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I have been making progress towards my goal of opening a tea shop in Urcuqui, the neighboring town of Yachay. Although I don’t have a clear plan (and I am a fan of finely crafted details), I make steps forward that are significant to me. For example last week during Carnaval, I spent a great deal of time finding an app to convert hand drawings to digital image and revised my logo for a flier.


My latest drawing for a “Chai @Yachay” poster. My boss gave me that name.

This afternoon I got info on wholesale prices and delivery from local tea companies (yes, Ecuador produces tea). This morning I went to look at potential locations for my tea shop, but the guy couldn’t show them to me. Tomorrow I will try again (after trying out the new restaurant in town). Even though I didn’t see a place, I was still happy that I went out in the rain to pursue a lead, which got me closer to my tea goal.


My first poster from when I served matcha at a health fair in Sylmar/L.A.

With so many positive things occurring, I still have to fight the negativity in my mind. When I told a colleague that I wanted to open a tea shop and publish “the next great American novel,” she was extremely discouraging. I mean, she got on one  and stayed on one by frequently ripping into my goals as though my public education was truly inferior and hadn’t prepared me to be the contributing citizen of the world that I seek to be. Yeah, she was more than a hater; she was one of those grumpy old men (do you remember that movie?).


The icon made for me during my business course with the City of L.A.

As I go about my tea pursuit, sometimes I hear her negavity, but each time I hear it, I am quicker to check myself (**you better check yo self before you wreck yo self** Ice Cube is one of the hottest MCs ever.) I watched someone on Super Soul Sunday speak about how when things are going well, we have a tendency to think about the negative aspects. So I know replaying my colleague’s negativity is my way of playing up the small doubt that I have about my ability to accomplish my goals. So now I force myself to check the negative energy that I am creating within myself and keep it moving on the tea train express to Urcuqui, hehe.


Teaching myself how to use my finger to draw on my iPad. I need a smart pen asap.

Then this afternoon, I realized my job situation was really shaky, and I was like, I don’t care, I’m giving my tea shop a six month run. That’s when I realized I had found something that I was willing to go for broke, so this tea shop thing must be the real deal (feeling like those Whole Foods/Starbucks/Def Jam guys). I must listen to self because self never steers me wrong.


My Tea Pobladores drawings in honor of the 44 Pobladores who founded L.A.

As my student told me last week: “…sometimes we reduce our vibration because we listen to others and because of some circumstances that we don’t like. But only listen to excellent words that inspire you to do little things that are significant to you, maybe not for everybody around you. I think it will change the world. It’s like another phrase I remember. ‘When you are at the beach, or the sea, and you pick a grain of sand, maybe nobody will know that you did it. But if you did it, the sand won’t be the same.'” As Andre 3000 sang, “vibrate higher…”

I like this design for a small tea spot in a small town.

I like this design for a small tea spot in a small town. I must start small and build my way up to a tea garden/ case de te.