Citizens of the World

“Hmm, this is interesting…  I don’t understand what happened.  Hold on a moment”, says our friendly neighborhood bilingual immigration officer.

About 20 minutes later he returns with a small stack of documents

“Normally”, he begins, “all US passport holders and green card holders are automatically given a 180 day visa when they enter the country.  For some reason, you were only granted 30 days.  But we can process your extension application here.”

“All you have to do is….”


Palenque Mayan Ruins

Jungle 1 - Mayan City 0

Jungle 1 – Mayan City 0

If you had to build a city entirely out of stone, without the use of the wheel or animal or machine power, would you build it in the middle of a hot and humid jungle? The Mayans did.  And then they abandoned it.  I speculate that this was because it was hot and humid and in the middle of a jungle, so all of the local teenagers decided to go to college elsewhere

The jungle didn’t waste any time reclaiming its lost territory, and since the modern world rediscovered the ruins sometime around the birth of the United States, only about 5% of the city has been excavated.  Over 1000 buildings are still buried under dirt, vines, and trees. Home maintenance is important in this part of the world


The Children of San Cristobal

Bracelets for Sale

Bracelets for Sale

“A fish, a lion, a turkey, a cat.”, Manuel says, as he places small pottery animals on our table.  “Only 10 pesos.”

Quickly realizing that we aren’t the type to buy small clay animals, he changes tactics.

“I’m hungry, I need some food”, he says, holding out his hand and putting on his sad and hungry face.

We have a conversation about his brothers and about school.  He isn’t really paying attention, just answering while staring off into space, with his hand still waiting for some money.


Even Backpacks Have Gravity

Furniture fills every room. The shelves are full of books and photos. Each drawer holds clothing for every occasion and every season. The closets are loaded with more clothes, cleaning supplies, and things we might need someday. The garage is packed with sports equipment, storage boxes, and tools. There are even things stored under the furniture, behind the drawers, beneath other things, and in some incredible situations, in a storage locker.  Is this an Ikea ad?  Or is it every home and apartment in the Western world?

Why is this phenomenon so pervasive?  Is this an irrefutable force of nature, like gravity? Does empty space in our homes act like a black hole, pulling and sucking anything and everything in neighboring stores and thrift shops, ensuring that every available place has a thing and every thing has a place.

From small college dorm room up to ridiculously large McMansions, the gravity of things must be obeyed.  No space must remain clear.  How many empty shelves or drawers or closets are there in your home?