Lagartijas Tiradas al Sol- “Asalto al Agua Transparente” 4/19/2019

Hoy fui a ver una obra de teatro de la compañía Lagartijas Tiradas al Sol. Lagartijas vino de la Ciudad de México. Su obra trata de la historia del Valle de México desde el tiempo de los Aztecas hasta el presente. En particular, enfoca en la historia de agua y su uso allá. En la época de los Aztecas, había lagos muy grandes alrededor de la ciudad de Tenochtitlan pero los españoles y gobiernos de México drenaron los lagos. Ahora, casi el único lago que queda es un poquito de Xochimilco al sur de la ciudad. México también tiene un gran problema de falta de agua potable.

Después del drama hubo una sesión de preguntas y respuestas y pudimos aprender más. Mencionaron que en noviembre toda la ciudad estaba sin agua por un problema con un tubo importante. Recuerdo esto porque yo estaba allí en la ciudad al inicio del periodo sin agua. Recuerdo que todos hablaban de cuando iba a para el agua y que había que hacer. Es algo interesante porque yo no puedo imaginar una ciudad de ese tamaño sin agua.

También dijeron una teoría que los mexicanos están rechazando su agua y que poner los ríos en tubos y así es un señal de la modernidad. Esto también fue interesante porque en Puebla hay una avenida principal que fue construido encima de un río canalizado. Los demás ríos de Puebla son contaminados y huelen bien feos. Es otro ejemplo que yo pude ver con mis propios ojos del problema de México del agua.

A través de la obra, se podía ver que el problema del agua no es un problema único de México sino un problema mundial. En una escena, la actriz habla de todos los privilegios de la modernidad mientras el actor tira un montón de basura por todos lados. Es impactante.

Otra observación que hice a través de la obra tiene que ver con todos los nombres mencionados durante la obra. Ya había oído esos nombres en el Metro de la CDMX. No sabía pero los nombres de las paradas del Metro sí tienen un base histórico muy fuerte. Nombran los ríos y acueductos y ciudades de los aztecas del pasado. Hay incluso una parada que significa “salto de agua.” Aunque muchos de los lugares ya no existen, los nombres de las paradas del metro nos reconocen de la historia de México.

 

No lo esperaba, pero me encantó esta obra. Fue tan interesante y tan impactante por su sencillez. Espero poder ver más obras de esta compañía.

 

Paradas del Metro de la CDMX

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Notre Dame

A couple days ago, the Notre Dame caught fire and resulted in the ceiling and spire burning down and collapsing in on itself. The fire spread quickly through all forms of social media to catch the hearts of the international community. As one of the most famous historical sites in the world, this event was a tragedy that cannot be properly restored. It stood the test of time, but time caught up during its latest renovation project. The aftermath is devastating, but the entire event could have been prevented.

According the WSJ, as early as 2013 the building was known, and noticeably, to be dilapidated. In 2013, two men were hired to install lightning rods on the Cathedral and reported that the building was in extremely poor shape. The roof was rotting, and the spire was extremely rusty. These two men were then hired to attempt restoration, but they were not professionals and quickly quit the project. Now, because of poor planning, the original roof and spire are gone.

However, the rest of the Cathedral remains unharmed; including the copper statues adorning the spire. Also, the world has rallied around this cause and have already raised close to $1 billion to aid the restoration.

This shows how quickly results can be obtained, and how close the world really is. Although, did there need to be a catastrophe for people to care?

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US Foreign Policy Transition

Since the dawn of Donald Trump as our current president, there was been a missive shift in US foreign policy. Donald Trump has followed the rest of the western world into nationalism and isolationism. Examples of this include the withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord, restructuring of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and the continuous critiques of treaties with other countries. This is unique feature for the US since we are the acting global hegemon of the world at the moment. We are the most powerful and influential country in the world at the moment and have held that title since the end of World War Two, but an article published by CQ researcher believes that there may be a shift in the global order due to Trumps shift in foreign policy.

China is the new rising star in the global community. China is becoming more powerful and more present because of their focus and investment internationally. Due to the withdrawal and restructuring currently in US policy, China is now able to become a leader in many institutions that the US used to head. This includes the Paris Climate Accord and the TPP. China now has these two major institutions under their leadership, so they are spreading their sphere of influence and power. They are also heavily investing in developing countries to extract natural resources and are in the midst of unveiling their Belt and Road initiative.

China is quickly climbing the ranks to become the next hegemon, and if the US follows their current trajectory there is a serious chance that China will eclipse the US.

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SASA Field Trip

My most recent escapade with SASA was my trip to what was regarded as the best Indian food restaurant in Oklahoma. I will prelude this post by saying that I am not the best judge of Indian food, as I do not have a history of being an avid connoisseur. I deeply love Indian cuisine, but when I told some of the members what my favorite restaurant in Tulsa was, they scoffed and berated it.

This restaurant is a hole in the wall in an obscure part of Oklahoma City that I have never been before. As veterans, the people with whom I accompanied ordered hours earlier so the food would be ready the time we arrived. I feel sorry for the people who go here for the first time and wait 3 hours for their food to come out of the kitchen.

Upon entering, I was immediately smacked in the face by the perfume of naan and butter chicken (this was our course). Eyes wide, mouth watering; I impatiently waited to voraciously attack the food in front of me. Par usual, I watched how my other friends dug into the gravy and chicken with the naan, then supplementing their makeshift spoons with rice. I followed suit.

My first bite intensely packed with flavor. The gravy was smooth and savory, and the chicken was tender and well-seasoned. I was in culinary nirvana. Then something unexpected happened about a couple minutes into eating. I was immediately engulfed in fire. I turned red and began sweating. My friends said that they ordered it a little less spicy than usual, but I’m not sure that’s the case. If it is the case, then I don’t think I could have been able to handle the usual. It was one of the spiciest foods I have ever eaten.

I don’t want to dissuade people from experiencing new things because they might be spicy but be cautious of unexpected journeys. All I can say is that I will be returning. This time fortified by my previous experience.

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Global Engagement Day

This Global Engagement Day I had the opportunity to attend a study abroad mental health seminar. Studying abroad is hard on the entire body and even harder on the mind. Mental health abroad encompasses more then just culture shock. When people study abroad there are always highs and always lows, but they come more frequently than what we are used to. We need to be able to identify when we need a moment or some help to ensure that the study abroad experience stays positive.

I have studied abroad before, so I was happy that I could contribute to the conversation by giving my mental health testament. When I was abroad, I didn’t experience culture shock, or even reverse culture shock as much as the other participants. Although, I did have to learn to cope with seemingly non-stop stimulation and abrupt series of intense boredom. Once I managed to get a grasp on the pace of the trip, I began to enjoy it more and more.

Not everyone experiences study abroad the same, so everyone will have to manage their needs accordingly, but something everyone can do is help others’ around you. Offer to hang out with other people or go grab a bite just to talk some. To you it may just be a quiet lunch, but to someone else it could change the trajectory of their trip.

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Notre Dame Fire

A few days ago, the French Cathedral Notre Dame caught fire. It has been reported that the fire alarms in the church started to go off about 6 pm local time and that there was a quick response from firefighters trying to contain the fire. Unfortunately, it appears that a computer glitch led first responders to the wrong part of the building. This means that they were not able to start fighting the fire right away which may have cost them quite a bit in terms of time. 

The fire spread quickly throughout the church as even though the outside is stonework, the upper rafters are dominated by wooden support structures. This was why people were so concerned about the roof collapsing, it was all supported by wood. This problem was made worse by the fact that the water from the fire-hoses could not reach the top of the structure, meaning the fire burned unhindered for quite some time. The whole thing hit its peak when its wooden spire collapsed and fell downward into the flames. 

Image result for notre dame cathedral spire

The French government has vowed to repair the cathedral with President Emmanuel Macron setting an ambitious time table of five years for it to be fully repaired. This is unlikely but people remain hopeful. 

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Global Engagement Day

Last week, I was able to attend one of the global engagement day events. I went to the 10:30 session which was a presentation on how to survive as a student studying abroad and in school. I went to this one specifically because the presenter was a girl named Sarah who is actually a good friend of mine. When I got there, the room was decently full so I chose a seat near the back where I could still see. She had a good presentation and shared some good techniques on keeping one’s head above water during the semester. I personally benefited from her bit on time management and keeping a schedule on what we intend to accomplish each day.

A moment I thought was funny was when a student asked her to discuss how she dealt with stress when dealing with a lot of different priorities. She brought up her experience as a member of the Boomer Rocket Club team and having to attend weekly meetings in order to construct her personal rocket.  I enjoyed this anecdote because we know each other from the rocket team and we will both be officers of that organization come next year! We talked about it later and she said she saw me chuckling when she decided to use that as her main talking point.

Sadly, I was unable to attend any of the other sessions on Global Engagement Day due to my schedule. I was however, able to speak extensively with another friend of mine who attended the final session on how to handle your mental well-being while studying abroad. He found the session quite handy indeed. Its nice to hear that.

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Japanese Club Spring BBQ

Japanese Club Spring BBQ

This semester, the OU Japanese Club’s biggest event was the annual Spring BBQ at Reaves Park.  Even though the weather ended up being quite chilly for an evening in April, I think this year’s BBQ was a great success!

As I’ve written about a lot before, I firmly believe that the most important thing when learning a foreign language is to put yourself in situations where you force your brain to flick those switches over to another language.  This can be hard, especially when you are surrounded by other people that speak English and you know how much easier it would be to default back to your native language.  But it’s really important to keep finding those opportunities to have short conversations in your new language so that your brain learns how to switch over.

Of course, this event didn’t require the students to spend the whole time talking in Japanese, so the conversations seemed to mostly stay in English.  However, I did make a point to respond in Japanese to the professors at the start of the event.  For anybody that gets stressed about having a conversation in a foreign language, this is actually a really great way to practice; after all, there isn’t going to be an easier conversation than the standard “Hello, thank you for coming, what’s your name?” at the start of a casual event like a BBQ!