The year began in a somewhat lowkey fashion at a bar in Cleveland Park, DC. I was at an all-you-can-eat/drink affair with my friend Lewis. If I remember correctly, I managed to finagle my way in for free. The following day I headed to New York for the wedding of my friends Sarah and Brad, and I stuck around New York for my birthday. It was a strange birthday because I was betwixt worlds, lost in thought over the end of my twenties and alternate realities, and besieged by the Gotham winter grey. But it was fine, as I had tajine with my Moroccan brother Yassine and Younes and stayed with my uncle in Harlem, with my friend Steve in Brooklyn and my friend Dani in Manhattan. My most enduring memory of the birthday was in the quote I found from Sir Isaac Newton, which I found on the subway and hit me like an apple on the head.
"I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me."
-Isaac Newton (2 Train Brooklyn to Manhattan, "Train of Thought")
February I trekked up north to San Fran to see about a question mark, and received an unexpected answer.
|From Up the Golden State|
|From SF View from Mission Hill|
March I picked up a gig working in the stacks at Grand Library and refound the zen of filing. I loved perusing the old stacks, I really enjoyed the work. Meanwhile, for spring break I headed first down to Tijuana to do a story on the Jewish Community of TJ (I&II). There was fear and loathing at the time in Mexico as brown journalism had scared everyone away from Baja and I was the only gringo around.
|From TJ Jews and Rosarito|
|From Evening traffic in Santa Barbara|
April was busy with school work as finals came and papers were written. I also joined the staff at the Center on Public Diplomacy as a contributing researcher for the Public Diplomacy in the News service. I also began making my summer plans around this time. I had been accepted to JASC, the Japan-America Student Conference, and I planned to be traveling through Central America as I am now for the summer. However, I received a grant for a photo project from the Annenberg School for Communication and was kept in the angeles for the summer. A strange twist of events also saw Daysha, a girl I was seeing, move in to my house. Around this time, I also found out that I had been accepted for a fellowship at the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy to study Taiwan´s public diplomacy outreach.
The summer proved to be a little difficult, as I was beseiged by May Grey/June Gloom over the city. I worked on my project, taking buses over town to put together the photo show, and aggravating over putting together my magnum opus. The summer was fun but trying at times. Sadly it was over the summer that I lost my love of Los Angeles, when I got a real view of the monstro-city lurking just below the surface.
Over the summer, Daysha and I took a trip up the coast in a borrowed car. We stopped at the Hearst Castle, and drove up the PCH to Monterey.
|From Hearst Castle|
|From Up the Pacific Coast Highway|
I then took off to Seattle, where I did orientation for JASC at UW. I also got to see my big sis Kay, who I hadn´t seen for years.
|From Seattle Sunsets|
From Seattle, I was off with the group to Japan. I had been reading Shogun and was ready to be a public diplomacy samurai. The trip ended up being a fight for patience for poor Pablo, as I am not one for group trips or to be told what to do or how to travel. But with zen-like patience attained from eating jello with chopsticks, I managed.
I enjoyed the vertical beauty of Tokyo and living a life rost in transration.
|From Tokyo From Above|
|From Hakodate Night|
|From Obuse vistas|
|From Matushiro and Nagano|
|From Around Kyoto and the Imperial Palace|
I returned to Los Angeles amid the busiest period of my life. I returned to hustle to put together my photo show, and was fighting the worst jet lag. The school year began and I ran about trying get everything in order. Thankfully, everything ended well. The show came together nicely, and i was aided by wonderful friends who assisted me. My mom, sis, grandpa, uncle and big sis Kay all came out for the opening reception, which I dubbed my "bar mitzvah."
The 21st Century Family of Man received some great reviews (CPD Blog, Daily Trojan). The exhibit also opened up new opportunities such as the show´s exhbition on GlobalPost, a photo shoot next year in India, and the funding for my current trek to the Panama Canal as part of a public health photo exhibit.
The semester never slowed down, as I went from the photo show to midterms to other projects to finals. I ran the entire semester, but I learned a ton of important concepts and ideas, things like: socialization, consensual hegemony, the key factor of context, the place of diplomatists, high context vs. low context, and so much more. The semester also proved to be a great intro to the region I am currently venturing through, as my Pub D Lat Am gave me the context for my current trek. After the semester came to a close, I had a janukkah party then I was off south.
I took bus upon bus for 40 hours down to Guadalajara, then went mural hopping from Guad to D.F. to Cuernavaca. I made my way to the gem that is Oaxaca then to Zapatistaland, and on through to Guatemala and Tikal. A quick jaunt through the Guatemalan highlands and to where I currently reside for the new years. I ran into two Spaniard girls who I previously met on a bus from Tikal to Flores. I have a date with Vicky Christina Barcelona for the new years, que suerte. I anxiously await the full moon over the lovely Antigua and give thanks for the year and decade that passed. I wish everyone, with all my heart, a feliz año!
Ah, but I couldn't end like that. As Cypress Hills said, "I ain't going out like that." Rather, I will end with my favorite quote from the year.
"Life loves those who love life."
A one-year time note: "He who keeps more than he needs is a thief" -Gandhi
And a final poem from a new friend and excellent poet Hector Alvarez Castillo, whose poem with Borges I posted as I begun my journey, and who since found me. We will have coffee at El Gato Negro when I get back to Buenos Aires. He was kind enough to send me more of his work, and I post a favorite as fitting last words on a grand year.
Mientras unos nacen
Y otros mueren,
Nuestro destino se prolonga
y la eternidad es la esfera de todos.
While some are born
And others die,
Our destination is prolonged
and eternity is the sphere of all.