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1,000 WORDS (2nd attempt): DAY 51: Working Back Home and Abroad.

I’m at work at the moment. Normally we don’t have internet connection here to access sites not related to the job itself, but I just randomly tried to get on WordPress today and it worked, and there’s a lot of free time in between calls, so it’s a perfect moment for me to get started with today’s writing goal. I got Maria (my wife) sitting right beside me, and in between getting these words down I’m also just joking and playing around with her. It’s great to be able to look at her throughout the day, as she expresses actual concern about whatever customer’s issue she’s dealing with at the moment, I can see it in her facial expressions and hand movements. She has a sweater on with the hoodie on her head, since it always gets a bit cold at the end of the day, when most people have gone home and the air conditioner is still cooling the place up. We assist commercial customers with their DirecTV accounts, so if you live in the States and you ever call DTV customer service for some billing or technical issues at your place of work, you might get me on the line, or my wife. We probably won’t be at this job for much longer though, maybe another few months, since Maria and I are waiting for her Canadian PR to be approved soon, so that we can travel back together. It’s a cool job for now, easy and relaxed. On my breaks I can usually go out for a joint, I just have to stay alert for the cops, because here they can take me to jail, not like in Canada. Weed wasn’t legal in Canada when I was growing up though, so I’m used to staying alert and watching my surroundings. It’s funny, I do my calls so well that the customers I attend probably have no clue that I’m in Central America, or that I’m faded as fuck. I like helping them out, though sometimes work is a bore and I wish I was doing something more interesting. No sense in wishing though, I have to remain in the now, and stay focused and working towards a better situation. It’s great that I have this available time now and that I can do my writing, since we’re planning on visiting my grandparents today when we get home. It’s been a while since we’ve went up to visit them, and they always feel real happy when we do. Maria and my grandma get along real well. So, doing my writing now will clear up some time at night, the time we need to visit them and to do other goals. It’s cool that people here in Honduras have an opportunity to practice their English by having real conversations with real people who are calling from the States. The conversations obviously center mostly around TV, around technical things, and around numbers when it comes to billing problems. It’s great that these call centers exist also because they provide jobs for many people here. The US companies hire the call centers since they obviously have to pay someone working in a call center in the States a lot more than they pay us over here. I don’t live for money though, otherwise I’d be back in Canada making much more right now. I couldn’t bear the thought of staying separated from Maria though, and throughout the whole time we’ve been waiting on her PR, I’ve been here in Honduras ever since I came back to get married with her. Our two year anniversary is coming up, in fact, on the fifteenth of this month. I’m super excited to celebrate that special day with my beautiful wife of two years, especially since it’s been a while since we hit the beach, and also since this will be the first celebration or beach day since I started my abstinence goal from alcohol. That means I’ll act like less of a fool, I’ll enjoy more, and I’ll be able to remember more of those wonderful moments. I’m excited to go back to Canada, but just as you make more money there from work, living is also much more expensive. Over here it almost feels like I’m on vacation, work is not much of a necessity, and life is a lot more relaxed. When I go back, I feel like it’s gonna be hard not to slip back into a meaningless routine, into a soul-sucking job which I will actually need in order to pay the rent, or mortgage, in order to buy food and groceries. I need to do all that here, but we always have enough, and the job is simple and relaxed. I’m not eager to take up some random job though, after the many I’ve already had already back, and to start waking up early and coming home late every day, working my ass off just to pay bills, with no time to spend with my wife or family. I’m excited because, in Canada, there’s a lot more opportunities for musicians and artists, for writers as well. But what good does it do me if I will have no time? I absolutely need to find a way to break free from the system, to be my own boss and to live more freely. That’s also kind of the point for taking this time off and staying here in Honduras. It’s great to see life from a totally different perspective, and to sometimes have a bit of an escape into a different culture, into something that sucks you out of your own life and environment and mindset back home. I’ve been thinking, brainstorming, planning as to what I will do in order to make things work when we go back to Vancouver, and I have a few ideas, one of the main ones being hard work and dedication to what I do. So, tomorrow the call center awaits again, and while it’s not so bad, and I’m thankful to God for having such a chill job at the moment, I truly wonder if the day will arrive when I’ll find myself waking up to do something much more meaningful than helping people watch TV. I’m sure many of us feel the say way.

To be continued tomorrow, on Day 52.

~ Rebel Spirit

1,000 WORDS (2nd attempt): DAY 13: Immigrating to Canada, Pressure from Parents.

I was born in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. I lived in Honduras, both in Tegucigalpa, the capital, as well as San Pedro Sula, the industrial capital, for ten years before my family immigrated to Canada. My father studied economy and received his Master’s Degree. He is a very intellectually driven man who takes pride in his understanding of the world, of business and of money. He left a job with the United Nations, working on humanitarian projects throughout my birth country of Honduras, and moved to Canada where he struggled to find work. With help from a job agency he was able to get odd jobs here and there, finally settling at a fireplace factory. Apart from having to wake up in the early cold which we wasn’t used to for a job which he was ridiculously overqualified for, my dad was also not used to carrying heavy machinery and equipment at work. A year or so after he began working there he found out he had a hernia and had to have surgery for it. Thankfully he was fine, and nowadays he has a much better job at a bank, which suits him a bit better for sure. Despite his temper, my father is really someone I greatly admire due to his determination to make ethical decisions in life. My father believes in doing everything right, in the way it needs to be done. Growing up I always wondered why I was so different from my father, but lately I’ve been having epiphanies which clearly show me just how similar we both are. We both have crazy ideas of unique projects. We both enjoy speaking to people and can talk non-stop when it comes to a topic we are passionate about. My dad is sort of extreme in a way, something I never wanted to admit for myself but which I need to come to terms with now. He tells me not to wear a beard when I fly so I don’t get seen as a threat, yet he wore a long beard when he was younger too. He tells me to play it safe and to study hard to have a promising career, to dedicate myself to it in order to get a head start while I’m still young, yet he left his home country in order to find his own way when he was young as well. That’s what led him up to his meeting with my mother, in the country of Honduras where my two brothers and I were all born. My mother’s family moved here from Nicaragua due to the Sandinista revolution which took place decades ago. My mother is a saint. She is a devoted follower of Christ and the Bible and she sacrificed much time apart from her work to make sure that we learn Biblical morals as well as practiced what we needed to know for school and did our homework. She always told me (and still does) that I have great potential which I waste by deciding to do things in a mediocre way. I never argued because I couldn’t deny it. I was never a big fan of school. As I started hanging out with my friends I started ignoring all the great times I had with my parents growing up and all they sacrificed for my brothers and I. My father always spoke to me in his native Portuguese so I was able to gain a fairly fluent understanding of it growing up. When I traveled to Brazil on my own for the larger part of a year I finally got some street practice, and I really felt free speaking Portuguese, I was feeling the Brazilian vibes. While in Rio, I was amazed at how hot it was, even hotter than San Pedro Sula in Honduras. While in Brazil, I first stayed in Sao Paulo at the home of a good family friend who I had never met, an old friend of my father who is a Baptist church pastor. He’s a sympathetic guy and he gave me some good life advice and treated me as his son while I was there. I’ve noticed that throughout life I’ve received such respectful treatment from many individuals as a result of their deep admiration for my father. For this reason I sometimes feel ashamed with my own performance in life thus far. I feel the pressure of great expectations which my parents have for me. If they were careless or irresponsible parents I never would have felt so guilty for going astray from their teachings. One of the saddest feelings of my life has been that of not being able to properly connect with my parents. Their religious beliefs make them very close minded when it comes to anything spiritual. It was only in recent years, once my dad started attending a Kabbalah class at the synagogue he is attending, that he began investigating deeper into mysticism and the idea that maybe things are a lot deeper than he had thought they were. For many years now he has considered himself a Jew, and has wanted to influence my brothers and I into undergoing complete conversion to Judaism, which he believes to be the true path to God. My mother is quite convinced with Jesus Christ’s promise of salvation for those who believe and pray in His name. She doesn’t feel the need for us to further investigate into the nature of God or the universe, and her closed mindset to these sorts of concepts bother my father and lead to great discord. But if their belief in God leads to discord whenever expressed between the two, then is it really serving its purpose at all? Spirituality is not something exclusive which can be taken up and dropped as a habit or custom can. Spirituality is everything, it is the essence of who we are. It is not a philosophical label or a religious sect, it is the realization that we are spiritual beings and that there is a spiritual purpose and significance to everything that happens, to every physical phenomenon. Spirituality means having a deeper connection to the true causes of things, to the nature of the effects and which causes they come from. Spirituality means balancing what needs to be done on this Earth with the time we need to spend contemplating heavenly concepts. Spirituality is balance in all aspects of life. A spiritual life is one which is well balanced and allowed to flourish, a life which is not lived for the sake of fulfilling vain worldly desires, but one which is lived for the purpose of doing what needs to be done when it needs to be done. At least I find satisfaction in knowing that both my parents are people who are committed to living righteously; hopefully this can overcome any unreasonable habits that might come along with absolute belief in a single religion.

To be continued tomorrow, on Day 14.

~ Rebel Spirit

DAY 6: 1,000 WORDS: A YEAR AND A HALF WORKING IN CANADA, BEFORE MY WEDDING.

Sixth day of writing and publishing a thousand words. This is the first weekend since I started this challenge for myself, and I had some plans set for today already, so I’m glad I was able to set aside some time in order to write this today, even though weekends are usually real busy for me. Maria and I woke up today really early in the morning and caught a quick bus (called “rapidito” here in Honduras, translated to “very fast”) to the Guamilito market, one of the most popular markets here in San Pedro, where one can find many beautiful hand-made crafts, all shining with lively, vibrant colors along the walls, among many other cool things. A few weeks ago we bought some stuff there actually, including a really nice wooden pipe with some Mayan kind of design, which I personally enjoyed testing out quite a bit with some good chronic. I feel it even added to the taste, but it could just be all in my head too. Today we made sure to buy some veggies, broccoli and peppers for our next few days’ meals, and also some tortillas so Maria can make some delicious tacos she’s been wanting to make for a while now. Needless to say, I can’t wait to try ’em out, since her meals are always delicious. We had a great time, it was a beautiful sunny morning, and we ate some ‘yuca con chicharron”, yucca with pork rinds, at the market just before heading back home, where we relaxed to watch a show. Maria had to go after that since she’s scheduled to work 4 hours today. I wish she could stay home with me, but it is what it is. At least I have some time to work on my writing. I also got to finish reading Franz Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis” today. Very strange story for sure. Although very simple and the plot uneventful, I enjoyed it a lot to be completely honest. It’s the first Kafka book I’ve read but my guess is that the point of the story might be to transmit a feeling of hopelessness to the reader, as the protagonist of the story finds himself suddenly turned into a giant bug overnight, and can hear his family talking about him and his situation from then on, yet cannot communicate with them in any way. It’s part of a series of books I’ve been reading since November 2018, since I set a goal for myself of reading at least a book a week. This week I finished two short books, the aforementioned “The Metamorphosis”, and Evelyn Underhill’s “Practical Mysticism”, as I often read non-fiction, sometimes even more than fiction, in fact. Now that I finished reading that story though, and commenting a bit on it, let’s keep going for now with my own story. Yesterday I left off at the part of my life when I traveled back to Canada, at the end of 2015, in order to save up for my wedding with Maria. This objective motivated me so much that for the very first time in my life I actually put my all into the job I got hired for, I really put it an effort, no doubt about it. I made sure to put in extra hours whenever necessary, to learn as quick as possible how to do everything correctly so as not to jeopardize my job. I had returned to Canada with a very clear and defined goal, to save up the money for all that Maria and I would need in order to make our dream wedding come true as soon as possible. We had a hope that we could get married in Canada, so Maria applied for a visitor’s visa, but it was unfortunately denied for very vague reasons. It seemed we just had to face the fact that we would be apart from other for the time being, there was no way around it. We still kept in touch every day on WhatsApp chat and video. Even though I returned to live at my parents’ home, they found comfort in the fact that I now had a serious objective, that I was committed to the job I had, and that I was no longer partying or hanging out with friends for no reason anymore, making reckless decisions and staying out most nights. The situation had significantly changed since those crazy childhood days, and I was enjoying a new peace of mind I had never felt before while living at my parent’s home (ever since my teenage years started, at least). Being far away from them for so long had allowed all of us to analyze our relationship, as parents and son, from a different perspective, it seemed like it had done us some good as it had renewed a fresh new appreciation for family. My newfound love had allowed me to put to the side, somewhat, my restlessness and need for constant excitement. My life became work and home, since I would have to catch the SkyTrain every morning, on weekdays, from Surrey Central station, and ride all the way Downtown to the Megrez office, and would take the same trip back home in the evenings, after getting off work and blazing up at the New Amsterdam Cafe that is, Vancouver’s most famous weed lounge which was just two blocks away from my workplace. That became my daily routine, and work was exhausting since there was never a second of the day when I was truly free of some task. This job was demanding in every sense, and especially it demanded a certain degree of seriousness and careful attention which I had never applied to any previous job I’d had in the past. I had to make sure the office ran smoothly in all its aspects. I also had to make sure I did everything as I was supposed to, since my boss, the owner of the company, hired me mostly due to his respect for my parents, who he himself helped immigrate to Canada in 2004. Although, in a way, I was more fit for the job than most of those who had held it in the past or who were aspiring for the position, speaking fluent English and Spanish as well as very good Portuguese, in some aspects I was completely unprepared, as I had never had any kind of experience with executive work, and I was only used to jobs where I was just another employee, where my work wasn’t essential at all (at least in my eyes). At Megrez, everything passed by me, and it was my task to refer each document, each case, each call, each client, to who it corresponded to, and also to scan and save and file everything in its place. There was only about 3 other employees at the company, apart from myself and the boss. The days flew by like airplanes in the sky, faster than race cars as I longed for the big day when I would return to Honduras and be reunited with my love. We’ll continue this tale tomorrow though.

~ Rebel Spirit ~

DAY 5: 1,000 WORDS: RETURN TO VANCOUVER & LONG-DISTANCE LOVE.

Fifth day straight of getting a thousand words down and publishing them! When I started this challenge I was afraid that I would lose motivation after the second or third day, a thousand words seemed like a lot to tackle every single day. I see now that by taking this challenge I’ve proved those expectations I had for myself totally wrong, at least so far. Fifth day going and I feel I have more to write about than ever before. Sometimes the desire to write vanishes for a few days for no apparent reason, as if new inspiration needs to be build up, to accumulate in order for writing to happen. These past 5 days though I’ve been filled with ideas of things I’d like to mention in these posts. I think it might have something to do with the style of writing I’m using at the moment. I’m simply putting 1000 words together on the spot, about whatever comes to my mind at the moment, but also trying to stay on topic and on sequence as much as possible! Before, I almost always had a topic in mind that I wanted to write about, and I spent endless minutes and hours editing, re-reading, deleting, adding different words and phrases. I felt confined by the organization process and the having to divide everything up into little paragraphs and such things. I know organization is surely important, but I’m just saying I feel freer when writing this way. Every writing style has its time. Alright, so let’s continue with the story that has brought me up to this point then. Yesterday we left off a few years ago when I came back to my birth country of Honduras, started working at a call center as a collections agent, and had my first interaction with my future wife, which was an unexpected hug! So, after we bumped into each other, hugged, and smiled at each other for just a second, we started talking more and more often on the “floor”, where the work gets done, where all the little box cubicles are at. I asked what she liked to do on the weekends and she simply replied “sleep”. Sleep? I thought she was kidding for sure. I was used to looking forward to Friday every week in order to get as crazy as possible all weekend long! We didn’t make any plans just yet, but one day, just casually talking about what we each were going to eat later, we ended up planning to go to Wendy’s later on, during our break, since it was the closest place to eat, right outside the call center. In fact, we got a special discount there for being employees at the call center. So, evening came, and just as it was getting dark we went out to eat on our last break of the day. We ordered some burgers and fries and some iced tea, which I noticed she loved just as much as me, and we had a great conversation. She mentioned a situation in which it seemed like things had worked out in her favor, in which she had gotten rid of a problem that had been bothering her, almost miraculously and out of the blue, and she thanked God for it. I mentioned that everything happens for a reason. Although I was still ignorant to much of spirituality at that time, and wasn’t really thinking much in spiritual terms at all, I always had a vague belief that everything does happen for a reason. Our conversation was so great that we were really late back to work, but the job was chill so it wasn’t really a problem. A few weeks after that we had a movie date, and that’s where we kissed for the first time. I can’t recall the movie we watched anymore, to be honest. After this, our friendship grew as well as our love for each other. During this time I was no longer living with my grandparents, I had gotten a place with a good friend, Randy, who I met at the call center as well. He had lived in the States, in Miami, most of his life and is kind of like my crazy friends from back in Canada, so we had a lot of good times. It was during those crazy days that I asked Maria to be my girlfriend, on January 17th, 2015, almost exactly four years ago. We spent that whole year together. Since we worked at the same place, we were together throughout the day, through our short breaks and lunch hours, during times of low call volume. Her English is not bad at all, having taught elementary school kids here in Honduras before going to work at Collective Solution, the call center where we both worked. She accepted, of course, to be my girlfriend, and by the end of the year, we were so crazy about, and committed to, each other, that we decided to get married so that Maria could go to back to Canada with me, eventually. The idea was that I would travel back to Canada alone in order to save up some money for our wedding and honeymoon, for everything we needed, and also since I hadn’t seen my parents and brothers in over two years, other than on Skype. Maria could continue working at Collective for the time being. I flew back to Vancouver in December of 2015, and it was great to see my family again, yet I really missed Maria. I got a job working at Megrez Consultants, an immigration consulting firm. This job was quite different from any other job I had been hired for before, as I was to be the executive assistant to the owner of the firm, as well as the administrator and receptionist for the whole office. I wast to be the first one there and the last one out, and I would have to work extra hours sometimes. The name of the owner of Megrez is Jose Godoy, and he’s ran his immigration consulting business in Downtown Vancouver for almost 20 years, helping people from all backgrounds get all kinds of processes and applications done in order to come to, or stay in, Canada. Since he is of Chilean background and Spanish is his native language, as well as speaking fluent English, his clients are mostly Latinos. I would have to speak English as well as a lot of Spanish, which was good for my practice in order to keep it fluent and fresh (and I even learned some new Spanish at that job), and I would sometimes have to speak Portuguese as well, which I know from my father’s side, as he is from Brazil. In the meantime, I would Whatsapp Video chat with Maria every day, always during breaks and my lunch hour, during which I usually ate at the Pho place right below my workplace (Pho is delicious Vietnamese soup, for those who don’t know), and as soon as I got back home. She became so special to me over time, and we couldn’t wait to be married, and for her to be there with me. More on how everything unfolded next week though, since I gotta get to work now. Take care and God bless!

~ Rebel Spirit ~

DAY 2: 1,000 WORDS: WHERE I’M WRITING FROM (part 1)

Second day of writing 1000 words and publishing them. Yesterday I mainly touched upon on what inspires me to write, trying to simplify as much as possible even though I have various complex reasons for writing and for undertaking this challenge (of writing and publishing 1000 words a day, every day). Today I’d like to focus actually on where I’m writing from at the moment, and why. I am currently living in Central America, writing to you all from the Honduran city of San Pedro Sula, the same one which thousands of people including women with babies to their breasts recently just began marching from, less than a week ago, forming part of a huge caravan which moves along in hopes of soon arriving at the United States, ready to live the American dream upon entering the country as illegal immigrants. To be honest I think it’s really irresponsible to attempt such a challenging and dangerous journey with small children, but the more time I’ve spent here the more I realize I’m not in the same situation as these people, so I can’t accurately judge their actions. I just think it’s irresponsible due to the fact that Trump has vowed not to even let any of them in, of course. Why would people want to go somewhere where they are not welcome? Where they would be deported as soon as found? People must have some real good reasons to leave. I was personally born here in Honduras, back in 1994, in its capital city of Tegucigalpa, and lived ten years here before my parents decided to move to Canada. I’m forever grateful to my folks and thankful to God for providing my brothers and I with the opportunity of growing up and going to school in a first world country, in a safe and developed nation, one of the safest in the world in fact, and I surely wouldn’t be who I am today if it wasn’t for their decision to leave their old lives behind so that my brothers and I could live better ones in a new country. We were never rich, but we were never poor either. My father has been a scholar all his life and has a Master’s Degree in economy, yet even he chose to leave a good career behind to go and work random odd jobs in the Canadian cold, just so that his three children could have greater opportunities than we would have ever had here in Honduras. I owe so much to my parents who took me from here to Vancouver at the age of ten, and apart from that, it is obvious that so many people who live here are so sick and tired of doing so that they are taking desperate action in order to escape. So what the hell am I even doing back here for such a prolonged period anyway? That’s definitely a question I’m often asked nowadays, both by people who have lived in the States before and have been deported back here only to forever miss the lifestyle they used to live, as well as by those who have never even lived outside of Honduras but would jump at the opportunity of leaving for good. A few travelers have even died on their journey up North during the first couple caravans which took place, and the fact is that people here just don’t feel safe, they don’t feel they can trust their government or the police, and they live in constant fear of the ruthless gangs and corrupt politicians who control every aspect of society and business here. So many people feel the journey is definitely worth the risk, even with all the dangers involved. A lot of the people I’ve met here so far in my time being back simply cannot understand why I would want to be here, being able to travel back to Canada at any moment as a citizen. As a kid I  flew back here to visit once or twice, along with my family, for a few weeks or a month. Honduras being as dangerous as it is, my siblings and I spent most of our time with family, with my cousins, uncles and aunts and grandparents. We always returned to Canada, and as I grew into my teenage years growing up in Vancouver, I got mixed up with some bad crowds, and the stressful situation at home and with my family relationships simply were too much for me to deal with any longer. When my parents moved to Canada they never imagined that the greater liberty which the youth has there, living in a safe country, creates an atmosphere where kids as young as 12 or 13 are often free to be partying and consuming drugs, whereas in Honduras most kids at that age spend most of their time with parents. I was living a lifestyle of partying, constant drinking and consuming other substances to excess, staying out all night and ignoring my parents’ phone calls for quite a few years, since around the age of 13. I got in trouble with police, with school staff, got kicked out of school, and eventually ended up finishing my high school education online. The worst thing, the thing that really killed me though, was the constant guilt I felt for putting my parents through such stress. They thought they were losing a child to the negative forces of the world. But I didn’t want to change my lifestyle. In those days I had ideas much different from those I have today, and rather than changing for the better and attempting to mend the broken relationships I had with my parents, I thought it best to just leave. I thought they would be better off without me, and I would have more peace farther away from them. Ignorance is bliss was really my philosophy. I’ve always had crazy fantasies of travel, a wanderlust that impacts my whole being and prevents me from standing still. I still wish to travel the world as much as I possibly can even today. So, faced with a depressing and seemingly inescapable situation back home as I could never did save up enough money to get my own place, I decided to travel back to my original home, back to my roots and my culture, unaccompanied this time. I flew to Honduras in 2013 and unpacked all my stuff in one of my grandparents’ spare rooms, knowing they knew nothing of my craziness and would not bother me or prevent me from doing what I wanted. Well, I have enough words to post for today, so I’ll have to keep the story going from 2013 up to now in tomorrow’s 1000-word post.

~ Rebel Spirit ~