Monday, June 9, 2014

Desde Guatemala: Antigua 1st Attempt, Day 3

We arrived back at Tia Angie's house at about 7am after the long ride back from Tikal.  We immediately hit the bed for a few hours.

Tia Angie's Kitchen

Local store

The most exciting part of today was the big reveal of my grandparent's new house!  It's almost every latino immigrant dream to "make it in America" enough so that they have the ability to build a house back in their home country and one day retire there. Thanks to my uncle's help, my grandparents did just that.

Abuelito planting mangos

Their avocados

Volcano in the background

After checking out the house, we headed to Antigua --- 

Cathedral of San José

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Desde Guatemala: Tikal, Day 2

We were relieved after existing the sweat box and hopped into a microbus which took us to breakfast at Restaurante Katok.

Then we had another hour and a half ride before we reached Tikal so we took a quick break at a little tourist shop:

I honestly didn't know what to expect at the ruins but it was spectacular.  It almost seemed fake, like a movie set because how are these structures still standing? How were they found? What exactly did the Mayans do here? The questions were flowing from all of us.... and it's too bad we opted to go without a tour guide.  We did catch bits of info about the temples as we eavesdropped on other tours around us but I have a lot of research to do (which I should have done BEFORE arriving) sheesh!

After walking and climbing the temples for 4 hours we enjoyed dinner on Isla Flores and did not enjoy the freezing (but not broke down bus) 8 hour ride back to La Capital.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Love you LONG time

Every year we are asked: "What are you doing for Valentine's Day?"
And every year we say: "Nothing"
[Insert A LOOK here]

Yes, people -- The Longs don't do Valentine's Day.

Here's the REAL reason: Although we are married, we still date so we never thought of Valentine's Day as THE day to express our love.

What we don't like to see on Valentine's Day are all the bitter posts about how our friends are "happily single".  Really? All of a sudden you're happy to be single but a few weeks ago you were looking for someone in your life?  We know that these same people would not turn away a worthy admirer if (s)he stepped to them on Valentine's Day. I'm sure they would actually think it was quite romantic.

Unfortunately, with the existence of social media, Valentine's Day has turned into a day to gain validation. Men and women post their designer perfume/colognes, chocolates that cost more than dinner, handbags which cover half of the rent, and electronics that say "I truly love you". It becomes a constant media stream of "ooo look what I got" and I wonder why does it have to be that way? Why do you need the Facebook world to "like" your gifts too?  Was the gift itself not enough validation that you are special?  Let's be real for a moment:  If your Valentine gave you a cheap-o watch, a carnation, a knockoff handbag, or a bootleg video game would you proudly post it? The thought would essentially be the same, but it's just not at the same price.

                ......Or, is all this simply a nowadays common case of over sharing on the interwebs??

We aren't saying that we don't enjoy seeing your happy moments. But if most of your happy moments revolve around posting your materialist goods then we don't enjoy it that much.

The Day of Love (as I like to call it) should be a day where you take the time to send a little love to those people you are thankful for in life.  It's not just about couples.... so stop being bitter and keep being cute.

We love you for reading!

P.S. Our favorite posts are the ones of your kiddies and the super cute DIY gifts they make for you!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Health and Wellness: 2014 till Forever

So here we are again, getting our lives back in order. Holiday season madness over. New years resolutions long forgotten, as we roll through the second week of February. And all I can think is, cot damn I’ve gotten fat again. Circumstances change, life events happen, supermarkets have bacon sales and home depot is just giving away deep fryers… I’m just saying

I decided there is no more perfect time than now to stop procrastinating, and to get back in shape. Not as a temporary fix this time around. This time would be different. No fad diets, no diet pills, no crazy supplement stacks- fattening the pockets of Vitamin Shoppe, as I order like “supplies”, Like Diana flipping through Nail polish color swatches. This time I wanted to take an all-encompassing approach. An approach that would treat all of my ailments and heal my entire mind, body, and soul.

Funny how god works:

So Im outside of my house, working on my car. Plumper’s crack (Yes I meant plumper not plumbers hehe) on full exposure, sweat trickling down my brow, when my man Ron rolls up on me like “hey ninja, whatcha doing?” Working on the mistress I replied, probably with the look of puzzlement as to why the previous owner had not hooked up the washer fluid hoses, from the washer fluid bottle, to the sprayers…..oh, cause they cut the wires somewhere along the line and the pump prob isn’t working….sorry, I digress.
Ron goes on to tell me that he’s headed to this fitness spot he had found on groupon and was about to get an alignment with their chiropractor, as well as, follow up with their nutritionist. I had been “looking” and I use the term loosely, looking for both. I though about it for a minute, at which point Ron promptly suggested I roll with him and do a consultation to see If it were some where I’d be interested in going. One-stop shopping I thought, why not. I could see the Chiro, nutritionist, Physical Therapist, and personal trainer, as well as, the massage therapist and acupuncturist all in the same office! No Brainer. I locked up the car, we walked to the train, and were off.

Short Back Ground:

While living in Australia in 2011, I took full advantage of not having to work. I focused strictly on my health and wellness. I worked out at the gym 3 to 4 days per week, I took 2 kick-boxing classes per week, and an aerobics class twice a week. I also joined a full pads traveling football team named the Melbourne Uni Royals (search: Gridiron, Royals - for pics and posts). I rode my mountain bike everywhere as our only mode of transportation, short of taxi’s, trains, and Antwan… I had nothing but time on my hands and I made the best use of it by working my ass off damn near everyday. I ate clean, challenged myself to extreme cleanses, month long sobriety, and even a stint at vegetarianism. I wanted to see if I could be disciplined. I wanted to come back to the states and not have to use any excuses for why I wasn’t in top form, moreso a tangible, physical backing to what the FcUk I was doing all day if I wasn’t working. Every mode of weight loss I tried worked. I also plateaued a few times, but ultimately I lost about 40lbs in the roughly 5 months or so I was working out.
 My normal football #59 wasn't available, so I flipped it.
looking slimmer here, at around 245lbs 

Injured reserve:

I mentioned before about total wellness, a focus on my mind, body, and soul. If you didn’t know, I’m accident prone, like get lost in the desert, fall down a sand dune, slice my wrist open, walk out of said desert, and make my way to the hospital to stitch up the open wound, covered in dust and stripper glitter type of accident prone (true story)…. I digress again.
In short, some of the ailments that I deal with everyday are bipartite patella – google it. My left arm was severed almost completely in a series of unfortunate events back in college, leading to complications with my left hand. I have two herniated disk and sciatica issues due to a work incident in 2012 (after returning from Australia), and most recently had a partial severe of my left middle finger, which left me outta work from March to October last year (2013).

Fast Forward:

After my initial consultation, I couldn’t have been more excited about heeding Ron’s recommendation to join him. I set up appointments for the appropriate services and so begun my journey.

Needless to say consistent exercise hasn’t been the easiest lifestyle change to maintain. That is until now. My most major changes from any approach I’ve ever taken, is that now, I am asking for help. I am making best use of the resources around me. I see a chiropractor and do physical therapy/personal training three (3) times per week. I have a nutritionist, and a massage therapist that I see weekly. Additionally, I workout on my own on the days in between appointments. Diet wise, adding organic foods, cutting down on sugar, eliminating or not as many bacon posts on facebook. No more Butter, portion control, and no more eating late. When I say late, I’m talking our normal dinner time was about 9-9:30.

Please stay tuned. And please comment and offer your encouragement, suggestions, critiques, and criticisms!! Last time I saw a bunch of you after all was said and done, and you guys were like I loved your posts. You were so brave to put it all out there and what you said and did was so helpful… blah blah blah…this time around say that shit in a couple comments. Feels like I’m talking to my mac sometimes lol. So, Join me on my journey as I take a wholesome approach to Health and Wellness in 2014 till forever.

One of my new best friends. Meet Mr. Alter_G

low impact treadmill = no excuses, run fat boy run! 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Desde Guatemala: Miguel-iver, Day 1

The flight to Guatemala was pretty straight forward. I think this is the first time we traveled without any cell phone signal so I had no idea how we were going to find my mom at the airport once we landed.

Exiting the Guatemala airport is like walking down the red carpet at the Grammys.  There are hundreds of people waiting, all eyes on you as soon as you exit.  My mom, along with the other 12 people she was with found us quickly. 

We arrived at my Tia Angie's house in San Jose Las Rosas and it's exactly as I remember it.

There was no time to waste though. After a few hours rest, we all packed a bag and headed down to the bus station to got to Tikal! The kiddos teased us because we packed flashlights, a hatchet, neck pillows, meds, a hydration back pack, and a few other stuff which may have seemed unnecessary for a bus ride.

We boarded the 10PM bus and braced ourselves for the 8 hour ride to Petèn. We didn't know what type of ride we were getting into: did it have A.C.?, did the seats recline? Any pit stops? To our pleasant surprise the bus wasn't as bad as we thought it would be although we seated next to the bathroom which was only used by one person.

Two hours into the ride I was woken up by the feeling of diesel directly entering my lungs, the driver/mechanic elbows deep into the motor of the bus.  This man had a measly little flashlight which barely illuminated anything along with another guy shining a cell phone light at the motor....Were they serious??? Adonis brought out the small and very powerful flashlight which basically saved our lives lol. The gear selector was broken and the driver/mechanic temporarily fixed it using a wire hanger.... Yes, a hanger. We couldn't make this stuff up. Thanks to "Miguel-iver" the bus was driven to a safe spot and we had to wait two hours for another bus to get us in order to continue the trip. The second bus has no AC which means we had a miserable sweaty ride.


Thursday, December 26, 2013

Desde Guatemala (Intro)

My Abuelito (Gabriel) giving my cousin Angel a "talk" on Father's Day (2013) :: Bronx, NYC

Welcome to the Longology mini series: Desde Guatemala.  ("From Guatemala")

For those of you who don't know my family is from Guatemala. Both my parents & both sets of grandparents were born and raised in Guatemala so I like to say that I'm 100++++++% Guatemalteca lol.

For a long time now I've been wanting to document my family's story.  How did we get here? Is our story different than any other immigrant's story? Why do I care?  The honest answers to these questions are: I know a little bit, but not enough.

Do you know your family's story? How did they get to where they are today? Do you care to know and is it important for later generations in your family to know? I am very intrigued by families who have their history documented in one way or another (video, books, photos, etc).  I don't have that and I want to have it for my family.  I have one seen about 5 super old pictures of my family. I feel the urgency now more than ever to at least begin this journey in capturing our story. My plan is to document our story via photographs and mini-video stories which I can compile into one nicely packaged format and hand out copies to each one of my family members.  I have no idea how long this will take to finish, but my goal is to get it done and finished.  I envision this project to be on-going after the initial cut since our story will continue.

On Saturday Adonis and I leave for Guatemala.  It'll be my first time back in 11 years and his first there.

Here is a little of what I know (or think I know):

  • My grandfather was in the Guatemalan military
  • My grandparents met in Guatemala but were from two different "social classes" Country girl vs. City Boy and dark skin vs. light skin
  • My grandfather was the first one to come to the U.S.  A few years later my grandmother, uncles, and mom followed (all a la "Cross The Border" style)
  • They lived in California before settling in NYC
  • My mom was 17 yrs old when she came to U.S., spoke zero English, but eventually earned her high school diploma & Associates Degree
  • My uncle has ran his own appliance shop in the Bronx ever since I can remember
  • My oldest cousin (who was 5 yrs old when she arrived in the U.S.) was the first in our family to earn a bachelor's degree & a master's degree.  I was the 2nd.
  • My grandparents have been married for 53 (ish) years
  • My grandparents have been U.S. citizens for many many years now -- but my mom isn't. 

We'll save the "why we're going" and "what we'll do once we're there" for later posts.  In the mean time -- Welcome back Longologists!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Day 365+

Wow. Today is Day 365.
I have taken a picture every day for a whole year.

This project first started to purely improve my photography by using our life as the subject. I just wanted to learn how to use my DSLR (Nikon D90) better but then, the concept of "Longology" was born. We let you into our lives and showed you how we do this thing called LIFE. The project started with our first day of finally being together and here we are 365 days later but this project is ending with us apart. Ironic, isn't it?!

I could not have completed this project with Adonis' support. He even contributed to the project by writing posts, photographing, and shared his weight loss journey! He didn't let me quit and I didn't want to disappoint him.  He's something special and I'm so blessed to have him as my P.I.C.!

Special shout out to all the "Longologists" who commented on our posts, and even those that never did. We knew someone was checking us out so we wanted to give you quality content.

Here are some highlights/results from the project:

  • I am now a confident photographer.
  • The concept of calling myself an "artist" is no longer awkward
  • My "eye" for photography has dramatically improved
  • I got to know my Micro Four Thirds camera better than my DLSR
  • I bought my first vintage 110 film camera
  • I used four different cameras for the 365 project
  • The project includes photos in 5 different countries
Finally, I narrowed down my photography area of concentration:
                                                                    STREET & URBAN LIFESTYLE PHOTOGRAPHY
On that note keep an eye out for my 2012 series: "The Innocent Bystanders" ;-)

Here's are some bonus photos.

Growth As A Photographer

Me & My #1 365 Project Camera Buddy!