Friday, March 22, 2013

First day in Puerto Rico

Plane ride
and Laughter
Applause as we land
Smiling Faces
that know we are thrilled to be in
Puerto Rico
Waking up to parrots squawking
in delight
as they fly overhead
looking at distant mountains
filled with
Yellow Hibiscus
Heliconia on fire
Blue Skies
Bright Sun
Ceiling Fans
Heavy Traffic
the other way, thank God
inviting you to relax
as you watch palm trees sway
Swimming pools
waiting for you to jump in
and I think I will
excuse me
let me find my
bathing suit
and hat

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Se Acabo: The World Baseball Classic

Estuvo bueno. Desafortunadamente yo no tengo cable.  Y francamente no iba a conectarlo por unos cuantos juego, pero antes de que me cojan pena les dire que vi los juegos virtualmente con el link de World Baseball Classic.   Bueno Puerto Rico no gano pero hizo tremendo show ganandole a los Estados Unidos y a Japon.  Estaban diciendo por los medio sociales que Puerto Rico se los habia comido en Sushi con mofongo.  Dijeron otras cosas que no repito.  Egos inflados pero lo cierto es que el biesbol todavia esta vivo en Puerto Rico y hay que seguirlo desarollando.

Y felicito a la Republica Dominicana por su victoria y a todos le digo, "Buenas noches!"

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

I am just human

There are some things that are hard to understand.  Last year for example, a young lady whose first name began with A had been my student the year before.  One day we got the news that A had gotten a terrible headache and died.  Just like that.  She was only 15.   She had been one of my favorite students: hardworking and fastidious with her work to the point of being obsessive compulsive. Yet she was the sweetest girl and could be trusted to help others.  It had been the first time in years that I heard of a child dying.  I know children die but it was the first time it was one I knew.

Then today, it was G.O.  Those are only his initials.  G. was one of my advanced students two years ago.  Now that I think of it,  it means he was also a classmate to A.   G. would be the last person I would be thinking I would be getting an email about. He was a cheerful, friendly,  and courteous young man. G.  They told me G was at church last night setting things up for youth group when he suddenly became deathly ill and his parents were notified.  They took him to the emergency room where it was discovered he had a brain aneurysm. Later during the evening while they waited for a brain surgeon he had another and was declared brain dead soon afterward.  He died this afternoon.

Life and death.

Life and death.

Life and death.

Death coming to the young is never expected.

It is so final.

If a child has an illness you sort of work through it but something like this never stops being shocking.  The truth is, death is hard even if you are expecting it.

So here I am praying for the family, knowing they must be suffering.

It makes you stop.  It makes you stop in your tracks. It makes you think and reflect.

Why? That question only takes you in circles really.  Even if I knew the answer it would not change the reality, would it?  Then trust comes to mind.  Trust God for the things I don't understand and call for his grace for G's family and all that loved him.  Rest in peace G, you must be walking the streets of gold and smiling.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The New Amway Center

The Amway Arena....that word arena, so reminisce of the original arena in the Colosseum in Rome, this arena is dedicated to the Orlando Magic.  If they market it right, it can be an excellent venue for many other activities including concerts and conventions and bring much needed revenue to downtown. Though it has been open several months,  this was my first time. It was impressive.  The word that comes to mind is large.

My reason for attending was Joyce Meyer, who was in town opening the Amway Center for free since her conferences are always free. Thank you, Joyce!  Men and women alike filled the arena, and yes there were seats left over. It's a huge place.   Israel Houghton and New Tribe were there also and I enjoyed every minute I was there.  I will extend my comments on the experience on another blog entry.

At the arena, I did not waste the opportunity to see the arena itself and enjoy the experience of visiting a new place, at least what was open to us.  My impressions? As I walked in there were tall murals to my left and long escalators to the right. Significantly different to the old arena, the huge steps up to the entrance were gone.  So everyone, including the handicapped,  now have an easy entrance.

I must interject that the Arena experience, begins long before you take a step into the Amway Arena. It begins on the street and there I think signs are lacking. I went the old familiar way, simply for curiosity, nostalgia, since you can clearly see the new arena from I-4.  People will do this and they should have a sign at the old place.  It wouldn't hurt.  Then on Amelia Street corner of I-4 they should place a clear sign that points to go left down Hughley. I am so glad I took that route because I avoided all the traffic getting off of 408 to I-4.  There must be another entrance there.  Since I took the Amelia Street exit off of I-4 north, I followed Hughley and went to the parking garage in front of the arena.  Be ready to pay ten dollars for that parking spot. Keep you little parking ticket in a handy spot because you will need to give it to an attendant when you are exiting the parking lot.

So when I parked my car, on the fourth floor I found an easy access to the elevators and off I went.  It was simple.  I only had to cross the street.   Since they close off the street to traffic, pedestrians are free to cross the street any where safely.  Cafes and shops line the street on one side while beautiful date palms are planted in front of the arena.  Security is every where in the parking lot itself and on the street making it a nice safe experience.

Once inside I noticed the tall murals, unfortunately I wasn't so impressed with them since they seemed a missed opportunity to have a mural that would connect Orlando's rich history in sports to the present.  Nevertheless the escalators make it I an easy transition to the higher levels of the Arena. Obviously when I arrived the ground level was full since everyone was being routed to the escalators and the upper floors.

When I started walking around the arena, I quickly realized if I hadn't told you already, you have to be prepared to walk.  So bring comfortable shoes. Fortunately for me, I had and walking around was a pleasure.  There were many people coming and going and the hustle and bustle seemed like you were walking through a busy street, yet it didn't feel crowded.  There were concession booths on the right and left with places to buy food and soda, as well as places to sit and/or have a picture opp.  They had one spot that looked like an old postcard of Orlando that was too cute but people were using it so I didn't take a picture, but there was a colorful sprawled out sign of Orlando that I was able to capture. Bathrooms were strategically placed between each section though they seemed small and crowded once the event let out.  Lines extended up to 20 people out of the ladies room.  Why can't stadium designers get this right for once?

Other than that, I wish they would give tours of the arena because I think I would like to see their sky boxes and other amenities.  Next time I will go earlier.  All in all, it was a good experience.  If they fix the signage to get there recognizing that they will be having out of town guests as well as local newcomers, they might be more accommodating. The reality is that Orlando is a growing city with a lot of people moving in and out and they need to have signage that makes it easier for everyone to get about downtown.  Other than that, I am certainly looking forward to returning again and again.

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