Wednesday, June 8, 2016


Classes have been going well. This is the third day and all seems to be manageable. I thought that the third day would have been much more difficult, but today was actually fun. We listened to the teacher speak and we asked and answered questions as best we could. The whole time was spent listening and responding in the language. I don't think any of us thought we would maintain such a degree of interaction and comprehension. The classes are fun and a bit of enjoyable work. It is much better to get homework done right away because the feeling of accomplishment washes over us, which sets us free to do more study in the evening.

One of the professors wanted to speak with me about saying mass. I read to her the priest's parts of the mass and she said, "Padre Juan, you are ready." That was nice to hear. She was excited. She wanted me to start practicing tomorrow, but we have to have English masses for those Spanish speakers that are learning the language. Regardless, it was good to have affirmation.

Tonight I took a walk with a woman from the class to St. Mary's University, run by the Marists. Only the novices have cars. The rest of us did not rent a car. Actually, we set out to find the Starbucks in the area because we want good coffee. We do not have a Dunkin Donuts nearby either. The cafe was closed but the walk was worth it.

The area that surrounds us at MACC is working class. There are lot of automobile parts stores and sole proprietorships in the area. These are not places of beauty, but as I wander the area, I do find pockets of well-groomed homes and manicured lawns. I've discovered a couple of restful and recreational parks that are well attended.

As I'm trying to lose weight, I see how deceptive the world is, especially to those who are poor. As I walked along the strip, I saw many mom and pop eateries and most of them did not look like places I would want to enter, but right next to them are shiny, clean fast food joints, that simply do not offer healthy foods. I can see the draw to these chain fast food places because you know the standards you will get.

I went into HEB, a local supermarket chain, and I waked with eyes wide open. First, so many of the poor patrons were severely overweight. One has to be very disciplined to eat well and not be lured by the appeal of the many specials. In one sense, it is trickery of the poor and those, like me, who were unaware. All you can eat specials, great values on products, larger quantities of food at value prices tease us beyond our consumption needs. The carniceria was loaded with red meats. You could not buy two ground beef patties. Instead, you were tempted to buy ten pound bags for a cookout. It is a challenge for us to make good decisions when all the advertising tells us to buy more. Food is pleasurable and we have to get as much of it as we can because we deserve it. I do not see any ads inviting people to a healthy lifestyle. I am edified by how much I learned about the ways I am seduced by tasty, non-nutritious foods.

I'm please with my progress. It takes great work, but it is worth the effort.

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