Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Same ole’ Roy

“In daylight? In sunsets? In midnights? In cup of coffee? How do you measure, measure a year?” I believe the Rent song Season of Love asks a valid question. Now, multiply that year by two. It has officially been more than two years, since I left my house to join the Holy Cross Associates.

Since I have been gone many things have changed. Friends have graduate college. Some have almost completed their master programs. People have gotten married. My sister and brother-in-law have become parents again (and another is on the way). Cousins are entering their final year of high school. And so much more. While living in Bolivia and Chile, I have changed. I am now more mature, know what I stand for, and understand my values.

Two weeks ago, I decided to take a mini-vacation with some of my community members to Mendoza, Argentina. I quickly threw stuff into a backpack, and we hopped on the metro – fingers crossed – hoping that we would be able to catch the last bus out of Santiago.

As we got settled on the bus, I began to get comfortable. I took off my sweater folding it into a pillow, pulled my hat over my eyes, and wrapped myself in my blanket. After a few moments, I opened my eyes, only to see my three community members laughing at me. Or better yet my blanket.

You can put Roy in a life changing experience and make him more mature, but down deep inside, he is still just Roy. I guess something will never change.
Theological gadget

Over the past few weeks, my coolest gadget - that has been both a blessing and a curse – is my alarm clock. My parents as a birthday gift some time ago sent me an alarm clock, because I had been complaining about the one I had. Years ago, I would have said, “Geez, this is cool. Never seen one of these before” very sarcastically. However, this year, I was completely stunned by this cool gadget. The alarm clock has huge digital numbers, a blue indaglo light, alarm clock, the date (month, day, and year), and a thermometer, all displayed on clock face. It’s awesome.

As winter arrived, I began – and still do – to talk to my parents on the phone, while in my sleeping bag. Yet, my mom and dad would laugh as I spent minutes on end shivering through the phone. “Why are you shivering?” my dad would ask. “I am cold . . . burrrrr . . . I swear . . . burrrrr . . . it’s colder in my room . . . burrrrr . . . than outside” I would mumble through chattering teeth. I must have told everyone in the world that it was colder inside my house than outside, and of course no one believed me. However, my new gadget proved my point.

The first day I got my toy; I took it outside and put it directly underneath the sun. Five minutes later, it read that it was 18 degree C. Then I realized, since my room isn’t directly underneath the sun, I should move the clock to the shade. Ten minutes later, the clock read that it was 15 degrees C. Then I put on my scarf, sweater, gloves and beanie and walked my clock into my room, and left it there. Five minutes later a difference of another 6 degrees was revealed, making my room a freezing 9 degrees C. Finally the proof I needed.

I say that my new gadget is both a blessing and a curse, mainly because I can now see how cold it truly is inside my room. Reading in bed and stealing glances at my clock, only to see the temperature dropping doesn’t help the morale in my room, especially when “nature calls.”

Being a native Texan, I have always had heat year-round. It’s probably because I never really had “white winter” or any winter, in fact, that I always painted it romantically. In the Houston heat, exiting your car, walking from the driveway to your house, you are already drenched in sweat. It’s nasty! I have spent my number of sweat-drenched days in Texas, to determine that I would rather be cold than hot. In the heat, you can only take off layers of clothes until a certain point before it becomes a crime. However in the cold, you can always put on layers. After spending winter in Santiago, I have experienced a cold so cold that it hurts your bones. Honestly, the winter – the cold – SUCKS! Wow, wasn’t I naïve?

Recently I had a conversation with Patrick about what Heaven will be like. I told him it would probably be nice and warm, unless my neighbor loves having blizzards. Then my house might get some nice cold fronts. As I sat on my sofa freezing, this did not appeal to me. So I thought to myself “Dude, screw that, go to Hell, heat all around.” Suddenly a quote popped into my mind “The biggest trick the devil ever pulled on mankind, was to make them believe that he didn’t exist.” I disagree. “The biggest trick the devil ever played on mankind was making them believe that hell was hot. Five bucks says in freezing cold!”

Thus, I pray “. . . lead me not into temptation.”

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Monday, April 09, 2007

Viernes Santo

Photo from Roy Pequeno.
As I enter my second year as an Associate (I know it’s hard to believe that I am entering into my second year, especially since I don’t update this blog) I am trying to take advantage of opportunities that I might have overlooked last year. Thus this year, when Padre Pepe invited a group of students to climb a mountain on Good Friday, I quickly volunteered to be a chaperon.

A typical Good Friday would usually consist of me attending the Stations of the Cross or evening mass. This year I accepted Pepe’s “locura nueva” and decided that I would go on the travelling Stations of the Cross, as we climbed up a mountain. About thirty of us accepted this challenge and spent the night sleeping in the principal’s office on the nice hard floor. Early the next morning we woke up and darted towards the mountain.

Before I continue I must preface, that I am not in the best of shape but then again I am not in the worst of shape. However, if you would have seen me (and my group) on Friday morning you would have thought otherwise. Our guide, Matias, must have thought we were on The Amazing Race, because he was running up the side of the mountain as we dragged ourselves behind – or better said as we dragged our behinds. As we rioted for our first stop (which was “ten minutes” early) the grand majority of us were coughing and fighting for air.

Living in the capital of a country, peace and quiet are hard to find. Thus the goal of the day was to take 14 moments to reflect on the Stations (we only actually completed 4). At each moment we would say the station, read a brief spiritual passage, and reflect on questions: How is Jesus condemned in our society? How do we see Jesus struggling/falling in our lives? How do our mothers (parents) struggle through our pains? Each member shared his or her opinion and helped bring a profound spiritual moment to the day. And if the reflection didn’t bring this spiritual moment, I guess the 6-foot cross our group was lugging to the peak of the mountain might have helped.

After about 7 ½ hours, we reached the summit. We did our final spiritual moment and marked our arrival by placing the cross on top. A cross that should be seen from downtown (if you have great eyesight and if the smog ring isn’t too heavy), even though I have yet to see it.

In the end, the day was lovely and truly a once in a life time experience. On our decent the only noise that could be heard, were the footsteps of our fellow members. However, since we were usually walking around corners, the other people couldn’t be seen, and thus left the illusion that an invisible friend was walking by our side.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

C is for CAMPING

Photo from Roy Pequeno.
Being down here in Chile during Christmas is always a strange time. Not only because if we were to be back home, its highly probable that we will be with our families and loved ones, but down here in Chile that’s a little hard to do. Then if that’s not strange enough, it’s the middle of summer. That’s right – even for this TEXAN – its hot. I mean singing Jingle Bells, Rockin’ around the Christmas Tree, and Deck the Halls just don’t mesh well with 95º temperatures. I believe the only carol I related to was Dreaming of a White Christmas – mainly cause that would have meant this evil heat wave would be no more.

So instead of sitting around our house on Christmas, we decided to celebrate in a slightly different way. We went camping for two nights. After celebrating our wonderful Christmas Eve meal, exchanging our Secret Santa gifts, and preparing our camping food, we headed out early on Christmas Day. Christmas day was a day just to relax and have fun. Take a dip in the natural feed pool and relax. Day 2 included a small HCA: Retreat where we got to discuss the four pillars of our program, helping us focus on goals for the upcoming year.

Needless to say it was a great and memorable Christmas with 6 wonderful people.

Monday, October 30, 2006


Photo from Roy Pequeno.
When most people think of the word “weekend” most think of Saturday and Sunday. Days when a majority of people don’t have to work and they are able to use their “free time” for recreational activities, leisure, and chillaxin’.

However, there are those few that use their weekends to be productive. Such as: my Tío Teddy (who rode a mountain bike from Houston to Austin), Adam (who did the LIVEstrong Challenge 2006), and people who go out and run 5Ks, 10Ks or marathons. Recently I have been thinking that they may be on to something, and made it all the way to the sofa in order to think about what I should do.

Thus when the Pocuro house roped me into – by roped I mean, they asked me very politely and I said yes – confirming that I would do a “caminata" I politely accepted the invitation. This would be a great time to be "productive" by doing a small pilgramage that a Saint walked. Thus I dusted of my tennis shoes and got ready for a small walk. Friday night when I got to Pocuro is when I found out that the caminata is 27 KMs long and that the bus will be passing at 5:45 AM. (Did I mention I was ROPED into this?)

By the time we walked to the plaza and took our bus to the starting point of the caminata it was about 7:15 AM. Some of us were happy, while others “aren’t morning people.” Rumor had that the caminata de Santa Teresita de Los Andes in 2005 had about 100,000 participants, and people were saying that this year there were less people. I honestly thought there were at least 120 thousand by the never ending line of people.

In the end, after several breaks, a 40 minute lunch (in which I took a power nap), and a lot of walking – 27 KMs to be exact – we made it to the finishing point. It only took us a few hours.

At the santario, we celebrated a mass. It was amazing to be surrounded by so many youth who were excited to celebrate a mass. There were banners, Jesus flags, and Santa Teresita bandanas all being violently waved in the air. I would have to say that the craziest thing was singing the closing song – Tres Cosas Tiene El Amor. Everyone was singing the verses and then suddenly when the chorus came – the crowd went crazy. One second we were all singing – then the Holy Spirit must have descended upon us – because all of a sudden our church song turned into a mosh pit. Everyone was jumping, singing, and hugging each other. It was the coolest thing ever.

After a long day, I instantly crashed when I found my pillow . . . only to be woken up by the church bells next door. Now here it is a few days later and I am moving slower than usual cause I am sore. That’s what I get for wanting to be productive.

Lesson learned. Being lazy is being productive in my book. I will never doubt myself again.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Chilean Pride

Over the past few months, I usually answer the question "where are you from?" by answering "Texas." Then once I read the confused look on some faces, I added "From the United States, one of the states near Mexico" and things tend to be clear.

I guess I take a lot of pride of where I come from . . . The Lone Star State. Ain't no place like TEXAS. I can honestly say that Texans are some of the most prideful people I have met. Over the years, I came up with the conclusion that no group of people could not be more proud than Texans. That was before I met Chileans, and my great theory was thrown out of the window.

Here are two examples of what I mean.

First, during the World Cup a little Chilean boy carried the game ball to the referees. The whole country went insane, not because Chile won a game (which could not have happened since the country did not make the cut) but because little "Matias" presented the game ball. Not one Chilean knew the final score of the game - or who was playing for that matter - but knew that a Chilean presented the game ball.

Secondly, I have just recently become a huge fanatic of Lost. Chile has just started showing the show dubbed in Spanish and it is a hit. Not becuase people think that the show is interesting, cool or keeps its viewers on the seat of their seats asking "What the heck it happening?" but because Hurley is Chilean.

If that isnt enough to tell you how proud this country is. I believe that this Cristal commerical (click on PUBLICIDAD and then on SPOT TV to see it) says it all. The commerical is in Spanish, but I think yall will get the idea.

After being down here for a few months, I will say that I love Chile. Mainly because the Chilean Flag reminds of me of the Texan Flag.

Friday, September 08, 2006


Some months ago, I had a realization that my last years of college would be the only time I would be able to do some things and get away with them. Eating pizza all the time. Playing poker on Thursday nights with the guys. Growing my hair out.

So when I started to grow my hair out, people were okay with it for a while. A few weeks into it, my hair looked liked a huge fuzz ball, and the jokes came forth. The peer pressure to cut it was unbelievable. However, people kept on harassing me, so I took the high road and made up a lie, "I can´t cut my hair, I am growing it out for Locks of Love."

After I started telling people about my great idea - that small voice in the back of my head that I don't listen to much kicked in - I realized that I couldn't just say that. So I actually began doing it. I was doing all well, until May 2005 when I cut 6 inches of my hair (not for graduation but for the three weddings that I had in a two week span). Thus I started again, and started growing it out again. A year and three months later, I had my long hair again.

Yesterday I realized 2 things:
1. I have more than 10 inches of hair, and
2. summer is going to be hot.

So I cut my hair completely off. The moment of truth, here is what I look like now.

Now everyone say a prayers and lets pray that my package of hair arrives to the organization, and not in the trashcan of some customs official.

Special thanks to all who supported my...mainly my cousins Adrian and Matthew.

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