Teacher’s Day

Today is a day off school. It is Bolivian Teacher’s Day. I should have had my piano 2019lesson, but my teacher also needs to enjoy his day of rest. Yes, I am a teacher and a student. Efrain is a talented guy who plays different instruments and knows music by the book. My attempts to learn how to play piano began in my early teen days and I have had different classes and teachers at various times. I realize that I am not young anymore, but here I am giving it one more shot. Hopefully this time I hit the nail on the head.

Learning from those I taught is a tremendous wonderful experience. Teaching is never a one way street. It is a reciprocal impacting, shaping and lasting life experience.

2004It also gives me the chance to sit in the learner inexperience chair and fully sense the process students pass through to acquire new knowledge and skills.

These lessons are more than just entertaining myself; they are about trying, persevering and working every day. I am passionate about this whole thing of education. Ultimately, it is about staying a student for the rest of my life.

Published in: on June 6, 2019 at 6:32 am  Comments (1)  
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Yesterday and Today

Me X 2


Published in: on May 31, 2018 at 12:44 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Wearing eye-glasses

My constant eye-glass accident it’s when I left them on the bed, come back and sat on them. It’s there where frames get loose, bent and crooked. Few times I have dropped them and gotten them scratched. The least frequent mishaps are glasses getting shattered or lost. On one occasion, long before one could get prescribed eye-glasses the same day, I had to wait a few days for the new pair to arrive. Since I wear glasses full-time; I felt very insecure without them and frustrated with blurred vision. Since then, I learned to keep old ones as back up and choose different styles for different activities.

I assume I’m not the only one who doesn’t like to hear from the ophthalmologist the news that new glasses are required with current prescription for sight has gotten worse. For quite some time (a few years, I don’t want to say how many) I refused to change to the measure determined by the exam because the thickness of the glass would not allow me to use the frame “in fashion” during that period. Then fashion went back to thick frames and got mine and was able to see better.

As time would have it; getting closer to my 50th year; I started to notice the need to take my glasses off to read. I accepted quite well my inherited nearsightedness from early age, but it took me a while to accept a new visual defect: hyperopia. I was very happy when the doctor introduced me to progressive lenses with no visible line as traditional bifocals.

It wasn’t very popular to wear glasses back when I was a teenager, but now they are fashionable. I have never considered surgery. I don’t have the money and if I had it; I would use it for other purposes. Glasses are so much part of my body , like a second skin, that sometimes I realize I have them on when taking a shower and droplets stick to the lens. For me, not having them on, it’s like no having teeth or other part of my body.

Having more than one pair of glasses is like having a group of  good friends that are reliable, practical, functional and very valuable to help you go through life with a clear vision.

Published in: on May 4, 2017 at 7:57 pm  Leave a Comment  

It could happen to anybody

This week I was scrolling down Facebook News Feed and came across an announcement for a town’s restaurant’s daily menu and their phone number for more inquiry or reservations. Since I had gone there to eat before and like their cuisine; I started looking for my cellphone right away to save the number, but the cellphone was not to be found anywhere. It has happened to me so many times that occasionally I have to call myself from the landline telephone to find it. “I just had it with me here! How come it’s gone from sight?!” When suddenly I realized I was checking Facebook in my cellphone. What I was frantically seeking, I had it with me all the time in my hands.

I guess it could happen to anybody in different areas. Searching and searching without finding, pursuing without obtaining and chasing without seizing. We can be so distracted that we overlook the obvious. Sometimes what we look for, it’s right before our eyes.


Published in: on March 30, 2017 at 6:31 am  Comments (1)  
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20 Years

20 yearsAs I was thinking and preparing to write about today, the day that marks my arrival to Camiri/Bolivia; I looked up words related to “milestone” which refers to a turning point, age, events, happenings, incidents, landmarks etc. Among one of them was the word “survival” and I smiled. Twenty years ago I didn’t know how I was going to be able to make it through one day… one month…one year. At this moment, I am writing this blog in the quietness of my hosts’ house, Mr. and Mrs. Train, now gone to be with the Lord. In this table, where I now have a laptop, the Trains had a nice big and heavy electric typewriter from where I wrote my first update with my first impressions, experiences and goals for my visit to Bolivia. I still remember that first day here; everything looked different, felt awkward and smelled peculiar. The days and the years ahead from that day are the days and years from the past 20 years and today everything looks normal, feels familiar and smells natural.

IMG_20160830_053510I would like to summarize these 20 years quoting from C. S. Lewis who always seems to know how to express with the right words what’s in the human mind and heart:

“Happy work is best done by the man who takes his long-term plans somewhat lightly and works from moment to moment ‘as to the Lord.”

“The present is the only time in which any duty can be done or any grace received.”

“Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns, but will not encourage us to mistake them for home.”

Published in: on August 30, 2016 at 5:54 am  Comments (1)  
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There are many studies about “smile facts” and the number of benefits it brings to physical, mental and emotional health.  A smile is more than just a flexion of muscles; it is an expression from within the deepest part of our being denoting pleasure, happiness, delight, enjoyment, gratification or sociability. A smile is sadly almost a lost gesture in big cities since it is the body language of welcoming people into our space and our lives. We live in times of mistrust of strangers.

I recently experience pain due to dental work. I don’t remember ever being in such torment before.  For some reason analgesic had almost none effect or so I felt. When I left the dentist’s office I had to make a phone call and meet with some people.  All I wish was to be in a dark room, in bed and alone, but I couldn’t. I am sure the people around would be understanding of my bad mood and put up with my miserable attitude, but as in many cases, they are not to blame for my pain.

I chose to continue life ignoring my discomfort and even watched a movie with my hosts. I am in a liquid diet. Things didn’t turn out as I was expecting and the episode of the dental work hasn’t finished. I fear going back to the dentist’s. Such is life, but those circumstances have no control over what I choose and how I decide to act. For this time I have decided that my pain is small compare to what others are suffering. I want my smile to be a reflection of my soul not of my body. I choose to smile not because my smile is perfect, but because it is powerful.

smileIt is well with my soul

Published in: on June 16, 2016 at 5:35 pm  Comments (2)  
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Useful Tool (7)

In many cases, I imagine many of you reading this blog from your cell phone. I remember resisting the idea of getting one for myself reasoning that I grew up when telephones stayed at home. If people wanted to get a hold of me, they would call back. Then in 2007 I gave in and acquired my first cell phone, a Nokia 1100 that remained my favorite and irreplaceable one for many years; until my colleagues and family, specially my nephew who is a technophile (ideapokeian), said I really needed to upgrade and start using Whatssap and other similar apps and I did.

I try to stay undefiled by FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) and apply practical and common-sense rules to cell phone usage. The second-hand cell phone I was samsung-galaxy-s-iii-muertousing had been given to me as a gift and it had malfunctioned for a long time, I knew the day would come for this gadget to die and that day was this morning today. I am traveling tomorrow and suddenly felt the urgency to quickly get a new one for how would I get in touch with the people I am supposed to meet and many other questions came to mind.

How come I was feeling this uneasiness about going without a cell phone if I had made so many trips in my life without one! The Answer is simply: The cell phone, one of the many useful tools of our times and a neccesary evil if you will.

cell phone and life

Published in: on June 9, 2016 at 9:24 pm  Comments (1)  
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Useful Tool (6)

photographerMy dad, who loves photography, tells me how when I was two years old, he had to hide to take a picture of me. Well, I still don’t like to have my picture taken, but like my father, I take pictures of everybody, everything, in any moment and place. I enjoy photography; that is, I am an amateur, I just like to snapshot. I don’t have any formal training or intentions to make it my livelihood. The best tip for me comes from a quote I read from Ansel Adams (1902-1984) “A good photograph is knowing where to stand.” Hence I always try to find a good spot or move around; I have noticed that a camera, specially a professional-looking big one, opens the doors to sometimes off-limits places.

In this trendy digital generation a camera, even in cell phones, is a low-cost commodity and always handy. A personal gallery to display photos of all kinds (portraits, landscape, sports, wildlife, etc.) is simple and an everyday thing in Facebook, Instagram, pinterest, etc.

So, I don’t have much to say about the subject. I just want to share that a camera is one of the many useful tools one can possess and dominate to capture fleeting moments and making them long-lasting memories.

Published in: on June 2, 2016 at 6:03 am  Leave a Comment  

Useful Tool (5)

Not too long ago one of my students asked me “What did you want to be when you were a kid?” He gave me a skeptical look when I answered him “a teacher.” As if it would be impossible to become what you dreamt or wish to be as a kid. In my teen years I also became interested in “missions” and like my student, I had my doubts as well that one day I would be doing missionary work and teaching at the same time. I never imagined the process, the where and the how, but little by little, step by step God made all things fall into place and even circumstances and events I thought were “a waste” made sense of why I had to go through.

when I grow upThe thought of me fulfilling “The Great Commission” in the “traditional” way (preaching to strangers in a foreign land with different language, food and customs) was the most scary thought.  That is why I love what I do and where I am. It is a blessing for me to serve my Lord in a school setting for the following reasons: 1).- People don’t know me as missionary, but as teacher. 2).- The classroom has given me close contacts. 3).- The school provides work hours and I don’t forget the feeling of excitement for weekends and days off. 4).- Teaching, if anything, is influence. 5).- Teaching is a lot of fun.

I know God calls each one to different things and areas of ministry according to the gifts given, personality, background, training, etc. However having a teaching certificate is a useful tool in the Lord’s work wherever you are. As for me, there is no greater joy.

“It is a beatiful thing when

a career and a passion

come together”


Published in: on May 26, 2016 at 6:04 am  Leave a Comment  
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Useful Tool (4)

When I was 15 my dad registered me in driving school and then he gave me a Volkswagen beetle which was my transportation to the technical high school approximately 10 km (6 miles) from the city. Today I admire my parents for trusting me with such responsibility for which I recognize I wasn’t always that responsible and had my fender-bender experiences. The most tragic accident I had (and it wasn’t totally my fault) was while leaving school, one of my classmates suddenly and unexpectedly walked into my lane and her head impacted and shattered the windshield. She, thank God, had a solid-rocky hard skull and was unhurt, but to me was so traumatic I did not want to drive again. My dad literally forced me to “take the wheel” that very same day in another car he had and I learned my lesson to drive slow and carefully.

That VW beetle was sold to save money to pay my first year of college in the USA. The new owner died after crashing on the same road I took every morning to go to school and oftentimes no respecting the speed limit. This is one of the events that makes me soberly think about the “what-ifs” of life.

Volkswagen-BeetleOnce in a while I drive down memory lane and get nostalgic when I see a VW beetle. I remember the hard lessons that taught me to become a safe driver, the fun times I had with friends and the benefical useful tool it has been at various times in my life. I recall the experience of getting my driving license for the first time in Mexico and in the USA and driving in Spain and Venezuela, all with joy and satisfaction.

Now I live in a small city where most places are at a walking distance and seldom wish for a car, except for few occasions. I thank God for the lessons and the experiences and above all, for preserving my life up to today.


Published in: on May 19, 2016 at 6:53 am  Leave a Comment  
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