Wednesday, October 23, 2013


Today I was asked by my good friend Elsa (who currently happens to be studying abroad in India) how I thought this trip has impacted me. I had to sit back and think about that for a moment, it's quite a loaded question. I responded with: I think I've gained a better understanding of humanity. We think Rochester is diverse, no way. Everyone has such a unique path in life and a way of doing things. I think I've become more tolerable of that.

My eyes have really opened to the various ways we as humans do life. I've been influenced this semester to think of humanity from an evolutionary standpoint, both culturally and biologically. I've come to find my previous views being challenged and new ideas enlightening me. I'll elaborate a bit on both.

This semester I'm taking a few cultural anthropology classes including an intro course, comparative religion, and a course on how we eat. Our focus usually pertains to primitive societies such as Netsilik Eskimos where we analyze how they used to live vs. how Western civilization has impacted their way of living.

With this, we discuss the ethnocentrism (superior culture mentality) of western civilizations and how that has changed some of the most remote of cultures. A common example of this act being religious mission work.

As an active church member in high school, I've been everywhere from Los Angeles to Guatemala, spreading what I believe to be the truth; Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. The experiences I've gained from mission work have been life changing. No doubt, my most humbling of times have been from going to areas of the world where I am able to serve people less fortunate than myself.

But that's the thing, are they less fortunate? Are these people suffering because I'm not helping them? Or do I just find satisfaction in doing good deeds? 

Many 3rd world cultures have "adopted" Christianity because of the work of missionaries. They engage in Christian rituals such as baptism and communion, but is there a true understanding to them of what these traditions symbolize? So many factors contribute to miscommunications, language being one of the main obstacles. Often times, primitive cultures will hold on to their animistic beliefs; attribution of a soul to plants, objects, and natural phenomena.

I wouldn't go so far as to say mission work is a bad thing. Good intentions and a passion for Christ are what drive most Christians do engage in such acts, from what I've experienced. I just question whether or not it is my place to impose my beliefs upon someone else just because I think they are in need of my help. 
This photo was taken 5 years ago, just before entering my junior year of high school in a rural part of Guatemala on a my first international mission trip. The caption I wrote on Facebook is "Who do you think is the whitest?" As I said earlier, good intentions. Very much so a caption meant to provoke laughter at myself. But there's so much weighted interpretation of that phrase and this photo, it's nuts.

Food for thought. More to come. 

Monday, October 7, 2013


I learned not to want the quiet of a room with no one around to find me out. I want the applause, the approval, the things that make me go 'oh'.

Last Thursday, I was able to drive to Brooklyn with my friend, Courtney (who also happens to be from MN), to see Lorde, an up and coming New Zealand Indie artist. She played at a small venue called Warsaw in Williamsburg neighborhood (Hipster town). I didn't really know her music prior to the show, but sometimes I like that better; seeing the artist live and getting into their music after. Since the show, she's all I've been listening to. Coincidentally, her song Royals hit #1 on the Billboard Charts the same day as the concert. I think what is most astonishing about her is that she is only 16 years old! She writes all her own music and has such maturity for a girl woman her age. No artificial sex appeal, just real poetic music flowing through her. Very entertaining.

If only the people around me could have put their phones away. I swear more people were looking at Lorde through a screen than not. I'll admit, I used to do the same thing until I realized I never go through those pics after. One or two shots, that's all you need. At one point I yelled at the guy in front of me, "You're taking the same pictures over and over! Just enjoy the show bro!" I think he was taken aback, but it made him stop :) Spend so much time trying to capture the memory that you don't even make the memory itself. Be one with the music and don't be a generation of disappointment. K, off my soapbox.

The show was in a predominately Polish area so we tried Polish food! Pierogies and White Borscht! I ordered way too much but it was delicious.

Saturday morning I woke up promptly at 4:30 in the morning to get ready for my first dance competition. Leaving before the sun came up, Jeremy and our friends Napat and Cassie all piled into a car to head 2.5 hours to Princeton University. Unfortunately sometime before the weekend I obtained conjunctivitis in my right eye, leaving me unable to wear contacts for a week and consequentially I was blind while dancing. It was so hard for me to find Jeremy off the floor because at one point every male was wearing a white shirt and black vest. On the bright side, I think my inability to see worked in our favor. We danced 14 styles and placed top 7 in 13 of them. We also won 1st in American Rumba, Cha Cha and Jive. It was a very successful weekend for all of us.

I'd post a video, but we just learned some new content tonight that's gonna be killer if we can master it! TBA

The quote above is actually from one of Lorde's songs called Bravado and it's really resonated with me the past couple days. Dancing has been such a valuable aspect of my life and when I ask myself why that is these lyrics seem to fit perfectly. Though shy as a kid, I've always craved attention. Whether it be because I was an only child most of my life or because I've been on stage since age 3, I love entertaining people with who I am. Even in accordance to my career path, I so thoroughly enjoy knowing I've helped people, and the hope of one day being able to say I've made it in the health field really keeps me going. It's a yearning for me to show the world what I'm passionate about and what I have to offer.