My First Photo Journal – Mi Nombre Es Rebekka

My First Photo Journal entry! ….the end says “but I have FAITH!” You can contribute to my volunteer trip here.

I just had this ingenious idea right now and decided to share my journal with you. I’ll be posting doodles as I go to Ecuador and Brazil. I won’t be bringing my laptop due to safety and well, my mac is my life, so I’ll be handwriting all my experiences. These doodles will eventually become a little book that I’ll sell and all individual doodles will be for sale on Etsy!

Today, I went to Healthy Traveler in Pasadena to get my yellow fever vaccination. I had a moment of squeaking before I had to sit down and get the shot. I was anticipating a long drawn out shot, but it literally was a stab in the arm and VOILA it was done! Cha-Ching $154 please. Throw-up. Yep, the cost of traveling to a 3rd world country is much higher.

Furthermore, I found out I actually leave ON Mother’s day, the night of (1:30 ish am). Here’s a poem for ya’lls.

Push and pull, our story goes. I’m holding back, a flood of emotions, allowing the gift that is me, space and time. The essence of doing nothing, waiting feels like a suffocation. Though, each moment, I’m breathing, being in the present. He once said, breathe and pull yourself to the present since all you have is now.

In the gift of space and time, trusting that love is true even when words are not spoken. This is my dilemma. Why is it so hard to just be? To give up trying and receive. To give up pushing so you can push forward. To let go and breathe, letting love be free, flowing, not suffocated or silenced. Now I know that love was never easy, love was never just admiration and immature play…love is, more complex, more present, more simple. It is a dichotomy that can only be learned through experience.

Trash To Treasure, Pre-Brazil Film: Waste Land & Vick Muniz

As I was flipping through Netflix, I saw Waste Land with Vick Muniz, the most famous Brazilian artist. In the beginning, I thought I would lose interest, but when they started interviewing the recyclable material “pickers”, my interest piqued. The film turned out to be inspirational, tear- jerking and one that ALL artists and humanitarians need to watch. It is also a great film for those that DON’T understand the importance of the arts, when you watch this film, you will SEE the concrete and soul changing IMPACT that art can do to a community, people and even the government.

What is the film/documentary about? Filmed over three years, Vick Muniz visits the trash pickers of Brazil, in Jardim Gramacho (the largest landfill) in order to create portraits out of trash/recycled goods and to bring awareness, raise funds through the art. His visit turns into a collaboration with the trash pickers, who are inspiring, cheerful, positive people. The catadore (garbage picker) support each other like family; aka someone broke 2 arms and a leg due to being crushed by a trash truck and 20 people donated their blood to him.

By the way, did I mention I picked this movie because that is by far, one of my favorite artworks in history (man in bathtub, dying).

Result of All This? The community was so encouraged, some got to go to London, they got to see the ACTUAL work of their own hands….they realize that they could do something great. One lady left an abusive husband because she SAW herself and her worth through creating art. Art empowered her. Moreover, they raised so much money from the art that in 2012, Jardim Gramacho landfills will be shut down and they will be transitioning to another system. Vick’s efforts has led to a learning center which educates and

You can see the trailer here:

Why Am I Talking About This? This film truly shows the LIFE changing power of the arts. The art seeks to bring beauty and worth to the audience as well as the creator. This film was also vital for me to understand an outcasted part of Brazil, where I will be going May 23 to June 7. Though I have applied for the press program in Brazil, I have yet to hear from them. Watching this film made me realize that perhaps it’ll be okay to pave my own path, whatever that may look like. Perhaps I will meet people on the street that I may become good friends with and teach me about life, I am open to where the spirit will take me.

I can also relate to Vick because like him, I had to work my way up (well, now I don’t think of “going up”, I think of “going forward” since we Americans have such disjointed views of what that looks like). He was born into a lower/middle class family and was relatively poor. One time he accidentally got shot by a guy who had money and compensated him for the wound. Vick was smart enough to use the money to fly to NY where he became a renowned artist.

I don’t think it’s accidental that I watched this film. I have always pioneered to create art that made people think, someday I want to be a successful artist who can help people like that. But for now, I think I’m already doing that, though I can’t see the impact sometimes.

Help me raise $2,600 by May 13 so I can experience the film first hand in Ecuador and Brazil. The leader of the Pickers Association had a dream to have an association, even his family rejected him and people thought he was crazy (even the people he tried to help). At one point, the $6,000 he got from the bank to pay his workers was taken by a stranger who put a gun to his head. He wanted to give up at that point- I started crying because I KNEW EXACTLY HOW HE FELT. You believe in your dreams, but few people do. You meet obstacles and you want to give up. I’m telling you- DON’T. 

“I’d rather want everything & have nothing than have everything & want nothing because at least when you want something your life has meaning, it’s worthwhile. The moment you have everything, you have to search for meaning in other things. I spent my whole life wanting everything, but having nothing. Now I have everything, but I don’t want anything.” -Vick Muniz

Comments are very welcome! Please leave a comment even to say hi! I appreciate it!

Forgiving The Silence, A Trip Called “Coming of Age”

“I just missed my flight…there’s no way I can get to New York”- I thought.

My cousin said, well I’m also going there at 1pm, why don’t you stay over and we’ll go over together.

Suddenly, I woke up startled. It was 2 am in the morning. My head hurt from the dream, it felt like I was traveling in my sleep and reminded me of my 3 flights going to Ecuador. Each of my flight consists of layovers, 2 in Panama and 1 in Chicago. My internal being had been semi- processing and stressed out about my upcoming trip.

For some reason, an epiphany hit me.

I’m doing this trip for me. This was not for Marco. As much as it seems like it is for Marco, this trip is for me.

I know it might sound selfish, but selfish can actually be a good thing.

I was thinking about how the trip takes place beginning on Mother’s Day, a birth, a renewal, nurturing of a kid all the way in Ecuador. I also thought about how much I cared for a kid I hardly know. Why did I care so much?

Because a kid deserves to be known, a kid deserves for someone to buy a flight ticket to see him or her. This is something I never experienced. My own father never bought a flight ticket to visit me in America. I am not saying this to evoke your sympathy nor am I blaming my father. Lying in my bed yesterday night, I realize why this trip was so important to me. It wasn’t simply an act of compassion, some moral virtue or guilt trip to help the poor, this trip was FOR ME; this trip somehow symbolizes reconciliation, healing, an act of letting go and living a life different from my parents, different from any circumstances or people that may have hurt me. 

This trip WILL change me. This trip is another Rebekka’s coming of age. I realize my whole life is a story of healing, of power, of passion….someday it will be such an inspirational story of hope. People will read my blog, my book, my memoir and attain healing and inspiration to go on.

Doing things for YOURSELF can actually be doing good to others. Being selfish, reconciling, healing…

Whatever you do is a projection of your inner being. What you complain about is the very thing that pricks you, for a certain reason. What you complain about others may be the very thing you’re scared to become or the very thing that seeks to limit your freedom to be you.

My drawing “Forgiving The Silence” is about my journey to well, forgive the silence. I believe that I’m not the only one. Probably half of all Americans grow up without one parent, or both. Some have never met their dads or moms. I encourage you to be the ones to bridge the gap of silence…or learn to become a parent to someone you never met.

You can purchase the print for $20 @ MY ETSY STORE! 

Or you can also make a direct donation for my trip! $25 gets me one night @ a hostel, $200 covers cost of seeing Marco. $100 covers food & water for a week.

SUMMER MUST-HAVES! NEW Hello Kitty Glass Frames & Snap Pop Purses, All For A Good Cause.

Adorable HELLO KITTY GLASSES FRAMES – get your exclusive pair for only $25. What can $25 help me with? It will help me with paying for ONE night’s stay at a hostel, yes, that is if I’m not able to couchsurf. Though my friends have already told me to stay at a hotel because Ecuador is a 3rd world country…I’m just letting the spirit lead me.

Of course, there’s POP & SNAP purses, stores any size of sunglasses or glasses. Great for makeup, makeup brushes, cameras, phones! Not only are they silicon material, but they are great for those silly BIG handbags that causes women to search incessantly for their belongings…because it’s insanely bright. POP & SNAP purses start from $12-$16! They of course also fund my trip.

Yes, fundraising to go to Ecuador and Brazil is still happening! So far, I’ve raised $1,200 which is awesome! But it’s not enough for me to actually travel within Ecuador and Brazil. It’s enough to cover the flights, visas, etc. Thus, you can actually shop my extremely cute and original store online while supporting me while I volunteer and meet my sponsored boy of 4 years in Ecuador then to Brazil. I’ll be in Ecuador for 10 days, then Brazil for the next few weeks. I’ll be stopping at Panama City (layover) and Chicago when I’m coming back to LA.

Speaking of which, I’m fully liberated and have been slowly coming to terms with my self-employment. I’ve been really grateful for friends who have amazing mom/dad cooks that cook INDIAN FOOD, one of my faves. The other day I went to the Brazil consulate and was amazed by their efficiency! In order to get my visa, I had to make an appointment. After getting stuck in traffic, I ran to the consulate (after finding parking in cramped and expensive Beverly Hills). When I got there, I got a number, sat for 3 minutes and was at the window for one minute. Talk about efficient. I’m starting to like Brazil already!

You can also make a direct donation if you believe in my cause to help others and to write about my adventures! I’ll be volunteering and seeing my sponsored kid! DONATE NOW.

Thanks for reading friends! I appreciate it!