Beautiful, Interesting and Ooo Shiny! Images From Various Places

Posts tagged “mexico

Eating Mexican Food in Poland

Location: Poland
Camera info: Canon Rebel 350D • lens 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6
ISO 800 • f 8 • 1/100 sec

Yum, doesn’t this picture make you hungry? Or are you just admiring the culinary artwork?

Our group was lucky (or brave) enough to have dinner at a Mexican restaurant when we were in Poland. We were sitting at a long table outside so we could enjoy the weather. It was quite the experience! Along with the decorated food, we had a few good laughs as well. Two of our guys ordered fajitas. Apparently, these are not very common in Poland, because they were served along with written instructions on how to prepare them! That wasn’t all. They also came with bibs! Our server, who knew a little English, explained this by telling us “Fajitas are dirty.” 🙂

Earlier in the trip, we started a running gag at every restaurant we went to. We picked one member of our group, Kelli, and told every restaurant, every day, that it was her birthday. We just wanted to see what would happen! 😉 At this restaurant, most of the servers were dressed in skimpy outfits resembling Spanish dancers from the “Wild Wild West” era. All of a sudden, we heard what sounded like gun shots. A man came running out of the building dressed in all black, with a face mask and cape, and firing a cap gun into the air. Scaring the waitresses, he ran over to Kelli and dropped a cake slice with a candle at her place. Then he took off running again, back into the restaurant. Once we overcame our shock, we laughed pretty hard at that one!

I guess this is what the Polish think Mexico (and likely Texas as well) is really like! LOL

How do your international friends see other cultures, even ours?

Speaking Without Words

Location: Mexico
Camera info: Canon Rebel 350D • lens 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6
ISO 400 • f 13 • 1/400 sec

If a picture is worth 1000 words, I probably don’t have to explain what’s going on here. But just in case… I was at an orphanage in Mexico, playing with the kids. I had been given power to control the bubble solution stock (big yellow bottle). The kids had their own small bubble wands, and when they needed refills, they came to me. There was limited stock and I was trying to help them be conservative. This little boy was doing his best to convince me that he needed more anyway. However, I didn’t know any Spanish and he didn’t know any English, so we had no clue what each other was saying. Yet we still communicated all this without language.

Have you ever run into a situation like this, where someone you try to talk to doesn’t speak your language? Yep, it even occurs right here in the USA. So what do we do? Our basic tendency when we don’t feel understood is to speak louder or slower, hoping that if we enunciate better, people will understand us. But when someone doesn’t know your language at all, it just makes you look silly.

In my travels, I’ve learned that one old speaker’s addage still holds true internationally. “Communication is 20% what you say, and 80% how you say it.” People pay more attention to tone and body language than they do actual words, so learning to capitalize on that has allowed me to communicate with many people worldwide who don’t share a common language!

How about trying some clear body language? When I tried to ask an Indonesion kid the word for “rain”, I pointed to the ocean nearby (water), then to the sky (clouds), and made a motion like raindrops with my fingertips. He knew exactly what I wanted then, and gladly taught me that word as well as several others. Children in India often beg by putting their hands to their mouths, imitating eating, then put their hand out to you, hoping you will fill it. Facial expressions also are clear indicators, as long as you emphasize your feelings well. Smiles are known worldwide!

How could you indicate a question or statement using only body language and facial expressions? I’d love to hear your creative ideas!

Bunk-Beds Are an Expression of Love

Location: Mexico
Camera info: Canon Rebel 350D • lens 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6
ISO 400 • f 3.5 • 1/30 sec

Ever get involved in a project, and it takes on a life of its own? We went to Mexico to build an orphanage, and three buildings should have been enough work for one week! Then we learned the kids were so cramped for space in their current place, they had to share beds. Before we left, we raised extra donations from the folks at Mount Pleasant Christian Church, and we used the money to buy extra lumber, tools, and mattresses. One of our more experienced construction workers made a wood template with the different board lengths we needed, and then the group got to work! In an assembly-line fashion, we cut a bunch of boards and pieced together frames for eight bunk beds. Only six could fit in the house, so we left the partially-assembled frames for the other two in the largest building for them to put wherever they wanted.

This alone wasn’t enough, though. The folks at MPCC also donated sheets & pillows, comforters, and even a bunch of plush animals and toys! So each bed was decorated with a different theme. Pictured above is the Cars bed. Others featured frogs, soccer, monkeys, even a snow-theme! Our group bought plastic bins that fit under the beds as well, so the kids could have a “toy box” to keep their things. They were very excited about that, as they had always had to share everything. Now they could each have a toy of their own! We put the plush animals on the beds and scattered action figures, toy cars, and other items around the room.

I’m on a kick with these multi-photo posts! But I couldn’t pass this one up. One of the ladies put a finishing touch on the beds – lifesaver candies on each pillow! Now that’s a way to make a kid smile!

We weren’t expecting to get so into this project, but it was so much fun!

What project have you started that got bigger or better than you expected?

The Scandal of Service

Location: Mexico
Camera info: Canon Rebel 350 D • lens 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6
ISO 1600 • f 4.0 • 1/250 sec

Service. When you hear the word, what images come to mind? A group of teens dishing up soup at a food pantry? A big corporation donating to a charity foundation? An elderly man holding a door open for his wife? For this week’s pick I chose something simple – just a girl cleaning a table. It may have seemed insignificant, but that table was where our whole team sat to each each day after working hard. So we all really appreciated it being clean. 🙂

I think it’s easier to go out and serve someone than to be served. There’s something about helping others in need that makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside. It’s a win-win from that perspective. But what about when others try to serve you? I usually get a little embarrassed or try too hard to help them back. But I know it takes humility to accept someone else’s service (something I’m trying to develop in myself), so I try not to get in the way if I can help it. This weekend, I’m having a bunch of people come over to help me move. Others volunteered to help clean the new place in preparation. Some of those people I’ve helped previously, others are stepping up to serve me first. My challenge is to swallow my pride and allow it.

So you’ve heard my take on it. What’s yours? Is it easier for you to serve or be served? Why?

Stucco Skillz

Location: Mexico
Camera info: Canon Rebel 350D • lens 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6
ISO 200 • f 5.6 • 1/640 sec

Do you have any hidden talents? What about a skill you never thought would be useful? I discovered one of those on a building trip to Mexico. I had started my journey thinking I would spend most of my time taking pictures, and helping with painting & nailing boards (the easy stuff), or roofing & electrical (things I had done before). Sure, I did all those things, but one of our team leaders had another idea.

“Hey, you two girls are probably the lightest,” our leader remarked. He pulled a couple of us from our work nailing boards and led us over to the freshly-poured cement still in the frame. “We need people to smooth this out before it dries, which will be really fast in this heat.” So that’s what we did. They had us balance on our hands and knees on flat metal pieces (to spread out our weight over a larger area), and we ran trowels over the cement to take out all the rocks and bubbles.

I know I’m a bit of a perfectionist, as well as an artist, but I never thought that would apply to making cement look pretty! 🙂 They apparently thought I did a really good job at it, because later they put me in charge of smoothing the stucco on the walls as well. I guess there is something to be said for using your skills and talents to the best of your ability, no matter what!

What random skill do you have that you never thought could be useful? Have you done anything with it?