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February 28, 2008

Blog #4

If I were released from the constraints of the Architecture Program, I would be travelling the world. This would have to be a world where money grows on trees, of course. I would be a wandering nomad without a care or worry in the universe. I would travel to exotic places, ancient world wonders, and places off the beaten path; places where no one has ever been. Places that have not been touched by humans and still contain the natural beauty of our planet. None of the stresses of the "real world" would follow me on my journeys. It would be the ultimate escape. I would like to build my own little getaway in each of the places I visit. I would build a mountain top home with floor to ceiling windows to take in the natural beauty of the surrounding area, a modern treehouse in a forest, or maybe a home with a view of a waterfall; for some reason I have always had a facination with waterfalls. I could stay in each place for as long as I wanted, depending on my mood. All of my projects would encompass the features of the area. They would bring the environment inside and look like they belong with their surroundings. One of my biggest pet peeves is when buildings don't fit in with the surrounding area, or when they're ugly and blocky and really don't fit with anything. A building should compliment its surroundings. If I had limitless funds, my life would be peaceful, completely stress free. I would do whatever I wanted.
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February 20, 2008

Blog #3

An End to Poverty and World Hunger...

"Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional." ~ Greta Randolph

Keep Holding On - Avril Lavigne
Yellow - Coldplay
How to Save a Life - The Fray
Best Days - Grahm Colton
Pictures of You - The Last Goodnight
Time is Running Out - Muse
Give It All - Rise Against
Stand in the Rain - Superchick

These are all songs I listen to when I'm upset or sad. Something in these songs just makes me feel better. In some, its the lyrics; in others its just the melody or sound of the song. A few of the titles are self explanatory. A
part of the song "Yellow," by Coldplay, really reminded me of my topic of poverty and world hunger. "your skin, yeah your skin and bones, turned in to something beautiful"
With our help, these people who are only skin and bones can turn in to something beautiful.

"Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not." ~ Epicurus


These are photos of my friends and I messing around with food. We had a great time and half that food probably went to waste. People are starving in this world and we really never think about this. Somebody would have been so grateful to have that food and we took it completely for granted. Everyone's mother has probably said "finish your dinner, there are starving children in this world!" to them. This went in one ear and out the other at the time. I probably had some smart ass reply like, "well why don't you mail them my dinner then? I don't want it!" The issue of poverty and world hunger has never been something that I've really thought about. It needs to be made much more public.

Poverty and world hunger is an issue that needs to be taken on. Our nation needs to be informed of these issues. Its happening in America as well as around the world. We need to open our eyes and focus on someone other than ourselves. These people need help.

"You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad." ~ Aldous Huxley

February 14, 2008

Blog #2

Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity

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With the current state of the economy, it is clear why there is such a need for an organization like Habitat for Humanity. People are losing their jobs and the word they often hear next is foreclosure. Families are in fear of losing their homes and many already have. The mission of Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity is "to eliminate poverty housing from the Twin Cities area and to make decent, affordable shelter for all people a matter of conscience." They build homes with families who are willing to work with them by helping them to construct their own homes. Habitat for Humanity relies on volunteer labor and tax deductible contributions of cash, materials, professional services and property to build affordable homes for low-income families.
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In the 28 years Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity has been in operation, they have built over 650 homes in the metro area. Not only does Habitat built homes for families, they also have homeownership preservation programs. These programs include services such as: counseling, referrals, negotiation with lenders, and financial assistance. Their program A Brush With Kindness offers painting, landscaping, and minor repairs to homes with low-income owners. With the help of Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity, families are free to focus on parenting, employment, and education. They are given the freedom to make more from their lives than they possibly could have before.

Here is the story of one St. Paul woman's experience with Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity.


As the levies burst in New Orleans, St. Paul Habitat homeowner Patty Valdivia had many reasons to be thankful for her home.
Her daughter Kay, who was living in New Orleans at the time, lost all her possessions and barely escaped with her life. Kay was luckier than most. She still had a place to call home.
“I told her, come home baby, your room is waiting for you,? said Patty who loves that her Habitat home is refuge for her children. “No matter what happens, they will always have a place to come home.?
Kay did come home for four months — to the Habitat home where she lived during her formative years. After New Year’s Kay told her mom, “While this will always be my home, I must make my own way.? She returned to New Orleans where she is helping to rebuild the Latino community.
“My daughter is so strong — I am so proud of her,? said Patty.
She attributes her daughter’s strength to the challenges her family faced when they first moved to the United States. Patty moved to the US from Mexico twenty years ago with her daughter Kay, and sons Kristian and Kirby. The kids struggled in school, and Kay caught the brunt of her classmates’ cruelty as she was often the only Latino child in her grade. In the first five years, the family lived in various cramped housing situations, including a trailer and a two room basement apartment. They hungered for stability and a safe place to call home.
“It was crowded. The kids were growing up and needed their own space. With two boys and a girl, two rooms were not enough. When I had the opportunity to buy a Habitat home, it was a true blessing,? said Patty.
She purchased one of eight houses that Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity built in the Lyton Park Place development in St. Paul. The family closed on their home in December of 1991. “It was like a Christmas gift,? said Patty. “It was a miracle — like a lottery ticket that we won. It’s the best thing that ever happened to me.?
While many memories from 15 years ago are fading, Patty vividly remembers the experience of working on the home, with her kids beside her.
“It was special because we all worked together to build this house, from construction, to painting, to decorating. It was a great time for my kids, for my family,? said Patty.
With the security of a safe, affordable home, Patty was able to concentrate on landing stable employment. She went to work for St. Paul Public Schools as a teaching assistant, where she worked for almost 14 years before accepting her current position as a translator for Hennepin County Medical Center.
“Whenever possible, I work for my community, helping Spanish-speaking people? she said.
From her family’s Habitat home, Patty watched her kids grow up, go to college and build lives for themselves.
Fifteen years later, Patty still sees her home as that “lottery ticket.? As she gets older, she is thankful for the security of homeownership, thankful also that she is not at the mercy of landlords and skyrocketing rents.
“That’s powerful for me. Now that I am old, I have my own income and can afford this home. I can come home and relax after work,? said Patty.
And when disaster rattles the nation, the comforts of home take on a deeper meaning.
“It’s nice to offer your kids a place to come home. We have this house, we have each other, we love each other and we’re happy. What more can you ask for??
Contributed by Sharon Rolenc

February 7, 2008

Blog #1

The creations of Andy Goldsworthy inspired me to map the routes I take to class on a given day. I used different colors to map my journeys to and from class on Thursdays. I wanted to see it on a map to get a visual of the paths I take daily. This reminds me of Andy Goldsworthy's stone wall that wound around trees throughout the natural landscape and several other of his creations. My flow through campus is shown on the map. In a day my energy levels go up and down. When I begin my walk, my energy is usually at a fairly high level. This energy gradually goes down as I walk further and further. I am slowing down but the hustle and bustle of this city campus is still carrying on around me. The city never slows down, and never goes to sleep. I am an average college student who needs my sleep and like most of the others, I stay up very late at night but try to nap whenever possible. The city doesn't take naps during the day. It carries on... no time for naps.

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