It starts out as a normal day, with Miguel hanging out with his friends and all was well, until a mysterious voice tells Miguel of a magical object hidden in a temple.They go looking for the temple, with the voice guiding them and making sure they don’t get lost.Then, they saw beings that appear to be made of darkness though they don’t understand how are they not harmed by the sunlight.The voice told them that those creatures are known as shadow demons, creatures of the dark that are ruled by the Shadow Lord, an evil demon lord who has been around since the ages of the Taino.
The group manages to navigate through the forest without being spotted and they find the temple before the shadow demons and enter, unaware of a shadow demon that has spotted them.
The heroes look around the temple, admiring it and the voice tells…
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The things that shows the best in people are usually the worst experiences. Those days when mother nature reminds us how small we really are for example. In our case, the worst hurricane in history left our little island in ruins and set us 100 years back. Back to living without electricity, water, not even comunications.
The beast called Maria, a category five that swept our little island. The eye went right through our town. continuing its way to the center. I wonder if most of you know how it is to have no communications, no way to know how your family and friends are for weeks. In 10 days it will be a month and still no electricity and no phone. My little one and her cousin were playing that they were coming back to school. I wonder if you understand this. If you do, I feel for you, its a new experience for most of us.
Though I had experienced a couple of hurricanes in my lifetime, even one with my name; never one like this, no one have. And it was scary as hell. Our house is in cement, and the windows are strong, still I felt they were going to give in to the fury of the winds.
But is the aftermath that has been a surreal experience. The first week you were not able to go out of your immediate area anywere. Walking on your street and watch that neighbor with only half her wood house still up and everything in it garbage now, but still she politely and resiliently smiles and say “I lost everything, I have to start over again.”
Making kilometric lines on gas stations to get diesel for the plants and gas for the cars. Losing a whole day just for that one task. Seeing the confraternization between people. The ice cream truck coming to help, people selling food on the lines.
The kids of this modern era learning what is like to actually still be able to breathe and not die of boredom and learning old games and filling their days outside. The family all on the living room watching movies together. Oh what a great lesson this has been and I am actually grateful.
At nightime we all go to sleep when the heat is not so bad and we can actually do, and in the morning we start the routine all over again. The boys go for gas, I go to the supermarket, wait in line for ever to get some food. Mother cooks for all the family members that comes to our house cause we are the ones with plant.
Every day gives a new piece of good news, you get news of someone, you know some other little area has electricity so it gives you hope. But finally been able to drive around a little farter you see all the destruction and wonder if it will ever be like before again, and you just cannot see it. The destruction is just too great. We have to adapt to a new way of living, to new routines. Today, one more lamp post is up, a couple of new cables are installed, a new antena is up so some people can get signal on their phones. Today another store opened up. Slowly, very slowly going back to a new reality.
So, in spite of this oddysey, I thank Maria for this pause and for giving us the chance to see how small we are, that things can always be worst. That life goes on, and we are still here.
My son’s stories …..
Thousands of years ago, during the time of the Tainos, peace was in the island of Puerto Rico and they lived happily until one day, an ancient evil appeared and this evil was a shadow demon known as the Shadow Lord. The Shadow Lord summoned his minions and attacked the Taino villages one by one until a lone hero appeared and vanquished both the Shadow Lord and his demons by sending them to another dimension. All the Tainos cheered at the hero who defeated the Shadow Lord and the hero was known as the Guardian of Puerto Rico.
In the present of 2015, a human boy from Carolina named Miguel walks to school with his friend, Owen. They arrive to their destination and get ready for their English class, where they met a bookworm named Chamaella, who Miguel helped pick up her books and then they had a great conversation…
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Nothing like an opportunity to teach them a lesson…
Little one is sad and crying. She asks why are we left alone again. I would love to tell her the sad truth in my own “language” words, but she is too youg to understand. So I just tell her: “it’s just a little sadly and necessary pause.” I was not talking about us, but I proceeded to explain a little lesson. In this life, you have to make for yourself a life that you love.
Make decisions that will fill your spirit and make you look up to the future. I keep telling them to have many plans, many goals, and to work on the one they can at that particular moment. The other plans can wait. “But don’t let them out of sight you hear me!”
If you make a life you don’t like for yourself you will end up unhappy and being miserable. You will also make miserable the others around you. You will find yourself looking for ways to escape that life that you created.
So be happy, about everything. Like they say, even the worst days only have 24 hours. It will pass, and you will have another day to try.
Our little island of Puerto Rico is a mere 100×35 and it’s full of drama. We are a part of the US but not really acknowledged for many, and on many aspects. It shows in so many ways, from things like not been able to buy on eBay some things because they don’t deliver here, to greater things like not having benefits. That should give you and idea. But to us personally, it hits us the most on not having programs available for our teenagers and adults group.
If you search for programs for autism here, you might find 5 or 6 and all for children.
The adolescent I have on my hands is one that sees himself studying on a university and getting a job, like any other person. As an Aspie, he is somehow functional. Functional enough to study. As for getting a job, that remains to be seen. He did had a little job experience working as a volunteer on a sport event on their small cafeteria. There he was very helpful, followed instructions, and even won over the lady who was in charge.
But that’s the thing about these kids; they are capable of many things if given the chance, but they need the place, the right people who understand how they work, and how to deal with them.
Finding jobs, even with studies, its hard on anyone. But for this group, here on our island it’s almost non-existent. The population of autistic people over 18 are around 7,000. Some of them do want to work and take care of themselves and not to depend on the Government (if they are lucky) or their families. In their search for employment they get discrimination since their major problems are socializing, and interviews are a big challenge for them.
In PR there is a program called Vocational Rehabilitation, but the problem with the program is that they are not a job employments agency. They just help them learn to do some work, but they are not the ones responsible to get them jobs.
We are living a moment in time where the autistic community is getting too big to ignore. More people are speaking up and demanding attention to them. They are special and they are human beings too. They too need to live. There has been a conscientization movement and there are one or two programs that are being formed, but still to be seen if they will succeed.
In the meantime, we went out, to Seattle specifically. We have been there before and we loved it instantly, especially the guy who did not want to even think about leaving PR. He was sold from day one when we saw the huge libraries, all the museums, bookstores, and all the streets full of people around the market (something that still amazes me, being in a place full of people sometimes is fun for him, even Times Square in NY).
There are 5 universities with programs for Aspies in the US, and one of them is the Bellevue College there. We were not able to go there because we both got sick and by the time we were getting better it was time to come back to our 100×35. But we will keep searching. There’s a future to think of, and we have to make plans, options A, B and even a C if we can.
Today was eclipse day. We skipped the home school curriculum for a special activity outside, an activity about science and of course about the eclipse. we saw only 80% of it, it didn’t went dark here at all, but still was a great experience.
On our way I explained to them to observe, read, explore and understand the many things that were going to be there and that later they will make an essay about what they learned.
He would be reading everything of course, but that is completely normal in him. He made me go back to one booth where they were explaining about the colors we don’t see and some prim crystals that made us see all the colors we don’t see with the naked eye. He was asking again so I could record it and write about it later.
Back home he was already worried about what to do first, see something on the computer for personal time or start the essay. He over analyzes everything, and until he does the essay his mind won’t be at ease.
It was a great feeling when I saw them putting on the glasses on and looked up. That expression on their faces and that “wow” that followed was priceless. Nothing like to witness a moment of discovery on someone else’s eyes, specially when they are your kids. The sense of accomplishment, the sense that you are doing something right for them.
I have been questioned, twice, how was I crazy enough to pay to be trapped on a train for days and with the kids. I must admit the ignorance of the question surprised me, but it was quickly replaced by the feeling of sadness for them.
You see, I did not pay to be “trapped” on a train. I paid for the thrill of making new friends, maybe fleeting, sporadic or maybe a life long ones on a very unlikely place. I paid to be amazed by all the new places and scenarios I will probably won’t see again, and were too great for just words so I had to take pictures to show people so they can get a glimpse of what I saw, and was amazed by.
I was forced to absorbed its splendor, take a photo and move to the next great one; to be impressed and away from all I know, from all the technology, from all news good or bad. I escape from people on the world that cast a shadow on my existence with their misery. And I had never felt more alive or clear.
On one of the days, we witnessed as there was an emergency on the train, and we had to make an emergency stop at one little town. We saw how this nurse came in a car, parked, and jump on the train.
And the kids? as much as they did not enjoy been without internet, they learned, a lot. We saw some national parks, and a guide was telling us all kinds of stories as we watched where it all happened. I know that years from now when they are older, and understand all that it takes to get away, they will appreciate and be happy that they had those experiences. No school will teach them that. We also figured out what we love about out trips; we can just get out and walk in any direction, take a little train and be somewhere exiting and fun. Not like in home.
At some point on the trip we saw something, I don’t remember what it was, but Owen exclaimed “woooa” which is highly unusual for him, to actually express excitement. That’s why we do those trips, for the “woa” moments, and the lessons. There is always lessons!
As you can see, not only did I not feel trapped on the train, on the contrary, I had never felt more at peace being away from all. The purity of untouched and incredibly beautiful places filled my soul with peace. It was a necessary, and welcomed pause. (And on an interesting note, those people who called me crazy loved the pictures of those awesome places)
Back to school? We never stopped! One of the beauties of homeschooling. We just took a couple of weeks trip that teached US a whole lot more about the world and life that many kids will not learn in a whole academic year. We saw many wonderful places, make friends living on a train with strangers for days. Visited some national parks and learned the history of such places with a guide. And learned how to live and have fun on a foreign country with next to no money and work as a team to make it work…..no school will teach them that…
Another trip is coming up in a few days and he is already anxious. He starts looking worried and gives me a lot of hugs. He will say “I need a hug.” As much as we like to go out of our tiny island, is always a nightmare, at least the airplane part. Once we cross the Ocean is all good. But those days before and that flight, dear God, I will give my soul to skip those.
It is so bad that once we land there, the rest of the trip, it doesn’t matter where is always and completely by train. We will go from NY to Seattle and it will take around 3 days just to avoid that 6 hours trip.Thank God we love the trains experiences and as long as we have movies and books to read its all good.
This trip is a little unlike all the others, we are going on search of the great perhaps as they say. We are looking for some college with a program for Aspies and some other programs. He is just going to 10th grade now, but we need to know the steps and what will required of us, of him, to do that big steps if the opportunity arises in the future. It is better to be safe than sorry right? Here in our little island there are not programs for him. He could of course do the online programs, but he wants to go to college. He wants to experience it. And as long as he wants to, I will do anything in my power to help him.
I love travel, for the obvious reasons, but also because always, always, something very unexpected happens and we learn a lot about ourselves and how to work as a team. I am a little nervous and exited at the same time to find out what is going to be. Last time I forget some important documents on a room we stayed and we were waiting for a bus to take us to the train station with very little time. I started crying and saying those curse words and literally lost it. He tried to calm me and looking for options. It took him out of his bubble and he thought of US and I was so proud, once we resolved and got to the train barely on time for departure I just kept telling him “thank you, thank you”. That is a bad experience that ironically has been one of the best tests for us a a team yet.