therein the grace lies. so much of it.

therein the grace lies. so much of it.

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i know what day it is based on what my calendar on my iphone tells me. this is going to be quite the adjustment, come august when my iphone will no longer accompany me, and i will seek to stop trying to check time every 10 minutes, as i have so become accustomed to, in life. oh, the little things, but really big things, that in the long run, will potentially call for transition and adjustment come my moments spent in the islands of the pacific. no need to start immediately at this exact moment, but i will say that i am definitely starting to view even the littlest, mundane things that i do here, in a very different way – why? because i recall how things are just different in the philippines.

a big thing…weather, for instance. and the fact that i got two mosquito bites on my leg this past weekend, on my trip home from williamsburg, coupled with the fact that i have been putting vicks vaporub on it every night, as if that will really help (that’s at least what I have been taught in my growing up during childhood days), i have come to the conclusion that my legs will be eaten up. my body will become a sugar castle to all bugs – mosquitoes and cockroaches – especially the flying kind. oh, God help me. and i trust that He will! and that, took a little bit of a time to really come to terms with.

once the bugs know that i won’t be leaving their island anytime soon, they’ll get sick of my fresh american-born blood, and get over it. oohh I’m counting down already. It’s just one of those things – they must know that i am “stateside” as the filipino natives call me. mosquitoes and all the bugs just naturally flock to my skin – I blame the processed food and artificial food that i eat. not complaining, just sharing.

this past thursday, we had school off for ascension thursday, and I got to go to wave hill with one of my new york faves. yeah, right? where is that? little to my knowledge, it is this beautiful park with some little trails, a super cute gazebo amidst the trees and the sticks (I found myself a walking stick!), and bright-colored flowers. granted, it is super high up from the 1 train, which is probably why visiting the place never even phased me, but it was well worth the trek! just vast openness of green, and so much sun. ah – so good! I will say that I definitely got a lot of brown from these past couple of days. I have the lines to prove it…I think the filipino stigma of preventing myself from turning brown-er, that is, is diminishing from the forefront of my mind. I will take that as a good thing! highlight = playing tag and screaming, of course, admist the serene atmosphere that was fighting me. J

It was jess’s birthday weekend – one of my most absolute best friends, so naturally, we did it big. dinner at roberta’s in brooklyn, then on over to royal oak…so much fun with good dancing, and saturday, we grabbed some delicious chinese food, all up in the deep area of chinatown, then hung out in central park! It was such a wonderful day, and I think we ended up laying there for a couple hours, just cause it was so nice. then hit up the lower east side. I will say it was definitely one of the best nights I ever had – amazing, non-stop, good music that I was able to rock out to. and that, my friends, is all I need! success! happy birthday to jdang! les has my heart.

after waking up super early (8am is super early for me on the weekend!) to prepare breakfast with mish, mary, and her sis addie (some of the shermans were in town!), I headed over to an ACENTOS workshop, a free poetry workshop originally created to provide a voice to Latinos, through the art of poetry, and bring them all to the forefront. each session, there is a different facilitator – really great ones, too! eventually, this became a forum where members of marginalized groups, and individuals interested in poetry would come together, and learn new styles, try new things, and be in a safe community to give it a shot.

and so we began…sitting in a circle, we introduced ourselves, talked about our favorite poets, and was introduced to ars poetica – what is this? exactly. who was my favorite poet? crap! i didn’t have an answer. my question though, was, what is ars poetica? crystal, you better get a favorite poet down, soon. memorize – GO.

ars poetica is strictly that – it allows us to define what poetry is, and it gives us the opportunity to explore and question the question, what can poetry do for us? our assignment was to write a poem on what poetry is, without saying, poetry is…it must be a poem with a surprise somehow – it can be comprised of one moment, or a number of moving moments…it should be one that does not make obvious connections. it’s time to take some leaps in poetry! writing in any voice – that’s my favorite. it was awesome.

one student in the class was in high school and he talked about how his teacher shared poetry in the classroom – poetry that spoke to him and helped him begin to express himself. i take great excitement and pride in the fact that i also have the opportunity to share this type of art with my students. it really is a blessing.

here are some quotes that were shared in class that really resonated with me:

“poetry that makes nothing happens – makes nothing happen.”

“ she was only asking for change, so I don’t know why I took her hand.” – mark doty

“our ancestors are replenishing the jewel of love for us.” – mark doty

…granted these are excerpts from specific poems – check em out. they are beautiful works.

it was an experience I’m glad i had, and will try to continue to make them, in the little number of weeks that I have left here in the concrete jungle. i asked the boy sitting next to me what he does, and how often he frequents these workshops. he said he comes fairly often, and he said that he hates his job. he’s ready for out. and boom, after no joke, a 7 minute monologue, he told me where he worked, why he worked there, how much he hated where he worked, why he hated where he worked, and how he needs something different in his life. a shift – his job was not making him happy, and it was not fulfilling for him. he had other desires that he wanted to pursue.

what desires? he wasn’t sure. but he knew what he liked, he knows what interests him…and he was going to follow that. after listening, and being super interested in what he had to say, he asked me what I did. I told him, and I was not surprised by his reaction, as I have seen every reaction from, “you’re kidding, right? whoa.” to “that’s amazing! I have a [insert family/friend name here] who does the same thing!”

we continued having a conversation about religion and faith, and he asked me, “so, what draws you to the Catholic faith?” I was not ready to answer that question. at least, I didn’t have anything written to read, I didn’t know what to say, but I guess I did, cause I answered him quite immediately, without hesitation. I talked about the sacraments, I recalled the moment of making my confirmation, I recalled the times that I truly felt, “abstractly in my heart” God helping me in specific situations and speaking to me.

I talked about how learning about Jesus, and how He worked to serve, and love, and set the model for social justice, all rooted from love for humanity, really spoke to me. I don’t know if it sufficed, or if it even made sense, or if I adequately answered the question…but it did surprise me though – it took me off guard, but one thing is for sure – I was thankful for that opportunity.

thankful that he asked me that question – a question that I don’t believe I think about nearly enough (at least, I haven’t in a while). I attribute that, to the fact that, I’ve been born and raised Catholic, I found my Catholic identity in my teens, and I have just continued to live it, since then…but reflecting on what it is, that draws me to the Catholic faith, still? well, thank God, I think with my spontaneous answer, my heart did the talking. and I believed it. wholeheartedly. that’s always a good thing.

I blame divine intervention that in one of my prayers for this week, a suggestion was to take advantage of an opportunity to share my Christian faith with someone. though this can look a number of different ways to each person, I realized that I indeed found that opportunity and had that opportunity with a converse-wearing, skateboard holding, guy with a backwards cap, who carried a “writing journal” marked in sharpee marker. he gets to fly for free, and he works for an airline. writing? that’s his out.

I tried to say good bye to some of the cap corps volunteers tonight, who made a spontaneous trip down to the city, to go to mass at st. pat’s, grab dinner and ice cream. when I say tried, I mean, I tried – I have recently found myself in situations, where I fight to not make that moment be the last one. it is as if I am trying to prolong the moments leading to the inevitable…but really, time is not going to stop. no, I’m not being dramatic, and yes, potentially paths will cross again, but, I was not ready for this to be the last time to see them. I just need one more time. and this, my friends, has been the motto for the past week. I just don’t get it. haha, well, I do, but it’s like, no thanks – not yet. thanks for playing. push and pull, tug of war…but of love. and so much of it.

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