. I don’t always get that in Honduras and I end up learning the hard way. Whenever I have a criticism of someone or something, many Hondurans take it to heart (they don’t tell me. I just become known as the rude Brit) and they feel attacked. I get the feeling I ruffle too many feathers, but they don’t let me know how I upset their plummage. I have to guess, through a labrinith of hidden clues. It’s a very high powered society, where in hierarchies people talk up and down to each other. I feel in the UK, it is more level, we speak with open dialogue and there is less significance about someone’s position. Not in all sectors, but in many.

To praise Hondurans though, I admire their graft. They work for long, long hours without moaning (though it might have something to do with being passive), especially the elders. Younger people should not lose that value. I’ve seen that a little, unfortunately. But on the most part, they work harder than us Brits, who will whinge after a while. Me included.

Another thing, Hondurans are smart. They are very good mathematicians. The public education system does not benefit those who are smart, but I can see it in the creativity and ability. What Hondurans need is to follow through, not let criticism act as a blockade and to eradicate the ni modo attitude, much like the C’est La Vie attitude laid down by the bleedin’ French!! They are weighted words. In a few moments I am going to include a Facebook status that I wrote last week. Before that though, I must say that there are criticisms through frustration, but more so through observation. Please do not be offended, and enjoy Honduran Thanksgiving.

“Ni modo”. They are two of the most destructive words in the Spanish language. It kind of means “never mind”, but it has an apathetic attitude. It is a phrase used to accept situations for what they are and not to want or care about change. They don’t question or think about overcoming barriers. It smells of lathargy and pessimism. I have a “can do” attitude, with rationality. I don’t like to hear “ni modo”. They are not useful words to me. Unfortunately they are words that I hear a little too often everyday in Honduras. I believe it is something in the psyche and a stumbling block for Honduras. Please use “se puede” in front of me. Thank you.

Advertisements

Tremor

Dear readers,

In my three or so years here in Honduras, I think I’ve felt tremors but then I can’t decide if it’s lorries passing by or if I’ve eaten one too many baleadas and I’m just suffering a bit of runny, gassy emissions.

This was a definite tremor. It took place on Monday night at roughly 10pm while I was doing some writing in the living room. The vibration took place over two minutes and the world literally rattled like lame fun house at a lame funfair. Consider it shaken but not stirred, nothing broke and there were no injuries (in my residence, that is, but in Salvador, an unlucky soul died when an electric pylon fell on her), nor did I feel in fear. The earthquake took place off the Salvadoran coast, 87 kilometres or so, and it was felt across Central America. Emergency services were expecting tsunamis but nothing much arrived, luckily, because Amapala would have been right its path. There is another earthquake due soon apparently, which isn’t a great surprise considering the plates are quite frequently nudging each other. Hopefully it won’t be any worse than that.

I can now say I’ve survived an earthquake in Honduras.


Tour de Reino Unido – part quince

Dear readers,

Friday 17th July 2014

This is nearly three months old. My sister would be kicking my arse if I didn’t include it. Today was all about London. A city that I consider probably the most interesting on the planet. Samuel Johnson said, “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.” I don’t wholly agree. Pamela likes it only a bit (although not as much as I would have thought) and Pamela certainly isn’t tired of life (she wants to make life. Babies, babies and more babies). This trip was about showing her London in a more positive light. She’d spent a day there previously and found the London mannerisms a bit abrupt and rude, as most people do when they visit London for the first time.

The journey started at Birmingham Coach Station with an extremely charismatic bus driver from somewhere in the West Indies. He read the riot act with a breeze that made us all laugh but respect the rules to the hilt. There was a wonderful touch of light humour to him, as well as threatening malice if we stepped a toe over the line. I remember one woman who got off the bus and wished him a nice day. His reply was, “I always do!” One of God’s great people.

I remember while passing through Kilburn on the coach, close to where ICYE is based, and seeing the Thai cafe where I sat deciding whether to go to Honduras over a bowl of noodles. There was an elderly woman with mental health problems shouting at people, making children cry as they passed. A strange thing to remember, I agree. I had the song Central Reservation by Beth Orton playingvon my iPhone at the time, four years or so ago, a day that changed my life in more ways than I can imagine. I told Pam and she smiled broadly.

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Th3gkE_sP9k

We made it to Victoria Station. Pamela had to get used to the idea of walking fast and not caring too much about surroundings and buildings and actually enjoying the scenery. People seem to tut rather loudly if you’re not walking at London’s fast pace, which is a velocity alien to many Latin based people who enjoy strolling. Me too. But I seem to get into the anxious adrenaline that is London. It’s in the water, so they say.

We left our baggage at “left luggage” at Victoria Street then we made our way to Liverpool Street where we were met my good ol’ chum Tom Teddy Purvay who lives in Shoreditch (living in the house owned by Neil Finn from Crowded House, right next door to Russell Brand (just to names drop)). Tom and I grew up together in Hall Green. He was/is a session musician with Ladyhawk, specialising on the bass, and I was once given tickets to see them in Wolverhampton while they were supporting the moody Mancs, known as The Ting Tings. Tom is also producing his own music, travelling every few weeks off to Oz or the States or various luxury locations around Europe. Not a bad life. We went to his house and then had a spot of lunch at an organic restaurant. Then a walk around Spittlefields, before we went for a lovely pint. I don’t get to see the lad much but it was great to see the boy who his sisters call Egg Head. His head never actually looked like an egg but it wound him up a treat. Pam liked him too and she was gifted a magazine that costs over £10 which his fiance is a photographer for (which Pam has a massive interest in). Unfortunately we didn’t get a picture together and it’s a grand shame because I miss Egg, I mean, Tom. Here’s an old picture from Facebook.

image

We were then on our way down to Kingston-on-Thames where my sister lives. We were staying in a Premier Inn near to where the telephone boxes are piled up. Sound strange? It’s a statue. An interesting one.

image

My sister had us on a strict schedule to be at hers at seven sharp. We threw on clothes after sitting on a stiflingly hot train. I wore my Galeano tshirt for Kingstonians to see, and we went to a restaurant that sits on the banks of the Thames. I think it’s Italian. It had an Italian waiter who was keeping our glasses full with Prosecco but I seem to remember eating fish and chips. What was best was seeing Hanny West, my brilliant cousin who met us with flowers for our engagement. She got to practice her Spanish with Pamela. Then Zahra, one of my sister’s best buddies turned up (we called her Guatemalen, her family are actually from India), and a bit later a guy who my sister had an ill fated relationship with, who was a motorcycle champ, a personal trainer and had loads of tattoos.

After dinner, we drank loads of cider in a nearby bar. I remember having a wee bit of hangover the next day. It was nice to be back in the big smoke.

image

image


“You’re on fire, esquire”

Dear readers,

I wrote this poem a little earlier today.

You’re on fire, esquire

You’re on fire, esquire,
What’s that in your jar?
Looks like you’re off on a flyer, tryer,
We know that you’re going far.

“All you need is enthuiasm, sonny,
You can’t do nothing without desire.
Take life with a pinch of salt, honey,
These grains add fuel to the fire.”

Thank you very much, fire man,
You should write a book about this.
“Eat well and don’t take drugs the plan,
And faith in yourself and God shouldn’t go amiss…”


Breathe in, breathe out

Dear readers,

I have found a marvelous app on my phone that helps to inhale and exhale to chill out. It’s simply called Relax. It lasts for five minutes, or more if you wish, and it helps you to control your breathing, as well as your nerves and thoughts. I know there are loads of apps that do the same, but I thought I would let you know.

I am also writing a poem for an elementary class next week. Breathe In, Breathe Out, suffice to say, is the title.

Breathe In, Breathe Out

Breathe in,

Breath out,

There’s no need

To scream and shout.

If you’re sad

Or feel upset,

Take a deep breath,

Before doing something you regret.

Feeling blue,

Is nothing new,

And if you’re down,

Erase the frown.

It’s not hard,

Some times it’s fun,

Other times you feel

You’re shining like the sun.

Sure enough,

You’ll soon be happy,

Instead of being,

A little snappy.

That’s why,

With a little try,

You should breathe in,

And breathe out.


Poem for if you are missing your beloved

Dear readers,

I don’t get to see Pamela everyday. Even though we live in close by neighborhoods, our schedules mean we only see each other three to four days of the week, which frustrates both of us. Some people have deal with long distances or are away for days or weeks at a time, as my Dad sometimes had to do.

This is a quick poem that I jotted down for Pamela this morning.

Enjoy.

I miss you

I miss you,
Saying goodbye every time kills a little bit of me,
A day feels like a year,
An hour like a week.
Please envelope me into your life,
And I will fold happily inside,
Anything to be with you.


Desiderata by Max Ehrmann

Dear readers,

I have this poem upon my wall by Max Ehrmann. I saw it on a postcard in London. It’s a beautiful mantra if you’re feeling a bit lost. I hope you can use it to inspire yourself.

Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.