Sunday, February 17, 2013

Journals from Around the World

One of the traditions that I started when I went to Asia last summer was to collect journals from each country I visit. As of today, I only have three journals, but my collection is growing. Here are the three I have so far...

Purchased: PageOne Bookstore, Hong Kong
Cost: $16 HKD (appox $2 USD)
"Meng Xiang" (dream)
"Somene wanted to be a teacher when he was little."

Purchased: Phimphone Market, Vientiane, Laos
Cost: 19000 Kip, approx $2.39 USD 
"Stop Global Warming"
"make quality make design style BSP"

Purchased: Cozumel, Mexico
Cost: $6 USD
"Cozumel, Mex."
It's made from "huun" (maya word that means handmade paper)

I hope to keep adding to my collection from every country I visit in the future!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

All You Wanna Do is Ride Around, Alex

Over Christmas break, I renewed my driver's license. It was actually the first time I had been in the DMV since I received my restricted license almost five years ago. Crazy.

In actuality, my visit went really well. I had been completing observations at a school in town, so I didn't make it to the DMV until 4pm, just an hour before closing. A lady at the front door helped usher me in quickly and I was in and out in about 25 minutes, including a new picture for my license. Hallelujah! Another ten years in my '01 Mustang, or until it decides to die.

By Steven Depolo, Flickr

When I was leaving, I checked my license to make sure it was correct and I realized I'll have this one license until I turn 31. Of course, this does not take in account moving or getting married, but a move within the state means you just apply for a duplicate license with a changed address. So, therefore, there is the possibility I could be stuck with this license for a while.

Interestingly, because I don't turn 21 until March, there is a note in red, capital letters that specifies "UNDER 21 UNTIL" my birthday. I was struck by the irony that even though I have a month and about a week until I turn 21, I will have that line on my license until I get married, move, or turn 31. (Not even going to mention that only slightly horrific picture.)

It's a bit like a reminder of who I once was. You know, even when we grow up, we are still, in a sense, products of our past. We can go through counseling, for example, and learn from our pasts. We can become Christians and go deeper with Christ, and we are saved from the sins in our pasts, but we are still who we are today because of those pasts.

I guess that's why I started this post with a reference to a song that was released the year my mom was born. The past doesn't define me, but it affects me. History is rich with art, stories, and lessons learned, I am affected by what has transpired before my time, and I can learn from the triumphs and mistakes of others. It's one reason we study events like the Holocaust, so we can avoid allowing similar tragedies to shape our generations. It's also why I like to listen to oldies music, because the art (good and bad) of yesteryear have something to say to us today, even if it's just "Go have fun."

"Mustang Sally," is the R&B hit referenced in the title of this post, which my dad happens to sing to me on an occasional basis. This is a live recording of Wilson Pickett's 1966 version of "Mustang Sally."