Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Future of Languages

Everything changes. There are cultural changes brought about by discovery, invention, diffusion, colonization and rebellion. If language is said to be rooted or transmitted in culture, therefore, it would be safe to say that language also changes. Languages change when its phonetic, morphological, semantic, syntactic and other features also change. All languages change. Linguists have examined that the existing languages are based or derived from the older languages. This would show how society and social changes would have impact or influence on language.

For example, before Latin was part of the National Curriculum. But as of the present, nobody spoke it since it was perceived to be old and archaic. But linguists cannot deny its major influence on present languages. Before, there was a prevailing idea that English would emerge as a world language. But according to language British experts, people are more likely to learn not only English but other languages, as well. English has become not the leading language, but a second language, according to the Journal Science. What we are heading to is not a monolingual culture but into a multilingual one. Language diversity is something which can be waiting for us in the future. Let’s take the internet for example. It has become multilingual.

In 1995, 90% of it was in English. When 2000 arrived, 75% was in English. When 2003 arrived, English was not only the language visible on the internet. Chinese and Africans were already online. This simple example could reflect that the world in becoming more multilingual. Some linguists like Stephen Anderson from Yale recognizes that multilingualism is something normal or natural. This is the normal condition of the people since culture and society is also diversified. However it is not correct to say that because society is multilingual in nature, then we should avoid learning other languages and stay with what language we know.

Actually, learning other languages has become an advantage in an era of globalization. This would be an advantage when you are after a better education and career opportunity. Another interesting future that language would face would be the development of technology. There are different translation programs that are able to translate documents in 6 major languages. Although, it is not a hundred percent perfect, the versions being released commercially are improving. These programs would soon pave the future where it is possible to talk into different languages where computer programs would help in translations and conversations. Although, computers where programs like these could be installed may not be portable enough, it would eventually be in a few years time. But these programs would not be replacing translators, they would still be needed to learn and create the programs. There are experts who say that identifying the dominant language in the future is difficult. Since everybody has its biases. Even the claim that multilingual would be the language of the future, is being disputed. Some still claim that English would be the dominant language. The bottom line is that world language is changing and nothing can stop that. Changes in communication are happening nowadays. All of these because of the changing demographic trends, technology and international communication. These changes are manifesting not only what we are speaking but also in what we are writing. Languages would not stop developing because society is undergoing change. Some languages may go extinct but this is to give birth to new ones.   ********************************************************************************

Reasons For Learning Foreign Languages

Studying and learning foreign languages is no longer about having a better travelling experience. Before it pays to learn to speak the local or native language of a country you will be visiting to avoid any embarrassing and even sometimes insulting situations. Learning foreign languages is not just about getting the right directions, it is about making connections with people that have different languages, culture and history. Some people think that learning how to speak English would be enough, but actually the CIA World Fact Book cited that only 5.6 % of the global population speak English. The rest of the world speaks differently.

Speaking English can no longer suffice the increasing demand for global communications and understanding. Research showed that learning another language would actually boost the knowledge of your own language. This would mean an increase in literacy, vocabulary, and better comprehension. There are studies showing that high school students who learned a different language have relatively better scores in their college entrance exams that those who do not study a second language. Learning a foreign language also gives an opportunity for an individual to broaden his educational horizons. There are many educational opportunities abroad than we can explore. It would not only help us transcend cultural boundaries, but it will also help us understand subjects and concepts associated with the language.

 Whenever we are learning a different language, it is part of being knowledgeable in it to also understand the underlying cultural values and structures of the people. In addition to that, most literary, music and other artistic milestones are not written in English. To fully appreciate and understand a literary work, it needs to be read and understood on its original form. Language becomes a window where we could see and understand the context of a country’s culture. This is important, especially if your have some business deals with foreigners. You would need to understand their culture, so you could build trust, cooperate and compromise with them. Another good reason for you to start learning foreign language will be the career opportunities for a multilingual professional. Here are some fields where speaking anther language could give you a head start: • Social services – work as a social worker, criminology and law enforcement, school counsellor, drug abuse counsellor, occupational health care, income maintenance counsellor. • Business and Finance – work as an accountant, administration, economist • Communications – work as reporter, journalist, publisher, editor • Education – work as a teacher whether it is in elementary, secondary or college level • Government- work as a translator or interpreter especially for diplomatic foreign services Learning a foreign language became a great advantage in looking for a career in this period of globalization.

 In business transactions, we cannot avoid the need of communicating in the language of the foreign business partners. Learning about foreign languages would help you promote your business in other countries effectively. If you want to build long and solid business ties and relationships in other countries, then you would need to be familiar with their language. In this era of globalization, countries and people are forging closer connections. Learning foreign languages would help you build a global understanding. But learning how to speak in a foreign language should not be just to brag about it. Learning and mastering a foreign language should manifest when we start thinking in it and embracing the culture and history that comes with it.   ************************************

Learning Foreign Languages: A Cultural Immersion

There are some studies conducted showing that children, from birth until they reach seven, are in the stage that they could acquire language easier. The ability of an individual to acquire languages will slowly decrease as they surpass puberty. How can adults learn language effectively and faster? We are now living in am era of globalization, every country and culture has become connected whether it is in business, education and other fields. There is a need to be knowledgeable, not in just our local tongue, but also in other languages. It has be come a necessity to be able to be a part of the community, get better career opportunities, and therefore succeed.

 There are different methods on how we can improve our skills of acquiring languages. Different aides like CDs, DVSs, books, dictionaries and magazines can be bought easily in bookstores. But experts have agreed that the most important method is by submerging ourselves of the language’s culture. There are numerous experts who agree that the best way and most efficient method of teaching language would be what is called as “language immersion.” Reading grammar and vocabulary books are indeed important in order to increase language knowledge. But it is practice and exposure that you would find most helpful when learning a new language. For example, if you would go abroad and live there, then it would be inevitable that you would pick up the language. You are exposed to different aspects of culture that uses the language, like television, movies, radio, restaurants, museums, transportation and other public places. Language immersion will keep learning language balanced. Language is something reflected by the people’s culture, thus, to understand the language it would be best to understand the ideas and concepts behind it by immersing in the culture. Aside from that, it keeps learning interactive and fun.

You do not have to pour over boring texts for hours and still unable to retain anything. Language immersion does not mean you would have to Spain to learn Spanish and go to France and fluently speak French. There are different ways to immerse ourselves in other cultures without spending too much on the airfare. • You could start by renting foreign films and listening to different radio programmes using the language of your interest.
For example, if you want to learn how to speak Spanish, then telenovelas would be a great way to get acquainted with the language. Telenovelas play a major role in Latin America’s pop culture. There are teachers who would testify that students would get involved in the dramas that they do not even realize that they are slowly improving their Spanish skills.

 • Foreign films are also great avenues for language immersion. They are interesting, easy to access and of course in the language that you would like to learn.

 • If you are not a big fan of foreign dramas and films, then you could certainly learn a lot from foreign sports. You could learn from the announcers and fans, just like in drama, you get involved with the sports that you keep track of it and gradually understanding what those announcers are actually reporting.

 • Radio has played a major role in language acquisition. There are online radios from different parts of the globe which you can listen to. You may find it difficult in the beginning but later on, you will start to identify more and more words and eventually learn the language.

 • Eating in foreign restaurants would also allow you to get acquainted to foreign dishes and how they were pronounced. Some restaurants would even include foreign performances while dining.

 Learning different languages could be done in ways that you do not have to spend too much or leave the country. But if you feel that travelling will boost your experience and education, then go ahead. There are many options that you could choose from, make sure that you will be picking out the most practical. ******************************  

Children Learning And Speaking Two Languages

We are now living in a very diversified culture and society. It is natural to find people who are speaking at least two language, these people are bilingual. But there are some bilingual parents or even those who are not, that are afraid that their teaching their children two languages would make them confused. Is learning two languages beneficial to our kids? Most of the times, these children who have learn two languages find it as a necessity in their environment and community (Houwer, 1999). There are some cases that children would grow up in communities where most of the people who speak in two languages on their everyday tasks. This would have impact on how children would acquire and later on, speak these languages. Not all parents are happy with their children learning to speak two languages.

There are speech therapists who believe that learning two languages could actually cause language delays. They would say that children would end up confused. In some cases, they would even suggest that parents make way for the dominant or major language, and drop speaking secondary languages. They believed that acquiring the main language of the environment will be better if there are no other languages to compete with. On the contrary, these claims by speech therapists still remain to be unproved and without any supporting scientific evidence. There are many children who have grown up in bilingual even multilingual family and community, and they did not develop any language disorders or delays. Some linguists and child development experts would even recommend children to be taught with foreign language between birth and age 7. There are studies showing that children can say about 50 words, whether they are monolingual or bilingual, by the time they reach 18 months. Apparently, according to Italian researches, a baby or child that learns how to speak two languages could actually make the brain more flexible. Experts also discovered that the ability of children to acquire language easily would decline when they reach puberty.

 If you are a parent who wants to have a bilingual child then there are something that you can do. • You can make your children exposed as much as possible to the language you would like them to hear. But make sure that they would be given time to hear both language. You could start reading them books. Tapes and CDs will also help in language learning. Children can be very enthusiastic with music, so try singing too. Watching television, video tapes and DVDs are also great ways to introduce them to the language.

Some parents would even enrol or encourage their children to be a part of language programs like language camps.

 • Remember that languages are closely linked to emotions and identity. There are some children who develop a sort of trauma whenever their parents would stop responding to them just because they use a different language. So be conscious when talking to your children too. Do not use language exclusive with just one child, the others may feel excluded and later on develop problems with their behaviour.

 • Some parents tend to be too strict when teaching their children to learn other languages. Do not punish, humiliate and rebuke you children just for using a different language when talking to you or to other people. If you feel that you kid is not catching up with the speech milestones a child should meet, then do not hesitate to consult profe

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Looking Back at Your Marriage



Can you look back through all of the hurt and pain of a difficult marriage and then divorce, and see any of what you have learned in the situation?

 I saw a quote that reads,
" Sometimes God doesn't change your situation because he is trying to change your heart." I am convinced that this is more powerful that what you were enduring  in  that difficult marriage."
Nothing in life is all bad, sometimes it just appears that way.  Once time heals some of the hurt we can go back and look at the lessons that was there for us. but what are some of the things that you learned other than the hard lessons of merging two very different lives together. Besides the facts that you both had two different value systems, or maybe it was the moral issues that ripped you apart. I would definitely hope that you have learned a great deal from those hard lessons. What else did you learn? Tonight I had fleeting thoughts of what little habits have change with me since I met this man that I committed my life to. They are very small things but they are things that I didn't do or consider before. I now cook my rice with coconut milk and cinnamon sticks. It is the tastiest white rice that I have ever had. I now use only basmati rice instead of the long grain rice that I grew up with. I now love the taste of avocado, however I still don't like the guacamole that I have come across so far. I have been told though if I ever eat some good guacamole in Mexico, I would change my mind. Now I can slice an avocado and eat it alone. It is amazingly good for you; the good oils. I have learned to make my own guacamole, and it is quite good. I love Indian and Mediterranean food, introduced to both by my spouse. I am aware of Bollywood, and love the movies. I can now differentiate between Swahili and other African languages when I hear it spoken on the streets. My husband spoke both Swahili and Luganda fluently, so I know those two when I hear them.   Unfortunately I also learned to be a bit prejudice, which I am not going to divulge because I pray that God removes that from my heart.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Adopt and Adapt

It has been wonderful traveling this month visiting family and friends. Seeing how those you love from a distance, live in their everyday lives.  Noticing their habits, the traditions they are  creating and  just watching them carve out a life for themselves is quite interesting. The way people live has always been fascinating to me.  I love seeing how we are similar as well as seeing how we are different.
I have always been one to adopt the habits of others that I admire. It was something that I started to do many years ago. You often find people who are jealous of others because of the way  they live, better yet their perception of how they live. I have always been one to adopt the habits or traditions that I find pleasing and adapt it to my life. Jealousy is such a waste of time and energy. My mother taught me years ago to never desire and definitely not covet what you see in others, because you have no idea what they do or have to go through to maintain. My method has always been to adopt and adapt, and most of all compliment.

The New Santa Monica Mall - Fall 2010

The Santa Monica Mall is now re-opened after closing for reconstruction two years ago. Of course I was anxious to see it and I did just that. It was impressively designed, but I still think the Promenade is my favorite. This new mall is three stories high and is an open air design. The concern I have with that is the fact that it gets pretty cool out there as it was yesterday after five, and what happens when it rains? However it is beautiful. My favorite store is going to be there, Nordstrom, but it was not opened as of yesterday. I love shopping in Santa Monica and now there is somewhere else to go and hangout.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Gia in Her Pink Hat

Yes this is me.  I am getting ready to go out with my mommy, but since it is cold out, I must wear a hat. What do you think of this one? My great grandmother Betty bought this for me, and about 7 others.  But this is the one I like. Imagine, one day my granny Tonya could not find me a suitable hat at all, and then like magic I now have about 10.  I guess I am just a lucky girl.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Are You Ready? How does He Get You Ready for Your Purpose?

Today a great deal of things are going through my head.  I got married 8 years ago thinking that it was going to be an adventure.  I had been engaged four times prior to actually saying I do. I waited until my daughter went off to college as not to have that drama, and did it just for me.  This marriage was not going to be about getting a father for my daughter, or about getting someone to help me maintain a home for her, or about security. This was going to purely be about love and enjoying a life with someone, having an adventure, relaxing in this love and life with another.   tonyaYunus
My husband and I had talked about world travel. He had done a great deal of traveling, especially in Europe, as he was from Tanzania, Africa.  His ability to navigate through different cultures and countries, speaking several languages, was part of his attraction.  The other part of the attraction was the way he embraced my ambitions, my interest in many things. Where many men thought of me as not knowing what I wanted to do, he saw me as interesting, and for the first time, it felt like it was alright to be me.  That made me feel special. Now I wonder if that was part of the game to win me over. I now realize for every plan we had, or I thought we had together he had an ulterior one.  Therefore nothing that we planned together ever came to past.  I had no idea because I was blinded by the love, on many levels. Now that I am no longer blinded, which didn’t happen overnight even after separation, I am free to pursue my path, because it was obviously my path not his.  It took me years to wake up because I respect the sacrament of marriage and I didn’t enter into that commitment to just throw it away when it no longer pleased me. But after two separations and many broken promises, I knew it was never going to come together.  As much as I loved him, and still think he has some good attributes in spite of the ones that tore apart our marriage, I now totally understand what it is meant to be unequally yoked. First my husband is a Suni Muslin from Tanzania, Africa. Even though he is not active in his religion, he still has the beliefs because it is not only a religion to him and his family, it is a way of life, it who they are.  I saw him as a strong black man with strong family ties and great respect for family and his elders, who just happen to be from Africa.  I was totally unaware of the major cultural differences.  I figured that many people marry into other cultures and it works, so why can’t we.  As far as religion was concerned, my being a Christian and his being a Muslin was not a deal breaker because we both believed in God, and that was enough for me.  However, they do not believe that Jesus Christ was the son of God, they believe that he was a prophet.  Ok, I still did not see a problem.  Then we started to have marital problems and I realized that we could not go to the church for counseling, because we believed two different things. Even though I was comfortable going to the mosque he was not comfortable going to a Christian church. This is when I knew I was in trouble. So there was not going to be any real marital counseling.  Then the other things started to fall apart.  I thought we had the same values, but we didn’t. I thought for sure we valued family the same, but even that was different.  He was used to being thousands of miles away from his family, his siblings, his daughter, etc., so he never totally understood the urgency for me to be with my family at certain times.  Even though he never tried to stop me or even discourage me, he just didn’t see the urgency.  I understand now that he just had his own agenda, even though he tried to provide me with all that I wanted.  His idea of marriage from my perspective, is to take care of home first, enough to keep me comfortable, and what went own outside of that was ok.  There goes another difference in values. My idea was to put most of my energy in having a happy home, and the outside things were extra.  Well first of all we are not talking about the same outside things. Lol I had no need or desire to be with my husband 24 hours per day, I like it when he has his own interests and friends and I have mine, and we have common interests and friends, whether they overlapped or not.  He comes from a culture where it is acceptable to have more than one wife, but they had to be equal, so what many would do is not have more than one wife because they could not afford that or they realize how difficult it was, but it was totally ok to have women outside of the marriage.  It was my fault that I didn’t understand that.  I think all people should be true to who they are, do what makes them happy, but they don’t have the right to do it to or with people that are not willing to participate. I now realize that having more than one woman is viewed differently in his culture as it is in mine, not that men in my culture don’t subscribe to the same lifestyle.  Maybe we are not meant to be monogamous, I don’t know, but I do know the pain that comes along with that deception. Even though God did not choose him for my husband he put him in my path for a reason.  That is what is most important to me now.  I had to go through something to have clarity and understanding of myself and of life.  I am grateful for every minute of the pain and anguish, because I now realize that God could not use me where I was, he had to mold me.  The same way you mold metal, God had to mold me; you have to add heat to soften that medal; He had to add some pain (heat), to make me a little more pliable.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Making It Happen, Part 1

Many people ask me how I do what I do.  How did I get here? That answer comes in many forms.  One of the things I believe they are asking me is how could I financially afford to do what I am doing…  The first thing I am going to say is that I trust in my Father to provide my needs.  I wanted to concern myself with living and not making a living. I think of that song, “His Eye on the Sparrow”, and remember that if He takes care of the needs of that sparrow, food, shelter, and health, and He gave me dominion over that sparrow, then He is watching over me.  The Lyrics for this song comes from the Gospel of Matthew. My Father tells me, “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”(Matthew 6:26) Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father's will.  But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.  Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. (Matthew 10:29-31) I do live by these words, and I am reminded every day because He always comes through.  He put these desires in my heart, He guides my path, and I just listen and obey.

Now I know that all of this sounds like much of what you have heard before, but when you step out on faith, He will put people in your path to move you along in your journey as well as to help you grow.  I welcome this, because it is actually the easiest and most beautiful path that I have been on. I do own a travel business, Kalule Travel Groups, that provides income, but I don’t worry about money, I do try to be smart about it though.  Besides these things, I have taught myself to live with a great deal less than I thought I needed. No, not need to survive, need to live. You don’t need as many shoes, and boy do I love a shoe, nor handbags, nor clothes.    I realize that I wear the same things over and over anyway, because once we discover the clothing that is comfortable and look good, we just continue to wash and wear, or in many cases dry clean and wear. So I started getting rid of the things that I didn’t wear. Yes that was hard. This downsizing took place over several years. When I moved from Tampa to California, I only took things that would fit in the suitcases with the intentions of shipping the things in storage out later. Well that never happened because for the price it would cost to ship those items cross country, I could buy them again. So that is what I did. I found a really nice studio apartment in San Fernando Valley and that is where I lived for many years. Downsized! From 2 Br 2 ½ B condo in Florida, to a Studio. Before the condo, there was a 2500 sq.ft. house in Savannah.  The first two was when I was raising my daughter and the Studio, I lived alone.  The only thing different about the studio was that it was without washer and dryer, but the Laundromat was 2 blocks away. No I didn't like it, but I lived with it, because downsizing meant I had money in my pocket and the freedom to live and not worry about housing my STUFF.



Everyone who came to visit when I lived in my studio was first surprised and then wanted to hang out because it was quite cozy, with the deck it was like having an outside room.  So I grew to love this little space, because I took my time to make it my own.

 

  So the first lesson for me was to realize what things were more important to me.  Now you may not want to go where I have gone or even where I am going, but you may want to do something different from what you have been. You first need to de-clutter your life, and that starts in your house. Once you start to do that you will be able to let go of some of the things that you have obligated your time too.  You may need more time with yourself.  Yes it is great to give, but it is also very important to replenish.  You must love and care for yourself. Sometimes we just have to say no and decline things that are going to demand more of us than we are able to give.





 
In the words of Anthony Robbins, ... in life, lots of people know what to do, but few people actually do what they know.

Friday, November 1, 2013

The Journey

DSC_2101
View of 3rd Street from Santa Monica Mall
We all have dreams of what we want for our lives and most often those dreams are postponed. When the opportunity comes for us to work toward that goal we are often driven by what we believe the end result will be, the money, the recognition, or whatever we believe that our lives will be like when we finally reach our goals. We are often frustrated by the road that takes us to this anticipated end, if we reach it at all. Most often, that end result is different from what we anticipated. What we forget to do is to enjoy the journey of getting to wherever it is that we are trying to go. The journey is where we learn and grow and cross many hurdles, which are small successes. Many times we see these small successes as merely stepping stones, but we need to celebrate them just the same. I want to be photojournalist and blogging is how I decided to begin the learning process, along with taking pictures of course. I know that photojournalism is merely telling stories through photos. Sometimes it is just photos and other times it is photos with words, but it is always telling a story.  I have always loved meeting people from all walks of life and I love hearing their stories.  I love celebrating their lives, the successes and the failures, the challenges and the triumphs, it is all what makes us who we are. Even though I would love to be recognized for my work, not necessarily rewarded, but I want others to see and feel what I do.  I want people to respond, to have a reaction of any sort. I have been intentionally living my life and enjoying every step of this journey.  Even the three years where I was recovering from several surgeries and all I could do was plan and research, as well as search within finding my strengths and weaknesses and asking what path am I to take.  I had to get the other voices out of my head (parents, society, church, etc) in order to hear His and I had to be Still.  Those three years I was still and I had a deep desire to live a more meaningful life.  I ask Him everyday to guide my feet, my heart and my tongue. This is where I am being lead too, this life, and I am so at peace with it.

 I have wanted to explore other cultures for as long as I can remember. It actually started with this picture book my mom bought me on Thailand.  No I have yet to get to Thailand, but I have always wanted to go, and I will get there. Moving to Los Angeles gave me that extra courage I needed to make things happen and not just talk about it.  I saw people there be happy not living the status quo. I saw people make a living walking dogs. Yes, some are making over 50k per year doing just that.  Now that I am in Peru, I see people making a living doing everything. I don't see a great deal of industry jobs here like in the states. These people learn skills and market themselves.  There are hundreds of small restaurants, hundreds and hundred of shops for clothes, shoes, food, everything.  These people are entrepreneurs, they are smart, and they are skilled. DSC_5394    

Tell me about your journey or the journey you dream about?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A New Beginning



It is a great feeling to see your kids grow into adults and make good decisions for their life. For a great deal of parents that is not the case and they have to constantly worry about their children and their children's choices. Some of these situations are more traumatic than others. My daughter is not a perfect child, but she has definitely been a good one.

We would like to think it is due to good parenting, and most often it is, but there are times when one is parented well and they still make bad decisions that potentially devastate their lives and rob them of their youth. Parenting has been the one job that I could not quit and the hardest that I have ever had, but it has been the most rewarding one.

 My daughter has graduated from college and for that accomplishment I am grateful. It is just so unfortunate that she did so in a time when the country is in such financial duress and finding a job right out of college is almost impossible. She is now a woman, and that is hard for a mother, knowing that your influence on your child is not as strong as it once was.
You are one day surprised, when you realize that your voice is now in their head. You always tell them that when they have children they will understand you a great deal more.

Gia's First Birthday


 My baby girl  is now a mother with a daughter of her own. I never thought I could love someone more or even as much as my own child, but I am so in love with my granddaughter Gia. I look forward to those calls from my daughter at those pivotal times in Gia's life when she has flashbacks of herself at that particular age. 

I know  they are coming, because I made those same  calls to my mom.

 Most importantly I look forward to seeing my daughter grow into an incredible woman and mother, and share this world with her daughter. Show her the beauty of its landscape and its people.

 Whitney is both spontaneous and adventurous as I am, and that is going to be great for her daughter. With each generation will be new exploration.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Savannah - Exploring My Hometown Like A Tourist

We all have dreams of what we want for our lives and most often those dreams are postponed. When the opportunity comes for us to work toward that goal we are often driven by what we believe the end result will be, the money, the recognition, or whatever we believe that our lives will be like when we finally reach our goals. We are often frustrated by the road that takes us to this anticipated end, if we reach it at all. Most often, that end result is different from what we anticipated. What we forget to do is to enjoy the journey of getting to wherever it is that we are trying to go. The journey is where we learn and grow and cross many hurdles, which are small successes. Many times we see these small successes as merely stepping stones, but we need to celebrate them just the same. I want to be photojournalist and blogging is how I decided to begin the learning process, along with taking pictures of course. I know that photojournalism is merely telling stories through photos. Sometimes it is just photos and other times it is photos with words, but it is always telling a story.  I have always loved meeting people from all walks of life and I love hearing their stories.  I love celebrating their lives, the successes and the failures, the challenges and the triumphs, it is all what makes us who we are. Even though I would love to be recognized for my work, not necessarily rewarded, but I want others to see and feel what I do.  I want people to respond, to have a reaction of any sort. I have been intentionally living my life and enjoying every step of this journey.  Even the three years where I was recovering from several surgeries and all I could do was plan and research, as well as search within finding my strengths and weaknesses and asking what path am I to take.  I had to get the other voices out of my head (parents, society, church, etc) in order to hear His and I had to be Still.  Those three years I was still and I had a deep desire to live a more meaningful life.  I ask Him everyday to guide my feet, my heart and my tongue. This is where I am being lead too, this life, and I am so at peace with it. [caption id="attachment_1932" align="alignnone" width="566"]DSC_2101
View from the new mall in Santa Monica[/caption] I have wanted to explore other cultures for as long as I can remember. It actually started with this picture book my mom bought me on Thailand.  No I have yet to get to Thailand, but I have always wanted to go, and I will get there. Moving to Los Angeles gave me that extra courage I needed to make things happen and not just talk about it.  I saw people there be happy not living the status quo. I saw people make a living walking dogs. Yes, some are making over 50k per year doing just that.  Now that I am in Peru, I see people making a living doing everything. I don't see a great deal of industry jobs here like in the states. These people learn skills and market themselves.  There are hundreds of small restaurants, hundreds and hundred of shops for clothes, shoes, food, everything.  These people are entrepreneurs, they are smart, and they are skilled. DSC_5394    

Tell me about your journey or the journey you dream about?

Monday, July 15, 2013

What Happened to Flying the Friendly Skies?

This was my first time flying United Airlines, as I am very partial to Delta, for their consistency, comfort, and customer service. This was also the first time I paid extra for the seats with more leg room $75.00 for both flights, and paid $225  for a checked bag, about as much as this one way flight.  The checked bag is another story entirely, yes 81 pounds of stuff. united-airlines My first flight was a United  Airlines Express flight from Savannah, Ga. to Chicago, Illinois where I would transfer to 737 in route to San Francisco.  The flight was on a much smaller plane, even though it was compact it was comfortable.  There were two stewards on this flight that must have flunked out of the same customer service basics class, because they were without a doubt the rudest and most condescending stewards that I have ever  encountered with any airline.  I felt like I was wearing a sign or exuded something that  deemed me their next victim.  They appeared to be like prison guards on the mental ward.  It was awful. Before boarding the flight, it was being  announced that the flight was overbooked and they were giving anyone $300 along with a later flight  that were willing to give up their seat. They were also asking if some passengers were willing to check in their carry-on bag, as they didn't have the space. Well I never check my carry on bag because it is packed to capacity with camera equipment, and not packed in a way that would insure its not being returned to me in a million pieces.   In light of  the way that I would be treated, there was no doubt in my mind that they would destroy my bag and its contents. When it was my turn to board the flight, I gave the lady my boarding pass; she didn't say anything to me she just checked me in and handed me a green ticket that is used to check a bag at the gate.  Now I am assuming that she is giving me the option, because my bag is within the regulated size. As soon as I step through the door of the plane, the steward barked out, "Mam, you are going to have to check that bag."  I told him that I could not check it because it was filled with camera equipment that was not packed in a way that would with stand the jarring under a plane.  He again barked, "Well it is regulations that you check it,  you can't put it on the plane."  I then told him that it met regulations."   I do understand that some of these planes are smaller and the overhead compartments will not accommodate even the regulated size carry on. Since I was sitting immediately behind first class, in the third row, I spotted a large space under the seat in front of the passenger that was in the second row and diagonally positioned from my seat.  I asked the lady if she would mind my pushing my bag under the seat in front of her, as I spotted a medium size day pack on the floor by her feet, assuming it was hers and knowing that both bags would fit if necessary. At first she resisted, and I said thanks anyway, and she then noticed the stewards's treatment of me and reconsidered. So I was able to put this bag under a seat in first class.  This same steward addressed the lady at this time,  by saying, " Mam you don't have to allow her to put her bag there if you don't want to."  She just ignored his statement and reached for my bag. It was like he was annoyed that I had the audacity to ask a first class patron to help me solve this problem, since he was not willing to help me solve the problem.  But before I could get the bag over to the other side of the isle, as people were still, boarding the plane, the other steward came up from the rear of the plane and he barked out from about 6 rows back, "you are going to have to check that bag, because it will not fit in the overhead compartments.  I told him that it was already taken care of, and he repeated himself again, as if that was necessary. So now that bag is secure, but now there is the issue of my shoulder carry on bag.  Since I am in a seat of which I paid extra , to get the extra leg room; there is a partial partition in front of it as opposed to a seat where I could place this second shoulder bad.  This shoulder bag is  much like a large purse, and also filled with camera equipment.   Due to this partial partition, there was no place to put this bag under the seat in front of me, so the good steward  made me change seats.  Worn out from all of the banter, I started to move to two open seats about two rows back.  Just as I was moved into these seats, positioning myself to sit down and put the bag under the seat in front of me, the other steward, once again emerging from the rear of the plane, barks,  you are not going to be able to sit there, these people are moving to those seats.  I told him that the other steward instructed me to sit there, and he again told me that I was going to have to move.  Again I was forced to move back further.    So of course I moved, because this is getting totally ridiculous. Once we were in the air, I figured there would be nothing that they could do to me, but I was wrong.  As I was asleep, this same steward that normally  came up from the rear, came from the front this time, and hit the top of my seat, which woke me up. This guy had walked up and down that tiny isle at least 20 times prior, and always kept his hands up high, but not this time.  I had a hard time believing that just happened.  Little did I know, they were not finished with me yet. When it was about time to land, I had the 14" laptop which was in a zippered case and my tablet in my lap.  I had to take the laptop out for the first bag to fit under the seat in front of the lady in first class.  So the rear approaching steward told me that I had to put those two items in the bag under the seat in front of me or hand them to him to be put in the over heard  compartment.   I told him that I would put them in my bag under the chair.  Well I guess he got a bit upset because he knelt beside my chair as he started to tell me that he didn't have time to play with me.  I was mortified when he said that, and I told him that I was an adult and had no intentions of playing with him or anyone else for that matter.  He then said, "let me explain something to you", then I said, "the best thing for you to do is to get out of my face."  At that point I turned my head, he got up and walked toward the front of the plane while looking at me over his right shoulder with a fiendish smirk on his face. I really could not believe any of this was happening.  As soon as the plane alighted and the seat belt sign went off,  I stood up because  I was quite anxious to get off of this flight. About an hour later I was boarding another United flight but happily it was much bigger and more of a crew, with real customer service skills.  I told one of the young stewards on this flight briefly what happened on the last flight and of course he apologized.  When they were passing out drinks, he actually gave me a bottle of white wine for my troubles. Finally, we are about to descend into San Francisco.  I am looking out of my window and was fascinated about  how everything on the ground below me seems to be on a grid; like a puzzle, a perfect puzzle.   I have said before that I am going to research why it looks that way.  I also saw miles of dessert sand.  It was a beautiful sight, even more beautiful to me, because it means  this journey has come to an end. Well it is not over yet, because after an hour of waiting for my expensively checked bag, I discovered that it is still in Chicago.  So I make my claim and finally go on to get my shuttle, they will bring my bag out to me tomorrow.  Yes I do  have two carry-on bags, but there is nothing in them but camera equipment, my passport, and my wallet. I am sure I will survive.     Happy Fourth of July to Me!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Jake Showing Me His Hood

Jake's Hood
Jake's Hood
Housesitting is one of those way you are able to travel around the country or the world and live rent free.  Of course there is a trade off.  It could be caring for pets, staying in a house so it appears lived in, maintaining a garden, or because it is required by many homeowners policy to have someone occupy the house until it is sold; regardless to what it is, you get to experience living in different areas whether it is for a week or a year.  The more I do this the more people I meet doing the same thing.
Jak e leading me arond
Jake leading me Around
Now I am living in Berkeley, California for a month.  My trade-off, caring for a cat, Isa, and dog, Jake.  Both of these pets are up in age, so there is more feeding and administering medication than physical activity.   I am not much of a cat person but I am getting use to Isa and she is getting use to me. Jake is a beautiful Golden Retriever and very easy going.

Jake enjoying a little sun
Jake Enjoying a little Sun
 Since it is his neighborhood and he is such an obedient dog, he walks around with no leash and everyone around here knows and loves Jake.
Market Mall
Market Mall
Pete's Coffee & Tea
Pete's Coffee and Tea
Busy Place
Busy Place
Patrons offered blankets on cool SF morning
Patrons offered blankets on a cool SF morning
I am living one block away from Market Mall on Fourth Street where I had some really healthy  Mexican food at Vino's.  I ordered the Ranchero Relleno because I know that is a safe choice, but it was much different than anything that I had before.  This shell was really light like filo, but it was not filo, and it was filled with avocado, squash, and other goodness.  It was really light and tasty.  I have unfortunately taken to getting my morning coffee from Pete's Coffee & Tea.  No, there is no Starbucks.  I was first introduced to Pete's when I moved to Los Angeles  8 years ago, but developed a daily two year addiction to Starbucks anyway.   Also on Fourth Street is the fabulous Bette's Diner of which there has been a wait every morning.  The morning I went there was a 40 minute wait, and everybody just waited.  My wait was not so long because I was a party of one and could sit at the counter.  I must say it was delicious.  This was my first time having potato pancakes.  Again, the food was light, but filling and quite tasty.
The Ark Toystore
The Ark Toy Store
Real Toys
Real Toys
 There is one other thing you rarely see anymore is a real toy store Yes real toys, not Toys R Us where just about everything is made of plastic, and made in China. This store was fabulous and I will go in when there is less of a crowd to get something for my granddaughter.  To think that all of this life is in the center of an industrial area, where there are warehouses, abandoned train tracks, and even backed up to the well used Amtrak train tracks where the trains blow through a few times per day.

You Can;t Go Back

Moving to Los Angeles eight years ago was quite exciting to me. I was newly married and we were going to  embark on this fantastic journey together, moving from Tampa Florida to Los Angeles, cross country, what an adventure.

 Nothing went as planned, not even the marriage, but there were a great deal of beautiful lessons learned in those eight years that has sparked personal growth like I never imagined possible.  Now that I have experienced this growth, which was at times both painful and beautiful, I want to continue to step outside of my comfort zone, more than I have already. I embraced it all. The result, my life resembles nothing of the life I had 20 years ago.






I recently decided to go back to my hometown because I wanted to be there for my daughter when she became a mother for the first time. I spent the better part of a year in Savannah as my daughter got use to motherhood, and learn to make decisions for two instead of just one. I loved being there for my daughter and my granddaughter. I even thought of moving back to Savannah to be closer to family, especially that grandbaby, but also for my aging parents.

I discovered that the latter was a bit premature. I learned two things from this experience of returning to the place I called home. First, home is where your heart is, where you have built a life and a lifestyle. When you do go back, you unfortunately step right back into your life as it was when you left. Yes you discover that you have probably changed quite a bit, but what you left behind is pretty much the same. Yes even the people, and that is the discouraging part. You assume that people have grown at the same rate that you have and you don't give it much thought until you are forced to do so.
That doesn't mean that people don't change, it is just the way in which they change. Often times they grow deeper into the type of person they were before, their complacency, jealousy, or hatred just festers.

 When you grow in a direction that is much different from most of those that you know, especially those that you may have grown up with, then you can't go back, you can't pick up where you left off, your core values may still be the same, but your life's experiences has forever changed your perspective. It doesn't mean that one is right and the other is wrong, it is merely ones experiences that molds them or lack there of.

 For a few years now I was really missing home and family.  A great deal of that was because I had been sick after having several major surgeries, and realized just how far I was from all that was familiar to me.

On my last visit and I met up with an old friend, Snappper, that convinced me that it was probably time to consider moving back to the east coast. I felt like I could do this, that I could come back to Savannah, because I was a changed person, and my perception of things was different, my perception of Savannah was different. So the timing was perfect, my daughter was going to be a mommy and my parents were getting older.
See Snapper was not just an old friend, he was an old boyfriend.  And for some reason whenever we would run into each other, regardless of the amount of time that has passed, the sparks would fly, and we would talk about getting back together.  It would never happen, for the same reasons that it didn't happen many years ago.

Then in the blink of an eye Snapper died from lung cancer, at the tender age of 53. This was the third of my friends that died from cancer in three months, all while I was back  home.

 You just can't go back.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Stolen The Hearts of Many

Beautiful little girl with lots of personality This little lady had a full day on Easter Sunday. We ended up going to Forsythe Park in Downtown Savannah to take pictures of her in this dress that I bought for her. We had a great time. I even made her three ponytails that day. This is one of the photos at the end of the day, with only one ribbon left on one of those ponytails.           I am always the one taking the photo, but this time I got to be in front of the camera with my granddaughter. This is actually our first picture together. She had a great day in the park Of course she took a picture with her mom.  
She is having a fun photo shoot with her Grandma
At the end of the day, she is still trying to figure out how to get that ribbon. Losing ribbons

Friday, April 12, 2013

Back On Track

photo credited to 41 inmylife
  Often times I wonder if I even still have the energy to do all of the things that I still want to do in my life.  Then I get up at 5 AM and get more done by nine than most people get done all day.  Why is that?  Is it because I do have the energy, that I am focused, or merely the passion I have for what I do and what I want to do.   Yes at times it is overwhelming, but all in all I totally enjoy my work.  I started my travel agency almost two years ago, and being new to the industry, there was quite a leaning curve and a massive amount of training that I am still working through, but it has been a rewarding and enlightening experience.  Business has had a steady growth mostly through word of mouth, often times mine; but yes I have had quite a few referrals as well. Some of them I could give what they wanted and others I could not.  I am always one to under promise and over deliver. I am just getting to the point where I have an idea of what direction I would like to take my business; areas where I want to concentrate my efforts. That is another marketing campaign in itself, but it is a must do.  Most agents love dealing with the cruise lines, one because the money is good and two because they love cruises.  This August I will go on my first cruise and I am sure that I will have a great time.  I love water and I love island life, so embarking on the Cayman Island as well as Cozumel will be a wonderful experience.  However, I am a bit claustrophobic and I don't imagine that I would want to be on a boat too long. So this five day cruise is perfect for me, and hopefully for the many others that are going with me.  This will also be the first cruise for my daughter and my granddaughter, who will be 11 months old at the time and got her passport at 6 months old. She is ready to be an international traveler. Prior to the cruise, I will be in Berkeley  California for a month house sitting for a professor from University of San Francisco.  I am looking forward to exploring yet another new area of this beautiful country we live in.  I will take you all on that journey as well through this blog.  So keep up with me. Meanwhile, I have been spending a great deal of time working on a new business start-up, Glamour/Boudoir Photography.  I know I know, I have been a photographer for over thirty years, but this time I am going to specialize.  Ten years ago I became a makeup artist on the back of Mary Kay Cosmetics.  Seeing how women would light up at the sight of themselves wearing a new lipstick or with make up on at all, was heart warming to me.  I then realized that something as small as a lipstick, makeup, or a new hairstyle could transform attitudes, perspectives, and even lives.  I knew I wanted to be apart of that, so I acquired the necessary skills to be apart of the beauty industry.  I got my esthetician license and later my cosmetology license, and entered the world of beauty. It was not about the money for me, it was merely the experience of the transformation. So now putting these newer skills with the old skill of photography, I will be able to give that experience to women on a larger scale. So hopefully you will follow me here as well as my photography and travel sites to see how things unfold, and you are welcome to comment in any way that you deem necessary, whether that is an atta-boy, or constructive criticism.  I hope you can keep up.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

My New Year Start


Me, Kim Polote and Gretchen Murray

  My New Year started out in the company of some old and dear friends.  These are two women that I have been knowing for 30 years, but have had a close friendship with for about 25 years.  I knew that this is what I had been missing for the past 8 years in Los Angeles, but I do realize that real friendships takes time to build and time to nurture.

 I have been blessed with the friendship of these women as well as three others.  Women who always have my back.  Women who compliment me  as well as tell me when I are not quite right.  Women who will correct me with a loving hand. We have been doing birthday lunches, something I have not done in 20 years.  Wow!  I didn't know how much I needed or missed these ladies. All of my friends are married and we have always respected each others marriage and the responsibilities of marriage.  We never demand anything of each other, we always encourage each other to continue to nurture their marriages and we respect each other's time.

 On this photo, Cecelia and I had taken Gretchen out to dinner for her birthday at Vic's on the Water on Bay Street.  After dinner we decided to go across the street to Ruth Chris, which is where an old friend from school, Kim Michaels Polote sings on the weekend.

When we walked in the door Kim was surprised and excited to see us.   My living in Los Angeles and Gretchen only moving back to Savannah three years ago was the surprise.  I discovered later that Kim told her mom that she saw me this night because I saw her mom at a Masquerade Ball the following weekend.  Neither of which I had seen in almost 20 years. I had not seen Gretchen in over 20 years until she discovered that I was in Savannah through a mutual friend and she invited me to her house for New Years.

These woman were there when my daughter was a toddler and they were very supportive, as I was a single mother.  It was great times.