Friday, November 14, 2014

Political Violence: Often there is no justice

Yesterday was the most powerful day for me. Most likely the few people who visit this blog already know my family’s connection to El Salvador. If not, you can read about it in the Family Therapy Magazine (page 22) – Here.  Yesterday we visited a community called Santa Marta, one of the communities most brutally impacted by the war in El Salvador. The most powerful experiences for me is to sit in a circle with a group of other humans and talk and that is what we did with the community yesterday. We heard multiple stories of valor, strength and examples of survival from people who lived through the most ugly and darkest of times.  I don’t know if being here this week has made my feelings about the path my brother’s life has taken less complicated. It has made the hellish context he came from seem more concrete and real such as the violence he was exposed to and likely experienced. There were so many instances of human life being valued so little. On the other hand, so many of the people who have opened their hearts and told us their stories this week have taken such a different path than my brother. When I shift my brain toward our ideas about therapy, I wonder, what is the difference that makes a difference in the path a person’s life takes after exposure to war and violence?

A lot of our most powerful conversations are not on the schedule. The bus driver who drove us to the community was talking with Choco and shared that he had been a soldier in the war. He was recruited when he was 10 years old. He said he didn’t understand the reason for shooting women and children and would try to shoot into the air. It put him at risk. His leaders would count his bullets at the end of the day and there was always the risk of being seen as not doing your job. You could be killed for it.

To negotiate a peace treaty, they granted amnesty to everyone. No one would be held accountable. I can understand that drastic steps sometimes need to be taken in order to bring about peace, but this week I am thinking about the psychological implications of impunity again (as I do in many contexts, like Cambodia and Mexico and the United States). Does justice need to happen for people to heal? I have to think not, because too often there will be no justice.

Santa Marta was powerful for so many reasons. Part of the group we met with was a women's collective. All over the world I have witnessed the power that women's collectives have on communities. Many of the women here, took up arms to provide security for their communities. Now they are taking up the charge for what their communities need today.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The assassination of six Jesuit priests

Yesterday was a good day. We ate breakfast and then headed to Boqueron where we took a trail up to a giant volcano crater. Tromping through tropical green vegetation and trees where the air feels pure almost makes exercise enjoyable. The view was incredible. The world continues to impress me. In El Salvador it is even kind of showing off.

Afterward we went to the church where Oscar Romero was assassinated. We were with Choco, Chacón and Alan. The collective knowledge of the three of them about El Salvador, history and Romero was remarkable. We talked for a while in front of the church and then we went to visit where he had lived. He lived in a simple little home across the street from the church. We went to the home and a nun in her 70’s, who was from Honduras and maybe 4.5 feet tall, gave us a tour. She told us after his murder, his heart was given to the nuns and buried in the front years of the home. Years later it needed to be dug up and she recounted how a miracle occurred and the heart had not decayed, which was interesting to me because a miracle is one of the requirements for someone to become a saint. I enjoyed talking with the nun. She was sweet and had lived a very interesting and international life. We had interrupted her studying English when we arrived. After visiting with her we briefly visited the church. I was glad I had shown the movie about Romero recently to a group of students in Mexico. It was strange to be, a couple of months later, standing where those events had taken place.

We then headed downtown to the cathedral where Romero’s body was interred. A person working there told us to notice the difference between that location and the cathedral above us. It was sparse. Few decorations, flowers or information signs while upstairs was ornate and decorated. It was explained to us that this was due to the political differences that still remain within the church. Romero remains controversial to many. An odd argument I have heard hear for why he should not be admired is that he went against the police and that rather than focusing on serving the church he focused on serving the people. That seems crazy to me because Jesus said, “In as much as you have done it unto the least of these my breathren, you have done it unto me” and “Love one another, as I have loved thee.” To me, serving the people would seem to be the same as serving God.

We just came back from seeing "La Hora Final" about the assassination of six Jesuit priests (as well as their housekeeper and her 15 year-old daughter). Ignacio martin Baro (the founder of liberation psychology being one of them).

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

After a 6:00am airport run, we had breakfast and then headed to "José Simeón Cañas" Central American University (also known as UCA) for the day. Chacón gave an incredibly creative workshop on Psicología de la liberación where he had an activity for each idea from an Ignacio Martín Baró article he covered.  I was really impressed. In addition to learning so many new concepts, I will be able to use those activities as a teacher in so many situations.

I am definitely leaving here motivated to read more and learn more. I don't like my habit of comparing experiences, because I should appreciate each one. Still, here is what I thought yesterday: I learned more in one morning than I learned at my recent multi-day expensive conferences. Now, there are different learning styles and maybe most people learn by sitting silently watching a person scroll through a powerpoint, but that is not how I learn.

After the workshop, Choco's mom brought us lunch and much more. As we ate she shared her experiences during the war. It wasn't planned and it was incredibly powerful. As I have witnessed numerous times, you often wouldn't know the hell that people have been through. Also, the beginning of the story doesn't give away the ending.

When we finished lunch we went on a tour of the university and the Centro Monsenor Romero where the assassinations of Romero, Ignacio Martin Baro and the others are documented. Martin Baro and seven others were murdered on November 16th, 1989 right where we were on the UCA campus.

“There are truths that can only be discovered through suffering or from the critical vantage point of extreme situations.” -Ignacio Martin-baro, scholar, social psychologist, philosopher and Jesuit priest

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Pupusas and Liberation Psychology

Last night Dr. Leticia and I ate pupusas with our friend Chacón and his girlfriend Jennifer. I have such admiration for Chacón’s passion about Ignacio Martín-Baró’s work and liberation psychology. He has been part of a project aimed at collecting everything Martín-Baró ever wrote, including poems, newspaper editorials and journal articles. He has put together such an impressive collection (and he has clearly read every item). He shared his opinion that many people know and admire that Martín-Baró was a psychologist and writer (and that he was murdered for his ideas), but few people have read enough to know why they murdered him—why his ideas were so powerful and thus threatening to those in power.

We learned during our last visit to El Salvador last June, that as is true in all countries, in El Salvador there is the range of political stances falling between conservative and liberal values. For example, we talked last night how not everyone here is happy that Pope Francis supports a nomination of murdered Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero for Sainthood. I don’t know why it surprised me last time, but also not everyone here is a fan of Martín-Baró. I am being more careful not to assume that this time. Of course there are different factions.

Four of our participants arrive today and the others in the morning. We will spend tomorrow at the Universidad Centroamericana "José Simeón Cañas" (UCA) orienting everyone to Martín-Baró (and Romero's) work and history.

Here is something I haven't experienced before. Today we took a taxi to make some copies for our welcome packet. The driver asked if we wanted him to come back for us. I explained that I wouldn't have a way to call him. He said "no problem" and took out his phone and gave it to me (after entering "yo" into the directory. At first I thought "Free phone! But repented and called him when we were done. 

We’ve only been here a day. This is what I am grateful for so far; learning new things, meeting good people, eating delicious things, thinking new thoughts and being inspired.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

El Salvador: Estoy en Camino

November 8th, 2014

I left my apartment around 3:30am and now I am in the Mexico City Airport awaiting my flight to El Salvador (via Panama). I was thinking about all that lies ahead for me this week and how excited I am to be able to be part of a program about liberation psychology and to be working with colleagues I admire. Selfishly, I am ready for something meaningful and to learn new things. So, I thought, I should do what I required of Intern Shareef and try to document this experience. If a 14 year old can do such a great job, surely I can force myself to keep track of the important events that occur too. Of course, he had an uncle who wouldn't let him go to sleep until he blogged. Still, even though he set the bar pretty high, I am going to try to blog each day this week because I think there will be so much to take in.

The program is part of our first attempts to develop professional relationships with colleagues in El Salvador:

We are already working with passionate liberation psychologists who are helping us create this experience and we were able to meet new colleagues last May when we went to set up the program. This week there will be liberation psychologists from all over Latin America who are gathering to remember the martyrdom of Ignacio Martín-Baró, the founder of liberation psychology. Here is a brief introduction from a class I have taught on liberation psychology:

My hope this week and really this year, is to deepen my understanding of this Latin American originating approach to mental health.

A funny thing happened this month. I will have attended three conferences in a little over a month. All are important and reflect different parts of my identity as a professional: The AAMFT conference, the National Latina/o Psychological Association (NLPA) Conferencia and now I will attend un Congreso de psicología de la liberación. The first two conferences were profoundly different in style, format and content. I assume the difference was in large part due to the fact that the AAMFT conference was primarily planned by white people in Leadership and a Latino leadership planned the second conference. Both were highly influenced by the fact that they were organized by people who, for the most part, live in the United States. I have noticed a big difference in style, format and content in previous liberation psychology conferences and I am am interested to see how this year's conference will be.

Monday, August 4, 2014

4th of August
Intern Shareef's Blog #38:
  ACAPULCO!!! So we headed to Acapulco at midnight on what is technically saturday. So we got on our bus for 5 hours. We slept most of the time so it wasn't bad at all. After we got off the bus we walked down to this big street and walked for a long time. It was not fun with a heavy backpack on and we weren't 100% where our hotel was. So we went to a Starbucks down the street so we could use their internet and find how far we were. It turned out that our hotel was just 1 block away. So we headed to the hotel and since it was 6 o'clock in the morning we couldn't check in to our hotel. So we still got to go have breakfast at the restaurant in the hotel and we laid by the pool and watched the waves pass by, as well as all of the crabs on the rocks. It was so beautiful, soon after writing my blog we dropped our stuff off with the front desk and headed to the beach. When we got there the sand was not really sand but a whole bunch of shells crushed down to little tiny minerals. It was nice at the beach because I was able to get in the water and it was warm. It was also a lot of fun because I could do this with my uncle and he and I had a lot of fun with the big waves. This is pretty much what we did all day and the next, but the night in Acapulco my uncle took me to go see the cliff divers. It was amazing how high they jumped off and even a few little kids did it but they only jumped off like 1/3rd of what the adult divers did but it was still really high and impressive for little kids. In Acapulco we took the bus around and they were all so cool, especially because each of them had a theme for example we went on a Looney Tunes bus and Bob Marley bus. It was filled with paintings of the theme on the inside and outside of the bus. On the inside they also had disco lights and loud speakers, so it was kind of like a party bus. On sunday we also were on the beach for awhile and then we left back to D.F at 2:00. 
  The ride back was so long instead of it being a 5 hour drive it was a 7 and a half hour ride. It was so exhausting. I was awake pretty much the whole time too (except for 1 hour.) So we tried to keep busy by watching the movies (in spanish) and I watched one movie (Robots, which is a cartoon) and two first parts of two different movies (Percy Jackson and Life of Pi) I probably would have watched the rest of those movies but I wanted to watch them in english when I got back home so I didn't want them ruined for me. When we got home I talked to my family and then at 11:00pm my uncle and I went to eat our final dinner together for Mexico summer of 2014. We got Quesadillas and brought them home. The salsa we got on the side was green salsa and ended up being super spicy for me which is so weird because I didn't have any problems all summer with spicy foods until now. It was so good though so I kept putting on big portions of the salsa on my Quesadilla. After that we headed to bed.
  This morning I woke up and started on my final blog (sort of.) Well I have learned a lot from Mexico and I am not sure yet how I will react going back to the States. So wish me luck, I am so happy to have had this experience this summer, and so very fortunate because not very many 15 year olds can do this. I had probably the best summer of my life so far out here and it hurts to say goodbye. I am just so happy I was able to do this with my awesome uncle. I hope I may be able to return again one day, and if you want to read my new blog here is the link:

  I am going to be writing about my overall experience of Mexico and what it is like to have reverse culture shock as I return. I hope you will enjoy!
- Shareef

Saturday, August 2, 2014

2nd of August, 2014
Intern Shareef's Blog #37:

  I am going to be writing for yesterday because I was not able to blog and tonight I will write for today. Well yesterday was the final day of the Immersion program. It was really weird going in to today knowing it was the last day. It started off with me being able to sleep in and so we were able to head to work later. Not because I slept in but because I din't have spanish or anything so we were able to sleep in and head to school at 10:00. When we arrived I started on my slideshow that I created of this year's Immersion program. I worked on that for while and then my uncle had to leave to do some therapy work. So I ended up working on that for almost 2 hours and then I headed out with the language school director to the metro stop. There we met the students to head out to this place called the Ciudadela. It is one huge block (street block) that is full of artesian goods and souvenirs and such. There I was able to get some cool stuff for my friends and family. We stayed there for two hours and I was able to hang out with the students. I was really sad that it was one of my last chances to hang out with them. I have grown so close to all of them so it was really hard. 
  After shopping we went back and I got some photos developed for my uncle so he can hang them up. It took a super long time so by the time I was done he was barely finishing his work. So during that little time before he came back I was able to make him a thank you card with a picture of him and I on the front. So now he doesn't only have stuff on his fridge from my sister and cousins. Now I get to be on the wonderful fridge of excellence. After giving him his gifts we went out for a walk to the travel agency type thing and we were able to purchase our tickets for Acapulco. When we were done we only had enough time to head home get changed then go to their hotel to wait for the Taxi's. So we did just that. When we got to the hotel we had to wait a little long for the Taxi's. It was a really nice dinner though because everybody was dressed up all fancy for the final dinner. When we got there they had Mariachi's playing and a whole bunch of funny signs all over. I really enjoyed my time being with them and the food was really good so it made the night even better. After dinner we sat and talked and took pictures and got some really good dessert. It was such a great night, but it was so hard in the end to leave everyone because like I said before I have grown so close to these people and I spent everyday with them for 5 weeks and pretty much all day. I love them all so much and I am so very fortunate to have been apart of this program this year. I am so happy I met all of these wonderful people and I was able to have this experience. I hope I will be able to see all of them again because even though some of them are like 10 years older than me they are still my friends. They have made this experience so great for me and I just want to say Amanda, Cindy, David, Jenni, Jose, Kortney, Leticia, Miranda, Monte, Sarah, Sofia, Susan, Vania, and my uncle Jason, I love you all and I am so happy I got to spend my summer with you. This was an unforgettable summer and I hope I will be seeing you all again!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

31st of July, 2014
Intern Shareef's Blog #36:
  Today was the trip back home to Mexico City. So this morning I got up and we headed to go eat breakfast at the same place as yesterday. Which is really odd because my uncle doesn't like routines, and he is always talking about trying something new. It is okay though because it is nice every once in a while to do the same thing. We also got the same thing but that's only because waffles con fruta was the best thing (in our opinions) on the menu. After that we got all of our stuff and waited for the bus driver by one of the theaters. When he arrived we packed all of our stuff in and hit the road. During the ride we watched this movie about a catholic priest in El Salvador trying to stop the killings. It was very touching and even though I don't like how sad these movies are it makes me want to make a change, but I am not sure how. As I watched movies like these I think how I would help stop these situations if I were president. I don't mean to brag or anything, but I have a lot of good ideas and I'm just saying you never know what the future holds. I could be president, or the wars could stop in El Salvador and begin in the U.S you never know. Anyways after two hours we stopped in this little town where we had lunch. The town was actually quite small, it was one of those towns you might see in a western movie. Where the two guys go in for a stand off and it occurs in the square, where everyone can see. That's what it seemed like to me.
  After the town we headed back on the bus and after the first hour I had to go to the bathroom but I didn't want to say anything because I don't like people having to wait on me. It ended up pretty bad though because we were in there for another hour so I had to wait for an hour. I ended up being alright but it was just uncomfortable. We arrived at the hotel for the students and helped them get their stuff and after that headed to campus to grab more of their stuff. Then my uncle and I headed home with all of our bags and they headed to their hotels. It was not fun having to carry three bags all the way home in an uncomfortable position. So a word of advice "if you ever have to carry things for a long time, make sure they are in a comfortable position." As I left I started thinking about how weird it is going to be without these people. I have spent pretty much everyday with them for the past 5 weeks and I have become so close to them. It is going to be hard to say goodbye because I know, most likely I will never see them again. They might see each other again but the chances are very low for me, especially because I am just 15 years old and they are all 20 something and going on to live their lives that are ahead of them. I just hope I will be able to keep in contact with them because I do love them and they are all like my older siblings I never had.
  After heading home we relaxed for a bit, cleaned, showered because we were all sweaty and gross. Then my uncle asked if I wanted to go see a movie and I said "sure!" He replied with "it starts at 8:00 so you better hurry!"
 I said "What time is it now?" He told me it was 8:01. So we ran to the theater just two blocks down and we got tickets for Dawn of The Planet of The Apes. It was so good and we saw it in 3-D and I was so impressed with the HD quality even in 3-D. (SPOILER ALERT) It was such a good movie to I was just wishing James Franco would come in but he never did so I was disappointed. Anyways no more spoilers. After that we headed home and I got my clothes all packed and I am now going to head to bed.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

30th of July, 2014
Intern Shareef's Blog #35:
  This morning I woke up and had breakfast at the same place we ate lunch yesterday. Yesterday for lunch Monte got some waffles and they looked pretty good, so we decided to get those for breakfast. They ended up pretty good but I don't really like the syrup here because it tastes more like honey. Now that I think about it I don't think it was maple syrup that's why I didn't like it. That makes so much more sense now. Anyways after breakfast we headed in to the van to take off to the Museum of Mummies. When we got there it looked pretty huge and so we got inside and watched a bit of a short film, then we headed in to the exhibit. While I was in there it was pretty messed up because a lot of these bodies were dug up. 
So their bodies did not Rest In Peace. They were dug up from their graves and a lot of them were dug up around the 70's so not too long ago. It is really sad because the rule back then was that you had to pay an up-keep fee and if you didn't your body was dug up. It is really horrific that people would do such things. I understand donating your body to science but when it is taken out without your permission that is really messed up. The museum also had a couple of baby skeletons which was really a sad sight to see. I don't understand how someone could do that especially to an infant. They also had one fetus skeleton that was super small and you had to look through a magnifying glass. Overall the museum was interesting but also messed up in my perspective, because I know that sort of thing may be popular in Mexico especially with things like day of the dead, but I don't understand how someone could dig up another persons body. Wouldn't you want your body to be treated well and peacefully when you die? Why can't people be more respectful.
  After that museum we dropped off Susan and my uncle back in town and then headed to the Cristo Rey. The Cristo Rey is a statue near Guanajuato of Christ. It is quite large and can be seen from a while away. It is sort of like the statue in Brazil but probably not as big, he is standing in a different position with two angels to his sides, and it is up on top of a mountain where you drive to (I am not sure if you can drive to the statue in Brazil, I would think you have to walk a lot of the way.) 
It was really a beautiful statue and the view from the top of the mountain was amazing. It was most definitely worth the hour drive there and hour drive back. When we got back to town my uncle was being an extra in a short film. It was pretty cool for him because he will be in a film in the festival for 5 seconds and have his name listed in the credits so that's cool. Even though after I figured out that I use the same equipment as them and same programs for editing (sometimes better programs.) It is still cool for him though! Later that night we went to go have our final dinner on the road together. It was really nice because we conversed the whole time but the food wasn't that great so it would have been extra better if the food would have been awesome. I shared some fried shrimp and a hawaiian pizza with Dr. David. He liked the pizza but I wasn't a huge fan because the crust was too thin. Oh well though I will just need to get some good pizza when I get home.
   As dinner came to an end we kind of all went our separate ways around town. It was fun I got to talk a lot so that was nice and there was a lot of chaos between finding people but in the end it was good. I talked to Miranda a lot while we looked for her sister and Cindy. Then we found my uncle and I went off with him so it was good.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

29th of July, 2014
Intern Shareef's Blog #34:
  Today I woke up and my uncle wasn't in the room so I assumed he was out and would be back soon. So I got ready for the day; brushed my teeth, took a shower, got dressed, and when I was done he still wasn't there so I walked downstairs to go look for him. By the time I was at the second staircase he came up so it was perfect timing. As soon as I saw him we went to our room and he put his backpack down and then we were off to go eat breakfast. For breakfast I had some delicious crepes with Nutella. They were really good besides the fact that they were kind of soggy but still good. After breakfast we headed back to the hotel to get everyone for our walking tour. We went to many different places, first we went to Museo Iconográfico del Quijote. The museum was a bunch of art pieces all on this fictional character named Don Quijote. This was probably my most favorite place because I love art and it made me really wanna read this book about him. Some of the art pieces were amazing and so original, they were made of all different materials. Some were 3-D, some were 2-D, some were sculptures, some were (what looked like) ceramic arts, some were paintings, etc. It was so amazing that they would have a whole museum on one fictional character that wasn't even based in Guanajuato, because in Oregon they have a little thing on Ramona & Beezus but that was based in Oregon so it's very different.
  We also visited many other places like the Teatro Juárez which is set up with a red carpet and everything because they are having an international film festival going on starting tomorrow. I am super excited for that because we might get to go see a movie tomorrow so that will be fun! I love film so much so I am super happy that I am going to be with a whole bunch of filmmakers. I hope I get to talk to some because that will be cool. We  also visited places like: the Basílica, Monumento a la paz, palace legislativo, and more. One place we went to was the most important building in Guanajuato. The name of it was Museo Regional De Guanajuato ALHÓNDIGA DE GRANADITAS. It is the most important building because the spaniards came in and cut off the heads of 4 important leaders; Aldema, Jiemenez, Hidalgo, Allede. Hidalgo was a Jesuit priest in a catholic church. Allede was a captain of the spanish army in Mexico. Aldama was a Mexican revolutionary rebel soldier during the Mexican war of Independence. Jiménez was a Mexican engineer and rebel officer active at the beginning of the Mexican war of independence. After they killed them and cut their heads off they hung their heads on the corners of he buildings to show the power they had. Another reason it is the most important building is because El Pipila went there because the Spaniards were in there trying to hold their position until more reinforcement troops came, but El Pepila came with a large stone on his back as a shield to the bullets from the spaniards and he took some tar and lit the door on fire and burned the door down so the insurgents could go through and attack. El Pepilo was the first mexican hero of the revolution so they honor him with a large statue which we also went to visit today.
  When we were done a few hours later we went to go eat and went on another tour called Callajones. It was really neat because they gave us these tea cup type things that we drink juice out of while we walked. During the walk the leaders were dressed up in court gesture outfits and they danced and made jokes and sang. It was really funny because they would always pick on my gringo uncle to make him do stuff. If I had a girlfriend it would have been really romantic so I was happy for the people who were together. It was really beautiful and nice and apparently funny. I didn't understand most of it because they spoke too fast but in the end it was okay. After that we headed back and I started to blog and talked to my mom who decided to tag-along with my uncle in embarrassing me.

Monday, July 28, 2014

28th of July, 2014
Intern Shareef's Blog #33:
  Today was the second part of our final travels. It started off with me waking up late again for some weird reason. Even though the night before I set an alarm but apparently it didn't work. When I got up I went straight to breakfast really tired. After that we headed on the van to go to the mines. When we got there the workers gave us hard helmets to go in the mine. In the mines it was really cool because they had a rocks and minerals museum and even a place that is a dance club on the weekends. Which is really interesting because it's all underground where you take a little train to go through the tunnel. After seeing that we went to the other side and got to explore the mine. They told us all about how the transformation of mining came about with gear, technology, as well as the reason for mining. Even though it was in spanish I still could understand some of what they were saying. After the mines we went to the van to head out for a 4 hour ride to Guanajuato. The ride felt so much longer than when we had our 8 hour long trip to Zacatecas from Mexico City. I am not sure why but it did feel like it took like a long time. 
  When we arrived we headed to our hotel room and then my uncle, Vania, Monte, and I headed out to go find a place to eat for the group dinner. After 30 minutes of searching we found a really good restaurant. So we headed back to the hotel and I was able to work on my project for the end of the immersion program and then we headed back out to go eat. I ordered for the first time since I got to Mexico, an American hamburger. It was actually pretty good. During dinner we talked and discussed about Zacatecas. After dinner the students, Miranda, Sofia, and I went out to go walk around the town. We saw many different things like jewelry, ice cream shops, dessert places, music, and a lot of artists. After that we ended up hanging out at this outdoor restaurant and then went to the hotel to type.

Sorry for the short entry today was not very eventful.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

27th of July, 2014
Intern Shareef's Blog #32:
  Last night my blog froze while I was trying to choose images to add to it. It froze because the wi-fi at this hotel is terrible and it had a "time-out." We didn't want to go to the lobby where the wi-fi was "better" because it was almost 1:00 am. So we just decided to leave it to this morning. After getting ready and going to breakfast early I got the laptop and tried it in the lobby. I was having a really hard time getting it to work and so my uncle tried and what we eventually had to do was refresh the page. After that happened one-fourth of my blog entry was gone and it only saved one paragraph. It was really annoying because I had such a good day yesterday and I wrote so much. So it was really frustrating to have all of that disappear. So I think after this entry I will try to finish the other one. It will probably not be as long or as good as when I wrote it yesterday though. 
  Anyways after that we headed to a museum. It was pretty big and had a lot of art but wasn't specifically an art museum it was more about Zacatecas in general. I got to see the machines they used to make money and such. So I thought that was really interesting because I think currencies and how money is created is really interesting. When we were done with the museum my uncle and I got a huge lollipop and snacks. The lollipop was so good though even though I didn't eat very much. When we were finished with that we headed to these ruins. When we got there we went in to the little museum that had a movie and had a little exhibit type thing that showed how much trash was left on the mountain so they asked not to leave trash. The ruin first had a lot of steps and was very tall but when I got up the first part it was such a beautiful view. So I thought why not go up even more and I ended up running up the whole mountain.
When I got to the top it was one of the most amazing sights I have seen. I could see out for miles and miles and it made it even better because I felt really high up. It was also really cool because the clouds didn't seem very high up and I love the clouds with a blue sky so I was very pleased to see the sky much closer up.
  A little after I got up Sarah got up and we went off to a different part of the mountain where there was more ruins. It was so beautiful because it was up a little hill that we had to climb and it was just a beautiful place to be. I enjoyed it probably a bit more than the pyramids which is saying a lot because the pyramids are amazing. After the ruins  we headed back on our 30 minute trip back to the city. I actually enjoyed this car ride though so it was not that bad. Hopefully I will enjoy our 3 hour ride to Guanajuato. After the ride back we went to a parade of the international dance festival. So a whole bunch of people from different countries came to show a traditional dance from their country. My favorite countries were probably Colombia (of course) and the Netherlands because when they came by people were chanting "no era penal"
26th of July, 2014
Intern Shareef's Blog #31:
  This morning I woke up at 9:05. It was 55 minutes before we were supposed to leave to the museum. So I had 55 minutes to get up, get ready for the day, and go eat breakfast. So I was able to do that pretty easily. After all that we walked to this mountain that had a tram on it. The tram took us from one mountain to another. It was really amazing seeing all of Zacatecas up above. When we got to the other mountain there was a long hill up to the museum. Along the hill there were people selling a bunch of little trinkets and jewelry and such. During the walk my uncle bought me this really cool necklace of the Aztec calendar. It is the same necklace that he has so now we have matching necklaces! It's amazing how much effort went in to making it. There is so many tiny details it's crazy. When we arrived at the top we got to the museum and it was kind of small but still interesting. They didn't have a lot of places to read so I mostly looked at the artifacts. (Even though I wouldn't be able to comprehend it very well anyways.) At the museum they had lots of old weapons and coins. It is so interesting to see the advance in technology with weapons from back then to now. For example the design of the guns back then look more fragile then the design of guns today. After the museum we walked around a bit and saw some interesting horse statues, a monument with peoples bodies inside, and a big soccer field that I could see from the mountain. When we finished looking around the mountain we walked over to go do a zip line! It was really huge and high off the ground but was just a straight shot nothing curvy or a path to somewhere or anything like that, just a straight line to one side  and a straight line back. The only people who rode it was me, Sophia, and Miranda (if you ever read this sorry if I spelt your name wrong.) They are the girls that I mentioned yesterday the girls I embarrassed myself in front of when I fell out of the van. So it was really cool though  and a lot of fun. It was my first time going zip-lining so it was a good experience! After the zip-line we headed back down the mountain but this time we didnt take the tram, we walked. It was a long walk down, it probably took us about 20-30 minutes or so to get from the top to the cathedral that was still ...

The rest of this blog was lost due to bad internet service..

Friday, July 25, 2014

25th of July, 2014
Intern Shareef's Blog #30:
  Today was the start of the final week of the Immersion program. We got up this morning and carried all of our luggage to the school. When we arrived the van was already there, so we got to put our luggage in right away. When I went to the van, I met Vania's cousins and as usual I wasn't very good with my first impression. When I first met them, they were sitting in the van so I stepped on to the ledge but apparently not all the way and so I tripped and fell right out of the van. It was really embarrassing because they were two pretty girls who are the closest to my age so I got really awkward for awhile. I hate making first impressions because I am so terrible on how I act when I meet people for the first time. After meeting them we all got ready and headed out for our eight hour car ride. Along the way we past by many brick houses, a lot of mountains, and I even saw a couple of soccer fields but it was really interesting because some were made of dirt like you would see in movies so I really enjoyed seeing those. Some of the fields were also on mountains so it would be really cool to go do some photography of people playing while the sun was setting over the mountains. On our car ride we watched a really sad but well-made movie (of course because that is pretty much the only kinds of movies my uncle has.) It was a movie about El Salvador and how the young boys would be recruited to the army. It showed how every night there would be gunshots in the towns because of the war going on. The main character is this boy named Chava and it shows his story of life in El Salvador's civil war. Many of the main characters companions were recruited to the army, or hurt, or even killed. It was very sad seeing all of these murders and it really affected me in a way that I really want to make a change about children going to the military. I don't think children's innocents should be taken away at such a young age. It is not fair to them or their families. It made me think about how I could change a problem that occurs in over 40 countries. I thought if I one day became president I would want to make sure that any country the U.S is an allie with they did not do this to any of the children or else I would make sure we were not allies with them anymore. As well as countries that were not allies I would try my best to make sure no children would have to go through that and make sure they are with their families.
  When we arrived to Zacatecas we got our keys to our rooms, so my uncle and I went up then went to go out and walk around and we ended up eating on this really cool restaurant with a balcony that you can eat out and you're directly above the street. After that we went back to the room and this street dog started to follow me and I really didn't want it to but I felt really bad. So it ended up following me all the way to the hotel. So we had to make stay out when we got in the room but it stayed at the front door for around 10 minutes. Then it finally left, so we just had to wait around for awhile until it was time to get on the tour bus so we stayed in our room, and I don't really enjoy just lying in the room so I went to the lobby to see if anyone was out yet and Vania and her family was out there, so I went and sat with them. After everyone arrived we went to get our tour of the city. It is a kind of small city but it is beautiful and has so much for the size of it. While we were on the tour bus there were people walking around, dancing, singing, and partying. Apparently they do it every weekend so we get to go do it tomorrow. The tour bus was really cool and even though I was freezing it was great. After the tour we went to go eat some tamales and my uncle and I got two green chicken tamales and two sweet tamales. We got them to go, so then we could eat them in the lobby, I didn't like the sweet one as much but the green chicken was really good. It was a little spicy but not bad at all, but as soon as the lady gave us the bag with them the little doggy came over and started to lick my legs. He ended up following us all the way back to the hotel again. So while we ate he just laid there. I felt so bad and he was so cute but I don't know if he belonged to someone or whatever. So when we went back to the room I felt bad because I didn't want the hotel employees to hurt him or anything but I don't know if he has flees or anything and he was really dirty so I wanted to bathe him but it was so sad that we had to leave him.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

24 of July, 2014
Intern Shareef's Blog #29:
  Today started off with me waking up at around 8:17. We didn't have any breakfast ingredients so my uncle couldn't make his delicious breakfast. So we left the house about 15 minutes later. We didn't have time to stop and sit down to have breakfast so we just went to Mcdonalds because it's fast. After I got my breakfast we headed to school for my final spanish class. It was a lot fun and I am going to miss it a lot. I really enjoyed my professor's style of teaching and I learned so much from him. Now it isn't as hard to converse with people, so I learned a lot! I am pretty excited to take it again in the fall though because I have a new spanish teacher, so I am hoping I will be able to learn a lot from her. After spanish class my uncle had to give a final exam so I went to Vania's office and she gave me some work to do. I had to go over to the garage where all of the wet folders were (because when it flooded all of the folders got drenched with water) lying on the ground open, set to dry. So what I did was I got all of the folders that were dry and put them in a box. After I got all the dry ones I had to get more wet folders  from a box, and set them out to dry. Then when all of that was finished I had to take the box of folders upstairs and organize them alphabetically. In between that I had other things to do as well, but when I finished my uncle finished about 10-15 minutes after. So I was able to go to his office where Deb was as well. We let my uncle work so we went to go get Ice cream. Here the Ice cream is more icey then I would like it to be but it still tasted good. After Ice cream we walked back and waited for Monte. When he arrived we went out to brunch at this restaurant. It was a french themed restaurant that served breakfast and lunch all day. It was really good I got french toast and even though it wasn't as good as my uncles french toast it was still alright.
  When we got back my uncle worked for awhile longer and then he left to take someone to an appointment while I stayed and waited for Briana. While I was waiting I talked to a couple of my friends, hung out alone, and played on my phone, it was nice. When Briana's class got over we went to go play soccer. We took the metro to this park that was like an indoor soccer court but outdoors and on cement. It lookes like the picture but it was a rectangle, on cement, and the walls were fences It was really cool! While I was there I met a lot of her friends and had to speak in spanish to all of them but one because he wanted to practice his english. 
It was a lot of fun and I did alright even though I was a little rusty and I was playing with some older, really skilled guys, and older, really skilled girl. I had a good time though and was really happy I got to play. When I arrived home I started packing for Zacatecas and now I am finishing writing and ready to go to bed.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

23rd of July, 2014
Intern Shareef's Blog #28:
  This morning I woke up early (and then fell back asleep) because I was sleeping on the couch, and my uncle ran out of the house this morning. I was sleeping on the couch because I have many mosquito's in my room and I have gotten so many bites while I slept so I didn't want them anymore. So I slept on the couch to be safe. I later found out my uncle ran out this morning because Leticia and her kids left this morning in a a taxi, but the taxi they got at first wasn't big enough to fit all of their luggage. They didn't know how to get a bigger taxi so my uncle went to get a larger taxi and bring it to them. When I officially woke up I got ready for the day but my stomach was really upset and I was skeptical about going to school today but I only had 2 spanish classes left so I thought I better make the most of it. After spanish class we had a discussion about our trip to Zacatecas on friday. After that we talked about re-entering systems and reverse culture shock. Even though I already learned about some of it yesterday, my uncle was able to summarize it in about 20 minutes so it was nice to hear it from him. When we completed our discussion I did some work and also looked at these Memes my uncle showed me about Mexicans. It had me really interested because I enjoy looking at those Memes so I started looking at other categories (that involve things in common with me) that use this specific style of Meme. I found some really interesting ones that I enjoyed reading. Some not so much because they are stereotypes but it there are always some good and some bad. (below are some of my favorites)

After work we went back home and I started to clean up all my clothes for next weeks trip. While I was doing that my uncle asked me if I wanted to go see Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and I was totally up for it. So he checked and said "I think it's at 8:00, the website is really confusing." So we got there at 7:45 and asked about the movie and the lady said it doesn't come out until tomorrow and there were no other good movies so we just walked home. On our way home we bought Tron Legacy and we watched that movie and it was good. I hadn't seen it for awhile but it was pretty good. Now for our next movie we watch together it is probably going to be The Matrix. After the movie my uncle asked if I needed to put stuff in my food hole and I said yes. So he made spaghetti and now we are ending our long day.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

22nd of July, 2014
Intern Shareef's Blog #27:
  Today started off as a normal day. We got up and got ready for the day. We had breakfast and then I went to spanish. After spanish class I was exhausted so I went to my uncles office and then just laid on the floor. Later I got bored so I played on my phone and I ended up talking to a few of my friends and then I Skyped my friend Tatsuya and we talked for a while so it was good! I was talking to my other friend Evan who has also been in pittsburgh for a long time doing a summer dance intensive. Him and I have very similar feelings about going home. We both want to go home because we love Oregon and it is our homes but where we are has grown on us. With Mexico I am going to miss it a lot not only because I won't be with my uncle but also because I love the culture here and the city is amazing. I feel like it will be very weird going back home because I have seen and felt things that are very different here than in Oregon. So I am very nervous going back home because I don't want to have a huge culture shock. 
  After talking to my friends, Leticia and Quinn and Briella arrived to campus. So went to eat lunch with them. We went all the way back home to have some Colombian food which was pretty good. Even though it was kind of like a breakfast because it had egg, rice, beans, sausage, pork/bacon type thing, and bread. To drink this time I got a soda called Colombiana and it was so much better than the Pony Malto (in my opinion). 
  After lunch we went all the way back to work and then finished some stuff and went back home. As soon as we got home my uncle put on some new clothes for a picture re-creation. I think it turned out pretty good (picture will be shown in a future blog.) When we finished that a little while later we went to this restaurant called "El Ocho." It was really cool.  They had board games and music and books/magazines and even had this really cool table that we sat at where you can play games on it. It was really cool because all you had to do was touch the table for it to work and they had games like foosball, pong, space invaders, and a few others. It was awesome! After we had a great time there it was time to say goodbye to three people that really helped me along this trip: Leticia, Briella, and Quinn. I had such a great time with the kids whenever I would get to look after them and Leticia has always been so kind. She went exercising with me and was just always there to help out. She also got me and my uncle a donut all the time in the mornings which was super nice of her. She was so kind and before she left she got me a gift which was an Interns Emergency Kit. It was sad to say goodbye but I hope I will get the chance to see them again soon.

Monday, July 21, 2014

21st of July, 2014
Intern Shareef's Blog #26:

  Today I went back to spanish class, even though it was only 2 days ago, it felt like longer. It was nice to go again because I am learning more and more everyday. After class we had a discussion (my uncle blogged about before) on art. It was really good and really interesting but I had already known at least half of it so it wasn't all really "new" information to me. During the discussion I felt so bad though, because I was so exhausted. Last night I did not get good sleep so it didn't help being in a dark room talking about things I already knew. Once we finished that I went to lunch with a couple of the students. We went to this place called casa de toño. It is supposed to be a really popular restaurant in mexico city but there wasn't anything too special about it to me. As soon as we got there it took like 5 minutes to get a table even though there were many empty tables. Then when we sat down nobody would talk to us or say anything at all. Then when we finally ordered the waiters started to wrestle and were really out of line. So the service was pretty bad, and then when we got our food it wasn't anything special. I ordered floutas and I had them at a different place before and they were much better elsewhere. So overall it wasn't very satisfying but it was only 75 pesos for 3 floutas and two drinks, so it was a good deal. After that I took the students to go get ice cream but I didn't get any. Then I headed back to campus and my uncle said he was going to go out to eat. So I went again, we had sushi with Leticia, Quinn, and Briella. It was pretty good even though Leticia and my Uncle were disappointed because the wasabi wasn't spicy. I thought it was pretty good though much better than my meal 30 minutes previous to that meal. 
  After we got done me, Letcia, and the kids went to a type of saturdays market but it is everyday. They had so much stuff there it was really neat! So I got a bracelet for one of my friends that says Mexico and has Mexico's colors on it, and when we were leaving I saw these records and my uncle has a record player so I wanted to get him one of the band he always talks about to me. "The Beatles" I had to look at three different places to find an album and luckily the guy had a lot to choose from so Leticia and I got him one that came with two albums. It was mostly Leticia because I only had one-third of the money. After the market place we went back to campus and soon after that headed home. Later that night we went to the pizza groove to go do the language exchange but when we got there none of the students were there. So we went home because I felt that it was more important to hang out with my uncle because I have a limited amount of time left with him. When we got home we watched some movies and he made some pretty good tacos.

Codices and Cultures

What if I just logged into this account and deleted all of my my nephew's 20+ blogs? I think that would be emotionally violent. I would never do that. My intern/nephew's blogging has inspired me. I love how much I am learning from him by having access to his thoughts. There is so much happening in life that I would like to be better at documenting it. Speaking of documenting life, I have kept journals since I was able to write. I have about 10 journals in total from childhood until the present. If my home were on fire, my journals are probably the main things I would want to grab. I would be emotionally crushed if they were destroyed. If someone else were to come across them, it might happen. Others may not see any value in them and maybe one day they will just end up in a bin. Other people's histories often end up in the bin. 

I was thinking about that during an amazing lecture on Mexican art and identity by Prof. Karina Morales. One of the things she talked about is how during the conquest, the Spaniards destroyed centuries of records by burning the Aztec, Mayan and many other communities codices:

Centuries of records, art, healing practices, traditions, history, etc up in smoke. I can't imagine the pain. The report of Bishop Diego de Landa in July of 1562 unintentionally captures the great loss experienced by the Mayan's when their cultural records were destroyed. De Landa wrote: 

"We found a large number of books in these characters and, as they contained nothing in which were not to be seen as superstition and lies of the devil, we burned them all, which they regretted to an amazing degree, and which caused them much affliction."

It was not just a loss to the Mayans. The world loss unfathomable amounts of knowledge. I have known this but  today during Karina's talk it hit me in a new way. I want to keep thinking about this and how we are doing similar things, being careless with others histories and continuing to lose so much as a species. I think at least one way is tied to education:

The current world population is about 6.5 billion persons. Consequently, by concentrating primarily on Americans, psychological researchers in the United States restrict their focus to less than 5% of the world’s population. The rest of the world’s population, the other 95%, is neglected”
  (Arnett, 2008, p 1). 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

20th of July, 2014
Intern Shareef's Blog #25:
  Today I woke up really late because last night I wasn't feeling too hot, so I didn't go to bed until 1:00 am. When I woke up my uncle made some delicious french toast with fruit. It was really good and he told me that it was the first time he had cooked french toast in almost 20 years! So it was really impressive. After breakfast we headed to the metro stop to meet everyone for our trip to Xochimilco. It took us around 12 metro stops and then a train from one end all the way to the other. Then when we got off the train we had to walk for 20 minutes. Then we finally arrived to the wonderful river, where all of the cute boats were. Xochimilco is a place that has the original part of mexico left. Mexico was built on water so Xochimilco is the only part of Mexico that is how it used to be. We soon got on a boat and it started leaking really, really bad so we all got off. The lady was also trying to overprice us because she thought we were all tourists, but my uncle had his ways of making her put the price down to the official fee. So we got on a different boat and it was so cool because the boat had a table inside of it with chairs, as well as names and flags on each of the boats.
As we went through there were other mini boats as vendors that sold snacks, drinks, tacos, quesadillas, and corn. So we got some food on our ride and also got some Mariachi from another boat to play for us and it was so cool! I had a really good time, after that we headed back home but instead of walking and taking the train we took a bus which probably took twice the amount of time that it would if we would have walked and took the train. So I learned that it isn't always much better to take one bus rather than two different types of transportation. When we got home I got dressed and went to go play some soccer with this guy Manuel. He was really cool even though he doesn't speak english I could understand most of what he was saying even though I could't respond very well we still managed to converse. When we arrived to the park he went in the game to play first and I watched. Later he subbed me out and I got to play. As soon as I got in I did really well and saved two goals from being scored and took on a few guys really well. So they started calling me James after the Colombian soccer Star James Rodriguez. I was also named that because I was wearing my Colombia Jersey, so being good and representing helped. After I started doing really well the ball started bouncing and it came to me and I took a shot and kicked it over a 20 ft high fence. So I had to crawl up and go get it. When I got back down I stopped doing so good and I lost my confidence. So then my team lost and we had to sit out. Then more guys came and I got to be on an actual team and not just as a sub. Then I started doing much better and scored around 4 goals it was really cool. On my last goal we need one more to score and then it came bouncing at me so I hit it but this time I remembered my body posture and boom! I scored bottom right corner a golazo! After we won the game after that I headed back home and ate then talked to some of my friends and laid down.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

19th of July, 2014
Intern Shareef's blog #24:
  Well today wasn't really an intern Shareef kind of day. It was more like Shareef finally get's to be a 15 year old boy and doesn't have to work or dress in a shirt and tie. This morning I woke up at 7:30 not on purpose though so it kind of stunk and I was kind of tired through out the day. When I got up I took a really long time to get ready so I could relax a bit but time went by and at 9:00 we headed out. We got on the MetroBus 17+ stops, then got off and took a different bus 4 stops. When we got off we arrived at the wonderful place of Six Flags Amusement Park. As soon as we got inside we got on the biggest coaster in all of Six Flags; Superman The Ultimate Escape. It was so nice being able to hang out and have a day of fun! During the rides I got really nauscious which wasn't good because I really enjoy the rides but it's not fun when you don't feel good and I felt really bad because I  stopped my uncle and I from going on so much more rides, but I don't know if I could handle having ride after ride. So we sort of compromised and figured out something to do in between each ride. For example: we watched two shows; one was a dolphin show, and the other was this light show with people dancing on stage in all black but there clothes were lit up, so it looked like the clothes were flying and it was the "invisible man." Another thing we did was play games and I even won a cool hat with a fish on top that looks like it's eating your head.
 I had so much fun at Six Flags today! I am so thankful I have an awesome uncle and one who will spoil me and take me to awesome things like this. When we headed home we went to the grocery store to pick up stuff for dinner and of course after a long nice sunny day it decides to pour while we are in the store. We did not have any umbrella and I had a lot of stuff that I did not want to get wet, and to top it off I was wearing a tank top so it was freezing. So my uncle made me go ask for a bag in spanish to the cashier even though I didn't want to because the way he told me to do it seemed impolite. Even though apparently saying "una bolsa porafavor" Isn't impolite. In english I would say "may I please get a bag?" Not "a bag please" anyways it worked out okay and we ran home. Then we ate and I started blogging.

Friday, July 18, 2014

18th of July, 2014
Intern Shareef's Blog #23:
  This morning I woke up a little late because I went to bed really late. My uncle had to go to a meeting so I went to the school a little after he left. I wasn't able to eat anything so he gave me money to go eat something. I wasn't really nervous to take the MetroBus because I take it every day for three stops. So I was used to it. The thing that was kind of scary was having to get breakfast on my own talking to people and deciding what to eat. So I just went to the 7-11 type store next to the school and I got a thing of donuts. After that I headed to spanish and learned more on what to call family members. I knew most of them already but I did learn new words like how to say the "In-Law" terms. After spanish class I finished cleaning my uncles drawers. Then I got really bored because my other jobs weren't really working out very well. So I started to make a family tree of our family which took a very long time and I still didn't get to finish. Hopefully next time I will be able to finish it because our family is very large. I probably would have been able to finish it but we left work early so we could go and clean the house for the guests that would come later tonight. It didn't take us too long because we tried to keep the house as clean as possible all week. During the cleaning we got kind of hungry so after we finished, and then relaxed for about twenty minutes, we went to go eat Cuban food. We both ordered the most traditional food in Cuba. I can't remember the name of it but it had beef, beans, rice, and banana chips. It was very delicious even when we put the peppers on it, it still tasted very good.
  Soon after we finished the guests started arriving for our Venezuela night. It consisted of good food made by Kettie and Yeilson. There were four courses of dining. It first started off with this type of dough bread, and there was beans and one kind of cheese. Then for the second part a new kind of cheese was added as well as beef. For the third part fried bananas were added to put into it. Before we had dessert Yeilson talked about how it is in Venezuela. He talked about how much crime and violence there is there and he started to become very sad because it hurt him to have to tell us all the negative things about the country where he is from when he really loves his country. He also talked about good things as well, like how there are many beautiful people there and how much friendship is important to the Venezuelan people. After his discussion we had dessert. For dessert we ate this really good flan. As well as a delicious Passion fruit drink. While we ate our dessert we watched this movie called Hermano
 I don't really want to say anything about the movie because I feel like it is such a powerful movie and if I say too much I will spoil it but it was a very depressing movie. It had a lot of crime in it and Yeilson told us that the crime in Venezuela is much worse then what we saw in the movie. It was very sad to me and I felt like I could put myself in the main characters shoes and understand how he felt.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

17th of July, 2014
Intern Shareef's Blog #22:
  This morning was nice because I was able to wake up a bit later than usual but it stunk because I went to bed later than usual. That's what is probably going to happen tonight too. Anyways after I got up we got ready and headed to campus. Then I had spanish class, and it was fun but I was so tired so it gets really tiring sometimes. After spanish I was lying on the ground and my uncle said "Get up, i've got work for you." Which wasn't bad because I actually was doing something to help. What I did was find a whole bunch of articles on street theater, therapy, and theater of the oppressed. It was very interesting I was able to find a few articles in the time that I had. For example: Theater of the Oppressed for preventing HIV or sexual violence in relationships from middle school to college.  

As I was looking through I got a notification on my phone saying that one of my favorite soccer players James Rodriguez might be getting transferred to my favorite soccer team Real Madrid with my other favorite player Cristiano Ronaldo. It is so cool because there is a very high chance that he will be sold for 63 million euros. It is so crazy because they are getting so many new players and they are starting to build more of a dream team. While I was multi-tasking during work the internet went down so I couldn't do any more work online or read about the soccer transfers. So my uncle had me clean out his drawers that were so messy! It wasn't very hard though because I just set it in different piles but time went by and we had to leave before I could finish so I have to wait until tomorrow to finish. When we headed home it started raining really bad but my uncle had to pay a bill so we walked to the place, and apparently the lady had left early so we couldn't pay it so we walked in the rain soaking wet for nothing and we also had to walk all the way home too! Once we arrived we changed and just hung out for a while while I watched the rest of a show I didn't get to finish. 

We headed out to the Auditorio Nacional to meet Professor Deb and her family to go watch The Illusionists. It was this really cool magic show with 7 different magicians who come together and perform! The Illusionists are "The Master Magician," "The Inventor," "The Warrior," "The Inventor," "The Manipulator," and "The Futurist." During the show The Warrior was picking volunteers and it was so cool because we were sitting in the second row, so he came up to us and picked my uncle. (This is the trick he did > ) The trick he did was really cool and made me so happy he was picked because he was hoping that I would get picked on one when they were speaking spanish and I didn't know what they were saying but instead he got picked. My favorite performers were The Manipulator and The Futurist because The Manipulator did some really awesome illusions with cards and such. The Futurist also did really well because one trick her transported himself from one side of the stage to the other and I did not know how he did it so I was very impressed. We got these awesome seats because Professor Deb has a connection with this guy named Simon who was the producer of the whole show and he was a super nice guy! I was really thankful I got to meet him because he is really nice and connected so it was cool to hear all these stories about the show and other shows he has done in the past and what he might be doing in the future. After the show we went to dinner and I had a chicken pasta which was pretty delicious and my uncle got Octopus and of course I had to try it and it was most definitely not as good as my chicken pasta but it was okay. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

16th of July, 2014
Intern Shareef's Blog #21:

  Today was a little different than most. The difference started off with spanish class. Today we went on a field trip to a Jamaican market. When we walked in there were many different meats all over the place. All kinds; chicken, beef, pork, many different kinds. Especially pork, when we kept walking around I ended up seeing many pig heads. It was quite disturbing especially because it's eyes were still open. After looking around there we went to look at the flowers, they had so many different kinds it was beautiful. They came in all different shapes, sizes, colors, and types. I even saw many different flowers that had multiple colors. It was really cool! Even though we were trying to move fast through the market there was so much to see. On our way back we were running out of time, and we had other things to do after that. We tried to go our fastest but ended up being about 15 minutes late. I felt really bad but I guess it will happen sometimes. When we finally arrived we hoped in a taxi and headed to Coyoacon to Frida Kahlo's house. We went to her museum (that was her house) and saw many of her paintings, photographs, clothes, bedrooms, and kitchen. It was really cool because she had a very large, nice house. I was very happy we got to see it. After the museum we went out to go get churros. They were filled with flavors so I got a Fresa con creme and a chocolate. They both were pretty good but not as good as the ones we ate before.
 After the delicious churros we went to explore more of the city. My uncle let everyone go around and see whatever they wanted to see then meet at a designated location in an hour. So of course like usual we went to go eat. We went to eat at this restaurant with Leticia and her children. For the appetizer my uncle got Guacamole con Champulines or in english Guacamole with crickets. It was one of the grossest meals I had ever seen. I was so scared to eat it, and my uncle kept pressuring me to eat it and not just one but a couple of them. I really didn't want to do it but Leticia said she would eat one and she never had before. So she did and she said it wasn't that bad, 
so she gave me the courage to try some. To be honest it wasn't that bad it's only when you feel a crunch of them between your molars that it gets kind of bad. When we got our real food and finished with that we headed over to the location to meet everyone. We had an odd amount of people though so not all of us could take a taxi back. So me, uncle Jason, and Dr. Monte headed to the bus it was very small and not many people could fit but they managed to anyway. It was very cramped and peoples butts were in my face at all times. ** It was really uncomfortable. Luckily we only had one stop so we got off and took the Metro back to campus it only took us about 45 minutes. So that was nice, we thought it would take much longer.
  When we got back to campus my uncle worked for a bit while I laid down and watched youtube videos. As soon as work ended we headed home. When we got home we just relaxed and laid down and figured out more about the Dawn of the Planet of the Apes movie and I think we are gonna go see it so hopefully that will be good! When it came to dinner time we didn't have any food in the house to cook so we went to this burger place and had some really good papas fritas with many different dipping sauces. I also got popcorn chicken which was chicken with popcorn in the bowl too. It was a funny little joke. 

**Dr. Platt believes in freedom of the press but does not necessarily approve of all of Intern Shareef's choice of content. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

15th of July, 2014
Intern Shareef's Blog #20:
  Today started off as usual I got up, ate breakfast, then got on the metro bus, and went to spanish. I am noticing that my mornings are very routine. It's good to have a routine every once in a while I guess though. After class I worked on a project for the end of the immersion program. My uncle was working so I had to keep busy for a while. When he was done with working we went out to lunch with Leticia and her children. It was at this little restaurant that was very cramped and the eating table was about the size of two elementary school desks. It was very uncomfortable fitting five people at this tiny table. The food was pretty good though, I started off with a cream of Broccoli soup which was delicious especially with bread. The next dish was kind of like a big sandwich. It had chicken, lettuce, bread, and two types of sauces, one was spicy, one was not. For dessert we had bananas mixed with some sort of banana cream. After lunch we went home and my uncle took a nap so I caught up on this show Teen Wolf that I had missed the past three weeks. After watching that my uncle went to go write at a little restaurant nearby so he didn't get distracted. When he left I watched the movie Rise of the Planet of the Apes. It was such a good movie and was a somewhat sad but touching movie. I would highly recommend it to anyone who needs a good movie to watch. I am happy I watched it now too because the next one comes out pretty soon and it had really good reviews. 
  When my uncle arrived back home we went to the mall next to his house to go eat, but before we went to eat I checked out this electronics store to see the difference in price of things in Mexico to the U.S. I noticed the electronics are much more expensive here like the video games converted to dollars would be around sixty or seven dollars and there was a dramatic change in consoles like the Xbox One
. I was very surprised, I was hoping it would be cheaper but I guess if I want cheap electronics I will have to find another country. After we left the store my uncle asked if I wanted to get my haircut so I did. It was nice and bad at the same time because now it feels good to let my head can breath a bit more but I also feel like I look a lot younger and that is not good. Until I turn 25 I want to look older not younger! Oh well I guess it will grow back. When I was finished we went upstairs to get food but almost every place was closed except for McDonalds and this chinese food place. We decided to get Chinese and it was kind of like a wannabe Panda Express but it still tasted okay. The only thing that bothered me was the egg roll's vegetables were kind of cold and hard. When we got home I ate and watched some shows and then started blogging.

Monday, July 14, 2014

14th of July, 2014
Intern Shareef's Blog #19:
  Today was my first day riding the MetroBus alone. It wasn't that bad because it was just like tri-met back home. It also helped that I only had 3 stops and have ridden it almost everyday now so far. I didn't really enjoy it because it's not fun being alone, worrying if some one will ask you a question or something in a language that you do not speak but in the end it worked out fine. When I got to the campus it was like usual and I went to spanish and learned more about clothes and colors. After spanish class we had a discussion on what we thought the number one challenge in latin American communities as well as the number one thing that would help. We had to write each thing on these sticky notes and then we put them on the board. Then we seperated them in to different categories. After all the categories were made we got 3 dots of different colors. Each color meant a number of importance, (red=1, green=2, yellow=3) we then put our dots on the categories we thought were most important. The top 2 for challenge were Poverty and Language/Culture. The top 2 helpful things were Community Resources and the second was a tie between Fare immigration policies and Therapy. It was a very interesting conversation and it was nice to see other peoples perspective on these topics. 
  After the discussion we watched this documentary called Crossing Arizona. It was a very sad movie on illegal immigration to the U.S through Arizona. It was a very depressing movie and it showed real people trying to cross the border for better life, more money to support their families, and one man was trying to get money so he could pay for his wife's surgery that she needs. It also showed the people who are trying to keep the immigrants out. It was really sickening to watch and hear these people treat the Mexicans like they aren't even humans. One man talks about how he wants to deport all the children in the schools and he said "I will even go to the hospitals and take the IV out of their arm and kick them out myself!" This to me was very absurd to hear and it made me feel really bad for these people who try so hard to get to the U.S just so they can be paid fairly. Personally it makes me think if they were able to get in to this apparently "really secure, intelligent, strong" country they deserve to be there. Most people who live in the U.S could not walk for days with little food and water just to attempt at getting in to a different country. Also if it weren't for the illegal immigrants working those hard labor jobs. The U.S would be much different with vegetables being much more expensive because no one wants the job to go harvest them, and all of the businesses close to the border would probably be shut down because they do not have any customers. Even though we saw some really ugly people in the video we were able to see some nice people as well. For instance this man would go around to different stations along the desert and set up water sights, where if they have ran out of water and are thirsty they can get some there. There is a lot more stuff about what I could say on this topic, because I have a very strong opinion on this topic but it would take me forever to explain all of my feelings for immigration.
  When we were done with our discussion after the movie Leticia and I went to go excersise and we did a lot of running, push-ups, burpees, squats, planks, sprints, etc. It was a lot of fun and it felt really good but it was hard because I am still not used to this high altitude and all of the pollution/smoke. Leticia worked me really hard and it was good, even though every time I have done this so far I've felt like I am gonna throw up it is good for me to excersise. I  also have seen how my diet is really affecting my fitness so now I am trying not to drink soda out here, and try to stick to agua. So now I am going to start doing it three times a week so then I can stay in shape and hopefully I won't have trouble with this after a few times more. After that we went back and went to go look for an Arjen Robben piñata
 but we could not find one. So then we went to have some really good ice cream. I got cotton candy and chicle (the gum.) When we finished our ice cream we went home and I started watching a movie while uncle Jason tried to type but kept getting very distracted. Then we headed to the pizza groove language exchange like every monday and I talked to a few people I met previously and also talked to this guy named  Tomas. He was really cool and had played soccer in high school and enjoys theater. So he was kind of like me and he talked to me about his experience in oregon at Ashland for the Shakespeare festival and he also talked to me about Portland and how he enjoys biking. After that we headed home and ended our day.