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Posts Tagged ‘celebrations’

-Blog post by Reed Sandridge of Washington, DC

13236 Lake Victoria 0 583x388 Lake Victoria

David's hometown is near Kenya's Lake Victoria

I woke up this morning with mixed emotions. On one side, I am so excited that David will soon be reunited with his family in Kenya. The series of events that have come together to make this happen is extraordinary. Having said that, I am not very good with “good-byes” and am sad to see him go.

My focus today though is on celebrating this pivotal moment in his life. We will gather tonight to laugh together and look forward to the future. We are far from my goal of raising the $1,000 to help cover the expenses of David’s travel – but perhaps some more online donations will still come in today. If you haven’t donated and feel that you could spare $10 to help someone else out I encourage you to click on the yellow Donate button.

If you live in D.C. please join us tonight between 5:30-8:00pm at One Lounge (1606 20th Street, NW) in DC. It’s right near the North entrance of the Dupont Circle Metro stop. Here’s a link to the invitation – don’t worry about the RSVP – just show up!

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Great news!  I am so happy to finally announce that the Year-End Celebration will be on Tuesday December 14th from 6:30-9:00pm at the well-known Tabaq Bistro on U Street.  You are welcome to join me many of the 365 recipients for a night of celebration.  Your ticket in is a donation that you deem appropriate.  All funds collected will help pay for the event and go toward some awesome charities!  If we get a sponsor for the event, EVERYTHING goes to charity!

If you use Facebook and want to RSVP, click on the Facebook Event Page

Embassy Opticians, 1330 Connecticut Ave., NW, Wash. DC

I have spent a lot of time in front of a computer over the last 333 days and I am sure it hasn’t helped my eyes at all.  The other day I went to Embassy Opticians to get a new set of glasses and ended up giving $10 away.

This entire experience sometimes can get mind numbing.  First of all the whole idea of putting frames on to see how you look when you don’t have your glasses on to help you see is a bit of challenge.  But in the end I managed to find a pair of glasses that I liked for a reasonable price.

Armando has worked there for the past two years although he has been with the company at a different location for four more years.  He is very helpful and seems to have a good eye for what type of frame works well with your facial structure.  What I personally liked about him is that I didn’t feel rushed or pressured in any way.

Armando cleaning some lenses.

He’s a very out going individual, or at least it seems that way.  “I’m very extraverted at work, but introverted at home,” Armando told me.  “I’m out of control sometimes when I’m here and then I go home and I am really chill.”  Chill except for the time that he ended up in jail on his 26th birthday!  Yeah, don’t let the soft voice and innocent face fool you…this guy has done some hard time in the slammer.  Ok, I’m exaggerating.  He had a little too much to drink and passed out in the back of a taxi on his way home.  “I woke up to an officer pulling me out of the cab!”  It reminds me a little of the story that Tekele told me on Day 310 – maybe Armando passed out in Tekele’s cab!

Armando darts around the store looking for the perfect frames for me.  U2’s Beautiful Day is playing in the background as the drizzle moistens the pavement out front.  “I once melted a pair of my Mom’s glasses trying to bend them by heating them up with the stove,” he tells me placing a pair of glasses on my face.  I think it’s best they keep Armando out front with customers and not in the back adjusting frames!

I’ve tried to follow up with Armando to find out what he ended up doing with the $10 but haven’t gotten a response.  He’s either hard at work fitting people with new glasses or passed out in a cab some place in the city.  

Here I am yesterday wearing my new glasses. I'm organizing my notes about the day's $10 recipient in my Moleskine journal.

If you need new glasses, I highly recommend you check with Armando.  Not only did he fit me with a great new set of glasses, he worked with me to make it affordable as well.  What more can you ask for?

Oh, I almost forgot, today is Pay it Forward Day…it’s got almost 500,000 people committed to paying it forward in some way today!  That’s awesome.

Embassy Opticians are located at 1330 Connecticut Ave.  ½ block south of Dupont Circle.

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Moleskine: The official unofficial journal of the Year of Giving

I keep all my notes from the people I meet in a small Moleskine notebook.  I had filled up my third notebook and today I cracked open my fourth one.  By the way, Moleskine was very cool and sent me six notebooks when they heard about my project!  I use the small pocket-size ones and they sent me the exact size I use in a variety of styles.  Some have hard covers, others have soft covers.  I think I prefer the hard cover ones – they seem to hold up a little better as I schlep them around with me every day in the elements.  Anyways, thank you Moleskine!  You guys rock!

I used to live in Mexico when I was in high school and for a short while in college.  I have a very special place for the people of Mexico, especially those from my “home town” of Guasave, Sinaloa.  

1,000+ people attended the celebration (photo: Reed)

2010 is the year of the Bicentennial Celebrations in Mexico. This wonderful country is commemorating 200 years of independence from Spanish rule and 100 years of its revolution that began in 1910 and toppled dictator Porfirio Diaz.  Mexican Independence Day is September 16th but is often celebrated on the evening of the 15th.  Here in Washington there was a huge celebration put on in the outdoor courtyard at the Kennedy Center that was free to the public.  As I listened to live music and watched the jubilation unfold, I noticed a large Mexican flag in the center of the courtyard.  I decided to give my $10 to whoever was holding that flag!

Diego is originally from Chihuahua, Mexico. (photo: Reed)

Diego, whose real name is Dagoberto but nobody calls him that, stood in the center of the crowd holding the red, white and green flag.  Originally from the state of Chihuahua which is located in northern Mexico, the 21-year-old has lived in Maryland for two years now.  His father runs a security company that provides services to a branch of the federal government.  Diego, who is the middle of three kids in the family, works there with his dad and also takes English classes.  Although he likes being able to work with his father he hopes to get his degree and establish his own career.

“I want to succeed,” he says with pride.

There were fireworks after the famous Grito de Dolores. (photo: Reed)

“This is an important day for me and all Mexicans,” Diego told me in Spanish.  “It’s a day that we spend with our friends and families.  It’s a day that makes me particularly proud to be Mexican.  It makes me cry.”  He smiled and added, “I’m just kidding about the crying part, but really, it is very special.”  

There were about a dozen of Diego’s friends around us celebrating.  I let him go with one final question, “What will you do with the $10?”

“Well, I have been thinking about that.  At first I thought I would just buy me and my friends some beer tonight, maybe some Modelo Especial, but I think I have changed my mind,” he said pausing and looking far off into the crowd.  He looked back at me and said, “I would like to give the money to you.  You are doing lots of good with your project and I would like you to have my $10.”  I explained that I would be happier if he did something else with it, but it’s not about me, it’s about what he wants to do with it.  He said he was sure about his decision and placed the $10 back in my hand.

Diego decided to give me his $10. Thank you Diego! (photo: Reed)

I thanked him for the $10.  We took this photo together and exchanged some final words in Spanish before saying goodbye and wishing each other the best of luck.

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