What makes a hero

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Wow, it even looks magnificent

Ever since the naïve age of 12, my mother instilled in me the importance of taking care of my face. My mother, ahead of her time, wanted to avoid her daughter from developing dark spots and acne craters she was often plagued by. And so it became routine, every night and every morning. 

A slight bragging moment here: I never went through a ferocious acne phase, which can be attributed to good genes or my skin care routine. Although what I lacked in awkward facial anomalies, I made up with my never growing body frame (my 5th-grade graduation t-shirt still fits, only a bit snug under my armpits). 

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photo taken by me


The Virtues of Isolation 

In the ’80s, the Italian journalist and author Tiziano Terzani, after many years of reporting across Asia, holed himself up in a cabin in Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan. “For a month I had no one to talk to except my dog Baoli,” he wrote in his travelogue A Fortune Teller Told Me. Terzani passed the time with books, observing nature, “listening to the winds in the trees, watching butterflies, enjoying silence.” For the first time in a long while he felt free from the incessant anxieties of daily life: “At last I had time to have time.”

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Mexico pt. 1

Mexico is the intense fervent lover that leaves you gasping for more sultry flavors and exquisite pleasures. The lover whose every word you hang onto so desperately, hungrily searching for a hint of affection or an ephemeral wisp of attention. Mexico, you are the passionate lover whose slightest brevity of touch can send anyone into a whirlwind of ecstasy.

But alas,

Like any romance, lust fades when you truly open your eyes and discard the cardboard cutout your being so easily swallowed.

You left me aching. You left me wanting to entrench myself further into your jungle, succumbing to the enchanting Mesoamerican rituals and the eternal exploration of my inward and outward universe. I left when I had already accustomed myself into making my daily customs learning about you, about your past, your present, and future. I left at the peak of my excitement, returning to the mundane reality of working to stay barely afloat within my societal constraints.

But the truth is, you agonize more than any of us could imagine. Your resilient culture and nature is in a constant battle within itself and with others. You struggle to live and stay upright upon the millions of dissipating ashes of the suffering and pillaging you were built upon.

Yet, what keeps you alive is the unsung hero of many other Latin American countries, tu gente. Your people fight internally until no end, enduring the constant frivolous games of the rich and powerful, whose hunger for money is insatiable. They protest and revolt to defend your natural and cultural beauty. El pueblo endures until the straw on their backs can no longer be borne. Your people transverse arduous territory into a gluttonous country who ultimately seeks to exploit you to your bare bones. But you stand, with each aggressive push and shove you stumble and stand up stronger.

I envy your richness. I wanted to consume all of your rare art, interlaced with decades of mesmerizing folklore and incomprehensible beliefs. The intelligence and creativity of your past cultures shocked me, igniting a premature pride in your innovations and advancements way ahead of the white aliens who simply superficially suppressed you. My five senses were appetent to explore you, for my mouth especially experienced delicacies which quickly convinced me to forget all about “beautiful” stereotypical body standards. I laughed, I cried from laughing, and I felt your pain radiating from your diverse ecosystems you so easily welcomed me to visit.

I’ve left you, for now, knowing that this present isn’t our time. But I know I will see you again, in a much more mature state and clarity. I thank you for permitting me to delve into your vulnerabilities and simply giving me more than I could ever return.

Thank you.

The beautiful streets of Oaxaca


“The most traditional style piñata looks a bit like Sputnik, with seven points, each with streamers. These cones represent the seven deadly sins, pecados – greed, gluttony, sloth, pride, envy, wrath and lust. Beautiful and bright, the piñata tempted. Candies and fruits inside represented the cantaros (temptations) of wealth and earthly pleasures.

Thus, the piñata reflected three theological virtues in the catequismo (religious instruction or catechism).”

Source: http://www.mexconnect.com/articles/459-history-of-the-pi%C3%B1ata



“As with so many iconic dishes in a country’s culinary heritage, Mexican mole has a creation tale.

The story goes that in the late 17th century, the Dominican sisters of the Convent of Santa Rosa in the city of Puebla heard that the archbishop was to pay a visit. The sisters had to scramble to put a meal together and gathered the ingredients they had — dried chili peppers, chocolate, old bread, nuts and more — to make a sauce for wild turkey. The meal was such a hit with the archbishop, legend has it, that mole became a symbol of Mexican cuisine (up there with the taco).”

Source: http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2013/01/18/165494749/mexican-mole-has-many-flavors-many-mothers

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5 Indigenous Winter Solstice Celebrations That Honor the Shortest Day of the Year


Inti Raymi – Quechua

Of course, half of this great continent is on the flipside of the equator, which means winter solstice actually falls in late June rather than December. According to Peruvian chronicler Garcilaso de la Vega, Inti Raymi (or “Festival of the Sun”) was established in the early 15th century by the Inca emperor Pachacutec and was celebrated every year until it was outlawed by Catholic priests in 1535.

Traditionally the new years celebration lasted nine days and involved dances and animal sacrifices to Pachamama. In more remote indigenous communities throughout the Andes, the celebration has been preserved through the ostensibly Catholic festival of San Juan Bautista, while a recreation of the original pre-Columbian festival takes place every year at the archaeological site Saksaywaman on June 24th.

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