Tuesday, February 16, 2010
What the hell have I been up to?
Well... isn't that the grand old question? I would first like to apologize to my lovely little group of friends and family folk following my random, sometimes incoherent, often inconsistent blog! Oh ye of great faith and flattery! How you message me and encourage me through all forms of media and electronic systems. It is ye who inspire...no...guilt rather, a near slumbering nimwit such as I to forgo the comforts of my cozy rain forest bed at this confounded hour and log in for a little tittle of tropical sun-shinery! My mostly East Coast comrades, stuck in blustery snow, breathing air that hurts, wiping the goo from thine eyes whilst empowering the little remote start button on your keychains; it is you who grip me by my creative pants and lift me from the laziness of an early night retire in the balmy fresh air of eloquent island design. Worry not for I am here to save thee! Well... maybe humor thee for a short time with my silliness!
ON WITH IT YOU BLUBBERING GOOF!!!!!!
Ok, so... I have been very busy indeed the past week or so. I am organizing two very important campaigns for my skateboard company that are to include a clothing line and multiple advertising efforts. You have probably seen the Facebook ad for B.Lieve in B.Lo already. I apologize for my overt advertising, but I have to do it. I have to sell myself and my goods because I really do believe in it and I made a promise to myself that I would create enough income this year to support my wonderful and very patient partner, Kevin. Away I went with social media zen-like confidence hitting all the major arenas; facebook, myspace, twitter, reddit, adwords, shopify...etc. There were multiple days when I wanted to throw the computer from the back porch of my little house and let it rest deep in the slimy jungle below. I officially hate facebook as of tonight, but I'm sure my attitude will change if and when the seeds begin to sow. Support us in the effort if you can!
On top of this work, I have been very busy working with the children here; especially since I haven't had a car in over a week. I have begun writing proposals, grants, budgets, letters...etc. I have met with a few influential folks who may be able to make a difference. I have started a facebook fan page for Casa Suiza Puerto Rico that will soon have a donation button on it so people can donate directly through check, credit card, paypal...etc. This effort required ample search and survey through Lucy's NFP paperwork to acquire tax id numbers, banking information and the like. I still have much to do, but I am happy and more importantly, Lucy is thrilled with the opportunities we've finally created. It has been a serious uphill battle here getting things straight and finding resources where very few seem to exist. I have endured much challenge mentally, financially and emotionally. Still at this moment, I am smiling with a cold Medalla on my side and fresh mountain air filling my lungs. My confidence; restored.
The picture above was taken by the boys when we went to the beach on Sunday. That is an interesting and enlightening story to share. I sometimes offer to take the boys to the beach on the weekends. It serves two purposes: 1. Getting the boys out of Lucy's hair for half a day 2. Getting all of us boys off the mountain and to the beach for some fun. I usually get the go ahead from Lucy and Marjan the night before, which excites the boys to no end. You should see how quickly and politely the chores get done the next morning. Usually by the time I have gone over to the main house to sip some coffee they are all ambling around waiting patiently for my cue to pack the van and go. Politics reign supreme in all courts of human behavior. Cooler, frisbee and towels packed and we head off for Luquillo in the big white box! Ha ha... I sometimes think that I probably look like some crazy church pastor taking the kids off to Bible study or retreat, while we saunter this way and that in the old passenger van. Get a little closer though and you will know that nothing could be further from that reality. The reggaeton is blaring, the boys (all of which are teenaged) are hooting and hollering, singing, looking for girls in passing cars, and cursing. I try to keep the cursing to a minimum, but otherwise I let them have their unleashed fun. I think boys need that.
By the time we get to the beach, everyone is smiling and of pleasant disposition. We tramp down to the sand and mark our territory for the day's festivities. Said festivities usually begin with everyone ripping their shirts off and hauling ass to crystal clear blue waters of Luquillo! After swimming and playing frisbee the boys will take turns doing backflips and acrobatics all over the beach and in the water. They are all quite athletic, Jorge being the most like a gymnast. He can do multiple flips, cartwheels and acrobatic jumps and often draws a small crowd of spectators. Sometimes he will do a flip off of my shoulders and land feet first as if finishing a floor exercise at the olympics. Such fun!
Later in the afternoon the boys commandeered a football from another beach goer and prompted me to play with them. I suggested two hand touch... they insisted upon tackle. I thought, "Shit... I hope I don't break any bones!" I tried to explain to them that I was once a fullback and quite a good one at that. Plus I am at least 100 pounds heavier than any of the slick little bastards and a fierce competitor in any sport once I get playing. My concerns fell on deaf ears.
" Bring on the pigskin bitches!"
It was a slaughter of epic proportions. They couldn't tackle me walking, let alone running and on top of that, they couldn't block me or stop me from tackling them. I was the iron curtain of Puerto Rican football. The guy who gave us the ball kept laughing as the boys did everything in their power to try to score and keep me from scoring. Bodies flew this way and that, one from a stiff arm, another from a ducking maneuver, another from a juke. I often let them all get their hands on me to try and drag me down, and just shook them off like a horse shakes flies from its back. It was a hideous victory. There were probably close to a hundred people watching at one point and the boys' collective machismo pride kept them coming back for more. I tried to go light on them, but my killer instinct wouldn't let it happen. They came full speed every run. I'd toss aside the blockers and wrap the runner in my arms first and tell them that the play was stopped. They would insist upon trying to escape and I'd slam them into the sand without mercy. I have to give them credit for trying though. They came at me every time with guns a blazing and expectations of finally scoring.
My compassionate side let them sneak past me for two scores towards the end of the game and how they rejoiced!!! You would have thought that it was they who were kicking my ass all along. They danced, chanted and commenced the shit talking... you know that game ended soon after!
Smiling, tired, breathless, with sand defacing every human crevasse, we hit the water for a rinse. High fives went all around as the boys re-capped the game with each other in Spanish. Somehow, despite the pitiful loss, they kept their spirits high and boisterous, happy to have had the experience. They spoke joyfully of the game and re enacted some of their favorite moments, which were usually to their demise. This touched me deeply. How many times do kids in the states go out and give their best effort? How many times do they willingly face a much bigger, seemingly un-beatable opponent with such intensity play after play, knowing full well that they will not win even a down, then leave the field smiling, merely happy to be alive and playing a game? I'd say almost never anymore...you have to look hard to find it at least. Here was this small, haphazard group of children with almost everything in the world going against them, most born into awful circumstances and obstacles in life that most of us will never see, high five-ing and enjoying the pure love of sport. I don't think they had any idea how much this simple philosophy of effort and positive attitude in the face of defeat impacted me. If I were in battle, I would be quick to make them my soldiers, and great ones they would be....
I hope that you fight hard when life gets tough, and emerge with a smile on your face even in defeat... for playing the game of life is a blessing in itself. Until next time, much cheer and love, Jeremy