excerpt, literature

“Ojalá” and the god of the desert

Iceland, 2014

Iceland, 2014 —Díaz-Littauer

“I catch a glimpse of my mother through the doorway of our kitchen. I am just about to leave for school; it must be cold—I am zipping up my jacket, my binder between my knees. ‘See you later, Mama.’

  Ojalá, my mother calls.

My mother appended ojalá to every private leave-taking; my father never did. I heard the Spanish expression pristinely—I had heard it all my life. Ojalá meant ojalá. If I’d had the best friend I dreamed about, someone who would follow me about, who would want to know what everything meant, I would have told him that ojalá means something like I pray it may be so—an exclamation and a petition.

Growing up, I thought the American expression God willing and the creek don’t rise to be a variant of my mother’s ojalá, which it is. I learned only this year, however, that the expression, refers to the Creek Indians, rather than to a swollen waterway.

In fact, the name of Allah was enshrined in the second and third syllables of my mother’s ojalá. I doubt my mother knew that, though maybe she did. I didn’t. The expression is a Spanish borrowing from the Arabic commonplace prayer Insha’Allah—God willing.”

—from DARLING by Richard Rodriguez (p.11)

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baldwin, emotional intelligence, sentimentality

The Revolving Door of Sentimentality

Taken from the one-of-a-kind tumbler: http://savedbythe-bellhooks.tumblr.com/

Taken from the one-of-a-kind tumbler: http://savedbythe-bellhooks.tumblr.com/

As I travel, I am encouraged by the courage some people display as they lead the pack to embrace a wider definition of humanity. This gives me hope and I celebrate the ferocity with which their lives expand the limits and possibilities of our common future.

“The suffering that goes with migration is neither more nor less than the birth-pangs of a new humanity.”*

Yet, at the same time, I am discouraged when I sense the seeds of catastrophe in the catharsis-driven sentimentality that we, in the West, are so addicted to. We are prepared to welcome truth most easily when we are most easily moved. But seldom do we question why we’ve been moved or what has been displaced in the process. We forget how starved we are “to feel”, and how cheap the exchange rate for emotional satisfaction has become along the way.

This transaction perverts our emotional intelligence and, what’s worse, may set young people on a path to life-long cynicism as they come to understand —by being taken to new heights and then dropped viciously time and time again— that catharsis is no more a sign of justice than drunkenness a sign of truth-telling.

James Baldwin said it much better:

“Sentimentality, the ostentatious parading of excessive and spurious emotion, is the mark of dishonesty…the wet eyes of the sentimentalist betray his aversion to experience, his fear of life, his arid heart; and it is always, therefore, the signal of secret and violent humanity, the mark of cruelty.”

*Surprising quote taken from the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants 2014 document called “Erga migrantes caritas Christi.”

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Identity, Quote, Travels

La Tortuga Híbrida de la Colombianidad llamada DíLITT

EJ Wedding + Engagement 1102

“Yet in leaving home I did not lose touch with my origins because lo mexicano is in my system. I am a turtle, wherever I go I carry ‘home’ on my back…”

“…So don’t give me your tenets and your laws. Don’t give me your lukewarm gods. What I want is an accounting of all three cultures—white, Mexican, indian. I want the freedom to carve and chisel my own face, to staunch the bleeding with ashes, to fashion my own gods out of my entrails. And if going home is denied me then I will have to stand and claim my space, making a new culture—una cultura mestiza—with my own lumber, my own bricks and mortar and my own feminist architecture.

They’d like to think I have melted in the pot. But I haven’t. We haven’t.”

Quote by Gloria Anzaldúa “Borderlands / La Frontera”
*Photo by our friend Emily Johnston of my beautiful city and “home”: Bogotá

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Photography, Poetry

Thank You / Gracias (2014-2015)

Every “thank you” uttered —shouted with euphoria or simply whispered in defiance— can be a radical act of hope. Especially when we live in what can often be a very dark world (and 2014, if you were watching the news, seemed particularly dark.)

But we also choose to live nestled within the twigs of an ever-increasing network of homes: celebrating family, friendships and the small victories of grace that give us renewed breath for the next day.

So we choose to say thank you, gracias, obrigado, merci, grazie, faleminderit, คุณ ขอบคุณ, þakka þér, tak, សូមអរគុណអ្នក, and on and on and on. There is simply so much to be thankful for.

Happy New Year, friends. May 2015 be a year of generous light for you all. We are so very grateful for each and every one of you who are part of our journey.

Here’s a poem to kick it all off .

P.S.: 2014 was a crazy year of traveling. It took our feet and our cameras to more than 50 cities in 10+ countries. This photo was taken at Angkor Wat (Cambodia) this year.

New-Year's-Poem

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design, Poetry, Stories

DSIL Story Night: Embracing Our Beautiful Difference

10 days of DSIL (Designing Social Innovation and Leadership) with 26 of the dopest people on the planet while exploring Thailand and Cambodia? Yes, please!

10 days of DSIL (Designing Social Innovation and Leadership) with 26 of the dopest people on the planet while exploring Thailand and Cambodia? Yes, please!

December 2014 was a month of magical thinking.

We traveled to Southeast Asia to meet  a group of strangers—innovators, entrepreneurs, dreamers and schemers—that quickly became our friends.

A night that was particularly memorable for most was “Story Night.” Each person had 6 minutes to share anything they wanted in front of the group. Powerful narrative stuff.

We’ll let memories be memories and refuse to reconstruct anything that happened that night in textual form. However, due to popular request, here’s the poem and the video that Carrie and I shared that night.

We believe it speaks a fundamental truth about all of us. About hybrids. People who are more comfortable in the air than on land. Who’d rather be moving than static. Always sitting within the paradox. Inhabiting and embodying contradictions that may prove to be liberating to many others in our day and age.

We hope you enjoy it and that it helps revitalise your own memories as you move forward.

These Things Do Not Define Me

-Our story is a story about difference and beauty.

-It’s about creative friction that leads to creative love.

-It’s about how 1+1 = 3.

-I am US-American.

-Y yo soy Colombiano.

-I am older.

-And I am younger.

-Me gusta el Ajiaco.

-And I love jazz.

-Me gusta el aguardiente.

-And I like whiskey.

But these things do not define me.

-I am not an imperialist.

-And I refuse to be a victim.

-I am a theologian.

-And I am a philosopher.

-I snore when I sleep.

-I hardly sleep.

-I need my sleep.

But these things do not define me.

-I am nocturnal.

-I love the sun.

-I hate washing the dishes.

-I hate that you hate washing the dishes.

-I like a clean living room.

- …You do?

But I believe that these things do not define me.

-I am a feminist.

-I am a feminist too.

-Me gusto cuando callas…

-And I love your silence.

-I love your dancing.

-I get watery eyes at times.

-And I cry huge-ass tears.

-We are imperfect people.

– And we have imperfect friends.

-We have friends all over the world.

-And we are nomads.

-We build our homes in our friends.

-In their memories.

-And in our own.

SO:

-I am a hybrid.

-I am a hybrid.

YOU are a hybrid.

An improbable mixture that creates possible-impossibles.

-A bit of realismo magico.

-Un poquito de analytical protestantism.


-We believe we are stronger because we are different.

-And that a false sense of unity makes us weaker.

-We are messy.

-I am emotional.

-I am emotional.

-We are volatile thinkers.

-And explosive.

-And we believe these are the elements of creativity.

-Sometimes I think you are an alien.

-Sometimes you drive me nuts.


-But we believe and feel and know that we are beautiful.

We believe in the beauty of difference.

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Geneva, Photography, Wedding

Andres + Laura // Suisse, 2013

It is rare to find the kind of intimacy, intelligence, friendship, silliness, sexiness, and playfulness that was evident in Andres and Laura as they took the step towards marriage. Carrie and I are infinitely grateful to share their friendship and we hope these pictures can give you a small and joyful taste of what it was like to be there with them.

Andres + Laura. Wedding Geneva 2013. No. 3.

Andres + Laura. Wedding Geneva 2013. No.1

lanovia lamirada elborracho thisismarriage rosas roses2 maderaylino Jardin1PonqueAndresmypony olakaselookback

To see the photos individually in a gallery click on the images below:

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