an Eventful day in Madrid

Check out the story I just posted over on TalesofSpain, while you’re there take a look at what my classmates and I are experiencing here in Spain…

Tales of Spain

Woke up late Saturday morning excited for a day in Madrid. The plan was to meet up with some friends at their hotel and then go see the Palacio Real. A simple enough plan that left plenty of room for error. The first step was the commuter train from Alcalá to Atocha station in Madrid. An easy trip that I can quite literally do in my sleep. From Atocha I switched to the metro system. With map in hand I successfully made my two connections and was just looking for my final stop. Unfortunately I had misread the directions that I’d been given and ended near Coslada almost halfway back to Alcalá. Of course, leaving the metro to look for the hotel, I didn’t realize right away. Finally after walking around for a good half hour, I finally found the street I thought I needed only for it to dead…

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To the Last

Author’s note: This is another post in my collection of micro fiction. I write these pieces to remind myself that I really need to work on my dialogue skills…

After spending the last of his energy. Having fought to the best of his ability. All that remained was to wait. Though not for long, a dull sound rising in his ears. A combination of the pounding in his chest, and the tread of his enemies approaching. “I know that sound,” he whispers. No doubt in his mind of the battle soon to occur. No doubt that he would raise his weapon one last time. Never forgetting why he began. The ideals he stands for need a champion to the last. To go quietly was never an option, death too must be earned it seems. Struggling to his he squares his shoulders, “They know who I am. Let them come if they have the courage.”

Peace, Love, and Happiness…

–Joe

Days of Gold

These are the days of Gold

Days of Love & Loss

of Triumph & Failure

These are the days

we’ll remember when old.

These are the nights of Joy

nights of Song & Laughter

of Life & Conversation

These are the nights

we’ll forever live for.


This was a piece I had written a good while back and just never knew what to do with. I had held on to the stanzas above telling myself they weren’t ready that they needed something more. my perspective was changed the other day while on the train. A man with a guitar in a knapsack and a message of love and hope hopped on. After having played a few Bob Marley songs and leaving his impact, he left, presumably to play for another train full of people.

Right then and there something clicked. It was wrong of me to withhold “Days of Gold.” It’ll never be finished; it’ll never be ready. All that matters is the willingness to be vulnerable. So anyway, go make something you love, and then give it way for the sake of someone else.

Peace, Love, and Happiness…

–Joe

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Spain: a new Self

I’ve been living in Spain for nearly four weeks now. And it has been a rollercoaster of an experience so far. I have seen more fascinating sights than I could’ve expected, and I’m nowhere near done. These ups have not been without their downs. Seemingly everything is different than life in my small midwest town. My senses constantly overwhelmed. As of yet, there have been a few really bad episodes of culture shock. At a certain point you become physically done with the novelty. For me, it usually centers around my lack of language skills and the necessity to rely on other people. The reality of vulnerability. It has been painful at times.

One thought that is comforting is the vast new perspective I’m gaining of myself. It reminds me of a quote from Doctor Who,

“We all change when you think about it. We’re all different people all throughout our lives. And that’s ok; that’s good. You gotta keep moving so long as you remember all the people you used to be.” –The Doctor

There’s no doubt in my mind that I’m leaving bits and pieces of who I was all over Spain. This semester is taking from me, and that is the best situation I can hope for. It allows for a new mindset, gives me a chance to fill in those holes with what I need to carry me forward.

Soon I’ll find myself back at that beautiful, familiar farm where I grew up. Will it recognize me? I know that I’ll be a different person. I know that everyday here, all the way to the end, will be a struggle. When I return to Missouri it will also be a struggle. I’ve learned there is no such thing as normal, and that is what I wake up every morning to face. Knowing that I am constantly recreating myself for the better.

Peace, Love, and Happiness… blogdoctorwho

–Joe

Save

Save

Tell me a story

my words grow few

nothing permeates my foul mood

meaningless chatter is nothing more

Please, just tell me a story.

make it a good one

Weave a tale of heroics & half-truths

that Inspire me to listen.

show me something worthwhile,

Bring me back to earth

go ahead, Tell me a Story…


Peace, Love, and Happiness…

–Joe

Twenty-One

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I turned 21 on a street corner

a discreet place to grow old

conversing of mecca & happenstance

Our words foreign to the place.

Beyond me lays a world yet unknown,

piece by piece I strive to comprehend.

Though not a child of the Spanish son

adopted by the indifference of night

As I turn 21 on a street corner


Peace, Love, and Happiness…

–Joe

Gentleman & a Scholar

There’s a, shall we say experienced, man I know who when you do him a favor will refer to you as a “gentleman and a scholar.” This is definitely a phrase of the past, one of those expressions we are worse off for losing. Though we brush it off as an oddity, he intends it as the utmost compliment. What does it mean to be a gentleman and a scholar? my belief is that if we can master the traits of these two characteristics, then we can vastly improve our little portion of the world. Let’s see if we can break this down.

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At a time in history when incredible numbers of people are earning higher degrees, and an increasing number of jobs look at credentials both first and last. We have lost the concept of scholarship. Sitting in a classroom for four years and passing the correct number of tests does not guarantee quality work in a future career. So why do I, and so many others, pursue this way of life? I will not speak for my classmates. Though as for me I study not so as to grasp a choice career, rather with aspirations of knowledge. I want to practice learning. The hope is that beyond my lectures and tests I will be able to continue the pursuit of knowledge. To always remain a student. Being a scholar only requires a slight adjustment of perspective, and is the easier component to achieve. Far more difficult are the traits of a gentleman.

It’s easy to sound elitist with words such as, “pursuit of knowledge” and “practice learning.” Knowing more than the next guy could make you feel powerful. Unfortunately we’ve all met a snobbish academic. maybe that’s why we quit trying to be scholars. This is definitely why it is important to be both a gentleman and a scholar. A scholar is familiar with the world from the inside out. A gentleman is humble about it. He knows his place. And if he finds himself more capable in some regard than another, then he takes it on himself to share what he has. Because a gentle person cares about you. They will tell you what they mean, and they are always true to their word.

So then let’s all attempt to adopt the traits of a gentleman and a scholar. It’s about working hard to Bemore. It’s about bettering ourselves, and giving ourselves to others.

Peace, Love, and Happiness…

–Joe

Author’s note: For my sensitive readers, when I say “traits of a gentleman” it’s not meant to be exclusionary. This applies to all of us

a short note to self

Beyond what you know lies a whole new world. Beyond one’s comfort zone is the realm of infinite possibility. It is ours for the taking, all that is required is that we agree to take each step anew.

Comfort is an illusion. What is there if we do not push the boundaries? Where we sit offers nothing but decay and more of the same. Now full disclosure, pushing the envelope will hurt. It’ll push back, and you’ll discover pain. Always the best we can do is simply keep trying.

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Your journeys will earn you scars. Pieces of you left behind, and experiences carried onward. Sometimes it’ll be tangible changes; a face worn by the sun, or a tongue with a hint of another language. Often they are less apparent and yet more powerful. Perhaps you’ll have a new perspective, or maybe you’ll encounter an entire paradigm shift. With certainty, travel makes you a different person.

Change is important. It helps us understand better who we are. Change allows us to discard that which pollutes us, and is the lens through which we may focus on that which remains important. It is easy to become dismayed by the anxiety and hurt we feel, exposed as we are. It’s in these moments that I strive to remember why I do this. It is not for myself now, rather I continue to Bemore for the person I will be tomorrow. Always tomorrow.

Peace, Love, and Happiness…

–Joe

Status Quo

Your silence is deafening

does it help you see?

If so, your actions scream indifference.

How could you witness this,

and not do anything?

.

I understand The fear.

the Fear of fronting the wrong words

Is that who you are?

A man forever positioned

by the primal force of fear

.

No! I believe you can Be more

you are well-versed

in the ways of refined words

Yet your silence permeates your soul

You choose to not declare a single thought.

.

Tradition holds silence as a form of consent,

permission to the status quo

are you absolutely Fine with that?

Yes, Each word we choose has an impact

though not nearly the power of our silence.


Peace, Love, and Happiness…

–Joe

Spain: beforehand

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Occasionally life throws you a curve ball that you’re just not quite sure what you did to deserve. Often they can be amazing opportunities, and sometimes the hardest part is simply to say yes. It’s so easy to remain skeptical and watch a chance pass you by.

Back in September I was walking through the student union; earbuds in, ignoring the world. Fortunately there was a professor intent on making sure I knew about a certain study abroad program. I tried all the excuses, and he shot them all down. The cost, the language barrier, too late in my academic career, etc., etc. He countered it all. So I took a flyer and agreed to speak with my advisor about it.

Short version of this story is that I’m going to Spain next semester. I’ll be studying for three months at the Instituto Franklin UAH just outside Madrid. The decision came after a good long bout of personal turmoil, discussions with some people I trust for advice, and great deal of prayer. You see I had ruled out the possibility of studying abroad early in my collegiate studies. Of course, one of my more immediate faults is that once my mind is made up I have trouble going a different way. Yet here I am.

Fast forward to now. It’s December, I’ve finished my fall semester and the full notion that shortly I’ll be living in another country has really sunk in. Everyone keeps asking if I’m ready for my trip, the answer is always no but I am excited. Scared shitless is a more proper description of my state of mind. But I guess that’s okay. Being a little uncomfortable is how we grow. This will be so many things, I just hope that I can find the words to tell the story.

Peace, Love, and Happiness…

–Joe

spainlearn