Monday, May 26, 2008

The Sun Sets on a Chapter of Our Lives

We have all known each other for many years, and now, it is time to say goodbye. Our small class of 79 at San Antonio Christian Schools has gathered for the last time as a class before our graduation in a few days. The ceremony that is now taking place is not fancy. Most of the class wears plain shorts and shirts, some of which bear the symbol or name of the school they will attend, bearing witness to the change that will soon become a reality. As the wind blows upon my face, I wonder where this wind will take each of us. Most people in the class know where they will attend college, but what happens there can certainly take anyone in a completely new direction. We sing a few worship songs and ask God to bless us as we each set out our separate ways. We plan to leave Branson, MO at 1:00 a.m. after five days of fun on our senior trip. Since this is our last night, I hurry back to my room after the prayer, hoping to catch a glimpse of the sun setting on the lake over which my balcony looks. I make it just in time. The sun is barely visible, but it is just enough to catch a couple of photos.
My only comfort of leaving this paradise is knowing that I will return to Missouri in a very short time since I will be attending the University of Missouri-Columbia in the fall. Still, knowing that the next morning I will not be able to wake up and have breakfast on the balcony, looking out on the water as smooth as glass and hearing the peaceful call of the geese, is painful. As the sun sets behind the hills overlooking the lake, so does this chapter in our lives. We know that our friendships will end, even though the memories will last, and our lives will dramatically change. Fortunately, we also know that, soon, the sun will rise again. New memories will be made, and a new day will dawn.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Restaurant Focuses on Reducing Disease

The outside of the restaurant looks like a typical Mexican restaurant in downtown San Antonio. Painted a pale pink, the small square building made of stucco was not a place I would ever choose to go to for lunch. In the small parking lot were only three cars at one o'clock in the afternoon. However, the little restaurant called La Sol caught me off guard. I went to La Sol to meet San Antonio Express News Travel Editor, Tracy Barnett for lunch. She informed me that the restaurant made Mexican food in a healthy manner, using whole wheat and low fat ingredients.
When the owner came to greet us, it was clear that he and Barnett were good friends. They quickly started up a conversation in Spanish. After a while, he presented us with our menus and left to bring us back teas to drink. During this interim, Barnett explained their conversation to me. The owner, who spoke English as well as Barnett spoke Spanish, had opened this restaurant because he saw a need in his community. Many of the Hispanic population who live downtown cook with unhealthy ingredients. The owner wanted to show them that they could cook food that was just a good without the food that eventually leads to diabetes, heart disease, and other ailments. It amazed me how this man was doing so much good for his community.
The only problem is the lack of exposure--the only people eating at the restaurant while I was there were Barnett, myself, and another young white woman. Hopefully, with time, La Sol will become an even greater success in the Hispanic community. One thing I learned- you can't judge a restaurant by its color.

Friday, May 2, 2008

I Am Still Learning

A while back, National Public Radio aired a story discussing how difficult it could be at times for journalists to get people to tell their full names. As a journalist myself, I have come across the same problem. I cannot help but wonder why people are so afraid to let people know what they believe. I find it interesting how people always want to speak their views, but if someone wants to right them down on record, people all of a sudden retreat into self defense mode. Should people not take care to speak only what they would be willing to have someone write down?
I have found that many people are so unsure of their own beliefs that they are terrified that someone else might challenge them. Clearly, this is not a beneficial attitude. I, myself, have been hesitant to speak about my political and social opinions, not because I fear someone will reprimand me, but because I do not wish to deliver false or faulty information to those who hear.
This past weekend, two people I know spoke ignorantly, and I must say that this perturbs me more than most other actions. I do not mention these two individuals to call them into rebuke but rather to use them as examples of what I have witnessed over my lifetime. First of all, the one girl, about my own age, began to speak about the Invisible Children fund, which gives money to assist the children in Uganda who are often forced into the military. When she was explaining the topic to some of her relatives, she said the money went to children in Uwanda. Having heard of this organization before, I quickly listened to see if I had heard correctly. Again she repeated, the children were from Uwanda. I realized that she was quite mistaken, as she combined the countries of Uganda and Rwanda, the country directly south of Uganda, into one word. Later on, the country was straightened out, and the girl understood her mistake. In the same day, I was talking politics with someone, and he said he could not support Barack Obama because of Reverend Wright. As most people had, I had also heard this often over the past month, but what suprised me was what he said next. He said he did not like Rev. Wright because he said, "God 'f ' America." I quickly corrected him, telling him that, in fact, Rev. Wright said, "God d**** America." In no way was I attempting to defend Rev. Wright for his comments or Obama for his spiritual affiliation, yet I could not bear to hear someone so distort the facts.
Lest one believe these two individuals to be uncommon examples, I want to clarify that they are two intelligent individuals. Although the first girl is not the most intellectual person I have met, she does attend a fairly elite private school and excels in the environment. The man most likely is one of the most intellectual men I have ever met. He is likely more informed on most every topic than most legislators are, and his only downfall is his extremely conservative bias. Still, what I have seen is that overall, most people make many mistakes when they are relaying information. The only action I can take is to inform others when they speak wrongly and encourage everyone to research and become extremely familiar with your information before publicizing it. On everything you say, you should be willing to put your name. I have had my share of downfalls. Speaking uninformed is one I have committed many times. The best we can do is learn. Maybe all of our mottoes should be this quote by Michelangelo, "Ancora imparo." "I am still learning."